Owner: Aurora Anaya-Cerda
Q: What is the history of the Casa Azul? How and when did you get the idea?
I have always been surrounded by books, as a child I practically LIVED at the local library and also had a mini library at home – in college I worked at an independent bookstore, so the idea of owning my own bookstore seemed like the natural next step. I contemplated the idea after college, but did other things before making the decision to open La Casa Azul Bookstore. When I moved to East Harlem from East Los Angeles I decided to make the dream a reality. I enrolled in a business course and immersed myself in the book industry world; soon I was so motivated and determined to open the bookstore that there was no going back.
I launched La Casa Azul Bookstore as an online store in the Spring of 2008, providing a platform for Latino authors via the bookstore e-newsletter. I also began having readings with local authors after the launch of lacasaazulbookstore.com.
Q: Do you only sell books by Latino authors or all books? Is there a catalog from which to choose from?
Customers can purchase any and all books (including audio books) online via the website link www.lacasaazulbookstore.com. They can also sign up for the bookstore newsletter on the home page.
Q: What books are your bestsellers? What authors are your bestsellers?
Bestsellers include authors like Junot Diaz, Isabel Allende, and authors that I feature in the “Author Spotlight” of the newsletter. Children’s books are also popular.
Q: You partner with El Museo Del Barrio for a bookclub. How do you choose the books? How is the bookclub going?
La Casa Azul Bookstore partnered with El Museo del Barrio in 2008 to form the Barrio Book Club. The monthly event has become a gathering place for lovers of Latino literature and a platform for emerging writers. The Barrio Book Club is unique because readers and fans of local Latino writers can meet and dialogue with a different author each month.
Anyone can join and attend the book club meetings, whether you’ve finished the book or not. I choose the books but the themes vary so much from month to month that members get to read books they might not normally read. We’ve had writers who write mystery, young adult, chic lit, poetry, memoirs, short stories … it’s great to have that variety!
Next two book club meetings and books are:
September 14, 6:30pm
WHEN A TREE FALLS by Beatriz Rivera
October 12, 6:30pm
BOOGIE DOWN by Daniel Serrano
More information, including the location is listed on the bookstore website, http://www.lacasaazulbookstore.com/
Q: What are you reading now?
I recently picked up MADONNA’S OF ECHO PARK by Brando Skyhorse – highly recommend it! I also have a few books on my night stand that I can’t wait to get to: GOLONDRINA WHY DID YOU LEAVE ME? by Barbara Renaud Gonzalez, DEL AMOR Y OTROS DEMONIOS by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, and LOS DETECTIVES SALVAJES by Roberto Bolaño.
Q: How can readers support La Casa Azul?
Here are 7 ways to support La Casa Azul Bookstore:
* Sign up for the store e-newsletter
* Be a part of the Founding Familia as a bookstore investor
* Purchase books for your school library or classroom from La Casa Azul Bookstore
* Host a book reading at your school, organization, or club
* Invite La Casa Azul Bookstore to your school book fair or parent/teacher night
* Attend the Barrio Book Club at El Museo del Barrio
* Tell everyone you know about La Casa Azul Bookstore!
This Fall, Hispanigentsia will feature Aurora and La Casa Azul Bookstore in the Upwardly Mobile Road Tour, a documentary that features some of the country’s Hispanic-American academic, artistic and professional talent. Aurora and La Casa Azul Bookstore have been interviewed for blogs, such as LaBloga, PR Sun, and MiLatinoVoice. In the summer of 2009, she was featured in the New York Daily News as an innovative entrepreneur who promotes literature and Latino writers in local East Harlem venues, including El Museo del Barrio. American Latino TV also featured Aurora and La Casa Azul Bookstore in 2009; the award winning show interviews Latinos doing extraordinary and inspirational things.
Ms. Aurora Anaya- Cerda is an active member of El Barrio’s community as a participant and supporter of Latino cultural and educational events. A graduate of UCLA, Ms. Anaya-Cerda has a double Bachelor’s degree in History and Chicana/o Studies. She was awarded the Juanita Centeno Leadership Award and the UCLA Women for Change Leadership Award, both for outstanding dedication and service to her community. Aurora received a scholarship from the New Start Fund, awarded to women entrepreneurs in New York City and was recently accepted as a member of the Young Hispanic Leaders Program.
COMMENT: I've had the pleasure of meeting Aurora at a few of the Comadrazo Meetings in NYC. She is a dynamo, and I am always in awe of her creativity and energy. Have you met Aurora? Share your meeting of her with us. And let us know what you've ordered from La Casa Azul Bookstore recently.
FREE BOOK: all commentators will be entered to win a free copy of TELL ME SOMETHING TRUE by Leila Cobo. Winner will be announced on Friday, August 13. --mcf