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I was out Christmas shopping yesterday so did not see this message until this morning – a response from the  New York Times!  They are responding to the continued protests from the Latino community in regards to their not including a Latino book or author on their annual book list…again.

The Good News:  they ARE looking. 

Poor Alan Weinberg is a consultant to the NYT and is being bombarded with emails. Now, while I am not sorry he is getting emails, I am sorry some of them are calling him racist and such. 

Let’s not resort to insults, Mi Gente.  Let’s keep the dialogue open with Alan and theNew York Times and let’s keep it constructive and positive. 

Below are his email and my response, which was probably too long but I wanted to give him as much info as possible.  If anyone has any extra links that would prove helpful about Latino book awards or review sites, let me know.  I will compile a more extensive list and pass it on.

And if anyone knows of Latino books and authors that should be reviewed, please let me know.  For example, I knew nothing about Gizelle Studevent, whom Alan was talking about.  Her book BRIDGES is supposed to be an “incredible journey through the fascinating mind of an impressive young writer.”  I’m adding it to my TBR pile for the New Year.

Fingers crossed for 2014 being the year a Latino makes the New York Times list.  It will happen!

Until then, Feliz Navidad and Happy New Year. ---maria

On Dec 20, 2013, at 3:10 PM, Alan Weinberg from the New York Times wrote:

I cannot understand why so many folks are blogging about the lack of Spanish writers being represented in the NY Times final list.

I received an email back in the summer asking me to take a look at your website and look at some books by Latina writers. Well, I am only a consultant to the Times. I told them that I get Blacks and Latinos from every book club in the city hounding me about not nominating any Africa-American or Latino authors.

I got 79 emails from book clubs, including ten from your folks in the past twenty minutes. Most of them accusing me of racism and total bias. I was told that the only reason why the Times considered BRIDGES by Studevent was because she was half Jewish.  

I hope you folks over there at the LBC continue your passion for writing. We have our eyes on (Lorena) Fernandez, Theresa Varela and (Junot) Diaz. The Studevent girl is in a league of her own (not because she is half Jewish, half Mexican who I heard speaks fluent Spanish), but because BRIDGES was so good that it kept my college aged daughters quiet for an entire weekend. Diaz's style is compelling and his teasing has been copied by numerous white writers on Park Avenue.

Hope you and your members cut me some slack. My email and blogs are about to explode.

See you in 2014.  -- Alan Weinberg

On December 21, The Latina Book Club responded:

Hi, Alan.

Thank you for writing. I hope you won't mind that I will share your note on our site.

The Latino Community and I are upset because we haven't seen our authors, our books on the New York Times list for years. And we can't believe that in all these years the New York Times has not found ONE worthy Latino author/book to include. 

It's promising that you have your eyes on Lorena Fernandez, Theresa Varela and Junot Diaz, who won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 2008.

And I am happy that you took a look at The Latina Book Club site and others to see what books Latinos --and non-Latinos! -- are reading and talking about.

The Latina Book Club started its own Books of the Year list this December. It includes all the exciting books we read and authors we interviewed who had great tales to tell. 

May I suggest you also keep eyes on Sandra Cisneros, Alex Espinoza, Reyna Grande, Elizabeth Huergo, Jonathan Marcantoni and Cecilia Velastegui to name a few. (Check out our list for more authors to watch!)

Please do check out these other sites for book suggestions:

Las Comadres de las Americas is a non-profit organization run by Nora Comstock out of Texas, with a large national book club. The club reads 3-5 Latino books a month and has teleconferences with the authors, which are recorded and always available:

The Examiner, author Mayra Calvani does reviews and interviews with Latino authors:

La Casa Azul Bookstore in Harlem, Aurora Anaya-Cerda, whom The White House recognized as a Champion of Change this year, is doing a great job of highlighting the Latino writer and community events so much so that La Casa Azul is now a must-see for NYC visitors.

And, let's not forget to mention the Latino book awards sites.  Have you heard of the Pura Belpre Awards from the American Library Association or the International Latino Book Awards from the Latino Literacy Now organization?  Below are their links for your perusal: 

Alan, I'd welcome the opportunity to continue our dialogue about Latino authors and books. If you are in New York City, I would like to invite you to meet members of Las Comadres Book Club or take you on a tour of La Casa Azul.  I can also introduce you to one of the organizers of the annual Latino Writers Conference --Marcela Landres-- who also helped launch the Brooklyn Book Festival.

There are a great many Latino authors and books being published yearly.  The Latina Book Club and others in the Latino community want to ensure that the New York Times is taking note.  If you need books or more reviewers, let us know and we will help. 

Thank you very much for writing me and letting me know that you and the New York Times ARE looking at Latino authors. My fingers are crossed for 2014 being the year a Latino makes your list.

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Holiday!


PS-- do take me up on my offer for books, meeting book club members and the tour of La Casa Azul.

   Maria Ferrer
   The Latina Book Club
   2012 Best Books Blog Award
   2011 Favorite Literature Blog
   Top 100 Latina Blogs
   A Latina Blogger
   Nunca Sola
   Follow us on Twitter @latinabookclub
   Founded 2005

They ARE looking!   Let’s keep the dialogue open.  Let’s be constructive and positive. 

Happy Reading and Happy Holidays!


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