100 books like Stuck with Tourism

By Matilde Cordoba Azcarate,

Here are 100 books that Stuck with Tourism fans have personally recommended if you like Stuck with Tourism. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

I read this book when I was a teenager growing up in Yucatan.

Stephens’ description of both the everyday life of Yucatecans in local villages and cities, and of the imposing ruins left by the Maya are enchanting. Catherwood’s drawings and plates are both accurate and dream-like representations of Yucatecan life, Maya ruins and artifacts at the time.

The book left vivid pictures in my mind; I could and still can see across Yucatan the traces of what Stephens described and Catherwood caught with his drawings and plates.

This book has resisted the passage of time as a story of travel and discovery. As a tale of adventure and wonderment, it was and remains a brilliant prelude to the ethnography of the area.

By John Lloyd Stephens, Frederick Catherwood (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Incidents of Travel in Yucatan, Vols. I and II as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Both volumes of John Lloyd Stephens epic accounts of the Yucatan are united in this single volume, complete with over 100 illustrations of encounters on his journeys in Central America.

Prior to the 1840s, when J. L. Stephens published this superb account of his explorations, the Yucatan was only crudely charted by Western explorers. Yet their descriptions of the odd ruins and beautiful landscape intrigued the young John Lloyd Stephens, who spent years yearning to explore and better chart the faraway lands. After a number of years spent traversing Europe and Egypt, Stephens was in 1839 commissioned as a Special…


Book cover of The Two Milpas of Chan Kom: Scenarios of a Maya Village Life

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

This book is many things: A wonderful ethnography, a tribute to the Mexican and foreign ethnographers who preceded Re Cruz’s in the area, a call to ethnographers for writing creativity, and, glowingly, a show of respect for local people, their agency, and their understandings of the world.

Chan Kom, as Re Cruz reminds us, has been an ethnographic laboratory since the first decades of the 20th century. Re Cruz chose to structure her book following the script of a local play performed by high school students. For anthropology students this is a good example of an engaging ethnography.

For historians of the recent past this is a record of the cultural impact that the emergence of Cancun had on Yucatecan rural life.

By Alicia Re Cruz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Two Milpas of Chan Kom as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

An ethnographic account of Chan Kom, a contemporary Maya community in Yucatan, Mexico that focuses on the social schism within the community resulting from an accelerated process of migration to Cancun, a major tourist center.


Book cover of Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in Yucatan

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

I grew up, like many other Yucatecans, convinced by my family and friends that Yucatecan cuisine is one of the best in the world, and it took many years and an anthropology degree for me to see this as a form of ethnocentrism.

Ayora-Diaz examines and deconstructs this belief, deep-seated in Yucatecans' minds, through his sophisticated study of Yucatecan regionalism through the lens of food and gastronomy.

The author proposes that what is now understood and acknowledged as “Yucatecan food” has been created out of three converging threads: home kitchens, recipe books, and restaurants. Through food, Yucatecans have carved a regionalism almost in opposition to a “Mexican” identity.

Weaving theory, ethnography, and food anecdotes, this book will leave you hungry, wanting to try all the food in Yucatan.

By Steffan Igor Ayora-Diaz,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foodscapes, Foodfields, and Identities in Yucatan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The state of Yucatan has its own distinct culinary tradition, and local people are constantly thinking and talking about food. They use it as a vehicle for social relations but also to distinguish themselves from "Mexicans." This book examines the politics surrounding regional cuisine, as the author argues that Yucatecan gastronomy has been created and promoted in an effort to affirm the identity of a regional people and to oppose the hegemonic force of central Mexican cultural icons and forms. In particular, Yucatecan gastronomy counters the homogenizing drive of a national cuisine based on dominant central Mexican appetencies and defies…


Book cover of On Being Maya and Getting by: Heritage Politics and Community Development in Yucatan

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Author Of Beautiful Politics of Music: Trova in Yucatan, Mexico

From my list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in Valladolid, a semi-rural city of Yucatan. My parents loved the history and archaeology of the Yucatan peninsula, which not long ago was a single cultural and linguistic entity. I grew up dreaming of becoming an archaeologist. With time, I became fascinated with people and sociality within and beyond Yucatan, so I became an anthropologist. I trained as an anthropologist in Mexico and Canada, and have done research in Canada, Italy, Mexico, and Spain. I live and work in Yucatan, as a professor of anthropology. Good ethnographies are what anthropology is about, and those I write about here are some of the best.

