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Lake Chapala: a postcard history

 Lake Chapala: a postcard history  Comments Off on Lake Chapala: a postcard history
Jun 152022
 

We are delighted to announce the publication of Lake Chapala: a postcard history.

What was life at Lake Chapala like at the start of the twentieth century? Why and how did some villages on its shores become premier international tourist and retirement destinations?

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

This ground-breaking visual history of Lake Chapala, Mexico’s largest natural lake, answers these and other questions by looking at more than 150 vintage photographic postcards of the area, many more than a century old. Mailed home by visitors, these postcards helped promote the area to a wider world.

Chapter Titles

  1. Wish you were here: picture postcards in Mexico
  2. By boat, stagecoach and train
  3. Chapala at the end of the nineteenth century
  4. The south shore of the lake: Tizapán el Alto and La Palma
  5. Chapala 1900-1920: The golden age of tourism
  6. East end: Ocotlán and Hotel Ribera Castellanos
  7. Chapala 1920-1940: opportunities and challenges
  8. Fishing and environmental change
  9. Chapala 1940–1960: Tourism and Redevelopment
  10. Ajijic: favored by foreigners
  11. The west end of the lake: Jocotepec and Roca Azul

Marvel at the extraordinary diversity of sights, cultural experiences, architecture and scenery that so entranced these early tourists—from rattling stagecoaches, railroad stations and quaint fishing boats to religious festivals, ancient haciendas, grand hotels and fine private villas.

Join the author as he shares his passion for the extraordinary history and beauty of this unique part of Mexico. As in his previous books about the area, decades of in-depth research shed new light on the remarkable history of the villages around Lake Chapala, revealing just how much they have changed over the years.

Softcover ISBN: 978-1-7770381-2-0 – 154 pages, 152 illustrations of vintage postcards (many in full color), 2 original maps, chapter notes and full index.

Hardback (with slightly higher quality paper) ISBN 978-1-7780027-1-7.

This book was released in June 2022.

Updated list of all Sombrero Books titles (print and ebooks)

 Book-List  Comments Off on Updated list of all Sombrero Books titles (print and ebooks)
Apr 062022
 

Latest releases  – most titles have print and e-book editions:

All of our titles are available via Amazon.com and other Amazon sites worldwide, and most are also available as Kindle ebooks:

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Price List (includes shipping to Canada or the U.S.)

sombrero-books-sales-page

We also sell other select new and gently used books about Mexico:

We prefer payments to be made via Paypal. Please email us for payment or any other sales-related queries. If you have difficulty obtaining any Sombrero Books title via your favorite bookstore or online retailer, please contact us.

Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: decades of change in a Mexican village

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Mar 062022
 

We are delighted to announce the publication of Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village.

In the 1940s, Ajijic, on the shores of Lake Chapala, was a small, remote, parochial village of farmers and fishermen. Today, Ajijic is a vibrant community, home to one of the largest US retirement communities outside the US, and is one of the most cosmopolitan villages in the world.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Foreign Footprints in Ajijic looks at why, how and when this astonishing transformation happened, and who and what were the driving forces involved.

Based on more than a decade of original research, this is the extraordinary, previously untold history of how early waves of foreigners settling in the village led to ripples that spread across the entire community. From artists, writers, entrepreneurs and philanthropists to land-grabbers, paradise-seekers, hippies and eccentrics —all brought their own ideas and aspirations, inevitably inspiring an astonishing transformation of their host community.

Author Tony Burton guides readers through the decades, offering examples of both the positive achievements of foreigners and the negative tensions they created; these offer some valuable lessons as Ajijic seeks to plan its future.

Whether you are a long-time resident of Ajijic, a relative newbie, or are still looking into options for your retirement years, this book offers some eye-opening insights into the community’s past.

This fully referenced book with cover artwork by Peter Shandera, has 290 pages of text, 2 original maps, 30 pages of notes, bibliography and index.

It was released in March 2022 and is now available via Amazon as a regular softcover print book. The Kindle edition will follow shortly.

By 20 March 2022, copies will be on sale in the Lake Chapala area, at the Hotel La Nueva Posada; at Diane Pearl Gallery, Arts & Activities Center, Sta Margarita 23, Riberas del Pilar; and at Hotel Villa QQ, Zaragoza 307, Chapala.

 Posted by at 10:30 am

Chapter titles of “If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants”

 If Walls Could Talk  Comments Off on Chapter titles of “If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants”
Jan 162022
 

The 42 chapters of If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants are arranged in three parts:

PART A: The town center

  1. Parish church of San Francisco
  2. Stagecoaches and 1907 traffic congestion
  3. Gran Hotel Chapala (Posada Dona Trini)
  4. Villa Ana Victoria
  5. The Widow’s Bar
  6. Casa Barragán (the Witter Bynner house)
  7. Plazas, old and new
  8. Cerro San Miguel
  9. Old Municipal Building
  10. Municipal Building (Hotel Palmera, Hotel Nido)
  11. Hotel Arzapalo
  12. Beer Garden
  13. Casa Capetillo
  14. Casa Galván (Villa Aurora)
  15. Mi Pullman
  16. Villa Ave María
  17. Chalet Paulsen (Villa Paz)
  18. Las Delicias therapeutic baths

