Two new books by Latino authors you'll want to read before Spring
New publications by Latino authors arriving in bookstores in February cover gender and diversity issues
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Literature produced by Latino authors continues to be underrepresented. So if you plan to take advantage of the cold weather to stay at home and read, here are two new books written by authors of Hispanic origin that will help open your mind:
High-Risk Homosexual: A Memoir, by Edgar Gómez
This witty memoir traces a touching and often hilarious spiraling path to embracing a gay, Latinx identity against a culture of machismo — from a cockfighting ring in Nicaragua to cities across the U.S. — and the bath houses, night clubs, and drag queens who help redefine pride.
“I've always found the definition of machismo to be ironic, considering that pride is a word almost unanimously associated with queer people, the enemy of machistas... In a world desperate to erase us, queer Latinx men must find ways to hold on to pride for survival, but excessive male pride is often what we are battling, both in ourselves and in others,” said Gomez.
Readers follow the author through the queer spaces where he learned to love being gay and Latinx, including Pulse nightclub in Orlando, a drag queen convention in Los Angeles, and the doctor's office where he was diagnosed a "high-risk homosexual."
With vulnerability, humor, and quick-witted insights into racial, sexual, familial, and professional power dynamics, Gomez shares a hard-won path to taking pride in the parts of himself he was taught to keep hidden. His story is a scintillating, beautiful reminder of the importance of leaving space for joy.
In the Shadow of the Mountain, by Silvia Vasquez-Lavado
A Latina hero in the elite macho tech world of Silicon Valley, privately, the book tells the story of Silvia, a young mountaineer that challenges herself to climb Everest.
Deep in the throes of alcoholism, hiding her sexuality from her family, and repressing the abuse she suffered as a child, Vasquez-Lavado decided to start climbing. Something about the brute force required for the ascent — the risk, spirit and sheer size of the mountains, and death’s close proximity — woke her up. She then took her biggest pain as a survivor to the biggest mountain: Everest.
"The Mother of the World,” as it’s known in Nepal, allows few to reach her summit, but Silvia didn’t go alone. She gathered a group of young female survivors and led them to base camp alongside her. It was never easy. At times hair-raising, nerve-racking, and always challenging, Silvia remembers the acute anxiety of leading a group of novice climbers to Everest’s base, all the while coping with her own nerves of climbing. But, there were also moments of peace, joy, and healing with the strength of her fellow survivors and community propelling her forward.
In the Shadow of the Mountain is a remarkable story of heroism, and one that awakens in all of us a lust for adventure, an appetite for risk, and faith in our own resilience.