Community Read (3/26)

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Still Water Saints • A novel about our Inland region

Meet author Alex Espinoza and host Richard T. Rodríguez •

Friday, March 26 • 7 PM

Free • Reservations required: 

“Fresh, magical, beautiful, evocative” says Lisa See, about this wonderful first novel by Alex Espinoza. Still Water Saints chronicles a momentous year in the life of Agua Mansa, a largely Latino town beyond the fringes of Los Angeles and home to the Botánica Oshún, where people come seeking charms, herbs, and candles. Above all, they seek the guidance of Perla Portillo, the shop’s owner.

Perla has served the community for years, arming her clients with the tools to overcome all manner of crises, large and small. There is Juan, a man coming to terms with the death of his father; Nancy, a recently married schoolteacher; Shawn, an addict looking for peace in his chaotic life; and Rosa, a teenager trying to lose weight and find herself. But when a customer with a troubled and mysterious past arrives, Perla struggles to help and must confront both her unfulfilled hopes and doubts about her place in a rapidly changing world.

 How Our FREE community read works:

 Pick Up. Read. Listen. Discuss. Workshop.

PICK UP and READ your free copy of Still Water Saints, available March 1–31. See below for participating branch library phone numbers, addresses, and instructions.

LISTEN and chat with Alex Espinoza at a free live virtual public event on Friday, March 26, 7 pm. RSVP:

DISCUSS. Attend free virtual book discussions, Sundays, April 11, 18, & 25 from 4 – 5 pm. RSVP:

WORKSHOP. Young adults, especially those identifying as BIPOC and/or LGBTQ+, are invited to participate in a related free writing workshop led by Micah Tasaka, Fridays, May, 4–5 PM, RSVP:

About Our Author and Host:

Alex Espinoza

Alex Espinoza is the author of Still Water Saints, The Five Acts of Diego León, and Cruising: An Intimate History of a Radical Pastime. The recipient of fellowships from the NEA, MacDowell, as well as an American Book Award, he’s the Tomás Rivera Endowed Chair of Creative Writing at UCR.

Richard T. Rodriguez

Richard T. Rodríguez is associate professor of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside. The author of Next of Kin: The Family in Chicano/a Cultural Politics (Duke University Press, 2009), he is currently writing two books.

Participating Libraries:

How to get your FREE copy of Still Water Saints:

  • Call a participating library to make an appointment to pick up your free book.
  • At your appointed time, go to the participating library.
  • Pick up at a designated pick up area (varies by branch).
  • Face coverings required at all branches.
  • No library card required to pick up your free book.

Riverside Public Libraries

Arlanza Library 951-826-2217
8267 Philbin Ave, Riverside, CA 92503

Arlington Library 951-826-2291
9556 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92503

SSgt. Salvador J. Lara Casa Blanca Library 951-826-2120
2985 Madison St, Riverside, CA 92504

SPC. Jesus S. Duran Eastside Library 951-826-2235
4033 Chicago Ave C, Riverside, CA 92507

La Sierra Library 951-826-2461
4600 La Sierra Ave, Riverside, CA 92505

Marcy Library (951) 826-2078
6927 Magnolia Ave, Riverside, CA 92506

Orange Terrace Library 951-826-2184
20010 Orange Terrace Pkwy, Riverside, CA 92508

Riverside County Libraries

La Quinta Library 760-564-4767
78275 Calle Tampico, La Quinta, CA 92253

Palm Desert Library 760-346-6552
73-300 Fred Waring Dr, Palm Desert, CA 92260

Sun City Library 951-679-3534
26982 Cherry Hills Blvd, Sun City, CA 92586

Louis Robidoux Library 951-682-5485
5840 Mission Boulevard, Jurupa Valley, CA 92509

 San Bernardino Public Libraries

Norman F. Feldheym Central Library 909-381-8201
555 West 6th Street, San Bernardino, CA 92410

Dorothy Inghram Branch Library 909-887-4494
1505 W. Highland Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92411

Howard M. Rowe Branch Library 909-883-3411
108 E. Marshall Blvd, San Bernardino, CA 92404

Paul Villaseñor Branch Library 909-381-8246
525 N. Mt. Vernon Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92411

San Bernardino County Libraries

Chino Branch Library 909-465-5280
13180 Central Ave, Chino, CA 91710-4125

Fontana Lewis Library & Learning Center 909-574-4500
8437 Sierra Avenue, Fontana, CA 92335

Loma Linda Branch Library 909-796-8621
25581 Barton Rd, Loma Linda, CA 92354-3125

Montclair Branch Library 909-624-4671
9955 Fremont Ave, Montclair, CA 91763

Rialto Branch Library 909-875-0144
251 West 1st St, Rialto, CA 92376

 This project was initiated by Inlandia Literary Laureate Rachelle Cruz as part of her 2018-2020 Laureate programming and is made possible with support from California Humanities, a partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit

A community read and discussion project spanning two years and two books and celebrating the voices of queer writers of color who live or work in – or write about – the Inland Southern California region. The project launched last fall with There Should be Flowers by Joshua Jennifer Espinoza, and continues this spring with Still Water Saints by Inland Empire writer Alex Espinoza.

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