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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Bill Carter Talks Copper and His Book, Boom, Boom, Bust

Categories: Books, Interviews

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Courtesy of The Neo Com Group
Bill Carter

When Bill Carter was living in Bisbee, Arizona, he decided to plant a garden to grow his own veggies. When he got ill from eating the fruits of his labor, Carter did a little investigating and found traces of arsenic in the soil. The arsenic was residue from a century of copper mining in the small Arizona town, and after that discovery Carter decided to learn as much as he could about the metal. What he found was staggering, including how pervasive the metal is in everyday life, how much we don't know about what goes on in the mining industry, and how dangerous the potential effects of it are on the environment and our health.

Carter talked with Jackalope Ranch about how one goes about researching such a monumentally large topic such as copper and its mining, what he was most surprised to learn about, and why Congress refuses to touch the issue.

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10 Young-Adult Books to Read This Summer

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Abhi Sharma/Flickr
Give YA a chance. You won't regret it.
Young-adult books have gotten a bad rap, if you ask us. Yes, sometimes YA fiction lives up to all of its negative stereotypes with angsty teenagers trying to figure out what makes them special, dejected kids trying to find their place in the world, and star-crossed, mildly masochistic lovers (ahem, Bella and Edward) fighting all odds to be with each other.

But sometimes YA books transcend the stigma of their genre and speak to themes and issues that any adult can relate to. Because, if we're honest, feelings of loneliness and helplessness, confusion and doubt of one's worth, and the magic of falling in love don't end after one has reached full-blown adulthood, whatever that is.

We're sure there are countless books that fit the bill, including obvious ones like the Harry Potter and Hunger Games series that we are skipping because everyone should have read those already, but here are 10 young-adult books that every grownup should read, in no particular order.


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The 58th Annual VNSA Used Book Sale Opens February 15 at the Arizona State Fairgrounds

Categories: Books, Events

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VNSA
Books were laid out in the warehouse at the Phoenix fairgrounds for the 57th annual used book sale in 2013.

It's that time of year again; time to dedicate a couple of days sifting, flipping, and sniffing through hundreds of thousands of used books and taking home a bag-, cart-, or truck-full of discounted books. It's time for the VNSA Book Sale, where the shoppers will find themselves in a "world of words" in the exhibit building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday, February 15 and 16.

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Changing Hands Bookstore Seeks Donations to Build Phoenix Location

Categories: Books, News

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Courtesy of Venue Projects/Changing Hands
Rendering of the Newton, as seen from Camelback Road.
Since the official announcement earlier this year, central Phoenix has been buzzing about a new Changing Hands Bookstore. The second location would bring the Valley's favorite indie bookseller to more of the masses and breathe new life into the otherwise stagnant area of Camelback Road and Third Avenue.

Located in the former Beef Eaters restaurant and slated to open in January, The Newton will also house The Lively Hood, a co-working space, and First Draft Book Bar -- because what pairs better with books than booze?

But construction has run into a snag -- a large snag totaling approximately $80,000. Via a mass message sent to the bookstore's e-mail list Monday morning, Changing Hands co-owner Gayle Shanks detailed the financial issues that arose while trying to open the second store and asked book-loving Phoenicians to donate in order to keep their dream alive.


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