It’s that time of year when Latinostories.com releases its national ‘Top Ten Latino authors to Watch (and read) list. Led by Connecticut resident Jose B. Gonzalez, it features fiction, an autobiography and biographies and poetry.
Gonzalez is a professor of literature at the Coast Guard Academy in New London, he started the list in 2005 to help promote Latino authors and literature, it is now in its 10th year.
Their top ten picks:
1) Rudy Ruiz tops the list this year, and with reason. Not one sentence in Seven for the Revolution sounds like it comes from a debut fiction author. The tension in each is well-crafted, making the reader want to turn each page as quickly as possible.
2) In Gaby, Lost and Found, Angela Cervantes has written one of the best young adult novels of the year. In fact, it’s one of the best in the last few years, as it tackles the difficult subject of immigration, telling the story of a young girl whose mother is deported.
3) Rich Villar’s debut poetry collection, Comprehending Forever, has rhythms that can be heard in trumpets, drums and saxophones. The only thing missing from this book is an accompanying CD.
4) Gerardo “Tony” Mena has joined an elite list of veterans, like the contemporary Brian Turner, who have served in the military and have captured their tremendous sacrifices in stunning, powerful poems. The Shape of Our Faces No Longer Matters adds an important face to this genre.
5) Adriana Paramo’s My Mother’s Funeral is a touching, fascinating memoir about a mother and a daughter, about Colombia and the U.S., about the complexity of love and loss.
6) Meg Medina is quite the talent, and she shows it off in a major way in Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass. This is not her debut novel, but it is absolutely her best work, as attested by the distinction of the Pura Belpre Award.
7) Maria Andreu’s young adult novel, The Secret Side of Empty, provides a unique but timely perspective on undocumented immigrants. It tells the tale of a blonde, light-skinned immigrant girl who blends in—almost too easily, and learns about others and herself as she opens up about her status.
8) In Elena Minor’s debut poetry collection, TITULADA, she demonstrates her skill as a wordsmith and as a poet who constructs intelligent juxtapositions through her creative use of words.
9) In Still Dreaming, Luis Gutierrez provides an inspiring and enlightening look at his rise to Congress. This is an ideal book for anyone wishing to learn more about politics in the U.S. and the drive necessary to be successful.
Jose B. Gonzalez was born in San Salvador, El Salvador, and immigrated to New London, Connecticut at the age of eight. A 2012 Fulbright Scholar to Spain, he has been the recipient of such honors as the 2009 American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education Outstanding Latino Faculty of the Year Award, and the Connecticut’s Higher Education Multicultural Faculty of the Year Award. www.Latinostories.com