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Essential Boricua Reading List for the 2016 Holiday Season

Néstor David Pastor

 

For the third year in a row, Centro brings you a list of Puerto Rican books just in time for the holiday season. So if you're still looking for gift ideas (and you've already check out Centro's online store), then you're in luck. We’ve selected over 35 titles, in English and Spanish, and divided them into sections such as literary fiction, non-fiction, academia, poetry, sports, and more. This is by no means a comprehensive list, we encourage readers to tell us about those that we missed. FYI, All the books are available for online purchase, and each title has an hyperlink to to either the publisher’s page or to that of an internet verndor. There is also a short description of the book, as it appears on the publisher’s webpage. We hope you enjoy the list and have a wonderful holiday season!


BOOKS ABOUT PUERTO RICANS IN THE UNITED STATES

History, Migration, Culture and Social Conditions:

Flores, Juan. 2016. Salsa Rising: New York Latin Music of the Sixties Generation. New York: Oxford University Press. [ISBN: 9780199764907]

Salsa Rising provides the first full-length historical account of Latin Music in this city guided by close critical attention to issues of tradition and experimentation, authenticity and dilution, and the often clashing roles of cultural communities and the commercial recording industry in the shaping of musical practices and tastes. It is a history not only of the music, the changing styles and practices, the innovators, venues and songs, but also of the music as part of the larger social history, ranging from immigration and urban history, to the formation of communities, to issues of colonialism, race and class as they bear on and are revealed by the trajectory of the music. Author Juan Flores brings a wide range of people in the New York Latin music field into his work, including musicians, producers, arrangers, collectors, journalists, and lay and academic scholars, enriching Salsa Rising with a unique level of engagement with and interest in Latin American communities and musicians themselves.”

Morales, Iris. 2016. Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: The Young Lords 1969-1976. New York, NY: Red Sugarcane Press. [ISBN: 978-0996827614]

“Through the Eyes of Rebel Women: The Young Lords, 1969-1976 is the first book about the experiences of the women members–a "story within a story" told from the inside out. The Young Lords Organization emerged in New York in the late sixties to fight poverty, racial and gender inequality, and the colonial status of Puerto Rico. Women in the Young Lords organized to build a people's movement and fought the “revolution within the revolution” believing that women’s equality was inseparable from the society’s progress as a whole.”

 

Alamo-Pastrana, Carlos. 2016. Seams of Empire: Race and Radicalism in Puerto Rico and the United States. University Press of Florida. [ISBN: 978-0813062563]

"In Seams of Empire, Carlos Alamo-Pastrana uses racial imbrication as a framework for reading this archive of little-known Puerto Rican, African American, and white American radicals and progressives, both on the island and the continental United States. By addressing the concealed power relations responsible for national, gendered, and class differences, this method of textual analysis reveals key symbolic and material connections between marginalized groups in both national spaces and traces the complexity of race, racism, and conflict on the edges of empire."

 

Behnken, Brian, editor. 2016. Civil Rights and Beyond: African American and Latino/a Activism in the Twentieth-Century United States. University of Georgia Press. [ISBN: 978-0-8203-4916-9]

"Civil Rights and Beyond examines the dynamic relationships between African American and Latino/a activists in the United States from the 1930s to the present day. Building on recent scholarship, this book pushes the timeframe for the study of interactions between blacks and a variety of Latino/a groups beyond the standard chronology of the civil rights era. As such, the book merges a host of community histories—each with their own distinct historical experiences and activisms—to explore group dynamics, differing strategies and activist moments, and the broader quests of these communities for rights and social justice." [Note: 3 chapters are dedicated solely to issues faced by Puerto Rican communities.]


BOOKS ABOUT PUERTO RICO 

Sports:

Sotomayor, Antonio. 2016. The Sovereign Colony: Olympic Sport, National Identity, and International Politics in Puerto Rico. University of Nebraska Press. [ISBN: 978-0803278813]

"By examining how the Olympic movement developed in Puerto Rico, Antonio Sotomayor illuminates the profound role sports play in the political and cultural processes of an identity that developed within a political tradition of autonomy rather than traditional political independence. Significantly, it was precisely in the Olympic arena that Puerto Ricans found ways to participate and show their national pride, often by using familiar colonial strictures—and the United States’ claim to democratic values—to their advantage. Drawing on extensive archival research, both on the island and in the United States, Sotomayor uncovers a story of a people struggling to escape the colonial periphery through sport and nationhood yet balancing the benefits and restraints of that same colonial status."

