There are a lot of ways to launch a book, and tonight Angelo Solera did it right with the launch party for his brand new book, The Journey: El Camino.
Angelo enlisted the help of Baltimore’s Creative Alliance to host the event, and partnered with U.S. Hispanic Youth Entrepreneur Education (USHYEE) and made a community event out of it.
It was a multi-media event as well, with a 20 minute video slide-show of beautiful photographs Angelo took while on his 400 mile hike from southern to northern Spain, followed by a reading and then a question-and-answer session.
The physical foot journey, El Camino, is only in part the Journey of the title of his book. It serves as a metaphor for Solera’s journey through life – from his arrival in the U.S. as a teenage illegal immigrant, through a frustrating marriage, drug addiction, divorce and recovery, through his bid for office as a City Councilman in Baltimore, and finally to the peace of mind and heart that he earned by crossing 400 miles of ancient roadways in his home country.
So, thats the book. But his event tonight was great, and I think we can all take a bit from it.
We can launch a book, and thats great. Our friends and family will come and it will be, as it should be, an end and a beginning. A celebration of the completion of writing and publishing, and a celebration of the beginning of marketing and selling.
I think that in getting the community involved, by reaching out to the Baltimore art community and Baltimore’s Hispanic community, and sharing the significance of the event in this way, he managed to celebrate both that ending and that beginning, but also something much more.
By sharing the event with two seperate elements of our community, I think he allowed both to feel a sense of ownership of his book. He allowed us to feel that he wrote the book as one of us (I place myself in the art community camp as I my polish heritage keeps me a far cry from claiming a place in the latino camp), and that in doing so, was sort of giving us a voice, and a goal, and a model to live up to.
Leaving the party, I think we all felt a sense of investment in the book and a hope that it could have life. How rare it is that this happens to a book these days.
This book is different. It’s special. I haven’t read it yet, not the final draft anyway, and not more then pieces of earlier drafts, but I already know there is something special about it. I know this because of the people it brought together tonight, the way it made us feel, the people I am sure it will continue to bring together and the way I am sure it will make them feel.
In putting his event together tonight the way that he did, Solera helped us invest in his dream.
We are all launching books, now or later. I think it is instructive how well his party worked tonight, and we might all do well to remember, instead of, “Come see my new book,” that we offer “Come share my new book.”
You can visit Angelos website for more info about the book, to read an excerpt, see some of the beautiful photos, or watch the video we saw tonight. His website is at AngelosJourney.com and you can order the book there or at AuthorsBookshop.com.
I have recently started reading a fascinating book written by Angelo Solera, a local Baltimore community activist. The Journey El Camino, tells a gripping account of his life, from his earliest days to the present. His tale of his life begins with Angelo as an immigrant teenager and ends with a man who has completed his journey from addiction to the life of a community activist. It is clearly written from his heart, an honest tale that keeps you turning pages to see what happens next. His relationship with his son is touching and moving, often expressing feelings that will stir empathy with parents everywhere. He is pained by his struggle to overcome his own deepest troubles so that he can be the Father to his son that he knows he deserves. Even today, that pain is able to stir strong emotions.
Angelo was inspired to write this book after walking the 400-mile pilgrimage to Santiago of Compostela, Spain, in 2005. A tradition that dates back to the Roman Empire, the trek winds through the wilderness, mountains, small villages, towns and mayor metropolitan centers of Spain. Along this trip, Angelo begins to discover himself, uncovering many of his personal demons and fears – love, hate, passion, obsession and dependence to name just a few.
“It’s a tough journey for all of us” says Solera. “We’re all human, and we all want to be somebody and feel like we belong.” He comes from Spain, but now he belongs to America. He’s written the whole story in the English language he has embraced. I have recently come to know Angelo, and I am deeply impressed with his ability to open his life up to all. His book can help all of us look deeper into our own lives.
After nearly three years, his book is complete, and using his own money, he has self-published his memoir. You can find out more about Angelo’s Journey on his website, and can buy his book for only $15 here. I urge you to read the free preview on his website and if you like it, purchase a copy for yourself or as a gift. You will be helping Angelo complete his journey, and supporting an author/publisher with a dream.