Gabriela's book list on falling in love with Yucatan’s ethnography

Gabriela Vargas-Cetina Why did Gabriela love this book?

There are two Ek’ Balam settings in Yucatan state: One is an outstanding, mesmerizing archaeological site, with a well-preserved representation of the mouth to the infra-world, and angel-like figures suspected to represent dancers.

The other one is a little village of the same name, next to the archaeological site, where people attempt to catch and enchant tourists who look for an alternative experience.

Life is hard in rural villages of the Yucatan peninsula, and tourism is promoted by the national and state authorities as a way to bring development to local settings. This book shows the incredible resilience and good humor characterizing Maya-speaking peoples in Yucatan.

Following a single family and their engagement with tourism through several years, this book endears the inhabitants of Ek’Balam to the reader, and also manages to place their ordeals within the larger literature regarding the tourist industry and its daily effects on people’s lives.

By Sarah R. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked On Being Maya and Getting by as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On Being Maya and Getting By is an ethnographic study of the two Ek’Balams—a notable archaeological site and adjacent village—of the Yucatán Peninsula. When the archaeological site became a tourist destination, the village became the location of a community-based tourism development project funded by the Mexican government. Overt displays of heritage and a connection to Maya antiquity became important and profitable for the modern Maya villagers. Residents of Ek’Balam are now living in a complex ecosystem of natural and cultural resources where the notion and act of “being Maya” is deeply intertwined with economic development.
 
The book explores how Ek’Balam…


Book cover of Skywatchers: Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico

Giulio Magli Author Of Archaeoastronomy: Introduction to the Science of Stars and Stones

From my list on archaeoastronomy.

Why am I passionate about this?

I started my scientific career as an Astrophysicist. However, I have always been interested in Archaeology. This finally led me to conjugate the two passions when I started working in Archaeoastronomy, in 2003. Working in Archaeoastronomy first means having a direct experience of the sites (preferably, of every single stone, although in places like Giza they count in the millions…). So I have made fieldworks in Italy, Egypt, Cambodia, and, recently, on Chinese imperial necropolises. I currently teach Archaeoastronomy as a professor at the Politecnico of Milan. I have always been interested also in scientific communication on TV and social media, and my introductive Archaeoastronomy course is available for free on the Coursera platform.

Giulio's book list on archaeoastronomy

Giulio Magli Why did Giulio love this book?

Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico, although a bit dated on some arguments, is a must-read book on the Archaeoastronomy of the Meso-American people. It includes a fascinating description of the role of astronomical alignments in places like Teotihuacan and the Aztec capital (modern Mexico City), as well as an in-depth exploration of Maya astronomy and of the Maya astronomically-driven architecture.

By Anthony F. Aveni,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Skywatchers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Skywatchers of Ancient Mexico helped establish the field of archaeoastronomy, and it remains the standard introduction to this subject. Combining basic astronomy with archaeological and ethnological data, it presented a readable and entertaining synthesis of all that was known of ancient astronomy in the western hemisphere as of 1980.

In this revised edition, Anthony Aveni draws on his own and others' discoveries of the past twenty years to bring the Skywatchers story up to the present. He offers new data and interpretations in many areas, including:

The study of Mesoamerican time and calendrical systems and their unprecedented continuity in contemporary…


Book cover of Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone

Judy Reeves Author Of When Your Heart Says Go: My Year of Traveling Beyond Loss and Loneliness

From my list on by women who travel the world in search of themselves.

Why am I passionate about this?

My father introduced me to the world as we paged through his old pre-WWII atlas. We traced borders and rivers with our fingers and he spoke names that were magical incantations and invitations to a world more exciting and mysterious than our midwestern home. As a reader, I was drawn to books about travel and as a budding writer, I was inspired by the adventures of “Brenda Starr, Girl Reporter” featured in the Sunday comics of my youth. I packed my bags early and my passport is never out of date. I continue to read traveloirs, and I write in my journal every day. Oh! The places I will go. 

