From the Stacks: Five Exceptional Books About Mexico (Gringo Edition)

Books about Mexico

As you may have suspected, the life of a freelance writer is no cake walk. But there are perks. Like getting free books in the mail. The other day I received the latest from Tony Burton, Mexican Kaleidoscope: Myths, Mysteries, and Mystique. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but I have high hopes. Burton is one of the best. Which got me thinking about my  favorite Mexico books and reminded me that it’s been some time since […]

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Book Review: Diana Kennedy, Rendered Lard, and the Late, Great Steve Rogers

Originally published in June of 2012, republished in 2017. My dad Steve Rogers was a good cook, maybe even a great cook. He could turn a few wilting odds and ends  into a memorable lunch, and his obsessive interest in traditional methods and ingredients was matched by a fearless creativity that led him far off the beaten path. When I was a little girl, I loved to sit and watch him in the kitchen. Watching Steve cook was like watching […]

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Book Review: Mexico City Noir

Reading a short story is like a conversation with the stranger sitting next to you on the Greyhound: the getting-to-know-you process is accelerated to an uncomfortable pace and then you never see the guy again. A compilation of short mysteries, Mexico City Noir doesn’t offer many exceptions to this problem. Several of the tales seem slight; you can sense the authors stretching for meaning and falling back on cheap tricks to make up for the necessarily slender plots. The book gets off to […]

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Book Review: Narcocorrido by Elijah Wald

note: Click on links for music. Would you rather listen to gangster rap, country music, or polka?  If you cringed in horror at any of the three options, well, brace yourself. If you answered, “All three!” then you probably already know your Tigres from your Tucanes. Whatever your musical tastes, the blood-splattered accordion-happy world of the Mexican narcocorrido is a fascinating place to visit. In Narcocorrido: A Journey into the Music of Drugs, Guns, and Guerillas, folklorist and musician Elijah Wald explains […]

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From the Archives: On the Road at Nine and Ten, 1988-89

drawing of van in Mexico

  As I was working on my book about my nomadic hippie childhood, I unearthed a travel journal that covered two trips to Mexico in the late 80s. The odysseys included research for “The People’s Guide to RV Camping in Mexico,” extended stays at Tenacatita, and my first visit to Guatemala. We also drove some Huichol friends on a pilgrimage to their sacred lands in Central Mexico. I’ve chosen a few excerpts for your amusement. You can read the first installment here.  Dec 26, 1988 […]

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From the Archives: An Eight-Year-Old’s Travel Journal, 1987

Map of baja drawing

Churpa writes: While researching for a memoir of my childhood on the road, I’ve been digging through old family photographs and journals, and I found this very detailed illustrated travel journal that I started when I was eight, in 1987. The journal is canvas-bound with a sweet splatter paint design on the cover, and spans from November 1987 to the spring of ’89. It covers two long trips, from Oregon to Baja to Guatemala and back again. At the time, […]

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Historical Image of the Week: John and Eve Muir

John Muir of Idiot's Guide fame with his wife Eve Muir, black and white photo

John and Eve Muir, original publishers of The People’s Guide to Mexico. John wrote, with Tosh Gregg, the cult classic How to Keep Your Volkswagon Alive, a Manual of Step-by-Step procedures for the Compleat Idiot. John and Eve were at the center of a creative group of friends who met each year for wild “beach parties” in Mexico. We remain an extended family. John died just before I was born, but Eve was an important person in my life. Fabulous, […]

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Carl Franz and Lorena Havens Talk PG History

A great interview with Carl and Lorena, originally published at Moon Travel. Read the original here, or scroll below. 1. This is the 14th edition of The People’s Guide to Mexico and marks its 40th anniversary. Please tell us the story of how your book came to be. The People’s Guide to Mexico began on a Mexican beach in 1970 as a series of detailed letters to friends in Alaska who were eager to join up with Lorena, Steve and […]

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Dancing with the Devil: Climbing Baja’s High Point

Picacho del Diablo

The attempt of Picacho Del Diablo is not a summit to be undertaken lightly. The map shows a 13 km trail, so you practically have to figure thirteen hours of route finding. But first, after just thirty minutes or so of hiking from the east side trailhead, you come to the most ingenious cow-excluding device known to geologic engineering. There is a little two foot waterfall into a turquoise blue pool about three feet deep. Yes, it’s only five feet, […]

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