Tempe Author Elizabeth Maria Naranjo on Why Young-Adult Books Are for Everyone

Courtesy Elizabeth Maria Naranjo/Evie Carpenter

Elizabeth Maria Naranjo is a petite woman with long, black hair that today she's pulled back, save for a few wisps that frame her face. She's personable, but not bubbly, and passionate without being overbearing. She alternates between sips of water and coffee and she is, as she'll later admit, understandably nervous -- this is her first face-to-face interview to promote her first book, The Fourth Wall.

The 235-page piece follows a young girl, Marin, who adopts lucid dreaming (a dream in which one is keenly aware he or she is actively dreaming) as a way to escape reality after her mother's death. She creates a safe haven, devoid of memory and sadness, but the dream becomes a nightmare, and something inside of it doesn't want her to wake up.

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Miles to Go's Promises to Keep Volume Two Now Available for Pre-Order

With June more than half over and July just around the corner, it's high time you finalized your summer reading list. Fortunately for you, local clothing company Miles to Go, which silkscreens imagery from literary classics onto crew neck T-shirts and totes, has a few suggestions.

Make that almost 100.

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Comedian Annabelle Gurwitch on Aging Not-So-Gracefully and Performing at The Most of Lit Lounge

Courtesy Annabelle Gurwitch
Annabelle Gurwitch on HBO's "Real Time with Bill Maher" in April.

Comedian and author Annabelle Gurwitch has a habit of turning the negative into positive -- or, at the very least, a lucrative book deal. When Woody Allen fired her from the cast of his off-Broadway New York production, Writers Block, in 2003, she created Fired, a collection of essays about getting canned from Tim Allen, Felicity Huffman, and David Cross to name a few. When her 50th birthday was fast approaching, she penned I See You Made an Effort: Compliments, Indignities and Survival Stories from the Edge of 50 a comedic call to action for the middle-aged that has made the New York Times bestseller list.

Her penchant for performing caught the attention of Tania Katan, the entertainer at the helm of SMoCA's Lit Lounge series and the second annual The Most of Lit Lounge event held on Thursday, June 26 at the Virginia G. Piper Theater at the Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts.

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5 Life Lessons Learned from Maya Angelou

Categories: Literary, Poetry

York College ISLGP via Wikimedia Commons
Maya Angelou died at her Winston-Salem, North Carolina, home on Wednesday, May 28. She was 86. Her artistic achievements included working as an actress, dancer, poet, and novelist, while her cultural impact as a creative voice and civil rights activist spanned both the globe and generations.

Some of Angelou's more significant historical moments include the 1969 release of her first autobiography, I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings, working alongside iconic activists such as Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr., and reciting her poem "On the Pulse of Morning" at Bill Clinton's 1993 presidential inauguration.

But perhaps the most memorable parts of Angelou are the words she left behind. Here are the five most valuable life lessons we learned from her.

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The Most of Lit Lounge Returns to Scottsdale Center for the Performing Arts June 26

Categories: Events, Literary

Amy Walker
New York Times bestseller Beth Lisick performs at Lit Lounge's debut event in June 2012.

Lit Lounge presents its second "Most of" edition, a sort-of best of round-up featuring prominent performers of both national recognition and local prowess. The conversation returns to the Virginia G. Piper Theater at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 26.

Award-winning author and comedic performer Tania Katan is at the helm of the storytelling series. The cancer survivor and frequent TEDx speaker (and occasional Jackalope Ranch contributor) created the series in June 2012 to both media and audience acclaim.

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5 Must-Attend Literary Events in Metro Phoenix This Summer

Categories: Events, Literary

conejoazul via Flickr

Local literature lovers are lucky that some excellent public libraries and two of the nation's best bookstores also call the Valley home. Here's a look at some upcoming literary events in our area.

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

Categories: Events, Literary

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

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

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

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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