PART B: West along Avenida Hidalgo

  1. Villa Ferrara
  2. Mineral water bottling plant
  3. Villa Tlalocan
  4. Villa Adriana
  5. Casa Albión (Villa Josefina)
  6. Villa Niza
  7. Jardín del Mago
  8. Villa Reynera
  9. La Capilla de Lourdes
  10. Hotel Villa Montecarlo
  11. Villa Bela (Villa Bell)
  12. La Casita Blanca
  13. Villa Virginia
  14. Villa Macedonia and the Schmoll residence
  15. Villa Tatra
  16. El Manglar

PART C: East of the pier

  1. Waterfront and original yacht club
  2. Casa Braniff
  3. Villa Robles León
  4. Villa Carmen
  5. Casa de las Cuentas (the D. H. Lawrence house)
  6. Villa Ochoa
  7. Chapala Yacht Club
  8. Chapala Railroad Station

The book also includes detailed original maps, reference notes, a bibliography and index.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.
 Posted by at 4:29 pm

Chapter Titles of Foreign Footprints in Ajijic

 Foreign Footprints in Ajijic  Comments Off on Chapter Titles of Foreign Footprints in Ajijic
Dec 272021
 

The 49 chapters of Foreign Footprints in Ajijic: Decades of Change in a Mexican Village are arranged in five parts:

Part A. Pre-1940: Adventurers

  1. Ajijic before 1940
  2. German land-grabber
  3. Ajijic gold rush
  4. Zara “La Rusa”
  5. Zara’s gold mine
  6. Austrian lakefront orchard

Part B. 1940s: Trailblazers

  1. Ajijic in the 1940s
  2. Rustic German inn
  3. English squire’s famous garden
  4. Posada Ajijic
  5. Dane Chandos books
  6. Violinist and the Pepsi House
  7. Neill James the writer
  8. Neill James builds dream home
  9. Art community begins

Part C. 1950s: Trendsetters

  1. International tourists
  2. Hotel health spa
  3. Advertising and marketing
  4. Radio, TV and silver screen
  5. Ajijic Hand Looms
  6. Neill James the businesswoman
  7. Save the Lake
  8. Violent crime
  9. Lake Chapala Society
  10. Educational initiatives
  11. Children’s libraries and art
  12. Foreign artists
  13. Creative Beats

Part D. 1960s: Free spirits

  1. Bohemians, hippies and drugs
  2. Village photographer
  3. Posada Ajijic: parade of managers
  4. Other Ajijic hotels and Chula Vista
  5. Zara meets flamboyant Iona
  6. Neill James the capitalist
  7. Art community consolidates
  8. Lakeside Little Theatre
  9. El Charro Negro
  10. Music since 1960

Part E. 1970s on: Modernizers

  1. Neill James the philanthropist
  2. Canadians revive Posada Ajijic
  3. Art in the 1970s
  4. Medical and health services
  5. The performing arts
  6. Zara’s final years
  7. Ajijic expands east
  8. Ajijic expands west
  9. Traditions and festivals
  10. Art and creative writing since 1980
  11. Press and academic articles
Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s Historic Buildings and Their Former Occupants

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Sep 032020
 

We are delighted to announce the publication of

If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants

Lake Chapala played an important role in the history of tourism in North America and has grown into one of the world’s premier retirement destinations. Yet, the details of how and why this transformation occurred have never been adequately reconstructed.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

At Lake Chapala, this book is now available at Villas QQ in Chapala, and at Diane Pearl, Mi México and Hotel La Nueva Posada in Ajijic.

The book is based on more than two decades of research by author Tony Burton. Join the author as he explores the history of the town’s formative years and shares the remarkable and revealing stories of its many historic buildings and their former residents.

The cover shows central Chapala at the start of the twentieth century. The turreted tower on the left is part of the Villa Ana Victoria. The illustration is a photograph by Winfield Scott that was colorized and published in about 1905 by Jakob Granat, a Mexico City-based postcard publisher.

In 1890, Chapala was a small fishing village. Within decades it became an important international tourist destination. This book explains how and why this transformation took place, and looks at the architects, entrepreneurs, adventurers and visionaries responsible.

Organized as a walking tour of Chapala, each of the 42 chapters of If Walls Could Talk focuses on a different building and explores the fascinating stories of its former occupants—locals and foreigners. The valuable legacy left by these extraordinary individuals is still clearly visible today in the streets, villas, hotels and grand mansions of this idyllic lakeside locale.

Join the author and discover the history, hidden in plain sight, of Chapala—Mexico‘s earliest international tourist destination.

After reading an advance copy, historian Dr. R. B. Brown (Centro INAH Chihuahua) commented that,

“Ever since the 1890s, the rich and famous—from Porfirio Diaz to D. H. Lawrence—have gone to Chapala to get away from it all and raise a family, rest or write. Burton recognizes the importance of specific hoteliers and restaurateurs and the contributions of Mexican architects Luis Barragán and Guillermo de Alba. He uses architecture to introduce us to the local social history and gives us a tour that allows us to appreciate not only the Chapala of today but also the grandeur of the Chapala that was.”

The book includes more than 40 vintage photographs and four original maps showing how Chapala’s street plan has changed over the years. The text is supported by a bibliography, index and detailed reference notes.

If Walls Could Talk: Chapala’s historic buildings and their former occupants is available worldwide via Amazon:

Buy your copy TODAY!

