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Home > Standing Committees > REFORMA Booklist for Duos

REFORMA Booklist for Duos

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
“I read The Alchemist yearly to remind myself to have faith in what I know and believe (the power of love/my personal ambitions and dreams), but also to surrender what I cannot control. I’ve never been one for organized religion, but there’s something empowering in still having faith in the interconnectedness of people and situations in this world. This book perfectly encompasses these concepts in a way that’s incredibly easy to digest and will, undoubtedly, leave you inspired when you’re done. I highly recommend it!” — Sahaj Kohli, Lifestyle Blog Editor

Almost A Woman by Esmeralda Santiago
“Santiago’s coming of age memoir was the first book I ever read that was written in Spanglish. There was something about seeing the words, the language I’d heard all my life in a book. There’s nothing more powerful than seeing yourself reflected in something you love; for me, that was literature. It sounds silly, but reading her memoir helped me realize that our stories, Latinos’ stories, are often left unsaid (and unread), but that did not mean they were not worth telling. Santiago’s memoir is the reason I write. It’s the reason I’m committed to telling our stories. — Tanisha Ramirez, Latino Voices Editor

Always Running: La Vida Loca, Gang Days in L.A. by Luis J. Rodriguez
The award-winning and bestselling classic memoir about a young Chicano gang member surviving the dangerous streets of East Los Angeles. Winner of the Carl Sandburg Literary Award, hailed as a New York Times notable book, and read by hundreds of thousands, Always Running is the searing true story of one man’s life in a Chicano gang—and his heroic struggle to free himself from its grip. At times heartbreakingly sad and brutal, Always Running is ultimately an uplifting true story, filled with hope, insight, and a hard-earned lesson for the next generation.

Autobiography of a Brown Buffalo by Oscar Zeta Acosta
Before his mysterious disappearance and probable death in 1971, Oscar Zeta Acosta was famous as a Robin Hood Chicano layer and notorious as the real-life model for Hunter S. Thompson's "Dr. Gonzo," a fat, pugnacious attorney with a gargantuan appetite for food, drugs, and life on the edge.
 
Written with uninhibited candor and manic energy, this book is Acosta's own account of coming of age as a Chicano in the psychedelic sixties, of taking on impossible cases while breaking all tile rules of courtroom conduct, and of scrambling headlong in search of a personal and cultural identity. It is a landmark of contemporary Hispanic-American literature, at once ribald, surreal, and unmistakably authentic

Bird of Paradise: How I Became Latina by Raquel Cepeda
“I’m not normally a big reader of the memoir genre, but this account of growing up with a difficult family and learning to deal with it completely charmed me. It’s at once intimate and expansive, taking you from an uptown Manhattan apartment on a journey round the world. Plus finding out about her family sends her on a quest to track her genetic origins, which is an amazing science mystery.” — Irina Ivanova, News Editor

The Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz
“It made me cry in a public place. It was that f**king good. I didn’t really read contemporary fiction before this book, and it showed me that it can be just as poignant and beautiful as classic literature. Also I’ve never read something that so intricately interweaves slang and traditional prose in such a seamless way. The book is just absolutely wonderful and if you haven’t read it, you should.” — Zoe Triska, Global Content Strategy Senior Editor

By the River Piedra I Sat Down and Wept by Paulo Coelho
“During a time when I was becoming less and less religious, it taught me that I can still have faith and spirituality without devoting myself to a church.” — Flavia Casas, HuffPost Live Producer

Capirotada: A Nogales Memoir by Alberto Ríos
Capirotada, Mexican bread pudding, is a mysterious mixture of prunes, peanuts, white bread, raisins, milk, quesadilla cheese, butter, cinnamon and cloves, Old World sugar--"all this," writes Alberto Rios, "and things people will not tell you."
 
Like its Mexican namesake, this memoir is a rich melange, stirring together Rios's memories of family, neighbors, friends, and secrets from his youth in the two Nogaleses--in Arizona and through the open gate into Mexico.
 
The vignettes in this memoir are not loud or fast. Yet like all of Rios's writing they are singular. Here is the story about a rickety magician, his chicken, and a group of little boys, but who plays a trick on whom? The story about the flying dancers and mortality. About going to the dentist in Mexico because it is cheaper, and maybe dangerous. About a British woman who sets out on a ship for America with the faith her Mexican GI will be waiting for her in Salt Lake City. And about the grown son who looks at his father and understands how he must provide for his own boy.
 
