I hope you are humming right along with the Read Harder Challenge. Don’t worry if you’re not or if you are just now deciding to join: there’s still plenty of time. I still haven’t decided what to read for this seventh task, but I think I have found a few contenders.
“The Distance Between Us” by Reyna Grande is a memoir about the author’s trek across the border as an undocumented immigrant at the age of nine to meet up with her long absent father who has been in the U.S. trying to become established. She has to leave her grandmother, who has been her caretaker, to enter a life that is not what she had expected. This is a young reader’s edition which lands it in our teen section but it still promises to be very hard hitting. We also carry the full memoir.
“All the Stars Denied” by Guadalupe Garcia McCall, also in our teen section, is a fictionalized account of the first U.S. mass deportation during the Great Depression. That deportation swept up more than a million Mexican Americans, the majority of them being U.S. citizens. This story is told through the viewpoint of fifteen year old Estrella Del Toro whose family owns a ranch along the Texas border. The author was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico and then grew up in Eagle Pass, a small, border town in South Texas.
“I’ll Sell You a Dog” by Juan Pablo Villalobos is a dark comedy set in Mexico City about an old man who used to sell tacos but now can’t help but misbehave in order to ward off the boredom of retirement. The author was born in Guadalajara, México. The book is translated by Rosalind Harvey which means that it could also count toward task #10 a translated book written and/or translated by a woman.
“Senselessness” by Horacio Castellanos Moya is about a writer who is employed by the Catholic Church to proofread a report on the army’s massacre and torture of thousands of indigenous villagers a decade earlier. His job is to whitewash the accounts in order to disguise church complicity. He finds that both his sanity and his life are in danger. The author is a writer and journalist from El Salvador and the translation was done by Katherine Silvey making this book also count for tasks #5 and #10.
“Severina” by Rodrigo Rey Rosa is a story about a book thief and the bookstore owner who falls in love with her, watching and taking notes on the books she takes. This book promises a suspense driven plot balanced with very lyrical prose. This is a very short novel at only 87 pages. The author is an award winning writer from Guatemala.
We have more books for this task on this list and you can find more information about the Read Harder Challenge as well as lists for all the tasks here. And don’t for get to join some of the discussion on our Read Harder Facebook Discussion Group. Enjoy!