The Border Chronicle's Summer Reading List for Border Nerdz
We’ll Be Back in August. Until Then Read Up, Stay Hydrated, and Go Outside!
Yep, like many folks I’ve been talking to lately, I was struck down by Covid last week after speaking at a journalism conference in Colorado. We seem to be riding another wave of the cursed virus but I’m feeling better now. It’s my second time around with “the Covid,” and I’m vaccinated, so not so scary this time.
But dang I feel like I need a break. Right now, Todd, my Border Chronicle compadre, is somewhere in the middle of America with two small children in a Subaru filled to the gills. Bon courage family trip!
Me … I’m envisioning a nice beach somewhere in Baja California, or I don’t know, anywhere but my desk. Alas, I’ve got a couple of big deadlines looming for national publications, which I’ll be writing about more in upcoming posts for The Border Chronicle. Stay tuned!
This is all to say, that we’re taking a short pause in July. But we’ll be right back with you in August. And we’ve got a lot planned for the coming year with more podcasts, and more on the ground reporting to keep you informed on what’s happening in the borderlands. We’ll also be taking The Border Chronicle on the road, including Montreal, Canada! That’s right, I’m breaking out the puffy coat from the dusty recesses of my closet. Look out northern border — here we come!
Also, a big abrazo for everyone who has subscribed, especially readers who have supported our granito de arena with a paid subscription. When we put out our SOS in June more than a hundred of you kind souls responded, and signed up for paid subscriptions, for which we are incredibly thankful! Also, a wonderful gentleman and a couple of kick-ass ladies who work in grants and development volunteered to give us some advice on how to survive in this Mad Max world of journalism. I love this collective solidarity. And here at The Border Chronicle we thank you immensely!
We’re now up to almost 400 paid subscriptions. We just need 1,600 more paid subscribers until my mother acknowledges that I have a real job! (Haha, but seriously.) So please subscribe if you believe in context, historical fact, and border journalism from a border perspective.
Before I say hasta pronto, I want to leave you with our summer reading list. Also, please add what you’re reading and recommending in the comments section. But it has to be border themed! Because this is the Border Nerdz Book Club. Sorry, I’m a Gen X-er and can’t resist putting that ‘z’ at the end. A big Covid-free hug from me to you. Please enjoy and we’ll see you soon!
Against the Wall: My Journey from Border Patrol Agent to Immigrant Rights Activist by Jenn Budd (Heliotrope Books, June 21, 2022.)
Take it from someone who has written about the (mostly) men in green for nearly two decades, you are going to understand the Border Patrol on a whole new level (could it get any worse? Why yes, it could) after reading Jenn Budd’s book. Budd is a former senior Border Patrol agent, and now a fierce immigrant rights and border activist. Against the Wall is a tough and honest book about how Budd battled with systemic misogyny and racism in the Border Patrol and her fight to overcome a childhood of trauma and abuse. You can listen to my podcast interview with Budd about her new book and order it here.
Nobody is Protected: How the Border Patrol Became the Most Dangerous Police Force in the United States by Reece Jones (Counterpoint Press, July 5, 2022.)
And while we’re talking about the mean green, Jones, a political geographer, and professor at the University of Hawai’i, has a new book out today, which I can’t wait to read. The Supreme Court in a series of rulings has given the Border Patrol sweeping authority in America, despite that thing called the U.S. Constitution. Best to read Jones’ book and understand where you stand, and with this new right-wing Supreme Court on the rise, we need to be on our toes. Todd did a great interview with Jones about his previous book White Borders. Order Jones’ new book here.
Border Hacker: A Tale of Treachery, Trafficking and Two Friends on the Run by Levi Vonk with Axel Kirschner (Bold Type Books, April 26, 2022.)
Finally, the book that I’ve been waiting for that gives us a no-bullshit, inside look into the migrant caravans. This book reads like a thriller. I read the entire book in two days. It’s also an amazing story of solidarity and brotherly love between two very different travelers on the caravan — one a privileged white boy from Georgia, the other an undocumented hustler from New York. Also, some shocking revelations about one of Mexico’s most famous priests, and other caravan organizers. The authors have reportedly received death threats in Mexico because of the heat generated by this book. You can listen to Todd’s interview with, Levi Vonk, one of the book’s authors here. And buy the book here.
My Boy Will Die of Sorrow: A Memoir of Immigration from the Front Lines by Efrén Olivares (Hachette Books, July 12, 2022.)
This book is Olivares’ searing account of what it was like battling Trump’s “zero tolerance” and family separation on the frontlines in 2018. Olivares, a human rights attorney, and the nonprofit where he worked, Texas Civil Rights Project, handled hundreds, if not thousands, of family separation cases. It’s also a very personal book about Olivares’ own childhood, and family separation, and his journey from Allende, Nuevo Leon, to Yale Law school. So riveting and well written, I read Olivares’ book in one sitting on a roundtrip flight from Tucson to Mexico City. I’ll be interviewing Olivares about his new book for The Border Chronicle podcast in August. You can buy his book here.
Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire & Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernández (W.W. Norton, May 10, 2022.)
I’m a total Lytle Hernández fangirl. I’ve read every one of her books from Migra! to City of Inmates, and now this sweeping history of Ricardo Flores Magón and the magonista revolt that helped topple Mexican dictator Porfirio Diaz. I’ve always thought that there should be a movie about the Flores Magón brothers and the magonistas. Their story is more epic than any Hollywood movie out there. Lytle Hernández, a historian, and professor at UCLA, has a gift for making nonfiction history so alive, and compelling, that it's better than any fiction thriller you’d grab from the bookshelves. I’m halfway through this book and it does not disappoint. I’m hoping we’ll have Lytle Hernández on the Border Chronicle podcast soon. Order her book here.
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