This September 2019, Word Up Community Bookshop/Librería Comunitaria is launching UPTOWN READS, a neighborhood-wide program that celebrates great literature and the community-wide reflection that can come of a shared reading experience.
Modeled after the National Endowment of the Arts’ Big Read program, Uptown Reads aims to engage as many Uptown neighbors as possible by helping create events in different spaces—reading circles, talks, potlucks, storytelling, walking tours—with event support from Word Up.
Uptown Reads’ inaugural book is Dominicana by Angie Cruz. Published by Flatiron Books in September 2019, Dominicana is about Ana, a 15-year-old girl who is set up in an arranged marriage to a man twice her age, and her journey from Dominican Republic to New York City—or, more specifically, to 165th St. and Broadway—in the mid-1960s. With concerns around immigration, domestic violence, housing, ethnic and racial tensions, and other related social issues still very much live in the neighborhood, we hope that Ana’s story will resonate with readers and also inform some anew of the histories that many among us carry.
Angie Cruz is a New York born Dominicana who traveled to and from NYC to D.R. for most of her formative years. Her first novel, Soledad (2001) and second novel, Let It Rain Coffee (2005) were both published by Simon & Schuster. Her novel, Dominicana, forthcoming this Fall 2019 with Flatiron Books, was inspired by her mother's arrival story. To research this novel Angie scoured many photo albums and this inspired the digital photo archive accessed through instagram: @dominicanasnyc. Angie is currently an Associate Professor at University of Pittsburgh. The co-founder and editor of the literary journal, Aster(ix). She divides her time between Pittsburgh, New York and Italy. She is featured in the mural on the side of Word Up, "The Living History of 165th St.," created by Colective Amaranta.
PARTICIPATE IN UPTOWN READS
ORGANIZE AN EVENT:
Whether you are an established book club or planning a one-off event, we can help! Register your event by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, event title, date, time, venue, address, and description, and you can take advantage of discounts, swag, promo help, and other enhancements for your event. Some of the things we can supply are listed below. If you have any additional suggestions, please feel free to get in touch with us!
- Book club/reading circle: A classic and easy way to organize an event would be to hold a book club meeting (or reading circle) by setting up a time when a group of people you contact—whether they are friends, coworkers, or other associates—can meet to discuss Dominicana. You can set multiple meeting dates and assign specific parts to be read before each meeting, or you can just set one meeting when everyone can discuss the entire book. The organizer or another moderator may prepare questions for the group to get the conversation started. You may even choose to work in time to read excerpts together during the book club meeting. If people wishing to participate in the book club have not yet read the whole book by the time of the meeting, that is okay! They can still join and participate in the discussion, or they can simply listen and be inspired to read further. Linked here is a Reading Group Guide that Flatiron Books has created.
- Food-based event: Ana is often cooking in Dominicana, thinking about what she might cook, or sharing excess food with her building neighbors. If you want to host an event that feeds both your mind and your belly, then consider enhancing your reading by gathering friends and colleagues for a potluck, with foods in the book, or other traditional meals from the Dominican Republic.
Click image to download recipes
- An event with your own stories, in words and images: To research Dominicana—which was inspired by her mother’s arrival story—Angie scoured many photo albums and eventually created a digital photo archive accessed through instagram: @dominicanasnyc. If you want to host an event that makes space for your own stories, and those of others in your community, consider an event that involves one or all of the following: having attendees bring their old photos, which you can scan through apps such as Google's PhotoScan, and submitting to Angie’s archive; having attendees write down their own arrival stories, in either a writing workshop or a more casual event; having attendees tell their stories as part of an open mic event.
- A party with the songs from the event! Listen to the Spotify playlist that Angie created with songs from the book, here.
BOOK CLUB FACILITATORS: Your group may already have someone who can moderate or facilitate a book club meeting or reading circle. However, if you would like to be paired with a neighbor who can facilitate a reading circle for your group, please get in touch at email@example.com!
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST: Listen along to music from the novel on the Dominicana A Novel playlist, created by Angie Cruz.
BUTTONS: Flatiron Books has generously provided some goodies that you can distribute at your events! Register your event on the Uptown Reads website to reserve a set of buttons, and other swag.
DISCOUNTS: For book clubs, reading circles, and other events registered on our Uptown Reads webpage, we can provide:
- A promo code on our website, exclusively for members of your book club members, to buy Dominicana at www.wordupbooks.com at a discount.
- Register your book club on the Uptown Reads website and your book club members can get discounts for in-store purchases of Domincana, at our storefront at 2113 Amsterdam Ave.
- Deeper discounts for bulk orders of 10 copies or more, billed through the event organizer.
READING GUIDE: Download the Reading Guide, created by Flatiron Books, here.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
ATTEND AN EVENT:
Thursday, September 5, 2019 @ 7pm
Dominicana Book Launch with Angie Cruz
Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
530 West 166th St.
Laura Gomez (Orange is the New Black) will introduce the book and lead a Q&A between Angie Cruz and actress Coral Peña, audiobook narrator of Dominicana.
Enjoy a happy hour with music by DJcensura, and wine and food by Chef Farys of Pop & Pour.
Tuesday, September 24, 2019
Reading with Angie Cruz
City College of New York
138th St. and Convent Ave.
Friday, November 15, 2019
Dominican Writers Book Club
Alianza Dominicana Cultural Center
530 West 166th St.