 

Boehme, Gerry. 2016. Roberto Clemente: The Pride of Puerto Rico. Cavendish Square Publishing. [ISBN: 978-1502610584]

"Barriers have existed to deny people the chance to compete athletically based on their race, ethnic background, or sex. Some athletes, through their courage and class, have broken down the barriers that have afflicted our society, and sometimes affected greater social change. A superstar on and off the baseball diamond, Roberto Clemente overcame bias toward blacks and stereotypes that had harmed his fellow Puerto Ricans and other Latinos in all walks of life. He became a role model for Hispanics, and then for everybody when he died bringing aid to earthquake victims in the crash." 

 

 

Giudice, Christian. 2016. A Fire Burns Within: The Miraculous Journey of Wilfredo 'Bazooka' Gomez. England: Pitch Publishing. [ISBN: 978-1785311154]

"Wilfredo "Bazooka" Gomez found his love of boxing as he fought off bullies while walking the streets of San Juan. Showing great promise in the ring, he soon rose to prominence, and in the late 1970s and early 1980s set a blistering pace that few boxers could equal. The three-time world title winner is remembered for his 17 consecutive title fight defenses—but his story runs much deeper. Including interviews with Gomez, those close to him, the fighters he fought, and those who watched his career unfold, this book details Gomez's dramatic rise to fame, but also tells of the struggles he faced after his fight career ended."


Culture, History, Politics, Identity, and Literary Criticism:

Benigno, Trino. 2016. Malady and Genius: Self-Sacrifice in Puerto Rican Literature. SUNY Series, Insinuations. [ISBN: 978-1438461571]

"Malady and Genius examines the recurring theme of self-sacrifice in Puerto Rican literature during the second half of the twentieth and the beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Interpreting these scenes through the works of Frantz Fanon, Kelly Oliver, and Julia Kristeva, Benigno Trigo focuses on the context of colonialism and explains the meaning of this recurring theme as a mode of survival under a colonial condition that has lasted more than five hundred years in the oldest colony in the world. Trigo engages a number of works in Latino and Puerto Rican studies that have of late reconsidered the value of a psychoanalytic approach to texts and cultural material, and also different methodologies including post-colonial theory, cultural studies, and queer studies."

 

Rangelova,  Radost. 2016. Gendered Geographies in Puerto Rican Culture: Spaces, Sexualities, Solidarities. The University of North Carolina Press. [ISBN: 978-1469626161] 

"This is a critical study of the construction of gendered spaces through feminine labor and capital in Puerto Rican literature and film (1950-2010). It analyzes gendered geographies and forms of emotional labor, and the possibility that they generate within the material and the symbolic spaces of the family house, the factory, the beauty salon and the brothel. It argues that by challenging traditional images of femininity texts by authors and film directors like Rosario Ferre, Carmen Lugo Filippi, Magali Garcia Ramis, Mayra Santos-Febres, Sonia Fritz and Ana Maria Garcia, among others, contest the official Puerto Rican cultural nationalist discourse on gender and nation, and propose alternatives to its spatial tropes through feminine labor and solidarities."

Jorge Rodriguez Beruff), Jose L. Bolivar Fresneda. 2015. Island at War: Puerto Rico in the Crucible of the Second World War. University Press of Mississippi. [ISBN: 978-1496809773] 

"Despite Puerto Rico being the hub of the United States’ naval response to the German blockade of the Caribbean, there is very little published scholarship on the island’s heavy involvement in the global conflict of World War II. Recently, a new generation of scholars has been compiling interdisciplinary research with fresh insights about the profound wartime changes, which in turn generated conditions for the rapid economic, social, and political development of postwar Puerto Rico. The island’s subsequent transformation cannot be adequately grasped without tracing its roots to the war years."   