A magic book that leads you through another life that could be yours……. You will find yourself laughing, suffering, hoping, getting anger and forgiving, just to mention some of the feelings you will face while reading an amazing story of a man that never surrendered against any challenge.
You will find yourself so engrossed in the book that time will fly without you noticing it. And despite the fact that you know that this is a true story, sometimes you will think it cannot be possible. But it is !
Nobody´s life will remain the same after reading this so especial book.
Great site – best of luck on your upcoming sales events.
Angelo, I am so very proud of you! Your journey is truly inspirational… Gracias for sharing this wonderful story with us all… Abrazos de su hermana Maria…
Estoy muy sobresaltado de alegria al ver tu libro “The Journey.” Tengo que confesarte que no soy un buen lector por razon de que no me gusta leer por el tiempo que me toma terminar un libro por corto que sea y que por mi condicion, ADD, no me es posible concentrarme en una misma lectura por largo rato; PERO he leido tu libro con gran interes y ansiedad por saber ! que mas puede haber en las proximas paginas!. Al terminar cada capitulo, siempre pense que no te podria haber pasado nada peor de lo que acababa de leer, pero la cosa seguia “en crecimiento”.
El asunto es que me lei tu libro en un solo dia mientras viajaba de Puerto Rico a Sacramento, fue un viaje largo que me requirio hacer varias paradas y no desperdicie ni un solo minuto para leeer por el interes que se apodero de mi. Es un libro de aventuras, rencillas, reconciliaciones y muchos otros con grandes matices sociologicos, sicologicos y geograficos entre otros.
Angelo, jamas en la vida me pude imaginar que tu has pasado por todas las situaciones que muy atinadamente narras en tu libro. Traduciendolo al Espanol yo preguntaria que como es posible que una persona que ha tenido tantas oportunidades en la vida haya que tenido que pasar por tanta miseria. Lo importante es que has podido sobrevivir con la ayuda, desde luego, del Senor, y tu deseo de superarte en la vida. Te felicito por todo lo que haz logrado vencer y haz obtenido como persona.
A parte de todo lo anterior tengo a bien decirte que me ha fascinado tu estilo de escritura; muy amena, directa y animada pese a los pasajes tristes y dolorosos en que revelas tus experiencias y sinsabores.
Me entusiasmo mucho tu narracion del Camino, pues creo que ya sabes que estoy planificando hacel El Camino y si Dios lo permite tengo planes para llevarlo a cabo en algun momento entre los meses de abril a junio del 2009. Mi Camino no va a ser facil pero no me intersan mucho las cosas faciles, me gusta nucho la aventura y el reto, a parte de que espero que El Camino me brinde la oportunidad para reflexionar y comunicarme con el Senor en forma mas abierta y espiritual como tal vez nunca lo haya podido hacer anteriormente.
Recuerdos y saludos de parte de Carmen y siempre hacia adelante …sin mirar hacia atras.
Un afectuoso saludo,
Greetings Brother Angelo:
I trust that this email finds you in good health and spirits. I met you at the Baltimore Book Festival- I was the woman who stopped and excitedly shared with you that I heard your interview on NPR and that had been the first time listening to the show…
I finished your book this weekend. I had to travel to Seattle, Washington for an herbal conference and took it along with me. I actually saw a woman at Pike Place Market with a sweatshirt that read, “Universidad Salamanca” and that made me smile.
Your story is beautiful. It reminded me at times of another book I read years ago called, “Down these means streets” by Peri Thomas (I think is the author’s name). I appreciate your candidness- especially in expressing your impatience and frustration with the journey as you walked! No romance, just truth, and isn’t life more like that most of the time.
I hope that you present this on film oneday. I have already recommended the book to several people, yet I know more than a few folks that won’t read.
thank you again for sharing your life! It takes a strong individual to tell their “secrets” yet it is the fastest way to grow spiritually.
May God continue to Bless and Guide you!
