July 14, 2016

CUBA WEEK! FUN FACTS ABOUT CUBA



Cuba.  The name alone conjures up images of beautiful women, dashing men, smoldering cigars and savory dishes.  
All true, and luckily Cuba is no longer forbidden territory.  More than 10 major airlines have direct flights to Cuba, 
and there is even a brand new US-owned hotel on the island. 

Havana is once again open for business.

To Celebrate Cuba, The Latina Book Club has put together some fun facts.  How many do you know?###




FUN FACTS ABOUT CUBA

  1. Cuba is 90 miles from Miami.
  2. It’s the largest island in the Caribbean.
  3. Fidel Castro took over the country in 1959.
  4. Baseball is the most popular sport in Cuba and yet by National Decree 83a, passed in 1962, professional sports are illegal.
  5. As of 2013, Cuba has nine sites on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
  6. The Manjuari fish can only be found in Cuba.
  7. Ernest Hemingway wrote THE OLD MAN & THE SEA and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS while living in Cuba.
  8. There is a John Lennon Park in Cuba, complete with statue.
  9. Cuba has over 200 bays and 250 beaches to explore.
  10. Cuba holds one of the highest literacy rates in the world at 99.8%.  Education is free to all Cuban citizens.
  11. Cuba has two currencies – one for tourists, one for natives.
  12. The island looks like an alligator from the air.
  13. The Soviet Union had transferred over 150 nuclear weapons to Cuba by the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1961.
  14. Cuban cigars are known as the finest cigars in the world. They are hand crafted with homegrown tobacco.
  15. Voting in Cuba is mandatory.
  16. Cuba was discovered by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
  17. Pope John Paul II visited the island in January 1998.
  18. Cuba has the best health care systems anywhere in the world and so many doctors that they are often sent to other countries that have shortages.
  19. In the 2008 Olympics, Cuba won 24 medals.
  20. Spanish is the official language on the island, but a lot of Cubans speak English.

  
Check out our “Cuban” Book of the Month:  THE SKINNY YEARS by Raul Ramos y Sanchez by clicking here.  And, get your free recipe ebook with savory dishes featured in the story.
  
Click here for a list of Famous Cubanos!.

And click here to find books by or about Cubans everyone should know.  


 
CELEBRATE CUBA!

READ LATINO!






July 11, 2016

CUBA WEEK! THE MARES OF LENIN PARK BY AGUSTIN D. MARTINEZ



The Latina Book Club continues its Celebration of Cuba.
Here’s a young adult novel about a teen hero struggling to reconcile the two faces of his native land.



 
Hollywood Books International
SUMMARY:  Winner of Prize Americana, THE MARES OF LENIN PARK is the story of Uli, a fourteen-year-old Cuban boy, who struggles to reconcile his deceased father's heroic past with his mother Graciela's new marriage. Finding it more and more difficult to live in the economic times of Cuba following the fall of the Soviet Union, Uli learns that the Revolutionaries are closer than expected - dealing drugs to support the failing economy. These discoveries catapult him into a journey involving work camps, murder, and a voyage at sea.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Agustin was born in Panama after his parents fled Cuba in the early ’60s. He grew up in Miami and currently lives in the Washington, DC metro area. Agustin’s short fiction has appeared in Arcadia Literary Journal, The Binnacle, The 34th Parallel Magazine, The Write Room, Apropos Literary Journal, The Adirondack Review, Press 1, Sugar Mule, Review Americana, and Hinchas de Poesia. His debut novel, THE MARES OF LENIN PARK (Hollywood Books International,2013), won The Institute for the Study of American Popular Culture’s Prize Americana for Prose.  In 2012, Agustin started his career as a playwright. His one-act play, Blasphemous Rumours, was produced at the Florida International University Theatre (Miami), and my 10-minute play,Ham and Eggs, was produced at the Silver Spring Stage One-Act Festival (Silver Spring, MD). The latter play was also published in Palooka Journal. Agustin has worked as a teacher, translator, and a high school principal. He is currently an educational administrator in Fairfax County, VA. Check him out on Facebook/TheMaresOfLeninPark.





