I was happy to participate in an author talk and book discussion about my memoir, Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, at the Long Branch Free Public Library in New Jersey on June 14. It was gratifying to speak and answer questions from a receptive audience that included not only family and friends, but people I had previously not met who wanted to learn more about my memoir, including local Cuban Americans, and have me personalize their copy of my paperback book.
The Long Branch Free Public Library welcomes the public to my author talk and book discussion about Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, on Tuesday, June 14, at 7:00 p.m. in the community room of the main library on 328 Broadway in Long Branch, N.J.
In addition to reading excerpts from my “memoir with a twist,” I look forward to answering questions during the author talk and book discussion. Paperback copies of my book will be available for sale.
Registration for this event is preferred, but walk-ins are welcome. It will be great to see and speak with readers and potential readers and others interested in my recently published book! To register, call the library at 732.222.3900 x2350 or click on the link bit.ly/authorlopezbruns.
In the nearly 90 days since the publication of my debut book, Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, I have been heartened by the positive responses from many readers on social media and via emails, text messages and conversations with me. I am also grateful to those readers who took the time to rate the book and post a few sentences or paragraphs about it on the Goodreads, Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.
The first eight ratings on Goodreads averaged 4.75 (on a 5.0 scale). One of the Goodreads reviewers wrote the book was “very compelling and thought provoking” as “the author takes you on his journey through life and the complex, multigenerational family experiences that truly shaped who he is today.”
Another five-star Goodreads review stated, “This was a great book and very easy to read. It was an interesting and informative perspective on growing up Hispanic in a predominately white middle class town.”
But “you don’t have to be Cuban or an American immigrant to enjoy Fatherlands: Identities of A Cuban American. It is filled with many characters, all real, and some you may even recognize from your own family tree,” stated another Goodreads reviewer, who concluded, “How does a scrappy Cuban kid make a name for himself in the U.S. and discover his true identity? Pick up Fatherlands and you will find the answer, and likely a bit of yourself.”
Another Goodreads reviewer wrote that the book “moved me with tears and smiles” and “I believe that this memoir will inspire all of us to find who we really are, as well as where we really come from. His story shows that we Americans truly are a beautiful diverse people!”
The most scholarly review of the book was published on Goodreads on December 26. The four paragraphs from this reviewer, who rated the book the maximum five stars, very succinctly and elegantly captured the essence of my memoir. It opens with the question, “Who are you?” and goes on to state, “The name forms a powerful basis for one’s identity and is a recurrent theme throughout this memoir, starting with the book’s title and the author’s name.” The reviewer then writes, “the author’s name takes the reader along on its own unique journey, becoming a major character in this memoir as the mentor.”
The fourth paragraph of the December 26 Goodreads review of the book begins with, “Perhaps the most powerful of use of the name in Lopez Bruns’ book harkens the practice of damnatio memoriae (condemnation of memory), a form of scrubbing from history,” and concludes, “Lopez Bruns makes clear that identity matters in what we leave out as much as what we share.” You can read the full text of this extraordinary review at: https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/4411415008?book_show_action=false.
The first 11 Amazon reviews of the book averaged 5.0 on a scale of 1 (lowest) to 5 (highest)! One reviewer wrote, “Not knowing what to expect, I began reading the book and found that I could not put it down.” She then stated, “Throughout my reading, some parts were funny, sad, and/or informative. I thoroughly enjoyed the book,” and “I highly recommend this book to everyone, I guarantee you will truly enjoy this read!”
Another Amazon reviewer declared the book was “Fabulous” and went on to state, “I loved this book! The author provides interesting details of his direct experience with encountering cultural and racial issues in such a mature, objective way.”
The first reader to post a review on Amazon, 10 days after the book’s publication, wrote it was “A must read,” and then explained, “Fatherlands is a good read, both entertaining and thought provoking as it follows Charley’s social and cultural assimilation as a young Cuban split between two countries and how this influences him as a child and adult. Never taking his eyes off the rearview mirror, he moves forward as other influences such as people he meets and changing family dynamics shape his future. The result, is a both an inspirational and eye opening book. The days reading this book really felt like time spent with the author as though I actually met him. As a result, I’d like to shake his hand and say ‘buen trabajo.’”
The second Amazon review was headlined, “A great book,” and stated “It was well written” and “It showed the importance of remembering family heritage. I highly recommend this book.”
The first two reviews of my memoir on Barnes & Noble were also five-star ratings. One reviewer stated the book took them “inside the life of a tempest-tossed kid, born in the States but flung back to his family’s Cuban ancestral home, as its revolution raged on, for long enough to have memories that needed piecing back together. It is a wild ride back into new alien environments in New Jersey, with brutally honest family comedy/drama assessments.”
For this Barnes & Noble reviewer, the biggest benefit of my memoir “was a better understanding of the highly complex, sometimes difficult to fathom ‘Cuban Community’ within America’s borders that give the national political parties fits and starts every national election cycle.”
I am heartened and humbled by all these positive reviews of my memoir, which I describe as the book I was meant to write. Thank you very much!
To see all the Goodreads reviews of Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American, click here.
To see all the Amazon reviews of the book, click here.
For all the Barnes & Noble reviews of my memoir, click here.
I am also grateful for the attention my debut book has received from local media, including the two Bloomfield, New Jersey, weekly newspapers, and remain determined to increase awareness of my book among more potential readers!
Charles Lopez Bruns: Most writers have a book in them, but few of them get written. This is the book I was meant to write. When I had the opportunity, I became determined to complete it.
Q: Is your book an autobiography?
CLB: It’s a memoir that explains how my identities evolved during my life and how they and my experiences as a son, stepson and father impacted my family and career. It also touches upon Cuban immigration and immigrants I’ve gotten to know. If it was an autobiography it would be much longer than 200 pages but not nearly as interesting!
Q: Since you’re a writer, did this book come easily or naturally to you?
CLB: No! It was the most challenging writing project I’ve undertaken since first learning the English language. It was hard work.
Q: How did you feel while writing this book?
CLB: Sometimes I laughed while writing down my memories, other times I became upset and nearly in tears. My emotions were all over the place. But I always felt a sense of accomplishment when I finished writing for the day or completed a chapter.
Q: What is the significance of the title, Fatherlands: Identities of a Cuban American?
The day after my book first became available, a neighbor asked me to personalize 10 copies he had purchased for family and friends. A few weeks later, a former neighbor asked if I would sign copies she was purchasing for her daughter and son. In between, a friend I’ve not seen in many years asked how he could get an autographed copy. A couple days later he sent me a follow-up message stating, “I was serious!”
I’m pleased to announce that personalized copies of my book are now available directly from me for only $18.99. That price — which is the typical cost of many new (impersonal) paperbacks — will cover the cost of shipping a copy of my book in a padded envelope directly to your address (in the U.S.). Mail your check to me or pay me via Venmo (@CharlesAnthonyComm) and I will in return send you the book with a personal message in my finest Catholic school handwriting using a favorite Waterman rollerball pen.
If you would like me to personalize a copy of the book you’ve already purchased, I’ll be glad to do so. Just mail it to me with a check for $7.00 (unless you prefer to send me a self-addressed stamped envelope), and I will personalize it and get it right back to you. Anyone who needs my address can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Of course, if you’re a friend and in the Long Branch, NJ area, let me know and we can try to meet at a local cafe where I’ll be happy to personalize your book while we catch up with each other. If you’re among those in my extended family who would like me to personalize the book for them, I will be happy to do so when we next see each other, hopefully during the holiday season.
In any case, I’m grateful for your interest in my memoir!