This book's uncommon offering is how it stops to address the quiet, the overlooked, the every day side of growing up. Capirotada is not about prison, or famous heroes. It is instead about the middle, which is often the most interesting place to find news.

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende
“I read this in middle school and thought it was so magical and full of wonder, and was a fresh take on the standard coming-of-age novel. It happened in so many different, exciting places and had a terrific sense of adventure. But was also poignant and sad. One of the main characters is described as ‘seeing with her heart,’ and that description has always stayed with me.” — Cameron Keady, Good News Associate Editor

Days and Night of Love and War by Eduardo Galeano
“Best book of poetry ever. The long and short form poems are beautifully written, and provide a sense of the landscapes and struggles within South America. There are bizarre and macabre illustrations that he drew in the books as well.” — Riley Arthur, Photo Fellow

Drive: The Surprising Truth Behind What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink
Most people believe that the best way to motivate is with rewards like money—the carrot-and-stick approach. That's a mistake, says Daniel H. Pink (author of To Sell Is Human: The Surprising Truth About Motivating Others). In this provocative and persuasive new book, he asserts that the secret to high performance and satisfaction-at work, at school, and at home—is the deeply human need to direct our own lives, to learn and create new things, and to do better by ourselves and our world.
 
Drawing on four decades of scientific research on human motivation, Pink exposes the mismatch between what science knows and what business does—and how that affects every aspect of life. He examines the three elements of true motivation—autonomy, mastery, and purpose-and offers smart and surprising techniques for putting these into action in a unique book that will change how we think and transform how we live.

Ficciones by Jorge Luis Borges
“His concept of infinitude blows your mind. I still read ‘La biblioteca de Babel’ (‘The Library of Babel’) every couple of years.” — Roque Planas, National Reporter

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
“Not only was it the first time I realized I was not alone in feeling like a misfit with my Mexican-American duality, but that it was OK, and that I could do great things not despite, but because of it.” — Flavia Casas, HuffPost Live Producer

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents by Julia Alvarez
“It’s a book just as much about immigration and Latin culture as it is about family conflict and struggle. I found it relatable to anyone, but also valuable because of the intimate glimpse it gives of the unique difficulties immigrants face with their identities.” — Carly Figueroa, HuffPost Producer

In The Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez
“In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez really affected me as a young teen when I read it. In the Mirabal sisters, who take turns telling the story, I saw parts of myself reflected. I watched them maneuver remarkably difficult situations with grace and a certain fierceness that was profound to me as I navigated my own identity as a young woman. — Antonia Blumberg, Religion Associate Editor

Isla Negra by Pablo Neruda
“Few poems feel so near to both living and dying, as Neruda’s do here. It’s a book of celebration and longing, adventure and entropy.” — Nicholas Miriello, Senior International Editor

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez
“While everyone gloats about One Hundred Years of Solitude, I have to argue this book is extremely underrated. A lovesickness that’s quite literal and transcends your typical sappy love story.” — Rowaida Abdelaziz, World Social Media Editor

Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
After decades of research, world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., discovered a simple but groundbreaking idea: the power of mindset. In this brilliant book, she shows how success in school, work, sports, the arts, and almost every area of human endeavor can be dramatically influenced by how we think about our talents and abilities. People with a fixed mindset—those who believe that abilities are fixed—are less likely to flourish than those with a growth mindset—those who believe that abilities can be developed. Mindset reveals how great parents, teachers, managers, and athletes can put this idea to use to foster outstanding accomplishment.
 
In this edition, Dweck offers new insights into her now famous and broadly embraced concept. She introduces a phenomenon she calls false growth mindset and guides people toward adopting a deeper, truer growth mindset. She also expands the mindset concept beyond the individual, applying it to the cultures of groups and organizations. With the right mindset, you can motivate those you lead, teach, and love—to transform their lives and your own.

One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez exploded my heart and mind as only this devilishly evocative author could. In this book, I encountered magical realism for the first time, and it forever influenced my own creative style and my relationship to reality.” — Antonia Blumberg, Religion Associate Editor
 
“I didn’t realize writing could look like that even in translation. I didn’t realize how much magic and reality blended naturally and it made me more aware of the ‘magic’ lurking in our own capabilities.” — Nadya Agrawal, Editorial Fellow

Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano
“This book is one of the most politically, socially and culturally relevant books to have ever been written about Latin America. You need to read it to truly understand the major consequences that colonialism, neo-colonialism and imperialism had (and still has) on Latin America and its people.
 
