Tuesday night I had a wonderful experience presenting and signing my books at the East Los Angeles Library, where I worked as a librarian for ten years. Of course it was rewarding to sell and sign copies of my book; but even more rewarding was the opportunity to speak about my passion for libraries. My second book, Silence, Please, is partly set in a library, where the three main characters work. The primary reason I selected such a setting was to present an accurate picture of how libraries and librarians work. The characters are not stereotypes, and the work situations they encounter are based in reality.
However, rather than focus my talk on the book, I stressed the importance of libraries in our society, and how they depend on local politics and the support of the community for their successful operation. I also told the story of how I learned to read in the library where my siblings would take me after school when I was in the first grade. Back then, I was having a tough time keeping up with the other kids in class because their reading skills were already in place. Having skipped kindergarten, I barely knew my ABCs. My siblings read to me in the children’s department of the library, and that’s where I learned to read. I love libraries for introducing me to the books I love.
Now . . . about books . . . The past week I read Michael Nava’s City of Palaces, which is a historical novel set in Mexico City. I love the exquisite language the author employs to describe the city and lives of the people in pre-revolutionary Mexico. I respect writers of historical fiction for the research they must do to bring an era to life for their readers. Nava also raises interesting points about race and racial conflict in the Mexico of that period. I highly recommend his book to anyone seeking to learn more about Mexico’s history. It is the first of a planned series of four volumes.