According to Soledad: memories of a Mexican childhood

 According to Soledad  Comments Off on According to Soledad: memories of a Mexican childhood
Jan 172020
 

We are delighted to announce the publication of According to Soledad: memories of a Mexican childhood, a creative non-fiction work by Katie Goodridge Ingram.

Advance readers have described this book as a literary equivalent of the award-winning movie Roma (2018), written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón. However, whereas Roma was set in 1970-1971, According to Soledad is set earlier, in 1947-1952.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

In According to Soledad, Katie Goodridge Ingram delves into her bi-cultural childhood. She was born in Mexico City and was raised there and in Jalisco. Soledad speaks of being part American and part Mexican. She says: “My skin is white but my soul is brown.” She knows city life with the family’s multicultural and artistic friends. She also knows village life with no running water and no electricity.

Soledad feels like a hybrid but is intrigued by and devoted to her unusual immigrant parents who left the US to spend their lives in Mexico. Her father is a rare book dealer often away hunting for the find of a lifetime. Her mother is a designer with an adventurous spirit who learns to shoot a gun in order to protect their house from frequent burglaries.

This memoir could be called “A border runs through it” to describe Soledad as she manages two languages every day and is hyper-observant of the sometimes shocking differences among the Mexicans, Americans and foreigners in her life.

Katie Goodridge Ingram was born and raised in Mexico and lived there for many years, first in Mexico City and then in Ajijic, a village and artist colony on the shores of Lake Chapala in Jalisco.

She wrote her first story when she was nine and has continued to write ever since. Much of her writing is influenced by the fact that, as a child of immigrants to Mexico, she felt neither completely Mexican nor fully foreign.

In regular articles for Mexico City News she followed two of her many interests: art and the cultural variety of people and villages in the Lake Chapala area. In her gallery she exhibited the works of resident artists, of visitors to the area and of newly discovered talent. When her children were small she co-founded a bilingual school with other parents. Her children are also bilingual and multi-cultural.

Her poetry and short stories have appeared in a variety of anthologies, most recently in SOLO NOVO: Psalms of Cinder and Silt. She is currently working on a novel set in the state of Michoacán.

 Posted by at 5:44 pm

New Worlds for the Deaf: the story of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in rural Mexico

 New Worlds for the Deaf  Comments Off on New Worlds for the Deaf: the story of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in rural Mexico
Jan 172020
 

We are delighted to announce the publication of another fine non-fiction work about Mexico: New Worlds for the Deaf: the story of the pioneering Lakeside School for the Deaf in rural Mexico, by Gwen Chan Burton.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Released in January 2020,  New Worlds for the Deaf is an engaging, compassionately-written book relating the powerful and moving stories of the many deaf children and youths—unschooled and lacking communication—who found language, a free education, community and friendship at the Lakeside School for Deaf in Jocotepec on Lake Chapala in western Mexico.

The author, Gwen Chan Burton, holds a Postgraduate Diploma in Education of the Deaf from the University of British Columbia. She first arrived at the Lakeside School for the Deaf in 1982. As the school’s director from 1985 to 1994, she oversaw a major growth in student enrolment and helped a talented team of teachers transform the lives of the region’s deaf children.

With only limited resources, the dedicated Mexican teachers responsible for the school’s success had to adapt the specialist teaching methods of deaf education to the varied needs of the students in this pioneering atypical school.

International support and creative fundraising by members of the area’s expatriate community enabled the school to expand and offer a boarding program for students from distant villages who would otherwise have had no specialized schooling..

New Worlds for the Deaf is a unique account of the risks and rewards of creating a pioneering school that gave seriously-disadvantaged youngsters and their families access to new hope and opportunities.

The author’s heartwarming stories of individual students and their accomplishments are interwoven with an account of the school’s history and with anecdotes about the customs and culture of rural Mexico that remain true to this day.

What a delightful read! This is a beautiful picture of the Lakeside School for the Deaf and the impact it has had on so many deaf and hard of hearing children in rural Mexico. — Dr Freeman King, Director, Teacher Training Program in Deaf Ed., Utah State University.

All proceeds from the sale of New Worlds for the Deaf benefit the hearing aid program for children in the Lake Chapala region, a program the author runs in partnership with the local committee that supports the CAM Gallaudet Special Education Centre in Jocotepec, Jalisco.

 Posted by at 5:43 pm

“Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (4th edition, for Kindle/Kobo) now published

 Western Mexico, A Traveler's Treasury (4th edition)  Comments Off on “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (4th edition, for Kindle/Kobo) now published
Jun 182018
 

Sombrero Book is pleased to announce that the 4th (2013) edition of “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” is now available (Kindle  and Kobo editions).

In “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury”, author Tony Burton reveals the magic of Western Mexico. Relaxed and intimate, this easy-to-read yet authoritative account features 37 original drawings by Canadian artist Mark Eager and 10 maps. Enjoy the author’s unique insights into local history, ecology and traditions.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Now in its fourth edition, the book remains a favorite among knowledgeable travelers visiting this region of Mexico. This new edition is one-third larger and includes dozens of new places worth exploring. It incorporates several new chapters, including four (in part five) devoted to the region around Zacatecas. Every chapter has new material. Maps have been redrawn and travel directions updated.