Judy's book list on by women who travel the world in search of themselves

Judy Reeves Why did Judy love this book?

With this “traveloir,” Mary Morris showed me how to do it: How to travel alone as a single woman when you didn’t have a plan or an agenda; how to write about people and places that bring them alive; how to find your own story in your travels and in your writing.

Mary Morris published this book in 1989, the year before I set off on my own—a (much older) single woman traveling without a plan or agenda. As I opened the yellowed pages again, after many years, I read this line: “I settled into loneliness once again.” Next year I’ll be traveling to San Miguel de Allende, one of the settings in Nothing to Declare. I may take this book with me and read it again. 

By Mary Morris,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nothing to Declare as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Chronicling her travels throughout Central America, the author offers an unvarnished view of the precarious realitie's of everyday life in a harsh and ruthless land


Book cover of Jungle of Stone: The Extraordinary Journey of John L. Stephens and Frederick Catherwood, and the Discovery of the Lost Civilization of the Maya

Roy M. Griffis Author Of The Old World

From my list on history that reads like the most gripping fiction.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love history that is about people. The discoveries they made or the adventures they had (or endured) are thrilling and fascinating, but it’s the people who make it compelling. From Ernest Shackleton dumping handfuls of gold on the ice to show his stranded men he was committed to getting them out of Antarctica alive, to a fussy young William Travis writing desperately for help that would never come, and being of the first to die during the attack on the Alamo…the best books make those events, the times, and the stakes very very real. And the very best histories give you the humanity of the choices and decisions that led them there.

Roy's book list on history that reads like the most gripping fiction

Roy M. Griffis Why did Roy love this book?

One of the real contagions of contemporary life (for anyone in any time, I suspect) is the way one can become complacent about the existence we are experiencing: we can take “what everyone knows” for granted. Like the Ferris Wheel, which was invented for the Chicago World’s Fair to outshine the previous Fair’s Effiel Tower. Now, any carnival midway or small circus has one. 

The same with many “ancient ruins.” Cruise ships stop at Minos or the Mexican pyramids for organized tours. But these places had been lost for millennia until they were re-discovered in the last 200 – 300 years. In Jungles of Stone, the initial discovery was almost an accident. Seen as an opportunity by Stephens and Catherwood, the magnificence and majesty of what they find converts their commercial enterprise into something more like a crusade. While the book recounts their arduous efforts to uncover the lost…

By William Carlsen,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Jungle of Stone as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

New York Times Bestseller (Expeditions) * THE "MASTERFUL CHRONICLE"* OF THE DISCOVERY OF THE LEGENDARY LOST CIVILIZATION OF THE MAYA--AN "ADVENTURE TALE THAT MAKES INDIANA JONES LOOK TAME"* In 1839, rumors of extraordinary yet baffling stone ruins buried within the unmapped jungles of Central America reached two of the world's most intrepid travelers. Seized by the reports, American diplomat John Lloyd Stephens and British artist Frederick Catherwood-both already celebrated for their adventures in Egypt, the Holy Land, Greece, and Rome-sailed together out of New York Harbor on an expedition into the forbidding rainforests of present-day Honduras, Guatemala, and Mexico. What…


Book cover of Breaking the Maya Code

James Clackson Author Of Language and Society in the Greek and Roman Worlds

From my list on decipherment and lost languages.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was lucky enough to have been taught Latin at school, and I remember my first teacher telling the class that a tandem bicycle was so called because Latin tandem means ‘at length’. That was the beginning with my fascination for words, etymologies, and languages. At University I was able to specialise in Greek, Latin, and Indo-European languages and then for my PhD I learnt Armenian (which has an alphabet to die for: 36 letters each of which has four different varieties, not counting ligatures!). I am now Professor of Comparative Philology at the University of Cambridge. 

James' book list on decipherment and lost languages

James Clackson Why did James love this book?

