The following is a guest post by author Carmen Amato.
Love books? Live on social media?
Combine the two and you get Goodreads.com, the ultimate social media site for discovering and discussing books. Latino readers are just beginning to get busy on the site which lets you:
- connect with others who like the books you like
- vote and express your opinion on books
- find new authors, book contests, events, and more.
Goodreads is a little less intuitive than most social media sites, however, and the home page can look daunting. So once you have created an account—or signed in using your Facebook profile—start with these three easy ways to discover Latino literature.
Join existing groups to begin connecting with other readers and see what they are reading. Start by clicking on the “Groups” tab on the Goodreads navigation menu at the top of the screen. This will bring up a list of “Featured Groups.” Most groups are “open,” meaning anyone can join simply by clicking on the membership button. Before joining a group, however, read the description, surf the group’s discussion forum and look at its virtual bookshelf to see if it is for you. Once you join you can add books to the group’s virtual bookshelf, participate in forum discussions and connect with other members.
There are a few groups with a strong emphasis on Latino literature:
- Latino and Latin American Literature: an active group with over 470 members. The group’s virtual bookshelf contains both English and Spanish titles including The Neighborhood by Gonçalo M. Tavares and The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea. Group discussion is in English.
- Lectores Mexicanos: one of the largest Goodreads groups with over 1260 members. Books on the group’s bilingual shelf incudes The Eagle’s Throne by Carlos Fuentes and La Insurgenta by Carlos Pascual. Group discussion is in Spanish.
- Latin American Literature and Magical Realism: despite the name, this group of over 250 members lists a wide variety of Latino literature on its shelf plus an interesting selection of related memoirs and biographies such as The Life and Times of Pancho Villa by Frederich Katz. Discussion is in English.
If you have a group of friends that wants to talk books together Goodreads will let you form a new group. Follow the “Create a Group” prompts from the “Groups” main page, add a few books via the search box, post at least one discussion thread in the group’s forum, and you’re in business.
Lists are another great starting point for navigating the Goodreads site. To help you build your own “bookshelf” for your profile, you’ll want to check out the many lists of books that others have made.
Find lists by clicking on “Listopia” under the “Explore” tab in the header menu. Listopia is the realm of lists created by Goodreads readers. There are lists of books that should be made into movies, books that never should have been a movie, best fairy tales, best young adult books—well, you name it, and there is a list for that category.
Clicking on a book from any list will show you all the reviews of that book posted by Goodreads members. It will also show other lists containing that book, allowing you to find even more great titles.
You can “vote” on a book on a list, sending it to your personal bookshelf, where it will be posted in the “To read” section. You can also add a book to a list but only by following the prompts from that specific list’s page. When you add or vote on a book, that list will appear in the “My Lists” page of your Goodreads profile.
Start discovering Latino literature with these lists:
- Popular Fiction With Latino Leads
- Hispanic Fiction
- Books Set in Mexico
- World Mysteries and Thrillers
Once you have joined a group and found some books to add to your bookshelf, browse other features of the site from the “Explore” tab.
Don’t miss the Giveaways section. There are always more than a dozen book contests going on, organized by category so you see those ending soon. Enter to win by clicking the button next to the contest book description. If you win, you’ll receive a paperback copy of the book in the mail, generally with a personal note from the author.
Also under the “Explore” tab you’ll find Quizzes, Events and Quotes. Like lists, there are quizzes about everything, from Harry Potter to “The Essential Classics Quiz.” If you don’t find one you like, make up one of your own and see how many of your new virtual friends can pass.
The Events section is a powerful resource for book lovers who want to get out and connect in the real world. At the top of the Events page enter a location. The program will search all events that Goodreads users have submitted and compile a list of events in that location. For example, just in one week there were 50 events in the greater Washington DC area, ranging from author lectures to signings to book launch parties. If you want to attend, just send the organizer a message.
Finally, the Quotes section is a great place to find a little inspiration. Type in a keyword or an author’s name to find all sorts of book-related quotes, like this funny favorite from the Cervantes classic Don Quixote:
“Finally, from so little sleeping and so much reading, his brain dried up and he went completely out of his mind.”
Are you already on Goodreads? If not, what are you waiting for? There is a word of great books out there, all on one great site.
Carmen Amato is the author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Both draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America where she discovered the best coffee on earth. She currently divides her time between the United States and Central America, using travel time to work on her next novel. Join her on Goodreads at http://www.goodreads.com/authorcarmenamato and visit her website at http://carmenamato.net. She can also be found on Twitter @CarmenConnects.