A mixture of interests is represented. Included are historical sights such as Zacatecas, Lagos de Moreno and San Blas; artistic colonies like Ajijic; and lakeside communities, including Chapala and Pátzcuaro. Alongside them are ecological wonders, such as Manantlán and the monarch butterflies; old mining towns like Angangueo and Bolaños; coastal resorts such as Barra de Navidad and Puerto Vallarta; Indian villages like Angahuan, and a host of others.

Many of these smaller places in Western Mexico offer a glimpse of the Mexico behind the mask; they are places where Mexico has retained her ancient culture and her ancient traditions.

All the destinations in parts one and two are within day-trip range (maximum three hours driving time) from Guadalajara (Mexico’s second city) or nearby Lake Chapala, a popular retirement center for Americans and Canadians. In part three, all the locations described are worth at least an overnight stay, though Tapalpa, Mazamitla and Tamazula are still within three hours driving time of Guadalajara-Chapala. Parts four to nine describe longer, three or four day trips, which are all well worth the investment of extra time.

No fewer than 17 of the towns featured in the book have received the federal designation of “Pueblo Mágico” (Magic Town), in recognition of their cultural, historical or ecological significance, and facilities for visitors. There are now many excellent boutique hotels, some of them in quite unexpected places, making it far easier to explore the less traveled areas of Western Mexico.

Whether your interests lie in art, architecture and archaeology; fiestas and folklore; unusual sights and natural wonders, or in Indian villages and indigenous handicrafts, this book will help you discover for yourself Western Mexico’s many hidden treasures.

Author: Tony Burton has specialized in exploring and writing about Mexico for more than thirty years. He is the author of “Lake Chapala through the Ages: an anthology of travellers’ tales” (2008) and co-author of “Geo-Mexico, the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico” (2010), and a three-time winner of ARETUR’s annual international travel-writing competition for articles about Mexico.

For other formats besides Kindle and Kobo, please use the “contact us” form and we will do our best to meet your particular needs.

Apr 182018
 

Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique, by Tony Burton, with thirty original pen and ink illustrations by Enrique Velázquez, is available in both print and e-book editions from all major online retailers (prices in US$):

Copies of the print edition are also available at select retail outlets at Lake Chapala:

  • Diane Pearl Collections
  • Mi México
  • Enrique Velázquez Art Gallery
  • La Nueva Posada (hotel/restaurant)
Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

cover-front-onlyMexican Kaleidoscope delves into Mexico’s colorful history and culture. The author focuses on a fascinating selection of events, discoveries, individuals and intrigues to explore some of the reasons why Mexico has become such an extraordinarily diverse and interesting nation.

The 30 short chapters of Mexican Kaleidoscope span the centuries, from long before the Spanish conquest to the modern day. The topics considered range from the mysteries of Mexican food, Aztec farming and Mayan pyramids to mythical cities, aerial warfare, art, music, local sayings and the true origins of Mexico’s national symbols. Along the way, we encounter many unusual, strange, revealing and wonderful facts about Mexico.

Mexican Kaleidoscope unravels some of the many forces that have helped shape Mexico’s history and culture and helps us understand the appeal and mystique of this engaging country.

The true quality of Enrique Velázquez’s original illustrations is best appreciated in the print editions. Both print and e-books have a full bibliography. The print edition also has a full index.

The author and artist signed books at a formal book launch in Ajijic on 2 December 2016 at 5.00pm in the Centro Cultural Ajijic, on the village plaza.

Mexican Kaleidoscope received this highly favorable review in the Guadalajara Reporter. [Click to read full review]

In the words of Dr. Michael Hogan, author of the best-selling The Irish Soldiers of Mexico and recently published Abraham Lincoln and Mexico: “This is a book that fills in the gaps of many hitherto unexplained aspects of Mexican society, and unravels mysteries of culture… Burton’s style is friendly and hospitable to the homebody as well as enlightening to the veteran traveler. It is a book so generous-spirited and worldly-wise that it would make a suitable gift for the novice flying to Mexico for vacation, while at the same time being a cherished companion for the expat already comfortably at home there.”

Chapter titles:

Before the Spaniards
1 The Three Sisters and early kitchens
2 Ancient astronomers rebooted the calendar
3 Sustainable farming in Aztec times
4 Pyramid sounds and the Maya blues
5 Rubber balls and Americas’ oldest ballgame
6 Roman symbols on a Maya pyramid?
Spanish rule (New Spain)
7 Post-conquest inventory
8 Oldest winery in the Americas
9 Baaad sheep depleted environment
10 Afro-Mexicans outnumbered Spaniards
11 Epic journeys and mythical cities
12 The Manila Connection: cultural exchange
Independent Mexico
13 Birth of the Mexican Navy
14 U.S. appropriates Cinco de Mayo
15 Railroads helped forge the nation
16 Utopian experiment in Sinaloa
17 Historic aerial bombing of warship
18 Deceptive national symbols
People and society
19 Huichol Indians preserve traditions
20 The Tarahumara of the Copper Canyon
21 Train driver sacrificed life for town
22 Archbishop who had miraculous birth
23 Cross-dressing maid conned high society
24 Eccentric painter led art revolution
Culture and beliefs
25 Violinist added notes to musical scale
26 January’s weather foretells year ahead
27 World’s most popular romantic song?
28 Mexico’s soundscapes and traffic whistles
29 Sports fans embrace Mexican wave
30 Mexican cats have only seven lives?

