9. The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love by Oscar Hijuelos
This Pulitzer Prize-winning novel revolves around the Castillo brothers, who fled Havana in pursuit of Mambo dreams and sexy sirens. New York’s Upper West Side was never as sizzling as when Mambo giants like Tito Puente, Mongo Santamaria, and Machito lit up the dancing ballrooms with many a Papi Chulo y Mami Chula who took to the Park Palace Ballroom on E. 110th Street, sexing it up to syncopated rhythms played by The Mambo Kings. “He used to live for that moment when he could strip a woman down on a bed…Miss Vana Vane had a mole just below the nipple of her right breast…she liked him, liked it, liked his manliness and his arrogance and the way he threw her around on the bed…he licked the mole on her breast that she thought ugly with the tip of his tongue and called it beautiful.” Que rico, Mami!