Staff Wall: Chris
Hometown: East Los Angeles
Chris has been a volunteer since 2015 and is also a member of our 2016 summer staff.
How are you?
Good and busy!
How many languages do you speak?
English, Spanish, and Spanglish (Spanglish is totally a valid language, what with all its different dialects and ever-evolving vocabulary…)
How did you first discover Libros?
I was looking for Los Angeles bookstores online and found this quixotic independent library that offered free books to the community. I came in and was so impressed that I wanted in, and now here I am.
What is one hidden gem in Libros Schmibros?
We have a stellar art book section right in the front of the library, and hidden inside it is one of my favorite sub-subsections: the comic book/graphic novel section. My pet project is to grow that collection into something even more beautiful, so if you have comics/graphic novels you want to donate please do so!
How would you describe Mariachi Plaza?
I like how there’s always strains of music in the air.
What book did you choose to keep when you first got your membership to Libros?
I was very happy to grab a copy of David Foster Wallace’s Infinite Jest on my first visit. I’m working my way through it a little at a time, but that book is a beast.
What are you currently reading that you found in Libros?
I’ve been listening to a lot of history podcasts lately, so I’ve been gravitating towards ancient books. Right now, I’m reading Thucydides’ The Peloponnesian War and Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations. It’s crazy to think how these books are the thoughts of people who died thousands of years ago, and how their words are still wise today.
What book character do you most identify with?
What could you talk about forever/what fascinates you?
I’m dead-set on figuring out what exactly “Latinidad” is. I understand that the answer is unique for everyone, and ultimately the question itself is probably a red herring. But in the minds of many those words, those labels (“Latino”/”Hispanic”/whatever word you want), have power, and I want to know why. Why do people invest so much of themselves and the world around them into those words? Why do people choose to integrate them into their sense of identity?
What would you like to see more of in modern books/publishing?
I want to see more books written in Spanglish! They’re going to be niche by their very nature, but already there are great examples of books written in Spanglish that have been very successful (The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao comes to mind especially). And no italicizing the Spanish words either!
What phrases or pieces of advice stick with you?
“Cada cabeza es un mundo.”
Any last words?
I hope to see you guys at Libros Schmibros someday!