Print edition of DILEMMA by JAN DUNLAP

 Dilemma by Jan Dunlap  Comments Off on Print edition of DILEMMA by JAN DUNLAP
Feb 162018
 

Sombrero Books is delighted to announce the release of the print edition of Dilemma, a novel by Jan Dunlap. Available world-wide via Amazon, the 190-page print edition costs US$14.99. Order your copies today to ensure receiving them in plenty of time for Christmas and the Holiday  Season!

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

The Kindle e-book edition is available at

In her exciting debut novel, Dilemma, Jan Dunlap weaves a page-turning tale of international romance, drugs and intrigue, loosely based on events and characters from her past.

The novel, set mainly at Lake Chapala in Mexico, takes us back to the 1970s. Natalie, a beautiful young DEA agent, is sent to investigate an alleged king-pin in the drugs world who lives in Ajijic. Her life soon becomes far more complicated than she bargained for.

The striking cover artwork is by Oliver Rivas, one of the author’s grandsons.

Jan Dunlap, the author, was born and raised in small-town Texas. She has a formal background in sociology and spent ten years in Puerto Rico – where she met Fidel Castro – before living more than twenty years in Mexico, where she owned a restaurant-art gallery and bar.

Jan is already looking forward to the publication of her next novel, a blood-curdling tale of murder and mayhem also set at Lake Chapala.

After reading the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or similar site.

Enjoy!

 

 Posted by at 4:44 pm

New website: the launch of LakeChapalaArtists.com

 ZZzzz-other  Comments Off on New website: the launch of LakeChapalaArtists.com
Jan 202018
 

We are excited to announce that we have moved the “Lake Chapala artists and authors” project to its own dedicated website. This will allow us to modernize the look and functionality of the site and better serve our many readers.

All existing profiles of artists and authors, comments and other information, are already on the new site. All existing (old) links to or from the Sombrero Books site should continue to work normally.

The new permanent URL for the project is: http://LakeChapalaArtists.com

Enjoy!

Tony Burton

 Posted by at 12:20 pm

Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an anthology of travellers’ tales (2008)

 Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an Anthology of Travellers' Tales  Comments Off on Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an anthology of travellers’ tales (2008)
Jan 152018
 

The much-lauded “Lake Chapala Through the Ages: an anthology of travellers’ tales” is available as a regular print book, and in a Kindle edition. The book was chosen by Ellaine Halleck for the Guadalajara Reporter newspaper in 2013 as one of the 15 best books about Mexican history.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

At Lake Chapala, this book is available at Villas QQ in Chapala, and at Diane Pearl, Mi México and Hotel La Nueva Posada in Ajijic.

Lake Chapala Through the AgesLake Chapala is no longer a paradise without a past

Join award-winning author Tony Burton as he explores the fascinating history of the Lake Chapala region’s formative years from the arrival of conquistadors in the early 1500s to the start of the Mexican Revolution in 1910.

Insightful and entertaining commentary enhances this unique collection of extracts from more than fifty original sources.

Poets, friars, travellers, exiles and scientists overcome bandits and natural disasters to offer captivating tales of courage, greed, delight, unexpected triumphs and much, much more.

xiv+215 pages, with map, more than twenty original illustrations, glossary, bibliographic references and index.

Illustrated by Rosemary Chan. Published by Sombrero Books, 2008.

“Ambitious and encyclopaedic; well organized and engagingly presented” – Richard Perry, Author and Publisher, colonial-mexico

“A must-read, full of little-known facts; a brilliant anthology that reveals Lake Chapala in a whole new light.” – David McLaughlin, Publisher, MexConnect

Extracts:

Reviews

Want to learn more?

Where to buy

The Guadalajara Reporter reviews “Western Mexico, a Traveler’s Treasury”

 Book Reviews, Western Mexico, A Traveler's Treasury (4th edition)  Comments Off on The Guadalajara Reporter reviews “Western Mexico, a Traveler’s Treasury”
Jan 122018
 

These extracts come from Dale Hoyt Palfrey’s review of the latest (4th) edition of “Western Mexico, a Traveler’s Treasury” for The Guadalajara Reporter, 18 April 2014.

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

9780973519150-Cover-thumbnail“Whether you’re an intrepid on-the-road adventurer or a relaxed armchair traveler, Tony Burton’s “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” is an ideal companion… One factor that lends special appeal to this singular travel book is Burton’s departure from the stock formula found in conventional guides. He adheres to a more organic approach, drawing on personal experience and meticulous research to divulge the virtues and peculiarities of every destination.”

“Another major strength is the author’s attention to historical details that enrich the individual profile of each place. In some cases he scratched up intriguing facts by chatting with the local people, in others he tapped on tireless study of a vast array of previously published works. The bibliography lists writings going back as far as 1899, as well as “Lake Chapala through the Ages,” Burton’s own compilation of excerpts from works by other travel writers covering the era of 1530-1910.”

“Above all, the British-born geographer is a bold adventurer who delights in departing from the main travel routes to explore back roads and discover unexpected corners that other travelers and writers often see as nothing more than dots on the map. He has a knack for digging up the idiosyncrasies of each destination he visits, be it local legends and folklore, off-beat museums, geological characteristics, mining deposits of minerals, stones and precious metals, or an outstanding restaurant, inn or spa worthy of mention.”

