What We’re Reading Now

The mercury is rising, and we’ve taken a look at the hot new books on the market. Once again, our list of favorites has us globetrotting: from Down Under to Spain to South America to the Caribbean to Mexico, with some bizarre journeys to top it off.

By Carolina de Roberts
Knopf, $24.95

There’s a lyrical beauty to many books about South America. Great writers like Gabriel García Márques and Mario Vargas Llosa have managed to bring the continent alive with tales of its people and history. The Invisible Mountain continues this trend; de Roberts’ rich saga traces three generations of women in the Firielli family across South America, traveling from Uruguay to Argentina to Brazil. Through political uprisings and trials of love and family, this book is an incantation to the magic and energy of the land. Book details »

Carlos Ruiz Zafrón
Doubleday, $26.95

In his highly anticipated new novel, a sort of prequel to his popular The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafrón returns to Barcelona, creating a city of literature, intrigue, love, and ghosts. A few Shadow characters reappear as periphery figures in the story, which centers around David, a novelist who’s been given a dangerous and fateful assignment. While The Angel’s Game doesn’t quite reach the high standards set by The Shadow of the Wind, it is a wonderful page-turning escape into the surreal world of 1920s Barcelona, and is a great pick for any book lover. Book details »

Sarah McCoy
Shaye Areheart, $19.99

No, this book is not about Puerto Rico’s first blizzard. Set in the early 1960s, The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico is the coming of age story of 11-year-old Verdita and her island home. Told with a charming tone of adolescent innocence reminiscent of The House on Mango Street, McCoy’s novel draws us into young Verdita’s world, where eating a hamburger is an act of defiant pride, and making shaved ice brings snow to the Caribbean. Book details »

How I Walked out the Door Mouth First… and Came Back Shaking My Head
Andrew Zimmern
Broadway, $24.99

Drawing from years of “bizarre” explorations, Andrew Zimmern, host of the Travel Channel’s Bizarre Foods and Bizarre World, presents a collection of zany food-based experiences, many of which you probably never knew existed. Zimmern scorns the typical ‘tourist’ visitor activities, and instead takes us fishing for feisty lung-fish in Uganda and hunting for Puffins in Iceland (and then consumes the delectable meat). He recalls mouth-watering meals in Paris and China, and some less appetizing eats in India and Chile. The Bizarre Truth urges you to seek out the unknown on your travels, or at least take a peek at it through these memorable tales. Book details »

Evie Wyld
Pantheon, $24.00

Australia is a hard land, and those who live on the land need a certain toughness to get by. Wyld’s story chronicles the lives of two tough men—father and son—and the ways in which they cope with loss, war, and getting older. Her grasp of Aussie lingo and descriptions of the Bush took me back to my own drives along the New South Wales coast, where we would stop and swim at empty beaches, keeping our eyes peeled for sharks and fist-sized spiders. After the Fire, a Still Small Voice is a well-crafted journey of solitude, survival, and second chances. Book details »

Marcela Valladolid
Clarkson Potter, $22.50

Confession: I don’t cook. So cookbooks are always a little daunting for me to read. When I picked up Marcela Valladolid’s Fresh Mexico, however, I was pleasantly surprised at how simple it made things look: each recipe is written in a clear (read: layperson’s) language that walks you through each step. The authentic Mexican dishes are accompanied by vibrant color photos, and Valladolid adds a personal tip or anecdote to each recipe, like when she claims that the duck burrito is “the best burrito you will ever taste in your entire life, and that’s no exaggeration.” If you can’t get there in person, cooking these recipes at home is a great way to enjoy a taste of Mexico. Book details »