The best books about Mexico 📚

Browse the best books on Mexico as recommended by authors, experts, and creators. Along with notes on why they recommend those books.

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Book cover of On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

On the Plain of Snakes: A Mexican Journey

By Paul Theroux

Why this book?

Another deeply insightful book from Paul Theroux, On the Plain of Snakes explores the cultural richness and sometimes dangerous aspects of Mexico. With a forward style and charisma, he comes face to face with narcos, police, corruption, migrants, and the sometimes frightening indigenous culture. His writings are not just all darkness and gloom. He goes to great lengths to describe the importance of family in a country with virtually no social network. He talks with the educated, the poverty-stricken, and even meets the leader of the Zapatistas.  After reading On the Plain of Snakes' you will develop a new appreciation…

From the list:

The best books about travel adventures

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Book cover of Mornings in Mexico

Mornings in Mexico

By D.H. Lawrence

Why this book?

I love this book because Lawrence is one of the great travel writers. His highly individual style of writing, so full of energy and life, makes Mexico in the 1920s come alive. In the marvellous opening chapter you are with him in his Mexican garden, seeing what he sees, smelling what he smells, hearing what he hears. Very few travel writers have this gift and it’s hard to believe that this book is nearly 100 years old when it is as fresh as the day it was written.
From the list:

The best books that capture the spirit of a country for the traveller

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Book cover of The Space Between

The Space Between

By Don Aker

Why this book?

Oh, this is an amazing book! Hard to read in a few places, because it deals openly with the aftermath of a gruesome suicide. But if you ask me, that’s what readers need – openness about subjects, such as suicide, topics which many people would prefer to avoid altogether. Also, I’ve met author Don Aker and I love him. He told me he got the idea for this story from a real-life suicide that took place in his community.

From the list:

The best books for kids dealing with grief, death, and loss

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Book cover of Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

Cece Rios and the Desert of Souls

By Kaela Rivera

Why this book?

When Cece’s older sister is kidnapped by a powerful, dark criatura, she must travel into Devil’s Alley and become a bruja to save her. To me, what makes this book special is Cece’s big, all-encompassing heart. She loves deeply and while it’s her heart that gets her into trouble, but it’s also what ultimately saves her. This was an incredibly meaningful theme to read into a book! I highly recommend this book as an escape; step into Cece’s life to glimpse the shadowy magic of the criaturas and also to experience the deeply moving love in her world.

From the list:

The best middle grade fantasy novels to escape into when life is overwhelming

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Book cover of Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future

Juarez: The Laboratory of Our Future

By Charles Bowden

Why this book?

I could have picked almost any of Bowden’s books on the border, for example, the excellent Murder City, but I’m choosing Laboratory of the Future as it’s the first piece of his writing I came across. Bowden, who lived on both sides of the US/Mexican border for many years, was intimate with his subject, and the brutal power of his journalistic writing puts most novelists to shame. He is not afraid to question us or confront us, or hide his anger, but it is never unwarranted. In this book, he, and the thirteen Mexican photographers whose frequently shocking images accompany…

From the list:

The best books on the USA / Mexico border, drug cartels, and misery

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Book cover of Death and the Idea of Mexico

Death and the Idea of Mexico

By Claudio Lomnitz

Why this book?

I wanted to include a book here on ‘Holy Death’ herself, Santa Muerte, but there simply isn’t a good one. There’s a terrible one published by a once respectable academic publisher, but I can’t recommend it. Instead, there are some passages on Santa Muerte in this huge and significant piece of work: Lomnitz’s encyclopedic book digs into Mexico’s deep roots to explore the long relationship the country has with Death, of which the still growing ‘cult’ of Santa Muerte is but one emanation.

From the list:

The best books on the USA / Mexico border, drug cartels, and misery

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