“First published in 1993, the revised and expanded fourth edition of “Western Mexico”… opens with what qualifies as the most comprehensive guide to the Lake Chapala region available in English. “The next segment explores the agricultural valley and the Sierra highlands stretching west from Guadalajara. Part three covers Tapalpa, Mazamitla and other high altitude spots, plus the city of Colima. From there the text follows a route northeast of Guadalajara into the region of Los Altos and beyond Jalisco’s borders to León, Guanajuato and Aguascalientes, continuing into Zacatecas and the far-flung northern “hand” of Jalisco.”

“Material in parts six and seven spans the Pacific coast from San Blas, Nayarit to Cuyutlán, Colima. The final chapters thoroughly survey the state of Michoacán.”

“The development of Puerto Vallarta and the birth of the Paricutín volcano stand out among the book’s fascinating historical accounts. Expositions on Jalisco’s Manantlán Biosphere Reserve and the Monarch butterfly sanctuaries of Michoacán are obligatory reading to grasp the value of Mexico’s extraordinary natural treasures.”

“Burton’s clear writing style and bonus sidebar boxes added to each chapter make for easy, breezy reading. A series of area maps drawn by the author and Mark Eager’s attractive pen and ink illustrations of different locales complement the text. The cover art work is a reproduction of a watercolor scene of Ajijic by the late Georg Rauch.”

Both paperback and Kindle editions of “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” may be purchased from amazon.com. Ajijic outlets that keep the printed book in stock are Diane Pearl Colecciones, Opus Boutique and La Nueva Posada.

[This review, by Dale Hoyt Palfrey, first appeared in The Guadalajara Reporter, 18 April 2014]

“Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (4th edition, 2013)

 Western Mexico, A Traveler's Treasury (4th edition)  Comments Off on “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (4th edition, 2013)
Jan 042018
 

In the twenty years since its first publication, “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” has become a classic. The latest edition is easily the best ever!

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

9780973519150-Cover-thumbnailAward-winning travel writer Tony Burton reveals the magic of Western Mexico. Relaxed and intimate, this easy-to-read yet authoritative account features more than 35 original drawings by Canadian artist Mark Eager and 10 maps. Enjoy the author’s unique insights into local history, ecology and traditions. Now in its fourth edition, the book remains a favorite among knowledgeable travelers visiting this region of Mexico. The 4th edition is one-third larger than the previous editions, and includes dozens of new places worth exploring. It incorporates several new chapters, including four devoted to the region around Zacatecas. Every chapter has new material. Maps have been redrawn and travel directions updated. A mixture of interests is represented. Included are historical sights such as Zacatecas, Lagos de Moreno and San Blas; artistic colonies like Ajijic; and lakeside communities, including Chapala and Pátzcuaro. Alongside them are ecological wonders, such as Manantlán and the monarch butterflies; old mining towns like Angangueo and Bolaños; coastal resorts such as Barra de Navidad and Puerto Vallarta; Indian villages like Angahuan, and a host of others.

“Whether you’re an intrepid on-the-road adventurer or a relaxed armchair traveler, Tony Burton’s “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” is an ideal companion… One factor that lends special appeal to this singular travel book is Burton’s departure from the stock formula found in conventional guides. He adheres to a more organic approach, drawing on personal experience and meticulous research to divulge the virtues and peculiarities of every destination.” (Dale Palfrey, 2014)

Want to learn more?

Extracts from the book

Where to buy the 4th (2013) edition of “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury“:

Reviews of 4th edition

Reviews of previous editions:

Lake Chapala Map Set details

 Lake Chapala Map Set  Comments Off on Lake Chapala Map Set details
Jan 032018
 
Detail of Chapala Map

These are the definitive street plans of the major villages on Lake Chapala including Chapala, Ajijic and Jocotepec, and their subdivisions, together with touring maps of the north and south shore, and a detailed regional map showing highways, tourist information and villages within day-trip range of Guadalajara and Chapala.

Sorry: we have sold out of these maps and do not anticipate printing more copies

Lake Chapala MapsRecent Amazon reviews:

April 4, 2013: “Very Practical Map of Area with all key cities. We found the map really easy to use and up to date.”

April 23, 2014: “Wonderful, easy to read and carry in a pocket or travel wallet. Glad I was able to snag one to help me prepare for my visit to Lake Chapala, Mexico later this year.”

April 10, 2014: “My wife and I just returned from a week long exploration of Ajijic and Chapala on the shores of Lake Chapala. I was never without this map. I carried it with me, often folded in my back pants pocket. We walked around most of the time and this map helped me move around, know where we were and how to get back to our hotel. We also reviewed the map before we traveled to the area. I highly recommend it if you are traveling to the Lake Chapala area in Mexico.”

Dimensions (in inches): Concertina folded to 8.0 (ht) x 4.4, unfolding to 8.0 (ht) x 35.0 (printed both sides). The layout for the two sides is shown below:
Lake Chapala Maps, layoutThe maps come complete with an index to all streets, and the perfect size to fit in a glove box or hand bag, with all the details you’d expect:
Detail of Chapala Map

 

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NEW RELEASE: Dilemma, a novel by Jan Dunlap

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Oct 182017
 

Sombrero Books is pleased to announce that Jan Dunlap’s debut novel – Dilemma – is now available for Kindle readers at the very attractive price of US$2.90. The regular print version (real books are nice!) will be published early next month, well in time for those Christmas gifts!