July 7, 2016

CUBA WEEK! FAMOUS CUBANOS


  
The Latina Book Club continues its Celebration of Cuba with a list of Famous Cuban Americans.  We were surprised at how many we could name off the top of our heads, and equally surprised by those we didn’t.  There are actors, fashion designers, sports figures, politicians and many more.  How many of these Famous Cubanos do you know?



FAMOUS CUBANOS


1.   1.   Desi Arnaz – actor, producer, singer, band leader

2.    Jeff Bezos – founder of Amazon and owner of the Washington Post

3.    Richard Blanco – inaugural poet

4.    Jose Canseco – Major League Baseball player

5.    Celia Cruz – actress and multiple Grammy winning singer

6.    Ted Cruz – Texas Senator who had his eyes on the White House

7.    Sammy Davis Jr. – actor, singer

8.    Rosario Dawson – Hollywood starlet

9.    René Echevarria – writer for Star Trek: The Next Generation and co-creator of The 4400

10. Gloria Estefan – seven time Grammy winning and Academy Award nominated singer and Broadway producer

11. Oscar Hijuelos – author best known for his book THE MAMBO KINGS PLAY SONGS OF LOVE

12. Cynthia Hudson – Vice President and General manager of CNN Espaňol

13. Danell Leyva – gymnast Rio bound

14. Anäis Nin – author best known for her book DELTA OF VENUS

15. Soledad O’Brien – broadcast journalist and producer

16. Pitbull -- rap and hip hop singer


  17.  Carlos Ponce -- actor last seen in the TV sitcom "Cristela"

      18. Narciso Rodriguez – fashion designer

19. Lola Sanchez – Confederate spy during American Civil War

20. Alisa Valdez-Rodriguez – author best known for her book THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB

 
CELEBRATING CUBA!




July 6, 2016

CUBA WEEK! 20 BOOKS EVERYONE SHOULD KNOW FROM CUBAN AMERICAN WRITERS

  

The Latina Book Club is Celebrating Cuba this week.

Check out these books from Cuban American writers and / or with Cuban American protagonists. 
There is a book for everyone from fiction to biographies to children’s books to romance to young adult.
Note this list is by no means complete, but it will get you started.  Happy Reading!



BOOKS BY CUBAN AMERICAN WRITERS


1.    A CUP OF WATER UNDER MY BED by Daisy Hernández (Beacon Press)
2.    BURN BABY BURN by Meg Medina (Candlewick)
3.    CUBA IN SPLINTERS: 11 STORIES FROM A NEW CUBA edited by Orlando Luis Pardo Lazo (OR Books)
4.    CUBAN-AMERICAN, DANCING ON THE HYPHEN by Amarilys Gacio Rassler (SPS Publications)
5.    DALIA’S WONDROUS HAIR by Laura Lacámara (Piňata Books/ Arte Publico Press)
6.    EVERYONE LEAVES by Wendy Guerra (Amazon Crossing)
7.    HOW TO LEAVE HIALEAH by Jennine Capó Crucet (St. Martin’s Press)
8.    LA BELLE CREOLE by Alina Garcia-Lapuerta (Chicago Review Press)
9.    LETTERS FROM HEAVEN by Lydia Gil (Piňata Books/ Arte Publico Press)
10. MORTIFICTIONS by Derek Palacio (Tim Duggan Books)
11. SOFRITO by Philippe Diederich (Cinco Punto Press)
12. DREAMING IN CUBAN by Cristina Garcia (Ballantine Books)
13. THE DISTANT MARVELS by Chantel Acevedo (Europe Editions)
14. THE MAMBO KINGS PLAY SONGS OF LOVE by Oscar Hijuelos (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
15. THE POET SLAVE OF CUBA: A BIOGRAPHY OF JUAN FRANCISCO MANZANO by Margarita Engle (Macmillan)
16. THE PRINCE OF LOS COCUYOS by Richard Blanco (Ecco Press)
17. THE SKINNY YEARS by Raul Ramos y Sanchez (Beck & Branch Publishers)
18. TO LOVE AND SERVE (The Calling is Reborn series) by Caridad Pineiro (CreateSpace)
19. WE CAME ALL THE WAY FROM CUBA SO YOU COULD DRESS LIKE THIS? by Achy Obejas 
     (Cleis Press)
20. WHITELIGHT by Vanessa Garcia (Shade Mountain Press)


READ LATINO!