 

Jiménez de Wagenheim, Olga. 2016. Nationalist Heroines: Puerto Rican Women History Forgot, 1930s-1950s. New Jersey: Markus Wiener Publishers. [ISBN: 978-1558766198]

"From the moment the United States seized Puerto Rico, in 1898, to the 1950s, the islanders employed various forms of resistance to the imposition of American colonial rule. A group of Nationalists led by Pedro Albizu Campos made it clear that they would free Puerto Rico, by armed struggle if necessary. A confrontation between the Nationalists and the colonial police in October 1935 left four Nationalists dead. A few months later two Nationalists killed the Chief of Police, Francis E. Riggs. Albizu Campos and seven of his aides were convicted on seditious charges and sent to a federal prison in Atlanta, Georgia. His followers attempted to hold a demonstration in Ponce, Albizu Campos’s hometown, and were gunned down by the police: nineteen unarmed men, women, and children were killed and more than one hundred and fifty wounded. Dominga de la Cruz ran from a place of safety to rescue the flag from a wounded comrade. Back in Puerto Rico in 1947, Albizu Campos began to plan for a revolution, which he launched on October 30, 1950. A commando unit of five attacked the Governor’s residence while others assaulted police stations in half a dozen cities and towns throughout the island. One woman, Doris Torresola, was shot while protecting her leader. The same day Blanca Canales was one of three to lead the revolt in Jayuya. Two days later, two Nationalists, residents of New York, attempted to kill President Truman at Blair House, his temporary residence. Massive arrests followed and forty-one women were detained on suspicion that they had conspired with the rebels. Two of the fifteen women indicted were sentenced to life in prison. Then, on March 1, 1954, another woman, Dolores Lebrón, led three male companions in an attack on the U.S. House of Representatives in which five congressmen were shot for keeping Puerto Rico in bondage. Historians have largely overlooked the roles of these Nationalist women. Nationalist Heroines: Puerto Rican Women History Forgot, 1930s-1950s seeks to rescue the stories of the women who gave up their freedom in the quest to free their homeland.

Lloréns, Hilda. 2016. Imaging The Great Puerto Rican Family: Framing Nation, Race, and Gender during the American Century. Lexington Books. [ISBN: 978-1498504218]

“In Imaging The Great Puerto Rican Family: Framing Nation, Race and Gender during the American Century, Hilda Lloréns offers a ground-breaking study of images—photographs, postcards, paintings, posters, and films—about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans made by American and Puerto Rican image-makers between 1890 and 1990. Through illuminating discussions of artists, images, and social events, the book offers a critical analysis of the power-laden cultural and historic junctures imbricated in the creation of re-presentations of Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans by Americans (“outsiders”) and Puerto Ricans (“insiders”) during an historical epoch marked by the twin concepts of “modernization” and “progress.” The study excavates the ways in which colonial power and resistance to it have shaped representations of Puerto Rico and its people. Hilda Lloréns demonstrates how nation, race, and gender figure in representation, and how these representations in turn help shape the discourses of nation, race, and gender.” 

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Alberty Fragoso, Carlos, editor. 2016. En busca de Francisco Matos Paoli. San Juan: Ediciones Callejón. [ISBN: 978-1-6150-5171-7]

“El 9 de marzo de 1915 nació en Lares, Puerto Rico, Francisco Matos Paoli. Por lo tanto, ha llegado la ocasión del centenario del poeta. Una fecha es un buen pretexto, una ocasión propicia para la acción. Por eso celebramos la existencia del poeta no sólo leyendo su obra sino también convocando a diecisiete ensayistas a participar de este gran acontecimiento de lo poético. Ellos se suman a las voces de décadas anteriores y forman parte de una corriente que será fortalecida con las siguientes. El acto de leer la gran poesía no termina. El país no sabe lo que puede aprender y llegar a ser junto al lenguaje de Francisco Matos Paoli. Y ya es hora de que se entere. Para ello tendremos que alzarnos muy arriba leyendo muy hondo esta poesía. Estamos a tiempo. El 9 de marzo de 1915 sigue vivo en sus palabras. Es un instante de cien años. Todavía "está transido, pobre de rocío", el "enorme quetzal de la nada".

 

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Nina, Daniel. 2016. El Club Tanamá: la invisibilación del hombre y la mujer negros por el independentismo puertorriqueño. San Juan: Isla Negra Editores / Pasillo del Sur Editores.

“El Club Tanamá es uno de los tesoros culturales y políticos mejor guardados en la costa norte de Puerto Rico. Club se fundó y desarrolló en el municipio de Canóvanas, donde fue fundado por el licenciado Ricardo Romualdo Rivera Correa.  Hombre negro, como todos los socios del club, y también nacionalista, como la mayoría de los miembros del club. El Club Tanamá, en particular durante la década de 1940 y 1950 tuvo dos exigencias para ser miembro: ser negro y ser nacionalista.

