The best books about Puerto Rico 📚

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

Coming Fall 2022: The ability to sort this list by genre (signup here to follow our story as we build a better way to discover books).

Book cover of Family Installments: Memories of Growing Up Hispanic

Family Installments: Memories of Growing Up Hispanic

By Edward Rivera

Why this book?

Rivera’s only major work, Family Installments has influenced many Latinx writers, including Junot Diaz. Published in 1982, it was one of the earliest novels capturing the diasporican experience of the Great Migration in the 1950s. Rivera’s protagonist, Santos Malánguez, narrates his family’s journey from  Puerto Rico to New York in great detail, often with sharp insight and humor. As a young aspiring writer, I identified with Santos, especially as he found, in reading and books, solace from a dreary life of struggle. No other book depicts diasporican life so richly and comprehensively—from harsh rural life on the island to tenement…

From the list:

The best books by writers of the Puerto Rican diaspora

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Conquistadora

Conquistadora

By Esmeralda Santiago

Why this book?

Esmeralda Santiago portrays the 19th-century journey of Ana Cubillas from imperial Spain to colonial outpost Puerto Rico. Cubillas has a complicated relationship with her family, slavery, and Puerto Rico, and the reader never knows quite what to think of her. Like Cubillas, Puerto Rico itself is complicated. I lived in San Juan for two years and grew to love the island, but I never felt like I quite understood it – any outsider who says they do is probably lying.

From the list:

The best novels set in the Caribbean

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA

The Not-Quite States of America: Dispatches from the Territories and Other Far-Flung Outposts of the USA

By Doug Mack

Why this book?

Our borderlines tell us a lot about who we are -- and who we are not. Many Americans know, for instance, that Puerto Rico is a U.S. Territory and likely know why there is reluctance in Puerto Rico and Congress for it to become a state: language y cultura. These two factors may play some part in why the English-speaking Territories of Guam, Samoa, the Northern Marianas and the Virgin Islands are not states, but why are they U.S. possessions? Doug Mack’s book digs into these borders that are -- and simultaneously are not -- the United States.

From the list:

The best books on boundaries

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Road Trips

Drives of a Lifetime: 500 of the World's Greatest Road Trips

By National Geographic

Why this book?

This guidebook broadens travelers’ perspective beyond the United States, unearthing a whole new world in a wide variety of countries. Written by National Geographic travel writers, they cover everything from the ancient Silk Road in Central Asia to the perimeter of Puerto Rico. There are plenty of scenic photos, colorful maps, and tips to help navigate the roads of foreign lands.

From the list:

The best books on road trips in the USA and beyond

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of Down These Mean Streets

Down These Mean Streets

By Piri Thomas

Why this book?

Thomas’s memoir is a seminal text of Nuyorican Literature (a sub-genre of Diasporican Literature) and the Latinx canon. It also belongs to the urban literature genre that emerged in the 1960s. His, however, was the first Latinx version of a narrative that depicts, some would say sensationalizes and exploits, the gritty, raw life of the inner city. As such, it had a tremendous impact on developing Latinx writers who had few role models at the time. His work, along with others of that genre, still holds influence stylistically and thematically with some Latinx authors. Written in the traditional Augustinian autobiographical…

From the list:

The best books by writers of the Puerto Rican diaspora

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Book cover of The Taste of Sugar

The Taste of Sugar

By Marisel Vera

Why this book?

Through friendships with Borinqueñxs and interest in the island, I don’t consider myself wholly ignorant about Puerto Rico. Like the Philippines, Puerto Rico was claimed by the US following the Spanish American War, but once again, when I tried to learn more about that era, I ran into a brick wall. Marisel Vera recovers that history while offering all the pleasures of a traditional family saga. She brings the reader close to the daily lives and loves of a family of coffee farmers who struggle first under Spanish rule and then the system established by the US. Vera also taught…

From the list:

The best fiction for recovering erased history

When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Or, view all 11 books about Puerto Rico

New book lists about Puerto Rico

All book lists about Puerto Rico

Bookshelves related to Puerto Rico

Browse books by…