Pia Cortez - Libromance
Pia Cortez is the creator and curator of Libromance, a blog of book reviews that range from Art + Creativity to Fil Lit, Poetry to Soul + Spirit. Based in San Francisco, CA Pia's reviews can be found in Lambda Literary, Hella Pinay, and New Life Quarterly. She is a writer who experiments with fashion and is currently working on her first novel.
Where did your love for reading come from? My love for reading came at an early age--my parents were incredibly strict so I had to make use of what I had so I could roam around freely--books.
What is the inspiration behind libromance? The inspiration behind Libromance started in late 2015. I've had a personal blog for awhile, and I wanted to focus more of my blogging around the books I read. So I started Libromance on January 1, 2016, a blog dedicated solely to books and other literary pieces. It's a combination of the word "libro" or book in English and romance, and I thought that captured what I was trying to do so perfectly: all for the love of reading.
What do you love about the work you do? My first love has always been reading, so the fact that my reading is more concentrated and that I can share what I read with folks make it a lot of fun. The best thing for me is when I get comments from folks who want to get a book after reading my review. It's all a labor of love, and really, the more folks I encourage to read, the better it all gets.
Which books have helped you find your identity? Ah, I'll always revert back to the lesbian books I was able to dig up back in Angeles City in the Philippines. Swashbuckler by Lee Lynch is pretty monumental for me, as a baby dyke back in my home province of Pampanga. I read that and realized that a different world for me was possible!
How do you choose books to review? I have an editorial calendar that I follow which includes all the books I need to review. It's currently a mix of what's coming out or what's really buzzy, but also a work that I believe in.
What are your favorite book stores? Green Apple Books in San Francisco, hands down! They sell used books and it's really close to where I work so I'm there all the time.
What Fil Am books are good for those first beginning to read Fil Am Lit.? I think America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan and In the Country by Mia Alvar are good starters.
How does your community uplift you? I'm part of so many communities that I think one way that I get really uplifted is when the work I do is affirmed, and when these communities are aligned because of what I do.
Are there any books coming out soon that you are excited to read? YES! There are so many: Michelle Obama's book coming out in November, also Kamala Harris's in 2019. Other than these two, I'm always rooting for the next author who's birthed their book baby.
Do you have any books for our summer reading? For summer reading, I think it depends on who the person is and what kinds of things you like. My recommendations are usually based on people's personalities so call me your bibliotherapist--let's talk :)