Welcome to the La Comunidad Reads Book Club!
According to a 2021 Pew Research Center piece published titled “Who doesn’t read books in America?”, 38% of Hispanic adults are more likely than Black (25%) or White adults (20%) to report not reading a book in the past 12 months. That statistic is hard to accept as a Latina who loves books and reading. But a statistic doesn’t show the reasons why it might be that Latinos don’t read books.
Growing up, I didn’t have exposure or access to Latine-authored books. It wasn’t until I turned 17 that someone came into my life and introduced me to my very first book by a Latina. My whole world opened up. My love for reading deepened because I was finally seeing myself reflected in the pages of a book. But this isn’t just my story. Earlier this year, I took to social media and asked Latino readers to tell me how old they were when they read their first book by a Latino author. Most reported not having read their first book by a Latino author well past their teenage years. Even non-Latino readers felt the urge to respond and let me know that they didn’t read a book by a Latino author until much later in life.
Amplification of Latine-authored books isn’t just needed, it's a necessity. Publishers Weekly reported that Penguin Random House, one of the largest book publishers in the U.S., shared results from an audit they did of the diversity of its authors during the 2019-2021 period, and 76% of books they released belonged to white authors. Latinx authors were the most underrepresented on Penguin Random House’s list.
The aim of this author-inclusive book club series is to challenge statistics by building a space in which Latine-authored books are magnified for all readers while stimulating Latine readership. La Comunidad Reads, and there are so many readers eager to learn more about Latine literature and the unique experiences of being Latine through our stories. La Comunidad Reads will provide an inclusive space where readers can form connections with each other and have discussions we are aching to have.
See you soon at the library!
Upcoming Book Clubs
Sept. 19 | "The People Who Report More Stress"
The People Who Report More Stress with Alejandro Varela
Tuesday, Sept. 19, 6:30 p.m., Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
For this meeting of the La Comunidad Reads Book Club, Lupita sits down with short story author Alejandro Varela to talk about his newest collection of short stories The People Who Report More Stress. The interconnected stories use humor to address the impact of microaggressions, racism and social stress factors on people of color. This chronic stress can take a toll on your physical and mental health and the best antidote is community and solidarity.
Oct. 7 | El Gran Combo with Angie Cruz, Caro De Robertis, Lilliam Rivera and Jaquira Díaz
El Gran Combo
Saturday, Oct. 7, 3 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In this special Hispanic Heritage Month edition of the La Comunidad Reads Book Club, Lupita is convening a panel of incredible Latinx writers who make up the El Gran Combo. What is the El Gran Combo? In the midst of the pandemic, Latinx writers created this collective effort as a means to continue the support for bookstores and authors by building community through virtual fiestas/conversations. Featuring core author members, Angie Cruz, Caro De Robertis, Lilliam Rivera and Jaquira Díaz, this once-virtual event, now continues to make its rounds celebrating, amplifying and connecting Latine authors and readers.
Join #LaComunidadReads as we welcome the core members of El Gran Combo, author series to DC for a special conversation about community: how these authors approach writing about it through their books, how to form it, sustain it and nourish it for generations to come. Seating opens at 2:30 PM with vinyl selector Jovi bringing us salsa and Latin jazz vibes. Dancing welcomed!
Past Book Clubs
Aug. 5 | "Rivermouth" with Alejandra Oliva
Rivermouth with Alejandra Oliva
Saturday, Aug. 5, 3 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
In this powerful and deeply felt polemic memoir, Alejandra Oliva, a Mexican-American translator and immigrant justice activist, offers a chronological document of her experience interpreting at the US-Mexico border, and of the people she has encountered along the way. Tracing her family’s long and fluid relationship to the border, each generation born on opposite sides of the Rio Grande, and having worked on asylum cases since 2016, she knows all too well the gravity of taking someone's trauma and delivering it to the warped demands of the American immigration system.
Sept. 9 | "Where There Was Fire" with John Manuel Arias
Where There Was Fire with John Manuel Arias
Saturday, Sep. 9, 3 p.m. | Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
For this meeting of the La Comunidad Reads Book Club, poet and writer John Manuel Arias joins Lupita to talk about his debut novel, Where There Was Fire. They will discuss the intergenerational impacts of Machismo + Maranismo roles within the Latinx community through the queer Latinx lens, how it emphasizes the role of women as family and home-centered, encouraging passivity, self-sacrifice and chastity. They will also delve into the current stat eof magical realism in literature, the impact of U.S. agribusiness in Latin American and much more.
Read on the Go!
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DC Public Library App
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Libby by Overdrive
Read or listen to all of the La Comunidad Reads Book Club titles from your neighborhood library on your device with the Libby App! Libby is the newer library reading app by OverDrive, loved by millions of readers worldwide.
About Lupita Aquino
Lupita Aquino is the creator of a popular Instagram account – @Lupita.Reads, which has turned into a passionate bookish movement to build literary social media spaces for readers to connect. The @Lupita.Reads spaces are dedicated to building human connections through literature by highlighting the importance of reading and discussing books by authors of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and identities.
About Lupita Reads
The @Lupita.Reads community believes in the power of literature—the ability of books to teach us about each other and connect us. Though reading is a solitary experience, it can also remind us that we are not alone. At the root of the @lupita.reads brand is connection – finding and reaching for each other through the pages of books.
La Comunidad Reads with Lupita Aquino is generously supported by the DC Public Library Foundation.