Be well!~ Charlene
The Journey:El Camino was both an inspiration and a great teacher. As a son of immigrants I saw and felt my parent’s story as I was reading. The struggles, the joys and the scary moments of life are all part of the immigrant journey. Mr. Solera is not afraid to write about his successes, which are bountiful and fascinating, but also about his failures and desperation. I knew Angelo before I read the book and now I feel I have be granted a peek into both his greatness and humility. The Journey: El Camino is a spiritual story in a most human sort of way and a terrifically human story in a spiritual sort of way. Read this book if you want your life to be transformed.
Latino Providers Network
Un libro escrito desde el corazon. Realmente felicito al autor por superar, entender y aceptar lo que le ha tocado vivir. Siento que he disfrutado mucho leyendo su historia y le agradezco el que la haya compartido conmigo y mi familia. Admiro su fortaleza de espiritu, sentido del humor y actitud ante la vida. Mis mas sinceras felicitaciones. Recomiendo este libro. Yo lo lei en un laaargo viaje desde Puerto Rico hasta Nueva Delhi (India. Gracias por escribirlo.
Your book was well written from the heart and I related to some of your experiences. While I was in Venezuela, I was referred to as “ la Americanita” which meant that I obviously did not fit in. As a young child in the USA I wanted to fit in to be more American, to have blond hair, blue eyes and freckles like Doris Day and have a name like Nancy or Linda or Susan.
My mother, who was and still is known for being very attractive, God love her, was quite manipulative and controlling and not a very sensitive person when communicating with family.
I also related to your feelings during your addiction and recovery and the fact that the love for your child began the journey. And finally, just being attracted to and attracting the wrong partners and placing trust in the wrong people.
I admire your dedication and all that you went through to advocate to insure that the Hispanic community has full access to government services and is placed equally “at the table” as others. The advocacy to get government to reach out to the Hispanic and immigrant population is still a fight in which I am involved.
As far as your adventurous journey to Santiago of Compostela it remained me of the journey I took to the Andes of Peru and at the end reaching Machu Picchu where a power beyond oneself was felt.. I camped overnight 15,000 feet above sea level. What a Godly experience being up above the clouds and hiking around glacier lakes. .it was breathtaking.
Lo major siempre!
I read your book. I was scared with you, annoyed with you, and hurt with you at all the things you faced. I am proud of your many accomplishments, and in awe of the love you have for your son.
Your story did need to be told, and it still needs to be told. Thanks to you, I have renewed vigor to write my own book, I am so glad that I have been touched by your work in this book, your work as a community activist and health care advocate.
I also want to see and feel ” Semana Santa ” in Spain. You have enlightened me to another world in my world, and I don’t know that El Camino is calling me, but Spain has for a long time.
Walking with Angelo on his Journey — by reading his masterful book — was a thoroughly deep, rich and engaging experience. During his painful childhood in Salamanca, his triumphs and tribulations in Baltimore, his pilgrimage back in Spain and his efforts to reunite his troubled family, I tagged along and came to know a strong, humble, beautiful man.
Angelo opens his life to his readers and reveals his shortcomings, which only serves to accentuate his considerable strengths. His observations of events and details great and small produce a fully satisfying narrative of a life being lived with gusto, vigor, passion, insight and courage. It was a joy to be invited along for (the first part of) Angelo’s journey. If we’re lucky he’ll tell us more of how the journey “El Camino” of Angelo proceeds.
Los Reyes Magos me trajeron este año un regalo muy especial : el libro The Journey – “El Camino”, escrito en un sencillo Ingles, por el español- norteamericano Angelo Solera.
Tal y como su propio autor menciona en su resumen sobre la obra, hay una historia para cada uno de aquellos que leen la historia de su vida; sólo hay que encontrarse a uno mismo.
El libro no tiene un especial encanto poético. En mi opinión, tampoco le hace falta. Narra una vida que lejos de ser simple, está contada con sencillez y claridad naturales.
Por momentos me he encontrado riendo, en otros sufriendo el dolor del narrador.
Muchos mensajes explícitos y otros implícitos, obligan a reflexionar sobre temas tan diversos como el sentir del inmigrante, el amor y el desamor, el sentido del esfuerzo, el afán de superación, la muerte, la búsqueda de nuestra propia identidad:
Para mí el que resultó más inquietante: la concepción de la vida misma, como un camino que recorrer, descubriendo paso a paso, quiénes somos realmente y dónde está nuestro lugar.