Skip to Content

Seven Perfect Gifts for Bookworms: An L.A. Taco Gift Guide

This list is for the special bookworm in your life, by a bookworm. There’s really something for everyone here; history, poetry, Kobe Bryant, picking on global elites, erotica, cooking, and a comic.

Holiday Gifts Guide: Books

Winners Take All - The Elite Charade of Changing the World

Anand Giridharadas

[dropcap size=big]Y[/dropcap]our lefty bae might appreciate this one: For the record, Anand said he valued our recommendation the most “because tacos.” Conversational, nuanced, and witty, Giridharadas asks hard questions as he profiles several people. Each – ranking from an intern to a CEO – is trying to change the world and make a living at the same time. Giridharadas makes a compelling argument, one that even Bill Gates won’t challenge: that global elites throw money at poverty and human misery without addressing the root cause, inequality, in order to stifle the masses. It reads like a podcast, and is perfect for folks that want to stay informed but don’t want to be reading anything too academic. Order here.

The Mamba Mentality: How I Play

Kobe Bryant

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or either the Bryant stan in your life, or for that special overachiever: One of the most ingenious and talented players to ever grace the basketball court, Kobe Bryant reveals his training regimens in detail in The Mamba Mentality. While a lot of it explains Bryant’s workouts and preparation, the sheer discipline and grit he demonstrates to achieve his goals is nothing short of inspiring. Whether someone is trying to become the next NBA great or achieve some sort of semblance of success, Bryant’s dedication to being a cut above the rest is sure to help encourage readers to meet their own goals. Bonus! Nearly every page has a photograph of Kobe in action. With its punchy print graphics and photos, The Mamba Mentality is sure to entertain friends and guests. Order here.

Her Body and Other Parties

Carmen Machado

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or the adventurous reader: It’s 2018 and we’re ditching smut like 50 Shades of Gray in exchange for something with more substance. Machado’s surreal masterpiece is enthralling, erotic, vulnerable, and surreal in a way that feels more real than reality. The author seamlessly creates multiple stories of love, fear, and loneliness in a perspective that is unabashedly feminine and queer. It's an anthology of short episodes that are peppered with elements of horror. Her Body and Other Parties is especially good for folks that appreciate one great narrative after another. This is a must read and I can’t quite put it down. Order here.


Yesika Salgado

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or your bestie: Yesika Salgado turned the often elite poetry world upside down last year with her release of Corazon. Salgado’s latest book, Tesoro was released last month. While a lot of poetry is about love and heartbreak, Tesoro is about the aftermath and “surviving those we have loved,” she says. Salgado’s work is both cathartic and healing, and could be great for that one friend that’s trying to learn to love themselves. Angelenos from Echo Park, or any barrio (current or former) in L.A. will be delighted to see their own world represented in Yesika Salgado’s work. Tesoro is accessible and refreshingly authentic. Order here.

An African American and Latinx History of the United States

Paul Ortiz

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or the history buff: If you’re like me, you probably fell asleep in your high school American history class and woke the f*ck up in college history classes. The abridged white-washed version of history is usually snore inducing. Luckily, historian Paul Ortiz details two centuries of black and brown resistance and organizing. Chronicling both African American and Latinx acts of solidarity, strikes, revolutionaries, and newspapers, Ortiz details a vivid history of resilience. Order here.

Guerrilla Tacos: Recipes from the Streets of L.A.

Wesley Avila

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or the modern casual cook: We wouldn’t be L.A. Taco if we didn’t recommend at least one cookbook. In true Taco fashion, however, Wesley Avila takes Mexican cuisine and gives it an East L.A. twist, the result is both innovative and delicious. There is something deeply personal about cooking; you make something with your hands and serve it to someone, who will then  consume your craft. None of this is lost on Wesley Avila, as he serves readers both recipes and stories of his youth. There’s no strict adherence to “authenticity” in this cookbook, Avila quite literally cooks up anything he dreams of and wants his readers to have the freedom to do the same. Order here.

Border Town #1

Writer: Eric M. Esquivel
Artist: Ramon Villalobos
Color Artist: Tamra Bonvillain
Letters: Deron Bennett

[dropcap size=big]F[/dropcap]or your comic book lover: Border Town #1 is cathartic and timely. This comic takes place in an Arizona border town called Devil’s Fork. Mixing elements that are unfortunately very real (border militia men) and unreal, Border Town #1 has been described as a delicious mix of lucha libre, Archie, and supernatural. With beautiful artwork, jokes and commentary that are witty and extremely current, Border Town #1 is a great gift for a loved one or yourself. Order here.

RELATED: It's Free 99: Your Local, Affordable Holiday Market Gift Guide ~ GTFO LA!

Stay in touch

Sign up for our free newsletter

More from L.A. TACO

What To Eat This Weekend In L.A.: Colombian Ceviche De Chorizo, Knafeh Chocolate Bars, Lobster Tacos, and $11 Steak Frites

Plus a new lechon kawali in Koreatown and more. These are the best things to eat and drink in Los Angeles this weekend.

July 19, 2024

Hawthorne’s Very Own COYOTE Are Running L.A.

Wailing their signature ghoulish howl, two brothers, "Ladies Love Guapo," and "Ricky Blanco," are the duo that makes up the up-and-coming Mexican-American rap hip-hop duo, COYOTE, hailing from Hawthorne.

Why You Should Be Tipping Your Servers and Budtenders In L.A.

Minimum wage workers in L.A. reflect on the reality of working for tips: “This is how I have to survive out here in California.”

July 18, 2024

The Newest Addition to the L.A. Dodgers is a 14-Year-Old From Culiacán, Sinaloa

Meet Ezequiel Rivera, the teenager from Culiacán, Sinaloa, who just signed with one of the MLB’s most prominent teams.

July 18, 2024

The Singer For Brujería, L.A.’s Biggest Mexican-American Shock-Rock Death Metal Band, Has Died

Brujería's co-vocalist, Ciriaco "Pinche Peach" Quezada, passed away last night from heart failure at 57. He joined in the band in 1992 after founding member Jello Biafra left. He was the star of many of their provocative music videos and sang alongside his cousin and founding vocalist, Juan Brujo.

July 18, 2024
See all posts