Cuba Bookshelf

February 14, 2012 at 2:15 am Leave a comment


Here is a list of books I’ve used in my “Cuba: A Literary Adventure” class, plus a whole lot more–for my students who would like to read more about Cuba, and for anyone else interested in learning about this fascinating and wonderful place, and its people, through literature.

Most of the works on my list are by (North) American, many by Cuban American, writers. But you can click here for a list of novels about Cuba by Cuban writers recommended by Cuban novelist Leonard Padura Fuentes. And of course, new things are being written all the time. Feel free to recommend books, films, other kinds of reading that you think should be added to this list.

You can get all these books at you-know-where, of course. But why not consider supporting your local independent bookseller instead? They need you, and we need them! 🙂



Bridges to Cuba, edited by Ruth Behar

Cuba: A Traveler’s Literary Companion, edited by Anna Louise Bardach

Cuba in Mind edited by Maria Finn Dominguez

Cuba in Splinters: 11 Stories from the New Cuba, edited by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo

Cubanissmo! edited by Cristina Garcia

New Short Fiction from Cuba , edited by Jacqueline Loss and Esther Whitfeld

The Reader’s Companion to Cuba, edited by Alan Ryan

Selected Writings of Jose Marti translated and edited by Esther Allen


An Island Called Home: Returning to Jewish Cuba  by Ruth Behar

The Closest of Enemies by Wayne Smith

The Cuba Reader edited by Aviva Chomsky

Cuba: What Everyone Needs to Know by Julia E. Sweig

Cuba Diaries: An American Housewife in Havana by Isadora Tattlin

Dancing with Cuba: A Memoir of the Revolution by Alma Guillermoprieto

Days of Awe  by Achy Obejas

Finding Manana: A Memoir of a Cuban Exodus by Mirta Ojito

Havana: A Cultural and Literary Companion by Claudia Lightfoot

Havana Real  by Yoani Sanchez

Hemingway in Cuba by Norberto Fuentes

The Prince of Los Cocuyos: A Miami Childhood  by Richard Blanco

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire


Adios, Happy Homeland!, In Cuba I Was a German Shepherd  and Loving Ché  by Ana Menendez

Adios Hemingway (and other novels in his series of detective novels featuring Mario Condo) by Leonardo Padura Fuentes

Cuba and the Night by Pico Iyer

Dirty Blonde and Half-Cuban by Lisa Wixon

Dreaming in Cuban and King of Cuba by  Cristina Garcia

Los Gusanos by John Sayles

Telex from Cuba by Rita Kushner

The Autobiography of Fidel Castro by Norberto Fuentes

The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love Oscar Hijuelos 


Island of My Hunger: Cuban Poetry Today (ed. by Francisco Moran)

Nicolas Guillen

José Marti

Nancy Morejon


“My Parents Are Cuban Exiles. Here’s What Obama’s Decision Means to Us” Ruth Behar, Washington Post December 18, 2014.

“Cuba’s New Now,” Cynthia Gorney National Geographic, November 2012

“Don’t Tell Dad, I’m Going to Cuba,” Anna Hebra Flaster, New York Times, October 21, 2012

The Fantasy of a Cuba Where Time Stood Still,” Ruth Behar, Washington Post, Jan. 15, 2015

“Where is Cuba Going?” by John Jeremiah Sullivan, New York Times Magazine September 23, 2012

“Why Are So Many Celebrities Going to Cuba?” Phineas James, Slant News, September 25, 2014.


Buena Vista Social Club

Memorias del Desarrollo 

Memorias del Subdesarrollo 

Our Man in Havana

Strawberry and Chocolate (Fresa y Chocolate)

Viva Cuba


Janet Hulstrand is a writer, editor, writing coach, and teacher of writing and literature based in Silver Spring, Maryland.  She teaches literature courses in Paris, Hawaii and Cuba for the Education Abroad program at Queens College, CUNY, and Writing from the Heart workshops in a beautiful little village in the Champagne region of France. She also teaches literature and culture classes at Politics & Prose Bookstore in Washington, D.C.

Entry filed under: About Cuba. Tags: , , , , .

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