Best Latino Books of 2008

"if you can afford it, buy our books rather than borrow them from someone else" - Sofia Quintero

By Marcela Landres
Published on LatinoLA: December 1, 2008

Best Latino Books of 2008

Given the current economy, you're probably looking for ways to trim your holiday budget. Make your dollars stretch by giving books as gifts. Have a gamer for a nephew? Give him the official guidebook to his favorite video game. Got a foodie for a best friend? Get her a cookbook. Is your
boss a golf fanatic? Buy him his favorite golfer's autobiography. There's a perfect book for every person on your list, even the one whose personal library consists of the Yellow Pages. Before you shop, read Sofia Quintero's "An Author's Holiday Wish List" to understand why buying books is important for all writers. Then peruse this year's Latinidad List for inspiration on books to buy for you and yours. To nominate a book for next year's list (one you wrote or read) please e-mail me at marcelalandres@yahoo.com.

Helping Latino writers get published, Marcela Landres

An Author's Holiday Wish List by Sofia Quintero

"During this season of giving, I'd like to humbly request that you bestow a present on your favorite author. Publishing is an increasingly difficult industry, complicated by the mystery of how it actually does and does not work to our readers. That is, the folks who may appreciate us the most tend to know the least about what we go through to get that book into your hands. As a result, sometimes our biggest fans do thingsor fail to do thingsthat hurt our ability to get that next book to you.

Here are things you can do to be sure that your favorite author can continue to serve your entertainment and/or enlightenment needs next year and beyond. They cost little to no time or money, and make all the difference.

* Buy your copy. To properly feed you favorite author, you must buy the book, LOL! Seriously, it's that simple. If you borrow if from your friend and then pass it on to your cousin, of course, we're flattered. But we're also in trouble. The biggest thing that makes the publishing house think, "This is an author we should keep publishing," is book sales. Word of mouth only helps an author if it translates into more books sold not borrowed. There's no way to track borrowed books so please, if you can afford it, buy our books rather than borrow them from someone else.

* Buy the book for someone else. In general, books are fantastic gifts because there's one for every person, even the one who hates to read. Now to give back specifically to your favorite author, buy the book you love most and give it to someone else who you think will love it, too. Don't just tell him or her, "You have to read this," and hope they do. And because it bears repeating, certainly don't give that person your copy, LOL! Buy the book for them. If you can get it autographed, that's a special touch, and most authors love to oblige if you cover the postage and give us enough time. Chances are that if you go to such a length to stand by your recommendation, the person will actually make the time to read it. There's no better way for a fan of an author to show his or her appreciation than by recruiting new readers to our work.

* Ask for it at the library. Not all people who love to read can afford to buy books, but you can still support your favorite author through your local public library. Simply ask the librarian to order copies of our books if the neighborhood branch doesn't already have them. In their diligent effort to serve you, librarians do keep track of such requests as well as monitor which books are borrowed most frequently. Get your favorite author on your librarian's radar, and you have done an incredibly helpful thing."

To read the rest of the article, please visit Sofia Quintero's blog at

The Latinidad List

Literary Fiction The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Every character is simultaneously original and familiar.

Poetry Unfinished Portrait by Luivette Resto
Grounded in the reality that is the U.S. Latino experience.

Chick Lit More Than This by Margo Candela
Though a happy ending is certain, you can't wait to get there.

Thriller Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serrano
If Elmore Leonard were Nuyorican this is the novel he would write.

History A Universal History of the Destruction of Books by Fernando Baez
Mind candy for the brainiacs in your life.

Lifestyle Practically Posh by Robyn Moreno
Thrifty tips on living well, perfect for our tough economic times.

Cookbook Simply Delicioso by Ingrid Hoffman
Fun and flavorful everyday meals that won't take all day to cook.

Young Adult Amor and Summer Secrets by Diana Rodriguez Wallach
A Philadelphia princess goes to Puerto Rico and finds her Latinidad.

Middle Grade The Smell of Old Lady Perfume by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
The original title gives a glimpse of the poetic lines peppered throughout
this poignant debut.

Picture Book - Sergio Makes a Splash by Edel Rodriguez
Finally -- a charming tale that doesn't involve abuelitas, tamales or pinatas.

Latinidad? ? 2003 by Marcela Landres

About Marcela Landres:
Marcela Landres is an Editorial Consultant who specializes in helping Latinos get published. She was formerly an editor at Simon & Schuster and is the author of the e-book How Editors Think.
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