El Club Tanamá y la invisibilización del hombre y la mujer negros por el independentismo puertorriqueño, es la nueva obra de Daniel Nina, quien explora aquí la destrucción de un mito: que los negros y las negras de Puerto Rico no apoyaron la independencia. El libro demuestra como la realidad histórica hasta la muerte de Pedro Albizu Campos en el 1965, fue todo lo contrario.”

Pabón-Charneco, Arleen. 2016. The Architecture of San Juan de Puerto Rico: Five Centuries of Urban and Architectural Experimentation. New York: Routledge. [ISBN: 978-1138917125]

"As San Juan nears the 500th anniversary of its founding, Arleen Pabón-Charneco explores the urban and architectural developments that have taken place over the last five centuries, transforming the site from a small Caribbean enclave to a sprawling modern capital. As the oldest European settlement in the United States and second oldest in the Western Hemisphere, San Juan is an example of the experimentation that took place in the American "borderland" from 1519 to 1898, when Spanish sovereignty ended. The author also investigates post-1898 examples to explore how architectural ideas were exported from the mainland United States. Pabón-Charneco covers the varied architectural periods and styles, aesthetic theories and conservation practices of the region and explains how the development of the architectural and urban artifacts reflect the political, cultural, social and religious aspects that metamorphosed a small military garrison into a urban center of international significance."

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Ramos, Aarón Gamaliel. 2016. Islas migajas: los países no independientes del Caribe contemporáneo. San Juan: Travesier & Leduc. [ISBN: 978-0997072501]

“The decolonization process that was inaugurated after World War II turned most of the historical colonies in the Caribbean into independent countries. However, in the midst of the new post-colonial order, several territories were held by their respective metropolises through various political arrangements. France currently has three "overseas departments" (Guadeloupe, Martinique and French Guiana); and two new "overseas collectivities": Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin. The United Kingdom has five "overseas territories", the remains of a decolonization process that disintegrated the huge British Empire in this region, which are dispersed all through the Antilles: Anguilla, the Cayman Islands, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the British Virgin Islands and Montserrat. Holland has two sets of countries in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean. Aruba, Curaçao and the southern part of the island of St. Martin --which the Dutch share with France-- are autonomous countries of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Bonaire, Saba, St. Eustatius are Dutch municipalities in the Caribbean. Other two are "non-unincorporated territories" of the United States: Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Together they make up the universe of non-independent countries of the contemporary Caribbean. Throughout the second half of the twentieth century, these departments and overseas territories experienced profound social and economic transformations, reaching levels of economic development that significantly distanced them from their neighboring independent countries. They are currently a handful of modern colonies, scattered throughout the Caribbean region, with urban economies strongly linked to metropolitan economies through citizenship bonds, subsidies and extension of the development experienced by their metropolitan powers over the past forty years. However, globalization and the new order of nations on the global scale have placed these lands and their people in face of new problems and challenges that are explored in this book.” (In Spanish).

San Miguel, Pedro. 2016. Cronicas de un embrujo: ensayos sobre historia y cultura del caribe hispano. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón. [ISBN: 978-1615052448]

Estos ensayos exponen la travesía de uno de los historiadores puertorriqueños que más conoce y disfruta en sus escritos el Caribe. Al realizar un viaje por las Antillas hispanas, Pedro San Miguel despliega una mirada crítica, atenta a las fisuras, capaz de escudriñar en los paradigmas que han tatuado las representaciones de una región problemática y embrujadora que no se deja sujetar fácilmente por las palabras. Periplo por el tiempo y las islas, en este libro se recorre más de una década de reflexiones en las que el historiador ha venido afinando sus perspectivas. ¿Historiador? Bueno, sin duda. Pero uno que haciendo con rigor su disciplina, la expone en una narración que siempre desea asumir "el lugar desde el que habla", orgulloso de no pretender hablar a nombre de nadie.


LITERATURE

Fiction:

Santos-Febres, Mayra, editor.  2016. San Juan Noir. Brooklyn, New York: Akashic Books. [ISBN: 978-1617752964]
“Puerto Rico is often portrayed as sandy beaches, casinos, luxury hotels, relaxation, and never-ending pleasure—a place that satisfies all senses and appetites. Yet the city of San Juan is much more than that. The capital of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is the oldest Spanish settlement in all the territories and colonies of the United States. Since Puerto Rico is economically dependent on the US, the financial downturn of 2008 hit us hard. Many Puerto Ricans have left the island, looking for a better life. Crime has risen and the black market has thrived. As in many crises, art, music, and literature have also flourished. Never before has there been so much literary production. We have responded to our crisis with many stories to tell. And, especially in these times, many of those stories are noir…” (Note: For the Spanish-language version of the book, click here.)

