Ask a Mexican!

Gentle cabrones: Behold my annual Mexican Christmas guide, where I recommend the best Mexi-themed libros for you to give to your loved ones this Navidad instead of yet another tamale to unwrap. Buy them at your local bookstore, or order online, but do buy!

F*ck Cancer: The True Story of How Robert the Bold Kicked Cancer's Ass: By day, Robert Flores is a butcher; in his spare time, Flores wrote a hilarious, gritty memoir about how he survived fourth-stage colon cancer. Perfect for the cancer survivor in your family, or anyone who appreciates Chicano DESMADRE. Buy it at

Dreamland: The True Tale of America's Opiate Epidemic: One of the most chilling books published in recent years, my mentor-friend Sam Quinones tells a two-part story about how gabacho America got hooked on heroin—on one hand, from pharmaceuticals; on the other mano, via Mexicans from Nayarit. More gripping and infuriating than any episode of The Wire.

The Chili Cookbook: A History of the One-Pot Classic, with Cook-off Worthy Recipes from Three-Bean to Four-Alarm and Con Carne to Vegetarian: A Texas-sized name worthy of another mentor-friend of mine, Robb Walsh, the greatest chronicler of Tex-Mex cuisine ever. Great cookbook that reminds the Baylessistas that chili is the original regional Mexican dish in el Norte.

Californio Lancers: The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863–1866: Next time some Trump supporter says Mexicans don't fight for this country, point them to this groundbreaking work, published by the always-great University of Oklahoma Press. A fascinating tale of Californios—the Mexicans conquered by the Estados Unidos during the Mexican-American War—serving the Union instead of the Confederates like their pendejo Tejano cousins.

¡Corrido!: The Living Ballad of Mexico›s Western Coast: The University of New Mexico Press returns with another stunning songbook, this one focusing on the musical traditions of Mexico's Costa Chica and Costa Grande region. Dump your son jarocho CD already, and refry THIS.

Shameful Victory The Los Angeles Dodgers, the Red Scare, and the Hidden History of Chavez Ravine: Everyone has a vague idea of how Los Angeles leaders kicked out a bunch of Mexicans to build Dodgers Stadium. But this University of Arizona Press release tells the tell in all of its shameful details.

For the rest, please visit Ask the Mexican at Be his fan on Facebook. Follow him on Twitter @gustavoarellano or follow him on Instagram @gustavo_arellano!

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