Last month, I told you about Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez‘s plans to tap into the Latina bookbuying market with a nationwide chain of house parties to celebrate the release of Dirty Girls on Top. The Association of American Publishers and Borders are following suit, teaming up with Las Comadres Para Las Americas to launch a book club in 15 cities, primarily in the Southwest bloc from California to Texas but also in Florida, Illinois, and Masschusetts. Esmeralda Santiago will serve as the public spokesperson for the club, which she described in the press release as “an opportunity for Latinas nationwide as well as for book lovers across the country to experience the pleasures of books and reading” and “a forum that supports the high quality of literature by and for the Latino community.”
The syllabus is tipped heavily towards Latina authors, at least for the first seven months. Beginning with Cristina Garcia‘s A Handbook to Luck in June, the club will then read books by Yxta Maya Murray, Stephanie Elizondo Griest, and Margo Candela before the paperback of Junot Diaz‘s The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao turns up in October, and then it’s on to Lorraine Lopez and Helena Maria Viramontes. Seeing that lineup gave me a weird idea, actually: could Oscar Wao, with all its emphasis on comic books and other geekery, be the book that finally gave “lad lit” artistic credibility?