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Service Alert

The Bellevue/William O. Lockridge Library is closed temporarily for major repairs to the HVAC system. Work has begun and additional parts have been ordered to complete the repairs. The library will reopen once the repairs are complete. The book drop will be locked. Due dates and hold expiration dates will be extended. 

Arthur Capper TechExpress is closed for critical repairs to the HVAC system. The Department of General Services has completed their assessment, identified the issue and ordered the necessary parts. Once the parts arrive, they will require two days to complete the repairs. The earliest that TechExpress will open is Monday, July 1. The Book Return will remain locked. Available holds have been transferred to the Northeast Library. Expiration dates have been extended.

La Comunidad Reads with Lupita Aquino with the Library and DC Public Library Foundation Logos

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! 

Lupita Aquino

Upcoming Book Clubs

Aug. 3 | "Angélica y la güira" by Angie Cruz

A book club for the Mini’s! Join La Comunidad Reads for a special author story time with Angie Cruz, reading her debut picture book Angélica and la Güira. Discover how young Angélica bridges the distance between the Dominican Republic and Washington Heights through the power of music. Special local musical guest Chris Urquiaga, known as JChris, will lead a musical experience for the children, making the story come alive. Come celebrate music, community, and the joy of dancing in the street with us for this very special event. 

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Aug. 17 | Modern Queer Latine Narratives

Join us for a discussion featuring The Sons of El Rey by Alex Espinoza and Like Happiness by Ursula Villarreal-Moura. These novels explore themes of identity, legacy, and self-acceptance. Espinoza’s book follows a family of luchadores navigating hidden secrets and forbidden love from Mexico City to Los Angeles. Villarreal-Moura’s debut delves into a young woman’s struggle with a past relationship marked by power imbalances and gender dynamics. Discover how both authors address the complexities of queer Latine experiences. 

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Sept. 7 | "Legitimate Kid" with Aida Rodriguez

Join La Comunidad Reads for an engaging conversation with comedian, writer, and actor Aida Rodriguez as she discusses her memoir Legitimate Kid. Known for her ability to transform pain into laughter, Aida shares her incredible rags-to-riches journey, from being kidnapped as a child and enduring homelessness to finding success in comedy. Her memoir explores overcoming hardship with humor and resilience, offering a poignant look at her life. Don't miss this chance to hear Aida's inspiring story and insights on using comedy to navigate life's challenges.

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Sept. 28 | Reimagining Identity Through Culture

Join us for a captivating discussion with Vanessa Angélica Villarreal, author of Magical/Realism: Essays on Music, Memory, Fantasy, and Borders, and Deborah Paredez, author of American Diva: Extraordinary, Unruly, Fabulous. Both authors uniquely explore the intersections of cultural identity, memory, and performance. Villarreal’s essays delve into music, fantasy, and pop culture to reimagine histories affected by migration and colonialism, while Paredez’s work celebrates the transformative power of divas in shaping American culture. Together, they offer profound insights into how art and performance can redefine personal and collective narratives.

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Past Book Clubs

 Aug. 5 | "Rivermouth" with Alejandra Oliva

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

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 FireThey 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. 

Sept. 19 | "The People Who Report More Stress" with Alejandro Varela

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

In this special Hispanic Heritage Month edition of the La Comunidad Reads Book Club, Lupita convened 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!

Mar. 25 | ‘Say Hello To My Little Friend’ and ‘Flores and Miss Paula' with Jennine Capó Crucet and Melissa Rivero

Jennine Capó Crucet author of the forthcoming book ‘Say Hello To My Little Friend’ and Melissa Rivero author of ‘Flores and Miss Paula', delved into the way both novels navigate themes of self-identity and autonomy, through the characters grappling with their desires, dreams, and responsibilities amidst familial expectations and societal pressures.

Apr. 25 | Poetry Month Panel with La Communidad Reads

For National Poetry Month, join us for a panel conversation celebrating Latinx poets and poetry. In conversation with Lupita Aquino, poets Rigoberto González, Sami Miranda, José Olivarez will discuss their work.

Read on the Go!

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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.

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About Lupita Aquino

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

Lupita Reads with an illustration of an open book

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.

DC Public Library Foundation Logo

La Comunidad Reads with Lupita Aquino is generously supported by the DC Public Library Foundation.