 

Cardona, Sofia Irene. 2016. Desde la quinta nubeSan Juan, Puerto Rico: Ediciones Callejón. [ISBN: 978-1615052547]

"Igual que las nubes, esas sutiles criaturas del cielo, las breves crónicas que componen este libro toman diversas formas para resistir el cotidiano soplo de los duros vientos de la isla. Con inteligencia, socarronería y una gran dosis de humor, Sofía Cardona describe en estos textos la inmediatez del país que habita. La violencia, el despilfarro, el mal gobierno, la desigualdad, la estupidez son algunos de los temas que con destreza trata Desde la quinta nube. Unas veces, la esperanza de la cronista produce aguaceros dispersos que dignifican el estar aquí, en este momento, junto a los raros, los estudiantes, los pobres, los ancianos, los jóvenes y todos los ciudadanos que insisten en otra forma de vivir Puerto Rico. Otras, la indignada escritora procura con su prosa impecable un chubasco que nos sacude de la desidia y el olvido."

 

Bird, Nancy. 2016. Sobre la tela de una araña. Puerto Rico: Editorial Tiempo Nuevo. [ISBN: 978-1530307814]

"La renuencia a aceptar la lógica lineal tradicionalmente asociada con la vigilia, juntamente con la insistencia en poner al descubierto los estereotipos debilitantes a los que son sometidas las mujeres en una sociedad patriarcal, inscriben esta colección de cuentos dentro de la tradición del feminismo latinoamericano, en la vena de una Rosario Castellanos o una Ángeles Mastretta. Sobre la tela de una araña destaca por la unidad temática entre relatos enhebrados a partir de los diminutos filamentos del diario vivir en las vidas de diversas mujeres. En esta colección, la metáfora de la tela de la araña sugerida en el título sirve para estructurar la manera en que se conciben los relatos. Como ocurre con una telaraña, los hilos narrativos se imbrican los unos con los otros, tramando y urdiendo historias que funcionan tanto independientemente, como cada uno de los recuadros en la red, como en su conjunto, tal y como ocurre con el diseño final de las hileras de la araña."

Harper, Rachel. 2016. This Side of Providence. California: Prospect Park Books. [ISBN: 978-1938849763]

"Arcelia Perez fled Puerto Rico to escape a failed marriage and a history of abuse, but instead of finding her piece of the American dream, she ends up on the wrong side of Providence. With three young children, Arcelia follows a rocky path that ultimately leads to prison and an agonizing drug withdrawal. But her real challenge comes when she’s released and must figure out how to stay clean and reunite the family that has unraveled in her absence."

 


Poetry

Toro, Vincent. 2016. STEREO.ISLAND.MOSAIC. Idaho: Ahsahta Press. [ISBN: 978-1934103654]

"No simple tourist trip, no three-hour tour, Vincent Toro's carefully-structured STEREO.ISLAND.MOSAIC. draws the reader into lived experience of culture. Confronted with Puerto Rico, other Americans—Leonard Bernstein in West Side Story—often declare the island 'exotic.' Certainly such signifiers abound on this version of the island: mangos to eat, men wearing the Guayabera, tropical flora spilling everywhere. But our dive here is deeper: into the mind of an elderly man losing language, into the ocean in one century to wash up on the mainland in another time that compels the island native to assimilate. To become a 'Sorta Rican,' in Toro's book, is to become what the epigraph calls a 'hybridized subject.' Even the already- syncretized religion, Santería, finds its 'Orishas... hostage' to disability and alcoholism, like its believers, like their descendants and neighbors. These scattered migrants, shown in fragmented images, live in a New York as crowded and bright as a Romare Bearden collage. The voice of the island itself plays in stereo through the broken language of the book, now jazz and now hip-hop, coming from everywhere and nowhere."


