Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Review: THINGS LATINOS LOVE OR HATE by Lilliana Rios

Latinos are extremely passionate souls who can love something as much as they can hate it. This book will give you a glimpse of the Latino culture with descriptions of the things they favor or abhor. Do they believe in superstitions? Which foods they love to eat? What are their likes and dislikes? The author will take you through an amusing journey as she shares her personal funny experiences and how they relate to her Latin roots.

Reviewed by: Celia
Rating: 3 stars

Review:  Why do Latinas tuck money in their bras?

“Too many pillos and bandits around in downtown and we’re tired of people stealing our wallets so we put the money inside our bras. It’s safe there. Trust us. You try to steal our plata, you may be more successful at snatching one breast before we let you take our money.” (15)

“We find all things costly! If it’s not practically free, it’s too pricey. The dilemma here is that good deals aren’t good enough for us.” (16) Too true!

“No, we did not burst out of our mother’s vagina with Salsa shoes on.” (122) =D

“If I had a dollar for every time my mom asks me for grandchildren, I’d be richer than Bill Gates.” (129)

And what’s with our fascination with Walter Mercado and Sábado Gigante?

Like the title suggests, this is a book of what Latinos love and hate. Rather than being a stereotypical account of la raza (in fact, there’s a whole section on stereotypes,) this book is more endearing as Rios adds her own humorous flare and sass. The best thing about these observations was the personal anecdotes provided by the author. For example, in LATINOS LOVE PIERCING EARS, the author recounts how, at 5-years old, her abuela pierced her ear with a hot needle and a cork and how she repeatedly stabbed her as if she were auditioning for Psycho. Ouch!

Latinas will be especially proud of the author’s stats and analysis in regards to Latinas helping the economy. It’s true: Latinos are hard workers. And, yes, Latinos LOVE overfeeding you! People will also be entertained by the frightening myths of La Llorana and el cuco.

Of course, at times, some of the attributes were contradicting. For example, she goes on saying that Latinos love spending money, but then she goes on to say that Latinos love being thrifty. How can that be? A thrifty person doesn’t like to spend money. 

Readers will enjoy the candid and witty repartee from the author and will be able to relate. Of course, you won’t find every, little tid-bit fascinating. In fact, some of it is just pure fluffery. Still, I’d say this was an insightful and comical overview of what makes Latinos tick. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

Q&A with author Lilliana Rios

Lilliana Rios was born in Puerto Rico and raised in New Jersey. She is a Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) and Rutgers University graduate.

  1. What inspired you to write Things Latinos Love or Hate?

Things Latinos Love or Hate stemmed from the blog.  There was nothing like it on the web so I gave it a shot with the intent of only writing a few things, but with my experiences and surroundings I gathered so much material that I now have over 700 posts. I decided to write a book version.

  1. In a few words, how would you describe this book?

Funny, real, and entertaining!

  1. Do you feel this book stereotypes Latinos with clichés?

TLLOH is based on my personal experiences and I encourage people to read it with an open mind.  Surely, two people can look at the same object and see totally different things. If you look for the bad in something, you’ll find it and if you seek the good in it, you will find it as well. If one feels their culture is embarrassing, they may see this book as stereotyping Latinos, but for those who are comfortable in their skin they may relate to it in some way.

  1. What are some of the main issues that you explore in this book and why did you explore them?

TLLOH is a humor book, but I did touch up lightly on some serious topics affecting Latinos from systemic racism to people thinking we depend on public assistance. This is something I elaborate on in the book. I thought it was worthy of exploring since we’re portrayed so unfairly in the media. Latinos are constantly being targeted because people refuse to acknowledge things such as facts and stats.

  1. What was the hardest part about writing this book?

I’d say the toughest part was length, deciding which things to omit and which ones made the cut.

  1. What do you hope readers will gain from your book?

I’d like for readers to focus on the positive things about Latinos and learn a little about us.

  1. What do you like best and what do you like least about being a writer?

What I like about being a writer is having the ability to connect with my readers, to engage and awaken something in them. What I dislike? Writer’s block! There are days that everything comes to you at once, whether you’re driving or getting ready to go to sleep and there are times that the inspiration and ideas become dormant. It can take time to get it back.

  1. Who are some of your favorite authors?

I have so many, but I’d say strong Latina writers truly inspire me such as Sandra Cisneros, Gloria E. Anzaldúa, Cherrie Moraga, and Judith Ortiz Cofer. As for male writers, I love Elie Wiesel, Miguel Piñero, Justin Torres and Paulo Coelho’s work.

  1. Are you working on anything new right now?

I started working on a fiction book series, but I’d like to perfect it. It can take anywhere from a few months to years for its completion.

  1. And, finally, what do you think is in store for the future of Latino literature?

I think there’s a brighter future for Latino literature and for more Hispanic authors to be included in the literary canon. I don’t think we’re seeing rapid change, but America’s slightly catching up. They’re just warming up to us now.

Up Next: A review of Things Latinos Love and Hate