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

In her exciting debut novel, Dilemma, Jan Dunlap weaves a page-turning tale of international romance, drugs and intrigue, loosely based on events and characters from her past.

The novel, set mainly at Lake Chapala in Mexico, takes us back to the 1970s. Natalie, a beautiful young DEA agent, is sent to investigate an alleged king-pin in the drugs world who lives in Ajijic. Her life soon becomes far more complicated than she bargained for.

Jan Dunlap, the author, was born and raised in small-town Texas and has a formal background in sociology.

She spent ten years in Puerto Rico – where she met Fidel Castro – and more than twenty years in Mexico, where she owned a restaurant-art gallery and bar. Completely bilingual, Jan has always loved to write and has completed several novels and screenplays.

The cover artwork is by Oliver Rivas, one of the author’s grandsons.

The Kindle edition of Dilemma can be purchased on all Amazon sites, including:

After reading the book, please consider leaving a review on Amazon, Goodreads or similar site.

The print version will be released in early November.

Enjoy!

Jun 292017
 

Canada celebrates its 150th birthday this year. In honor of Canada Day, here is a list of those Canadian artists and authors who have connections to Lake Chapala and who have already been profiled on this blog. Enjoy!

Henry Sandham (1842-1910), a well-known Canadian illustrator of the time, illustrated Charles Embree‘s historical novel, A Dream of a Throne, the Story of a Mexican Revolt (1900), the earliest English-language novel set at Lake Chapala. Embree, who published several novels and numerous short stories, was a genuine Mexicophile if ever there was one, but died in his early thirties.

Canadian artist Clarence Ainslie Loomis painted Ajijic in the early 1990s. I would love to learn more about this elusive character whose paintings are very distinctive.

Loomis was following in the footsteps, so to speak, of Canadian artist Eunice Hunt and her husband Paul Huf who spent many years working in Ajijic in the 1960s and 1970s. The couple married in Ajijic and their two sons were both born in Mexico. The family subsequently moved to Paul’s native Germany to continue their artistic careers.

In the 1950s, a young Canadian woman, Dorothy Whelan, became the partner of artist and photographer Ernest Alexander (1921-1974) who ran the  Scorpion Club in Ajijic. “Alex” led an extraordinary life but things spiraled out of control after the couple left Ajijic and moved to San Francisco.

Several Canadian poets have been inspired by Lake Chapala. For example, Earle Birney visited Ajijic in the 1950s and Canadian performance poet Canadian performance poet Leanne Averbach visited the lake many years later. Al Purdy first visited Chapala on a quest to explore the haunts of D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930) and later produced a limited edition book based on his trip. [Lawrence wrote his novel “The Plumed Serpent” while staying in Chapala om 1923.]

Canadian historian and non-fiction writer Ross Parmenter (1912-1999) only ever spent a few days at Lake Chapala, in 1946, but has left us detailed descriptions of the local villages and of what life was like at the time.

The enigmatic Maxwell Desmond Poyntz, who was born in British Columbia on 4 January 1918 and died in Canada, at the age of 81, on 29 November 1999, is known to have visited Jocotepec while working on a “proposed trilogy”. It is unclear if he ever finished this magnum opus; there is no record of its publication.

The famous Canadian playwright and novelist George Ryga (1932-1987) had a holiday home in San Antonio Tlayacapan for many years in the 1970s and 1980s and frequently visited and wrote while staying there. Several literary friends and relatives of Ryga also visited or used his holiday home. They include Ryga’s daughter Tanya (a drama teacher) and her husband Larry Reece, a musician, artist and drama professor; Brian Paisley, and the multi-talented Ken Smedley and his wife, the actress, artist and model, Dorian Smedley-Kohl. Ken and Dorian Smedley were instrumental in mounting the first (and only) Ajijic Fringe Theatre – “El Fringe” – in 1988.

We plan to add profiles of many more Canadian artists and authors associated with Lake Chapala in coming months.

Sombrero Books welcomes comments, corrections or additional material related to any of the writers and artists featured in our series of mini-bios. Please use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts, or email us.

 Posted by at 5:37 am  Tagged with:

Review by Dale Palfrey of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” for Guadalajara Reporter

 Book Reviews, Mexican Kaleidoscope  Comments Off on Review by Dale Palfrey of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” for Guadalajara Reporter
Dec 102016
 

This review, by Dale Palfrey, of “Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique” appeared in the 24 November 2016 edition of the Guadalajara Reporter:

New tome uncovers obscure details about amazing Mexico

Sombrero Books is reader-supported. Purchases made via links on our site may, at no cost to you, earn us an affiliate commission. Learn more.

“Mexican Kaleidoscope,” the latest book by Tony Burton, takes readers on a delightful romp through Mexican history and culture, spanning 10,000 years from the Pre-Hispanic era to modern times.

“Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique”

Where to buy this book

The author explains the genesis of the book in the first line of his preface: “My quest to find evidence of the past in Mexico’s present led me to some surprising discoveries.” It’s an observation that reflects his unquenchable thirst for “little-known facts, incidents or individuals plucked from the vaults of Mexican heritage.”