Young Adult & Children's Literature

Rivera, Gabby. 2016. Juliet Takes A Breath. New York: Riverdale Ave Books. [ISBN: 978-1626012516]

“Even if Holden Caulfield was born in the Bronx in the 1980s, he could never be this awesome.” Inga Muscio, author of Cunt Juliet Milagros Palante is leaving the Bronx and headed to Portland, Oregon. She just came out to her family and isn’t sure if her mom will ever speak to her again. But Juliet has a plan, sort of, one that’s going to help her figure out this whole “Puerto Rican lesbian” thing. She’s interning with the author of her favorite book: Harlowe Brisbane, the ultimate authority on feminism, women’s bodies, and other gay-sounding stuff. Will Juliet be able to figure out her life over the course of one magical summer? Is that even possible? Or is she running away from all the problems that seem too big to handle? With more questions than answers, Juliet takes on Portland, Harlowe, and most importantly, herself.

 

Peet, Mal. 2016. The Penalty. Massachusetts: Candlewick Press. [ISBN: 978-0763687472]

"As the city of San Juan pulses to summer’s sluggish beat, its teenage soccer prodigy, El Brujito, the Little Magician, vanishes without a trace — right after he misses a penalty kick and loses a big game for his team. Paul Faustino, South America’s top sports reporter, is reluctantly drawn into the mystery of the athlete’s disappearance. As a story of corruption and murder unfolds, Faustino is forced to confront the bitter history of slavery and the power of the occult. A deftly woven mystery flush with soccer and suspense, this gripping novel is a thrilling read not to be missed."

 

 

Venegas Perez, Ita. 2016. ¡Eres mío! San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial Callejón. [ISBN: 978-1615052523]

"“Es mío” surgió en la imaginación de Venegas, artista gráfica, teatrera, bailarina y  performera, mientras  cursaba estudios de maestría en educación  temprana en la Universidad de Puerto Rico. Aunque no terminó el grado, porque se involucró en otros proyectos, el aprendizaje en las clases provocó  su  deseo de explorar modos atractivos para llevar mensajes importantes al público de corta edad. Junto a “Es mío”, Venegas escribió “Yo solita” y “Yo quiero”, libros que forman la colección Sube y baja, acabada de publicar por la editorial puertorriqueña, Ediciones Callejón."

 

 

Sánchez-Korrol, Virginia. 2016. A Surprise for Teresita / Una sorpresa para Teresita. Arte Publico Press: Piñata Books. [ISBN: 978-1558858312]

"When Teresita opens her eyes that morning, she knows it's a special day. It's her birthday, and now she's a big girl. She's seven! And her Tio Ramon has promised her a surprise. She can't wait to find out what it is! "Is it time for Tio Ramon to come to our block?" she asks her mama excitedly as she sits down for breakfast. But it's too early. Her uncle has to take his snow cone cart to the other blocks before he comes to theirs. All day, Teresita watches for the green and white cart. She listens for Tio Ramon calling, "Snow cones, cold snow cones. Piraguas! Piraguas frias!" While she waits for her uncle, she jumps rope, plays games with her friends and watches the goings-on in her neighborhood. Mothers hold their young children's hands as they walk to the corner bodega to buy groceries. Boys and girls ride bikes and play stickball. Older people sit at their windows and enjoy the sights and sounds of their community. And coming from far up the block where water sprays from an open fire hydrant, Teresita finally hears the sound of her uncle's voice. What will her surprise be?!? Set in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York City, this bilingual picture book for children ages 4 - 8 captures both the daily life of an urban community and a child's excitement about her birthday surprise. Children will be inspired to look at-and maybe even write about-their own neighborhoods with new eyes. Set in a Puerto Rican neighborhood in New York City, this bilingual picture book for children ages 4-7 captures both the daily life of an urban community and a child's excitement about her birthday surprise. Children will be inspired to look atand maybe even write about their own neighborhoods with new eyes."


Non-Fiction

Miluka, Rivera. 2016. Genial, Juano Hernández: De Vagabundo a Estrella de Hollywood. Caifornia: Kumaras Center for the Arts & Etiquette. [ISBN: 978-0997460902]

"'Genial, Juano Hernández: De Vagabundo a Estrella de Hollywood', es una excelente y conmovedora obra, que conllevó 25 años de rigurosa investigación acerca del gran histrión, que se distinguió por ser el primer actor negro con papeles de 'dignidad'. Fue pionero de la Radio, Broadway y Cinematografía, y considerado en sus tiempos, como "el mejor actor de su raza", "el más versátil actor negro del mundo", por Ebony, 1948. Primer "héroe" negro y latino de; la radio, tablas, cinema y televisión. --- El libro esta divido en 7 partes y nos remonta a los años de gloria de el laureado actor puertorriqueño, que abrió brechas (antes de José Ferrer y Rita Moreno), para los latinos y afroamericanos, como Sidney Poitier, en la industria. Cuenta con nuevos y fascinantes datos acerca de; su extraordinaria e inspiradora vida, y carrera de escollos y triunfos, en la era de la depresión y segregación en América. Incluye además, decenas de fotos, que deleitarán a los asiduos lectores, profesores y estudiantes de comunicaciones, y amantes del Cinema y Broadway, durante sus eras de esplendor."