I remember reading this when it first came out and being unable to put it down. The Mayan decipherment is still ongoing, and Michael Coe wrote with the knowledge and expertise of someone on the front line of researchers. The decipherments of Hieroglyphic Egyptian and Linear B are usually told as ‘hero-narratives’, in which one individual’s genius was able to make the breakthrough. This book reminds us that all decipherments are made incrementally, and gives due space to the many different contributions made to a decipherment.

By Michael D. Coe,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Breaking the Maya Code as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Third Edition of this classic account of the inside story of one of the major intellectual breakthroughs of our time - the last great decipherment of an ancient script - revised and brought right up to date with the latest developments. 113 illustrations bring to life the people and texts that have enabled us to read the Maya script. The original edition, which sold over 40,000 copies in English, was hailed as 'a masterpiece that transcends the boundaries between academic and popular writing'. 'Coe's thrilling account of the cracking of Mayan is like a detective story ... great stuff'…


Book cover of Time Among the Maya: Travels in Belize, Guatemala, and Mexico

Ryan Murdock Author Of Vagabond Dreams: Road Wisdom from Central America

From my list on Central America.

Why am I passionate about this?

Ryan Murdock is Editor-at-Large (Europe) for Outpost, Canada’s national travel magazine, and a weekly columnist for The Shift, an independent Maltese news portal. His feature articles have taken him across a remote stretch of Canada’s Northwest Territories on foot, into the Central Sahara in search of prehistoric rock art, and around Wales with a drug squad detective hunting for the real King Arthur.

Ryan's book list on Central America

Ryan Murdock Why did Ryan love this book?

Far from being an extinct people swallowed by the jungle-like their famous temples, the Maya make up a significant percentage of the population of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, with vibrant ancient languages that are still spoken today. This beautifully written account of contemporary Maya culture will help you understand a remarkable people who explored the world through arithmetic and time.

By Ronald Wright,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Time Among the Maya as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"Cut Stones and Crossroads" and "On Fiji Island" are previous books by Ronald Wright, author of this book concerned with the Maya, who in the first millennium AD, created the most intellectually and artistically advanced civilization native to the Americas. Despite a mysterious collapse in the ninth century and Spanish invasion in the 16th century, some five million people throughout Guatemala, Belize and south-eastern Mexico still speak Maya languages and preserve a Maya identity today. Ronald Wright set out to discover the roots of the Maya and the extent of their survival after centuries of invasion and a recent civil…


Book cover of Out of My Shell

Laura Resau Author Of Tree of Dreams

From my list on inspiring kids to protect our environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a lover of nature and travel, I’ve long been interested in how communities worldwide protect their environments. While living and traveling in Latin America, I learned how Indigenous knowledge and practices make our planet healthier for everyone. Several of my ten children’s books deal with these issues, including my novel Tree of Dreams, inspired by my time in the Amazon rain forest with a Huaorani community whose home was threatened by oil operations. This led me to collaborate with the Kichwa leader, Patricia Gualinga, on the picture book, Stand as Tall as the Trees: How an Amazonian Community Protected the Rain Forest, available in English and Spanish in July, 2023.

Laura's book list on inspiring kids to protect our environment

Laura Resau Why did Laura love this book?

Sea turtles fascinate me. I’ve had the joy of learning about them on trips to Central America and Mexico, and I was thrilled to discover this fabulous middle-grade novel on the topic. Twelve-year-old Olivia is on summer vacation in Florida, struggling to deal with her parents’ recent separation. When she realizes that the local sea turtle population is in danger, she feels called to act. She must find courage to defend the sea turtles while facing her own personal pain in the process. This is a wonderfully written story, accessible and relatable. It offers incredible information about sea turtles while providing a model for how kids can make a difference in protecting endangered species.

By Jenny Goebel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Out of My Shell as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An inspiring and timely story of friendship, courage, and the magic that can happen when we stand up for what's right.

Normally, Olivia spends all year looking forward to her family's summer vacation in Florida. But not this year. Not when her parents have recently separated, and her father has to stay behind in Colorado. Olivia doesn't know what she'll do all summer without him. They've always been a pair, and she's never felt the same bond with her mother or younger sister. So Olivia plans to spend the summer laying low, and trying to ignore the hurt gnawing at…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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