Daily Archives: June 12, 2006

Best Reference Books of 2005

Encyclopedia Latina. 4 vols. Grolier. 1826p. ed. by Ilan Stavans & Harold Augenbraum. illus. index. ISBN 0-7172-5815-7. $449. Encyclopedia Latina

“En boca cerrada no entran moscas.” Literally, a closed mouth does not attract flies. This example of dichos, defined here as sayings or witty aphorisms, is just one of 650 spectacular entries consuming 1.2 million words which generated, to quote editor Ilan Stavans (Amherst and PBS’s La Plaza), 26,000 emails. A diverse cast of contributors – academics, artists, journalists, even chefs – have combined their talents to describer Latina life and culture in the U.S., from the age of conquest to the present day. There is extensive coverage of broad themes like literature, music and politics, but also specific articles on mambo, lowriders and pachucos. Articles include excerpts from literature, poetry, speeches and recipes. Approximately 150 articles are biographical, from Oscar Acosta, a 300 pound Chicano lawyer to Emiliano Zapata. Spectacular color plates in each volume, a collection of primary documents, and a detailed index make this a rich and accessible resource.


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