Perez, Silverio. 2016. La vitrina rota o ¿que carajo paso aqui? San Juan, Puerto Rico: Editorial Callejón. [ISBN: 978-1615052585]

La vitrina rota o ¿qué carajo pasó aquí? es un texto híbrido que echa mano de lo que ofrece la memoria y el recuerdo, la autobiografía, y el ensayo historiográfico. Narrado entre la seriedad más respetable, la emocionalidad más pura y una picardía sugerente nos deja un texto que invita a la reflexión y a la calma, pero también a la acción y a la rebelión calculada. Todo en un tono tragicómico o joco-serio tan propio de la narrativa picaresca que acompaña a los puertorriqueños desde un pasado remoto. Lo que hace Silverio en este intenso y emotivo volumen es mirar hacia ese largo siglo 20 que comenzó en el 1898 y continua en el 2016, el siglo estadounidense, a la luz de una reiterada "promesa" incumplida. Testigo excepcional del tiempo que le ha tocado vivir. Prepárese el lector para una lectura donde "historia" y "vida" convergen en un balance envidiable. También se trata de una responsabilidad histórica y vital, bien cumplida.

 

Martínez, Angie. 2016. My Voice: A Memoir. New York: New American Library. [ISBN: 978-1101990339] 

Angie shares stories from behind-the-scenes of her most controversial conversations, from onetime presidential hopeful Barack Obama to superstars like Mary J. Blige and Chris Brown, and describes her emotional, bittersweet final days at Hot 97 and the highly publicized move to Power 105.1. She also opens up about her personal life—from her roots in Washington Heights and her formative years being raised by a single mom in Brooklyn to exploring the lessons that shaped her into the woman she is today. From the Puerto Rican Day Parade to the White House—Angie is universally recognized as a powerful voice in the Latino and hip hop communities. My Voice gives an inside look at New York City’s one-of-a-kind urban radio culture, the changing faces of hip hop music, and Angie’s rise to become the Voice of New York.


PHOTOGRAPHY & ART

Rivera-Barraza, Gabriel. 2016. Nuevo New York: Photographs by Hans Neumann & Interviews by Gabriel Rivera-Barraza. Italy: Damiani. [ISBN: 978-8862084956]

"Nuevo New York is a collection of portraits and interviews with influential Latin Americans who came to New York City to pursue their ambitions. The portraits are born out of a collaboration between two authors who made the journey from Latin America to New York themselves--photographer Hans Neumann (born in Peru), and fashion publicist Gabriel Rivera-Barraza (born in Mexico). Each figure included in Nuevo New York is an important player in the fields of fashion and the arts, having lived in New York City for at least five years and having gained recognition for their work. Neumann and Rivera-Barraza trace how their subjects came to be who they are today, and what role the city of New York has played in their trajectories." [Note: Many of the subjects included in the book are Puerto Rican, reflecting the demographics of the Latino community in New York City.]

 

Allora & Calzadilla, artists. 2016. Allora & Calzadilla: Puerto Rican Light: (Cueva Vientos). New York: Dia Art Foundation. [ISBN: 978-0944521816]

"Puerto Rican Light (Cueva Vientos), a new Dia Art Foundation commission by Jennifer Allora & Guillermo Calzadilla, is situated in a natural limestone cave system near the southern coast of Puerto Rico. This long-term site-specific work integrates the journey to the site as part of the viewer’s engagement. The companion publication eschews the traditional catalogue in favor of gathering contemporary scholarship on the issues surrounding the project. It pairs photographs of the journey to and from the site with newly commissioned texts, acting as both artist’s book and scholarly compilation. Political theorist Franco “Bifo” Berardi, novelist Juan López Bauzá, philosopher Timothy Morton, architectural historian Spyros Papapetros and anthropologist Michael Taussig contribute, among others."