Indeed, over 165 pages broken up into 30 brief chapters, Burton reveals astonishing details about the people and events woven into the rich and colorful tapestry that is Mexico. All the better due to his knack for turning dry facts into to fluid prose. It’s the kind of book you can easily read straight through or jump from one vignette to another according to the appeal of the diverse topics.

The first three thematic sections are related to the centuries prior to the Spanish Conquest, proceeding chronologically through the era of New Spain’s settlement and the consolidation of independent Mexico.

Here he explores the foundations of Mexican farming and cuisine, the scientific genius of ancient astronomers and secrets unraveled through archaeological research. Further on he introduces the cradle of the Mexico’s wineries, the population’s African roots, great exploratory adventures by land and sea, and the ups and downs of the railway industry and military ventures.

Subsequent sections delve into people and society, and culture and popular beliefs, offering fascinating insights on the insular Huichol and Tarahumara tribes, true tales of eccentric characters who have left their stamp on the country, and the superstitions and common wisdom that make the people tick.

The text is complemented with handsome black-and-white illustrations designed for each chapter by lakeside artist Enrique Velázquez. The final pages are dedicated to a comprehensive bibliography and complete index to the contents.

The good news for lakesiders interested in acquiring “Mexican Kaleidoscope” is that Burton will launch sales at a public presentation and book-signing reception scheduled for Friday, December 2, 5 p.m., at the Centro Cultural de Ajijic. The books will be sold at discount price compared to the Mexican retail price of 300 pesos (US$19.99). Guests will also be able to view an exhibit of art works by Velázquez while enjoying wine and light refreshments.

About the author

Born in the United Kingdom in 1953, Tony Burton is a geographer who taught, lectured and guided specialist cultural and ecological trips in Mexico for 18 years. He and his wife Gwen currently reside on Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada and frequently travel back to Mexico.

His previous book titles include “Western Mexico: A Traveler’s Treasury” (2014), now in its fourth edition, and “Lake Chapala Through the Ages, an Anthology of Travelers’ Tales” (2008). He is the co-author, with Dr. Richard Rhoda, of the landmark volume “Geo-Mexico, the Geography and Dynamics of Modern Mexico” (2010).

He has also written extensively on Mexico’s history, economics, tourism and geography, with bylines appearing in numerous magazines, journals and online publications in Mexico, Canada, the United States, Ireland and elsewhere. Look for his growing compilation of profiles on writers and artists tied to the Lake Chapala area at sombrerobooks.com and frequent contributions to the geo-mexico.com website.

Draw for FREE COPY of “Mexican Kaleidoscope, myths, mysteries and mystique”

 Mexican Kaleidoscope  Comments Off on Draw for FREE COPY of “Mexican Kaleidoscope, myths, mysteries and mystique”
Oct 012016
 

The print and ebook editions of Mexican Kaleidoscope: myths, mysteries and mystique will be published later this month. To be among the first to receive this new book, and for a chance to win your own FREE copy, please sign up below for publication updates via email.

UPDATE – 22 October 2016. This draw has been won by Emily G. of Canal Fulton, Ohio – congratulations, Emily!

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The lucky winner will be chosen at random when the print book is published and will receive a completely FREE copy of the book (format of their choosing; tax/shipping included). Depending on the number of people signing up for updates, we may offer additional prizes.

In Mexican Kaleidoscope author Tony Burton delves into Mexico’s colorful history and culture. He focuses on a fascinating selection of events, discoveries, individuals and intrigues to explore some of the reasons why Mexico has become such an extraordinarily diverse and interesting nation.

The 30 short chapters of Mexican Kaleidoscope span the centuries, from long before the Spanish conquest to the modern day. The topics considered range from the mysteries of Mexican food, Aztec farming and Mayan pyramids to mythical cities, aerial warfare, art, music, local sayings and the true origins of Mexico’s national symbols. Along the way, we encounter many unusual, strange, revealing and wonderful facts about Mexico.

Mexican Kaleidoscope unravels some of the many forces that have helped shape Mexico’s history and culture and helps us understand the appeal and mystique of this engaging country.

The text is enhanced by charming original illustrations by Ajijic artist Enrique Velázquez. This book includes an index and bibliography.

Dr. Michael Hogan, the best-selling author of The Irish Soldiers of Mexico and the recently released Abraham Lincoln and Mexico, was gracious enough to read an advance copy and commented as follows:

“In this lively interweaving of history, cuisine, culture, tradition and superstition, Tony Burton brings the reader refreshing and often startling insights into the forces that shaped Mexican culture. There is something for everyone in this eclectic collection. Burton’s style is friendly and hospitable to the homebody as well as enlightening to the veteran traveler. It is a book so generous-spirited and worldly-wise that it would make a suitable gift for the novice flying to Mexico for vacation, while at the same time being a cherished companion for the expat already comfortably at home there.”

Mexconnect publisher David McLaughlin, who also read an advance copy, writes that:

“Once again, Tony Burton has melded his incredible knowledge of Mexico into a masterful and very entertaining collection of perspectives into Mexico. Mexican Kaleidoscope is exactly what this book is: multiple views into the colorful and dramatic story of Mexico throughout its history.”

An official book launch is being arranged for early December, in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico. Full details of the book launch will follow in due course. Watch this space!

Sombrero Books welcomes comments related to any of our books or the posts published on this blog. Please email us or use the comments feature at the bottom of individual posts.

 Posted by at 5:11 am