ASU to Host Chaucer Celebration on Friday, April 18, in Tempe

Categories: Events, Literary

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Portrait of Chaucer by Thomas Hoccleve in the Regiment of Princes (1412) via Wikimedia Commons
Portrait of Chaucer by Thomas Hoccleve in the Regiment of Princes (1412)
Every two years, the ASU English Department takes a day to celebrate Geoffrey Chaucer; the so-called father of English poetry was pivotal in bringing vernacular Middle English into the realm of literature, where French and Latin dominated during the Middle Ages. While his accomplishments might be old news (circa the late 14th/ early 15th century, to be exact), the free Chaucer Celebration at ASU's Tempe Campus promises to be one for the books.


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Authors Nevada Barr and Keith McCafferty to Sign Latest Books at Scottsdale's Poisoned Pen

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Courtesy of Minotaur Books and Viking Adult
On Tuesday, Nevada Barr and Keith McCafferty will sign their latest books in a joint event in Scottsdale.

Mystery writers Nevada Barr and Keith McCafferty have never met, but they are members of a two-person society of mutual admiration that spans nearly three years and several states. Barr is a celebrated novelist who's written 18 books featuring a national parks ranger named Anna Pigeon. McCafferty is a Field & Stream editor working on his fourth novel, the latest in his critically acclaimed series about fly fisherman turned citizen deputy Sean Stranahan.

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Need To Know Publishing to Host Inaugural Book Launch Party in Phoenix

Categories: Events, Literary

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Need To Know Publishing
If you've picked up a children's book lately, you may have noticed that they're a little outdated, not to mention out of touch. Seriously, do you know anyone who owns a farm with one red barn containing one chicken, one pig, and one cow? We didn't think so.

Fortunately for this genre of (very) young adult literature, three dads-turned-business-partners are setting out to change all that with a new Arizona-based startup, Need To Know Publishing.


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Chelsea Handler on Uganda Be Kidding Me and Why She Can't Leave Late Night

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Melissa Holt
Handler waves on the set of her E! late night show, Chelsea Lately.

Chelsea Handler just released her fourth book Uganda Be Kidding Me -- fifth, if you count the book she edited that was written by her friends about her, called Lies that Chelsea Handler Told Me. Lucky for us, she's stopping in Phoenix on her tour to promote the book, which kicked off in New York City on March 4 with an interview with Ronan Farrow.

Handler performs at Comerica Theatre Saturday, March 22, and, in anticipation of her visit, we chatted with Handler over the phone (on her birthday) about what she wants to do going forward and why she felt the time was right to speak out after Bill Carter's controversial New York Times piece on late night comedians, in which Handler -- the only woman in late night -- was mentioned only in parentheses.

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Alberto Rios Hosts New Season of Books & Co. on Arizona PBS

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Arizona PBS series Books & Co. is about to begin its 17th season of delving into a world filled with imagination, fantasy, and history, as told through the eyes of both well-known and up-and-coming authors.

Hosted by Arizona's inaugural poet laureate, Alberto Rios, an ASU Regents' Professor of English, each episode features meaningful conversations between contemporary writers and Rios. This season's first episode airs at 11:30 p.m. Friday, March 21, on Eight, Arizona PBS.

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Laurie Notaro's 10 Rules for Writing a Book (WARNING: Violence Ahead)

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Anonymous Account via Flickr
Laurie Notaro has a few rules when it comes to writing a book.
I am living in 1927, in London, Scotland, Paris, and Florida. I ride in Rolls-Royces, wear the jewels from the ancient crown of Poland and Catherine the Great, I am married, divorced, widowed, divorced, I have millions and I have pretty close to nothing. I am a silent screen actress, a beauty contest winner, the heir to a coffee fortune, the richest woman in England. My father was offered the Viceroyship of India and the throne of Albania (which he wisely refused). I stay at Claridge's when in London but in Florida, my mother makes my clothes. I have a new York accent, an English inflection, and an Alabama drawl.

I am writing a book. I am 50 characters and I have six weeks to finish telling their story. I'll make it, but only if my world is kept in precise, perfect order and the rest of the world can stay quiet.

These are the rules for writing a book:

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South Mountain Community College to Host Free Storytelling Events with Bobby Norfolk

Categories: Events, Literary

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Bobby Norfolk
South Mountain Community College invites literary buffs to perfect their storytelling craft with a weeklong series of events led by acclaimed storyteller, three-time Emmy Award winner, and Circle of Excellence Oracle Award winner Bobby Norfolk.

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Four Chambers Press to Hold Open Mic Auditions at Lawn Gnome in Phoenix

Categories: Events, Literary

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If you're looking to have your literary voice heard, Four Chambers Press is looking to help make that happen by teaming up with Lawn Gnome Publishing for open mic auditions.

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Author Tom Zoellner's Train Is a Trip

Categories: Literary, Review

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Viking Adult
Tom Zoellner's new book is about the history of trains.
You may not know it yet, but Tom Zoellner's new book is one you need to read. Like its subject, Train, is by turns lyrical, powerful, romantic, transporting, and rich. The author of A Safeway in Arizona: What the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting Tells Us About the Grand Canyon State and Life in America, Zoellner illustrates how the modern era was ushered in and strapped in place by railroads, and how trains -- the reality and the idea -- continue to shape the world as we understand it.

Train is, in effect, a trip, and Zoellner is the ideal guide and traveling companion, through Russia, China, India, South America. First, he's fascinated by trains, and his evident enthusiasm is contagious. He writes, "I sometimes think that if I had nothing better to do with my life that I would buy a stack of Amtrak tickets and sit in the club car and listen to people's stories" -- and we believe him. Second he's a keen observer (and describer) of people, and he can bring the landscape scrolling by his window to life in just a few sentences. He also manages to provide the history and context the reader needs to grasp the bigger picture he's riding through, whether it's the British Rail System and the chaotic, bucolic beginnings of train travel, or China's Ministry of Railways and its runaway "golden path to prosperity," without veering into the kind of mind-numbing recitation of facts and figures that prompts either skipping pages or a nap.


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Author Gretchen Rubin on Her Latest Book, Happier at Home

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Courtesy of Dave Cross Photography
Gretchen Rubin
Gretchen Rubin's follow-up to her bestselling book The Happiness Project was 2012's Happier at Home: Kiss More, Jump More, Abandon Self-Control, and My Other Experiments in Everyday Life, which chronicled her attempt to delve further into the realm of happiness, specifically in areas at home.

The paperback version of Happier at Home was released in December 2013, and Rubin will visit Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe Friday, January 17, to talk about the book and sign copies. Earlier this week Rubin talked with Jackalope Ranch about what inspired her to write about happiness, exploring other storytelling media, and how her books are all related -- even the ones on Winston Churchill and JFK.


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