Oprah’s best efforts notwithstanding, books have taken a serious hit at the hands of competing media. It’s easier to watch a movie, listen to a CD or turn on cable than it is to read a book, and unfortunately, most people do prefer easy. Additionally, buying books in México can be an expensive undertaking, assuming you can find the titles you are looking for. Regardless, savvy independent book merchants manage to position their stores as “must-see” destinations, as the co-owners of La Sombra del Sabino, can attest. Located in Tepoztlán, Morelos, a town know for its’ artist community, spirituality and natural beauty, La Sombra del Sabino opened in November 2005. During it’s first year in business, the owners Bridget Estavillo, Sheila Urquidi and Susan Cajiga have been successful in creating a calm oasis just a couple hours drive from México City. The setting is beautiful, with cozy bookstore, patio café and a large enclosed garden with a spectacular view of the surrounding mountains.

In addition to offering a wide variety books and magazines in English and Spanish, La Sombra del Sabino hosts a monthly author series, “Rondas Literarias”. This program attracts Mexican and internationally known authors who give readings and presentations of their works for free to the public. The twice a month events are held in the outdoor garden, or you can listen from the patio café and enjoy a delicious lunch during the talk. The guest author for September was Diana Kennedy, the “high priestess of Méxican Cooking.” Kennedy is the author of seven cookbooks on Méxican cuisine, including the kitchen shelf staple: The Art of Méxican Cooking. During the hour and a half talk, Ms. Kennedy spoke on a variety of subjects, from tamale making to the importance of buying local produce that is in season.

Although most of the authors give their presentations in Spanish, there are also English speaking authors. The two guest authors for November are Elaine Feinstein and Victor Hugo Rascón Banda. Feinstein is an English born novelist and poet. She will be reading from a collection of poems and answering questions during this event on November 12th.

Rascón Banda is President of the General Society of Writers of México (SOGEM) and a highly respected playwright, whose work includes La mujer que cayó del cielo [The Woman who Fell from the Sky] (1999). Recently, he received the Xavier Villaurrutia medal, an award given by México’s artistic community through the National Institute of Fine Arts and the National Council for Culture and Arts, as recognition for his life’s work. He will be presenting his latest work ¿Por que a mí? November 19th.

The author’s series events are always held on Sundays at 1pm, making it an easy day trip from México City or a great excuse for a weekend trip from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo, Tepoztlán is about eight hours from Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo. Events are free and open to the public.

La Sombra Del Sabino, Av. Revolución #45, Barrio de San José, Tepoztlán, Morelos C.P. 62520 México http://www.lasombradelsabino.com.mx To get on the mailing list for the author’s series and other events, send an email to: informes@lasombradelsabino.com.mx