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FAREWELL TO OSCAR HIJUELOS

"I quietly write novels.” –Oscar Hijuelos



A native New Yorker of Cuban descent, Pulitzer Prize winning author Oscar Hijuelos died on October 12 at the age of 62.Our prayers go out to his wife, Lori Marie Carlson.

Best known for his book, THE MAMBO KINGS PLAY SONGS OF LOVE, and the subsequent movie starring Antonio Banderas and Armand Assante.MAMBO KINGS was about a pair of Cuban brothers who start an orchestra in New York and hit the big time, appearing on the “I Love Lucy” show co-starring Desi Arnaz, the very image of Cuban American success.

The 1989 book went on to win Hijuelos the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, making him the first Latino to ever win such an illustrious honor.The author was actually a quiet man, who shunned the spotlight. He wrote eight novels in his career starting with OUR HOUSE IS THE LAST WORLD, EMPRESS OF THE SPLENDING SEASON, and, of course, the MAMBO KINGS sequel, BEAUTIFUL MARIA OF MY SOUL.

Hijuelos grew up in Morningside Heights, New York.His parents were …

Q&A WITH JAIME ALVAREZ

The Latina Book Club is proud to introduce Jaime Alvarez, author of DICHOS DE MI MADRE.It’s a very emotional book and gives us a clear portrait of its author -- a loving, passionate, spiritual family man. Jaime’s poetry and life lessons are heartfelt and very positive. Hopefully, people will learn from his life experiences, and realize that the choices we make and how we live with them are what make us who we are.Jaime is now collaborating with his daughter Elena Labastida on a new book. Here is an interview with both of them.Enjoy.



Everybody has something interesting to say and at least one book to write. ---Jaime Alvarez




LBC:Tell us about your books. Who did you write them for?

JAIME:SKIN TO SKIN was my first book. It actually took 10 years to write. At the beginning my intention was to keep an accurate chronology of events that were developing very rapidly in our court case. Later on, the book took on a life of its own and became a refuge for me to keep my sanity and maintain my coura…

REVIEW: ALMOST WHITE: FORCED CONFESSIONS OF A LATINO IN HOLLYWOOD by Rick Najera

Sometimes when you are the only Latino in the office, you start feeling like the “token Latino.”At moments like those, you need to straighten your spine, take a deep breath, and show the powers-that-be what you are made of.You don’t want them to see you as the Latino and be predisposed to dismissing your work as only satisfactory.You put your best work forward and if you have to act “Almost White,” then that is what you do to get ahead.Because you want that foot in the door, and once you are in, then you change the “system” from within.That is pretty much what award-winning writer, actor, director, comedian, playwright, producer and author Rick Najera has done in Hollywood.  And, notice that these confessions were "forced" out of him. In his new book, Almost White: Forced Confessions of a Latino in Hollywood, Najera shines the spotlight on his life.For over 20 years, he has written for some of the top sitcoms and has met and been mentored by some of the biggest stars around, …

WRITERS WEDNESDAY: REYNA GRANDE

The Latina Book Club's mission is to promote Latina / Latino authors.We do this through book reviews, author interviews, publicity announcements, book of the month selections, etc. A new popular feature we added this year is "Writers Wednesdays." The first Wednesday of each month, we will feature a writer talking about ...writing.
          Our guest this month is Reyna Grande.She preferred that we ask her questions on writing, so below are her answers.Happy Reading!



LBC: When did you know you wanted to write?

REYNA:I discovered writing by accident. In junior high, I was an English as a Second Language student and I began to write as a way to learn English. I wrote stories about my hometown in Mexico, about the people I had left behind when I came to the U.S. Eventually, writing was no longer about learning English, it became my way of making sense of the world around me and holding on to my memories. By the time I got to high school, I was in regular English classes, but w…

OCTOBER BOOK OF THE MONTH: THE PITCHER by William Hazelgrove

THE PITCHER by William Hazelgrove is destined to become a classic. It is well-written, funny, heart-warming, engaging, easy to read, romantic and uplifting. On the surface this story may seem to be all about baseball and pitchers, but it’s more than that. A Junior Library Guild Selection, THE PITCHER is about a loving and determined Hispanic mother who will endure anything and survive everything for the love of her child and his right to fulfill his dreams; it’s about overcoming prejudice and poverty; it’s about second chances; and most of all, it’s about learning to believe in yourself. Click here for the full review.   Happy Reading.###