This historical season is the time to learn about Mexico, so we queried a handful of knowledgeable informants about what they recommend, other than Allyn Hunt’s column. What follows are their favorite books about Mexico in English, be they fiction or nonfiction, wide or narrow in scope. Many were originally written in English, some in Spanish, and many are available in both languages, which can make for instructive side-by-side reading for those wishing to improve their command of either language. We generally omitted books our informants described as “boring,” although this list includes both intellectual and popular titles, many of which can be found in the AMSOC (Guadalajara) or LCS (Lake Chapala Society) libraries, or at Sandi bookstore in Guadalajara.
- Aztec (novel series) by Gary Jennings (1928–1999): Six novels published between 1980 through 2008. One of our informants, Debra Rodriguez, enthusiastically recommended at least the first two in the series — those actually written by Jennings before his death in 1999 and not by his “collaborators,” who produced what some call “tedious re-packagings.” She said that although the first two are popular, not intellectual, books, they make fine reading and were well researched by Jennings, who spent years in Mexico. “The books take a central character,” she noted, “and put him in every single major historical event of the era.” The first two titles are “Aztec” and Aztec Autumn.”