 

Fonseca Barahona, Marvin. 2016. Puerto Rico: Museo al aire libre. Editorial Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña. [ISBN: 978-0-9969197-2-2]

"Durante la última década, el auge de la pintura mural y el arte público en Puerto Rico ha experimentado un auge vertiginoso. Iniciativas gubernamentales como el proyecto de "Arte público" del 2002 y las recientes ediciones de "Santurce es Ley" y "Los muros hablan" han sido clave en el fomento de convertir los espacios públicos en espacios para el arte. El libro Puerto Rico: Museo al aire libre, la más reciente publicación de Marvin Fonseca Barahona, en colaboración con la Editorial del Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña, documenta el muralismo puertorriqueño a través de 324 páginas y 975 fotografías."

 

 

Laureano, Javier E. San Juan Gay. Puerto Rico: Editorial ICP. [ISBN: 978-0-9969197-2-2]

Con una mezcla de historia y crítica cultural, el libro San Juan Gay: Conquista de un espacio urbano de 1948 a 1991 nos ofrece un recorrido por la vertiginosa senda que ha seguido la presencia del sujeto gay en la ciudad de San Juan desde mediados hasta finales del siglo XX. Reconociendo que en diversos momentos de esas décadas la comunidad gay contó con mayor o menor visibilidad, Javier E. Laureano pone al descubierto asuntos trascendentales que van más allá de lo evidente y de la información manipulada por el Estado y por los medios de comunicación masiva. 

 


CENTRO 

CENTRO Journal: Fall 2016: Volume 28, Number 2.

The CENTRO Journal revisits Puerto Rican Chicago in this follow up to our 2001 issue, also coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the 1966 riots. Guest editors include Maura Toro-Morn, Ivis García Zambrana and Marisa Alicea. Order your copy online here.

 

 

 

CENTRO Journal: Spring 2016: Volume 28, Number 1.

In this issue, we celebrate the life and work of the late Dr. Juan Flores, former Executive Director of the Center for Puerto Rican Studies, with an issue exploring the legacy of cultural remittances from the diaspora to the island. Guest editors include Carlos Garrido Castellano and Laura Bravo López. Order your copy online here.

 


TITLES MISSING FROM THE 2015 LIST

Molina, Bengie. 2015. Molina: The Story of the Father Who Raised an Unlikely Baseball Dynasty. New York: Simon & Schuster. [ISBN: 978-1451641042]

A baseball rules book. A tape measure. A lottery ticket. These were in the pocket of Bengie Molina’s father when he died of a heart attack on the rutted Little League field in his Puerto Rican barrio. The items serve as thematic guideposts in Molina’s beautiful memoir about his father, who through baseball taught his three sons about loyalty, humility, courage, and the true meaning of success. Bengie and his two brothers—Jose and six-time All-Star Yadier—became famous catchers in the Major Leagues and have six World Series championships among them. Only the DiMaggio brothers can rival the Molinas as the most accomplished siblings in baseball history. Bengie was the least likely to reach the Majors. He was too slow, too sensitive, and too small. But craving his beloved father’s respect, Bengie weathered failure after deflating failure until one day he was hoisting a World Series trophy in a champagne-soaked clubhouse. All along he thought he was fulfilling his father’s own failed dream of baseball glory—only to discover it had not been his father’s dream at all. Written with the emotional power of sports classics such as Field of Dreams and Friday Night LightsMolina is a love story between a formidable but flawed father and a son who, in unearthing answers about his father’s life, comes to understand his own.

Voloj, Julian. 2015. Ghetto Brother: Warrior to Peacemaker. NBM Publishing. [ISBN: 978-1561639489]

An engrossing and counter view of one of the most dangerous elements of American urban history, this graphic novel tells the true story of Benjy Melendez, a Bronx legend, son of Puerto-Rican immigrants, who founded, at the end of the 1960s, the notorious Ghetto Brothers gang. From the seemingly bombed-out ravages of his neighborhood, wracked by drugs, poverty, and violence, he managed to extract an incredibly positive energy from this riot ridden era: his multiracial gang promoted peace rather than violence. After initiating a gang truce, the Ghetto Brothers held weekly concerts on the streets or in abandoned buildings, which fostered the emergence of hip-hop. Melendez also began to reclaim his Jewish roots after learning about his family's dramatic crypto-Jewish background.