By Ed Nawotka
Las Comadres is 15,000 strong nationwide group of Latinas which was begun in April 2000 in Austin, Texas and has since expanded to 100 U.S. cities. In 2008 the group partnered with the Association of American Publishers to launch the Las Comadres and Friends National Latino Book Club. The book club meets monthly nationwide to discuss English-language works written by Latino authors, with many sessions hosted by teleconference. Currently, book clubs are held in 15 cities across Arizona, California, Connecticut, Washington DC, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island and Texas. You can join the book club and find more information about specific events here.
The 2011 reading list, below, includes fiction, non-fiction and children’s literature:
* January – Stay With Me, A Novel by Sandra Rodriguez Barron (HarperCollins Publishers). Special teleconference for The Norton Anthology of Latino Literature, Ilan Stavans, General Editor (Norton)
* February – The Lady Matador’s Hotel, A Novel by Cristina García (Scribner)
* March – The Next Big Story: My Journey Through the Land of Possibilities by Soledad O’Brien (Celebra)
* April – The Frog Was Singing by Rita Rosa Ruesga (Scholastic Children’s), with additional discussion on The Trouble with Half a Moon by Danette Vigilante (Penguin Children’s)
* May – The Island of Eternal Loves/La Isla de Los Amores Infinitos by Daína Chayiano (Random House/Vintage Español)
* June – Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers), with additional discussion on I Will Save You by Matt de la Peña (Delacorte Press) and The Midnight Palace by Carlos Ruiz Zafón (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)
* July – The Farthest Home is an Empire of Fire: A Tejano Elegy by John Phillip Santos (Penguin USA/Viking), with additional discussion on King of the Chicanos by Manuel Ramos (Wings Press), and Strawberry Fields: A Book of Short Stories by Chuy Ramírez (First Texas Publishers)
* August – Conquistadora by Esmeralda Santiago (Random House)
* September – The Realm of Hungry Spirits by Lorraine López (Grand Central) with additional discussion on The Traitor’s Emblem by Juan Gómez-Jurado (Atria Books)
* October – If I Bring You Roses by Marisel Vera (Grand Central)
* November – Tamales, Comadres, and the Meaning of Civilization by Carmen Tafolla and Ellen Riojas Clark (Wings Press) with additional discussion on Puerto Rican Goldilocks: A Lyrical Journey Through El Barrio by Marisel Anderson-Herrera (Author House)
* December – The Couturiere, A Novel by María Dueñas (Atria Books)
Las Comadres President and CEO, Nora de Hoyos Comstock says many readers have credited the book club with introducing them to the work of Latino authors whose books they might not otherwise have read. “We are very happy with the response and are trying to find ways to continue to support as many authors as possible and to start book clubs in more cities,” she said in an official release.