Readers Say

11 of the best books by Hispanic authors, according to readers

Readers shared their favorite memoirs, novels, and more in honor of National Hispanic Heritage Month.

Tell us your favorite fiction and nonfiction books by Hispanic authors. (Zack DeZon/The New York Times) (Zack DeZon/The New York Times)

From September 15 to October 15, the country celebrates National Hispanic Heritage Month. In honor of the month, is highlighting great writing from Hispanic and Latino-American authors of all genres.

For September, one of our Book Club picks was “Borderless” by Jennifer De Leon, a coming-of-age novel about a 17-year-old Guatemalan girl who crosses the U.S. border with her mother. 

We know there are many writers like De Leon telling important and entertaining stories about the Hispanic and Latino communities here and abroad, so we asked readers for their favorites.

Below you’ll find a list of works by some of the best writers of the 20th century, memoirs, coming-of-age stories, and more that readers love.

“Always Running” by Luis J. Rodriguez

Luis J. Rodriguez shares the true story of how he fell into the world of Los Angeles gangs as a young man. After years of violence and drug abuse, he escaped gang life and became an award-winning writer, only to be drawn back in when his own son joined a street gang in Chicago. 

“Bless Me, Ultima” by Rudolfo Anaya

Six-year-old Antonio Marez has his life changed when Ultima, a magic healer, moves in with his family in New Mexico. As he grows into adolescence, his relationship with Ultima helps him make sense of the world and his complicated family relationships.


“A coming-of-age book that I read when I needed some hopeful magical realism in my 20s. The first time I read it I was overwhelmed with how wonderful it was,” said Stephanie S. from Andover. “I think it’s the kind of book that needs to find you at the right time in your life. The first reading I experienced the type of readers’ high that keeps readers reading.”

“Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

This book is famous for being the first modern novel and it’s beloved for its heroism and playful writing. Don Quixote and his faithful companion Sancho Panza go on various adventures in the hopes of becoming respected knights.

“Classic tale of a hero in a heroic time. I read it after seeing ‘Man of La Mancha.’ I have read some chapters in Spanish, although slowly,” said Ralph from Brockton.

“El Amante Bilingüe” by Juan Marsé

When protagonist Juan Marsé catches his wife having an affair with another man, his shame leaves him destitute. But after an accident leaves him disfigured and unrecognizable to those who knew him, he has the chance to win back his wife. This book was originally published in Spanish and has been adapted into a film by the same name. 


“Splendid novel that captures daily life in Barcelona in the late 1970s and early 1980s. It toys with the Catalan and Spanish cultural and linguistic divide, class warfare and the eternal questions of attraction and power in male-female relationships,” said Goyo from Somerville.

“Ficciones” by Jorge Luis Borges

This short story collection by Jorge Luis Borges garnered international acclaim when it was published and made it on Le Monde’s 100 Books of the Century. The stories are brief but changed the art of short story writing and explore themes like human nature, the passage of time, and more.

“House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende

Isabel Allende has gained fame as one of the masters of magical realism. In this reader-recommended novel, Allende tells a family epic about three generations of the Trueba family, starting with patriarch Esteban and ending with his revolutionary granddaughter, Alba. Mia R. from Burlington read the book years ago, but she still loves it. 

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel García Márquez

Márquez is considered one of the great writers of the 20th century and this novel is one of his best known. Several readers recommended this novel, calling it “a classic and a great story.” The novel centers the the Buendía family, whose patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founded the town of Macondo, where the story is set.

“Our Lady of the Assassins” by Fernando Vallejo

This novel set in Medellin, Colombia when the city was ruled by the drug trade tells the stories of the beggars, thieves, and drug addicts affected by the street violence.


“Vallejo is under-rated, over-hated, and magnificently nihilistic. Many of his books capture the essence of the hopelessness of Latin America. Our Lady of the Assassins (La Virgen de los Sicarios) paints the sad reality of the futureless youth of a futureless country,” said Daniel M. from Brighton.

“The Book of Embraces” by Eduardo Galeano

This is a book written in fragments and tells the story of the author through essays about Latin America. One reader from Ashburnham called it “micro fiction at its best with a dash of magical realism and little political sarcasm if you can catch it.”

“The Shadow of the Wind” by Carlos Ruiz Safón

Daniel, the son of a book dealer in Barcelona, mourns his recently deceased mother as the city recovers from World War II. He finds comfort in a book titled “The Shadow of the Wind” by Julian Carax, but when he attempts to find other books by the same author, he discovers a secret plot to erase all of Carax’s books from existence.

“It is extraordinarily well written,” said Rosa M. from Cambridge. “There is emotion, fantasy, mystery, and humanity. I just love it!”

“Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy” by Carlos Eire

Carlos Eire was 11 years old in 1962 when he was airlifted out of Cuba without his parents as a consequence of the Cuban revolution. In his memoir, he shares the story of his privileged childhood and the political upheaval that changed his family’s life forever. 

“My mother was from Havana. She left in 1951. This book by Carlos Eire explains struggles in Cuba just before and during the Castro take over, and the Peter Pan movement of kids out of Cuba to U.S.A. I found it fascinating,” said Manny from Massachusetts.