What Galeano discusses and covers is as important and applicable today as it was in the ‘70s, and also speaks to the difficult history between the United States (with its backward foreign policy) and the rest of the Americas. I will say, however, that reading it will put you in a state of constant rage if you’re Latin American.” — Carolina Moreno, Latino Voices Editor

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain
At least one-third of the people we know are introverts. They are the ones who prefer listening to speaking; who innovate and create but dislike self-promotion; who favor working on their own over working in teams. It is to introverts—Rosa Parks, Chopin, Dr. Seuss, Steve Wozniak—that we owe many of the great contributions to society.
 
In Quiet, Susan Cain argues that we dramatically undervalue introverts and shows how much we lose in doing so. She charts the rise of the Extrovert Ideal throughout the twentieth century and explores how deeply it has come to permeate our culture. She also introduces us to successful introverts—from a witty, high-octane public speaker who recharges in solitude after his talks, to a record-breaking salesman who quietly taps into the power of questions. Passionately argued, superbly researched, and filled with indelible stories of real people, Quiet has the power to permanently change how we see introverts and, equally important, how they see themselves.

Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity by Kim Scott
"I raced through Radical Candor--It’s thrilling to learn a framework that shows how to be both a better boss and a better colleague. Radical Candor is packed with illuminating truths, insightful advice, and practical suggestions, all illustrated with engaging (and often funny) stories from Kim Scott’s own experiences at places like Apple, Google, and various start-ups. Indispensable." ?Gretchen Rubin author of New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project

Sketches of the Valley and Other Works by Rolando Hinojosa-Smith
“As a Texan, I find it peculiar that whimsical Westerns still seem to dominate the conversation about my home state’s literature. Don’t get me wrong; I’ll eat up anything Cormac McCarthy serves, but there are enough writers out there working to represent the state’s demographics that it’s time we give them more recognition.
 
Probably my favorite Chicano author is Rolando Hinojosa-Smith, who’s prolifically been cataloging the happenings of a fictional border town in his Klail City series. His sense of place is impeccable, probably because he was raised in the Rio Grande Valley himself. He writes his stories in both Spanish and English, and was awarded a National Book Critics Circle’s Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award for his efforts in 2013. His first foray into writing about the fictional, transitional place that is the Texas-Mexico border was in Sketches of the Valley and Other Works. It’s a must-read for anyone interested in the more human (as opposed to political) stories centering on immigration.” — Madeleine Crum, Books & Culture Writer

Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Pablo Neruda
“The romantic in me just melts every time I pick this collection up.” — Bennymar Almonte, HuffPost Live Stage Manager
 
“‘Sonnet XVII’: Reading Neruda reminds me of being in Ecuador surrounded by family. This sonnet is specifically my favorite because it relates to how I deal with love. I have a few lines from it tattooed on me.” — Gabriela Landazuri-Saltos, HuffPost Photo Editor

When I Was Puerto Rican by Esmeralda Santiago
Cuando era puertorriqueña is a beautiful and fun autobiography that details with honesty, the humble happy childhood of a girl in Puerto Rico and how when her family moved to U.S., she had to modify her identity. I read this book as a student many years ago, but I remember that once I started reading it, I didn’t let go of it until I finished. I think the book I had was actually bilingual, one page was in Spanish, and next to it you could read the same text in English.” — Marinés Arroyo, Voces Managing Editor

Work the Pond! Use the Power of Positive Networking to Lead Forward in Work and Life by Darcy Rezac
Networking requires you to "kiss a lot of frogs" (i.e., meet a lot of people) to find your "princes"-those precious few who can make a difference in your life. But the real secret to networking is discovering what you can do for someone else.
 
Networking guru Darcy Rezac helps redefine networking-his "what can I do for you?" approach has helped thousands overcome their fear of networking and find more success. Rezac uses his trademarked 7-step N.E.T.W.O.R.K. process to help readers avoid the "toads" and make the right connections-in business and in life.

~Email the Mentoring Committee with any titles you’d like to see added to this list, thanks!