Reading Around the Globe: Yani in Puerto Rico
“The libraries here are for education only, most of them are part of the universities.“
Welcome to Reading Around the Globe, a series here on Reader Voracious Blog geared at fostering a culture of understanding in the bookish community about access to books in various countries around the world. Each post in the series highlights a full interview with one international reader. You can read more about this series and catch up on previous interviews on the master post.
- What is your name? Yani
- Blog URL? Read & Create
- Twitter handle? @CreateRead
- Where do you live? I live in Puerto Rico.
- Do you find that there is a culture of reading where you live? If not, tell us a bit how you came to be one! I honestly didn’t think it was one, but after going to a bookstore that actually does book meetings/clubs/skype discussions with authors I saw how many people actually enjoy reading. Besides that I have seen in other bookstores how they fill up with people looking for something new to read or just to listen to an author talking about their book. But, honestly, that is something you see in bookstores, the reading culture here is not something a lot of people share like in other countries. I came to be a reader because my parents always told me that reading is fun and I could learn a lot more just from reading. And they taught me how to really early.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I enjoy almost everything that’s why I don’t have an specific answer for this question. But, fantasy is a little hard for me to read (but gets my attention SOO MUCH!) and romance is that one genre that I almost always stay away from.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes, I am that one student that read every book that was assigned at school and university, hahahaha.
- Do you also read books published in your native language/published locally to you? If so, tell us a bit about what kinds of books are published in your country! I do read in my language, mostly because if I know my mom, grandmother or dad would enjoy it too, I know they would prefer to read it in Spanish. But… I can’t really tell you what kind of book is published in my country without being a little wrong but I’m going to try. I know that they used to publish books about different aspects in the country, like migration, economy, cultural aspects. To mention some: La guagua aérea by Luis Rafael Sánchez, Papo Impala está quita’o by Juan Antonio Ramos, Cuando era puertorriqueña by Esmeralda Santiago, etc. But now, the book are more political topics and satire in the political spectrum.
- Are there libraries where you live? If so, what kinds of books can you find there? Are you able to get the books that you want? Well, yes… but not like in other countries where you can exchange books, buy them, etc. the libraries here are for education only, most of them are part of the universities.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) They are really prevalent, even more now that Border came (I miss it sooo much), and other bookstores (there aren’t that many tho), but there is much more books published in English than in Spanish.
- Do you use NetGalley or Edelweiss to request electronic galleys for review? If so, what kind of success rate would you estimate for you personally? I use NetGalley, I am not so good at it tho hahaha, but I would like AT LEAST a 50% rate success.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Yes I do, sadly. Like I said here in Puerto Rico there aren’t that many bookstores (or at least that I know of) and the libraries are just for educational purposes. With that said, I used to buy books on Amazon but they made the shipping to Puerto Rico higher than what it was before and books in the bookstores aren’t the cheaper.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? I would make it more accessible at least here, for the local authors and for the worldwide too. There are so many books in Spain to mention one country, that aren’t published in the island because of the company or many other reasons I don’t know. Besides that I would tell the publishers to keep an eye on local stories that represents more the country not just the political ones that comes always from the same local celebrities, I know so many people actually dislike the book published here, but they are important in any country, and they weren’t that bad.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I usually buy them in the bookstores here Casa Norberto and The Bookmark. I think a good option for me and any one else with not so much money on their hands to try BookDepository and BookOutlet. If you have a Kmart, Walmart, Walgreens, CVS near you, go there, they usually have books (not a huge amount of but a fair one) and I usually buy there too. If you are from Puerto Rico and like going to The Bookmark in San Patricio, take your time (and patience) and go the the first floor La Casita de Joy in a corner, they have second hand books (some are like new) and the prices are incredible low. And I think you can leave them books too, I don’t know the rules and policies but you can ask. Or, go to some “take a book, leave a book” spot and hope for a good find.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I know this is not an experiences like the ones you are waiting for but I think is important for me. I have always been the only one in the groups that enjoy reading until I found some friends that enjoyed too and even though I have that small group of friends I was missing something because I wanted to talk about the books I read with everyone so I decided to take a step and launch my blog to know readers from all around the world, besides that I like to compare my reading to the youtubers and discover more books. I decided to make my grandmother a reader too, I am kind of winning here hahaha, and I’m trying to make my boyfriend read too, this one is more slowly. But with this, all I want to say is, you are not the only reader in that group, sometimes, they just lie to seem cool, so if you feel alone, try to get someone you appreciate a lot into reading or get into the community blogging, as a booktober, bookstagramer, etc. Or, I am here and I’m always open to discuss the books I have read with anyone! Feel free to share what you love and shine through it.
Please note that all experiences reflected in the interviews are personal and are not meant to generalize what reading access is like in each country. If you are interested in participating please DM me on Twitter.
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