Polaroid picture of Jasmin Ayala and her mother next to flowers, and the audiobook HIPPIE in a phone
Audiolibros Mi Mama Mexicana Recommends

I wish I read nearly as much as my mom. This is coming from someone who works at one of the biggest publishing houses in the world. Ironic, isn’t it? Ever since I can remember, mi mama, María, has stockpiled her bookshelves with the classics, from Oscar Wilde to Gabriel García Márquez – in Español of course. I caught on early that her love language is books, and so a significant part of our relationship is built upon a connection through books.

In her home she still stores keepsake books from my childhood with various dedicaciónes, or inscriptions lining the inside of my books. Now, this post acts as my dedicación to her and a measure of my gratitude to her for instilling a deep appreciation of literature in me. In addition to her ever-growing paperback collection, my mom appreciates the art of getting lost in a good audiobook too. Below are her six of her personal audiobook recs, ranging from magical realism and mystical fiction to the classic memoir.

At the top of the list is an iconic read from Latin American literary icon Gabriel García Márquez, also my mom’s favorite author. My mom lives and breathes Gabriel García Márquez and her home library is stacked with nearly every book he’s written. 100 Years of Solitude is arguably his most famous title, and she’s listened to this audiobook twice (if not more). In her own words: “Gabriel’s vivid and imaginative storytelling never gets old, especially when it’s being narrated to you.”

Paulo Coelho is another great Latin American author whose books and influence are highly revered in the Latino & Hispanic community. His book The Alchemist is one of those novels that will stand the test of time and lift you up regardless of wherever you are in life. It’s a fantastic listen, and this audiobook is the perfect gateway into the rest of Coelho’s literary catalog.

My mom and I have made reading and discussing Paulo Coelho’s books our tradition, almost like a long-distance book club, so this one’s a joint pick. Hippie is another incredibly rich and fascinating novel by Coelho, who channels his own travels across Europe and South America in the ‘70s in the story. If you enjoy wanderlust novels with a dash of romance, then this audiobook is for you.

Another Coelho book on the list! Are you even surprised? Adultery is a little saucier and contemporary than his earlier work, but it’s nonetheless a great Coelho listen. It features meaningful messages about love and the exploration of intimacy, on one’s own terms.

Paula, is a vulnerable and haunting memoir by Chilean American author Isabel Allende dedicated to her late daughter Paula. The audiobook recounts her early life in Chile and the days leading up to her daughter’s tragic demise. For fans of Isabel Allende who want to dig a little deeper into the author’s personal backstory, this one’s for you.

The Picture of Dorian Grey, in Maria’s own words: “I read this book 35 years ago, so it reminds me beautiful memories from my youth. I was a young mother of two, and I remember at the time finding peace in reading books. This story is pretty dark and gloomy, but the story is just so fascinating. Listen to this one if you want to have your imagination tested.”

Find more recommendations for Latin and Hispanic Heritage Month!