Cary Elwes on Acting, As You Wish, and Andre the Giant's Awesome Hugs

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Miranda Penn Turn
Cary Elwes brings As You Wish to the Valley on December 2.

I was elated when I found out that actor Cary Elwes had written a book about The Princess Bride. "Great," I thought, "Now he's not just my first love, not just the star of my favorite movie of all time, now he's gotta go and be a goddamn writer, too."

You can imagine that I just about peed my pants when I was asked to interview Elwes about his upcoming Changing Hands Bookstore signing of his book, As You Wish.

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5 Gifts for the Book Lover

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Evie Carpenter
The Bookshop is perfect for book lovers hunting for awesome used books.
People who love books are kind of a different breed. We're not talking about the person who occasionally browses the New York Times best-sellers list. We're talking about those midnight release frequenters, those readers who have a literary reference for everything, those coworkers who need an extra few cups of coffee because they were up all night finishing the latest page-turner, and those hardcore shippers who take it personally if you don't respect their chosen One True Pairing.

Buying the book lover in your life another hardcover this holiday season just seems a little too easy, doesn't it? Branch out. We've got five suggestions for gifts to surprise your bibliophile with something perfectly bookish without actually having a cover and hundreds of plot-lined pages.


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Carrie Bloomston on Writing Little Spark, the Book Her Publishers Didn't Want, and Choosing Creativity Over Fear

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Jill McNamara
Carrie Bloomston will be at Changing Hands Phoenix on Tuesday, December 2, for her debut book The Little Spark.
It was about a year ago that Carrie Bloomston, fabric designer and owner of SUCH Designs in Phoenix, was sitting in the tree fort she and her family had built in their backyard and writing while batting away the last lingering mosquitoes of summer.

Bloomston was finishing what would become The Little Spark: 30 Ways to Ignite Your Creativity, which she will read at Changing Hands on Tuesday, December 2.


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Bob Boze Bell Brings "201 Zany Zonies" and The 66 Kid to Tempe and Phoenix

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Bob Boze Bell
"Terry Goddard vs. Margaret Hance"
Bob Boze Bell wears many hats, most of them cowboy.

The longtime Arizona resident has worked as an artist and author, contributing work for big screen productions as well as publications including National Lampoon, Playboy, Arizona Highways, and New Times. This is in addition to serving as a publisher and co-owner of True West Magazine.

Despite being called everything from author to historian, Bell considers himself only one thing. "I'm just a cartoonist with a passion for the Wild West."

Even before moving to Kingman, Arizona, from Swea City, Iowa, in 1956, Bell, like many children of the Atomic Age, was obsessed with all things western.

"Ever since my grandma said Wyatt Earp was the biggest jerk whoever walked the Wild West and Wyatt Earp was my favorite TV show. . . That really kind of launched me on a journey to find out the truth about the Wild West that's portrayed in television and movies."


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ASU's Project Hieroglyph to Bring Sci-Fi Writers to Phoenix's Crescent Ballroom on October 22

Categories: Books

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Harper Collins Publishing, via ASU Center for Science and the Imagination
Hieroglyph is a collection of stories designed to create a more positive vision of the future.

ASU's Center for Science and the Imagination is making us question everything we thought we knew about Arizona's favorite party school. The Center, which considers itself a "network hub for audacious moonshot ideas and a cultural engine for thoughtful optimism," seeks to unite writers, philosophers, scientists, and engineers to create a less dystopic vision of the relationship between scientific progress and humanity. This effort toward collaboration, human decency, and general positivity is a huge step forward for the University, whose ever-so-intelligent student body once brought us the "MLK Black Party."

Part of this effort involves the recent publication of a book called Hieroglyph: Stories & Visions for a Better Future. The anthology is a collection of stories by some pretty big thinkers -- including Neal Stephenson, Elizabeth Bear, and Madeline Ashby.

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Chuck Palahniuk on Beautiful You, Arousal Addiction, and Chick Lit

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Courtesy of Chuck Palahniuk
Palahniuk will be at Dobson High School in Mesa on October 23.

When he graduated from the University of Oregon with a journalism degree in 1986, Chuck Palahniuk probably didn't think he would go on to be a bestselling author and one of the most popular novelists for a generation that isn't exactly known for its love of books.

And when Palahniuk, now 52, began taking fiction-writing classes while working for truck manufacturer Freightliner, he might not have thought it would lead to him writing over 15 (and counting) internationally renowned books translated into several languages.

But it did. Though the author hasn't let it affect him too much.


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Beth Cato on The Clockwork Dagger, Her Debut Steampunk/Fantasy Novel

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Evie Carpenter
Author Beth Cato shows off a little bit of the fashion of the steampunk world she created within The Clockwork Dagger.

You wouldn't expect to find a magical healer, spies, assassins, and a quirky young gremlin in Buckeye, Arizona. But that's exactly where debut novelist Beth Cato created the fantastical steampunk world of her book, The Clockwork Dagger.

In Cato's take on Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, Octavia Leander, a powerful "medician" who uses her magical powers to heal others in her war-torn world, thought the airship she was traveling on was just transporting her to her first mission. When she discovers the airship is full of those plotting a deadly conspiracy, a cabin-mate with too many secrets, and a handsome steward who may be one of the Queen's spies or assassins known as the Clockwork Daggers, Octavia must fight to save herself, the ones she cares about, and possibly her entire world.


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Phoenix Designer Kate Benjamin on Catification, Her New Book with Jackson Galaxy

Categories: Books

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Evie Carpenter
Kate Benjamin wants you to join the Catification Nation.

Phoenix's own feline designer and cat woman, Kate Benjamin, has created a kitty "cookbook," as she calls it.

This isn't a book full of recipes for your cat or a feline-themed cookbook. Instead Benjamin and Animal Planet's Jackson Galaxy have created Catification, a photo-centric guide, which actually does resemble a modern cookbook upon first glance, full of DIY tutorials, tips for understanding your cat's specific needs, plenty of examples to draw inspiration from, and other essential ingredients you'll need to create a home that is suited for both your feline companion (or companions) and your sense of design.

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Scottsdale Author Nicole Zangara on How to Make and Maintain Female Friendships

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Courtesy Nicole Zangara
From an early age, Nicole Zangara knew she wanted to help people.

"I was always that girl who was like, 'let's talk about our feelings,'" she says.

It make sense, then, that she would follow in her mother's footsteps, becoming a licensed clinical social worker with a focus in helping women in their relationships -- particularly the interpersonal connections of female-only friendships. She wrote a book to that effect, Surviving Female Friendships: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, ($12.95 available from Changing Hands Bookstore and other sellers) a mix of anecdotes and advice that was released in 2012.

"I was at that age where I was looking at friendships changing a lot and thinking, 'what the hell is going on?' I learned to put a voice to that [with the book]," she says. "I wanted to put a voice to something that a lot of women don't talk about."

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11 High School Books You Should Reread

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Kamil Porembinski via Flickr
You can't judge a book by its cover or by the first time you read it in school.
If we take a moment to be honest with ourselves, we'll admit that we didn't really read anything in high school. And if you're anything like us, you probably leaned a little more on SparkNotes and CliffsNotes to get through English class than you'd be proud to admit. Even the ones we did read all the way through, we really can't say that we retained much more than the barebones plot. Sorry, English teachers.

Thankfully, in our copious amount of free time since high school, we've returned to these classics and discovered there was a reason our teachers assigned them: These books are good. Duh. So learn from our mistakes and take a look at some of the books that you haven't touched since high school but should give a second chance.


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