Pedro Páramo

by Juan Rulfo

Keeping a promise he never intended to, Juan Preciado goes to find his father, Pedro Páramo, in the town of Comala. Instead he finds a town full of restless ghosts.

This was a beautiful, haunting little book. I think I would need to read it again to feel like I understand it—and maybe take notes. But it is a good, quick read, so I might.

The Dope: the Real History of the Mexican Drug Trade

by Benjamin T. Smith

I decided to visit Mexico City this year, so I thought I should try to learn more about Mexico. (This isn’t the only book on my reading list; it’s just the first one the library had available for me.)

This book attempts to tell a truer story of the Mexican-American drug trade. Here is how it starts:

[T]he driving force of the drug trade is and always has been economic. America has an enduring and enormous appetite for narcotics.

p. 6

And America’s insatiable appetite for narcotics means there is enough drug money to buy protection, torture, rape, and murder, from corrupt officials on both sides of the border.

Here is how the book ends:

As long as narcotics remain illegal, incentives to produce and smuggle them will outweigh any economic alternatives.

p. 407

Perhaps that could also read “as long as America refuses to address its drug problem at home ….”

If you want to learn more about the drug trade and get angry about it, too, I’d definitely recommend this book. It’s an easy read, even if it left me wanting more.