July 5, 2016

BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE SKINNY YEARS BY RAUL RAMOS Y SANCHEZ (AND FREE CUBAN RECIPE BOOK!)

  
   
The Latina Book Club congratulates Raul Ramos y Sanchez on his new book, THE SKINNY YEARS. 
We also thank him for the free e-book with many recipes from the book.  Do let us know your favorite.  

In celebration of Raul's new book, we are Celebrating Cuba all week long.
Happy Cooking and Happy Reading!


Hard times come to everybody, Victor. Life is what you make of it, 
not what happens to you…Don’t let the comemierdas change you. – Abuela Perez

  

Beck & Branch Publishers


Colorful. Emotional. Outstanding.

THE SKINNY YEARS can take its place proudly alongside other notable coming-of-age tales like BLESS ME, ULTIMA by Rudolfo Anaya; WHEN I WAS PUERTO RICAN by Esmeralda Santiago; and ARISTOTLE AND DANTE DISCOVER THE SECRETS OF THE UNIVERSE by Benjamin Alire Sáenz.

THE SKINNY YEARS deals with lots of complex issues like identity, loss, belonging and connection. Through our teen hero Victor “Skinny” Delgado,” Ramos y Sanchez gives life and light to the “kaleidoscope of color, culture and creed” that was Miami in the turbulent 1960s.

SUMMARY:  Victor Delgado is eight years old when his family flees Cuba in 1959 as Fidel Castro moves in. The family goes from being land rich to dirt poor. Whereas the family had several maids in Havana, now the mother works as a hotel maid in Miami, while his ex-law professor Dad wallows in the past. Luckily, Abuela is always there to care for Victor and his baby sister and share her own brand of wisdom; as well as his best friend Loco, another exile with dubious connections.

Victor quickly learns to survive in this foreign land where a fat man in a red suit replaces the Three Kings and demons boldly knock on your door wanting treats. He learns a new language and earns a new nickname with one swing of the bat. He obsesses over puppy love; joins the skateboard craze with a home-made board; lives through Hurricane Cleo; stars on the football team; runs away to join a commune; and returns home to reconnect with his family and his future. 

And as Victor grows and changes so do his two homelands: Cuba and the U.S. Victor and the world around him are in constant flux – Cuba and the U.S. face off during the Cuban Missile Crisis; the Civil Rights Movement burns bright; disco balls rule the music halls; and peace walks hand in hand with drugs.

Readers will love the characters, the fast pace, and the realistic setting that frames the story.  It’s an emotionally packed coming of age tale that is destined to be a classic.  Bravo, Raul, Bravo.###


GET YOUR FREE E-BOOK!  
Author Raul Ramos y Sanchez is giving away a free copy of his CUBAN RECIPES FROM THE SKINNY YEARS, which includes some of the island’s most popular dishes like Arroz con Pollo, Grilled Flounder, Palomilla Steak, Congri, Tostones and more. Offer is good until the end of July.  Email info@raulramos.com and let him know what email address you’d like the e-book delivered to.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:  Raul Ramos y Sanchez is a Cuban-born author, who grew up in Miami before moving west. The award-winning author and his work have been featured on television, radio, online and in print media across the U.S. and abroad. His works of fiction include the Class H Trilogy (AMERICA LIBRE, HOUSE DIVIDED and PANCHO LAND).  Visit him at www.RaulRamos.com.


For The Latina Book Club’s review of Raul Ramos y Sanchez’ AMERICA LIBRE, click here.
  
For The Latina Book Club’s first interview with the author, click here.
  


HAPPY COOKING!

READ LATINO!