Location: Piper Writers House (PWH), 450 E Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281
The ASU Book Group’s April 2019 reading selection is When My Brother Was an Aztec by Natalie Diaz. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-cost luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: “I write hungry sentences,” Natalie Diaz once explained in an interview, “because they want more and more lyricism and imagery to satisfy them.” This debut collection of poetry is a fast-paced tour of Mojave life and family narrative: A sister fights for or against a brother on meth, and everyone from Antigone, Houdini, Huitzilopochtli, and Jesus is invoked and invited to hash it out. These darkly humorous poems illuminate far corners of the heart, revealing teeth, tails, and more than a few dreams.
Date: Wednesday, March 27, 2019 Time: 12:00pm – 1:00pm Location: Piper Writer’s House, 450 E. Tyler Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281 Cost: Free
The ASU Book Group’s March 2019 reading selection is “Counting Coup” by Kelli Donley. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon to 1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are always present. A no-host luncheon follows at the University Club. Attendees at each meeting will be entered into a drawing for a $50 gift certificate! Drawing to be held in April.
Synopsis: Happily consumed with her academic career, Professor Avery Wainwright never planned on becoming sole guardian of her octogenarian Aunt Birdie. Forced to move Birdie — and her failing memory — into her tiny apartment, Avery’s precariously balanced life loses its footing. Unearthed in the chaos is a stack of sixty-year-old letters. Written in 1951, the letters tell of a year Avery’s grandmother, Alma Jean, spent teaching in the Indian school system, in the high desert town of Winslow, Arizona. The letters are addressed to Birdie, who was teaching at the Phoenix Indian School. The ghostly yet familiar voices in the letters tell of a dark time in her grandmother’s life, a time no one has ever spoken of. Torn between caring for the old woman who cannot remember and her very different memories of a grandmother no longer alive to explain, Avery searches for answers. But the scandal and loss she finds, the revelations about abuses, atrocities and cover-ups at the Indian schools, threaten far more than she’s bargained for.
Kelli Donley is a native Arizonan who works in public health. “Counting Coup” was inspired by Donley’s colleagues’ stories about childhoods spent at the Phoenix Indian School. One of the characters is an ASU professor.
The remaining ASU Book Group meeting and selection for 2018—19 is:
The ASU Book Group is meeting Wednesday, Sep. 28, 2016 from 12-1 p.m. at the Piper Writers House (PWH) ASU, Tempe campus. The September 2016 reading selection of the ASU Book Group is “Crossing the Line: A Marriage across Borders” by local writer Linda Valdez. The book group is open to all in the ASU community and meets monthly from noon–1 p.m. in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus. Authors are generally present.
Not a typical immigration story, “Crossing the Line” is told by a middle-class American woman who falls in love with the son of an impoverished family from rural Mexico—a man who crosses the border illegally to be with her. Married in 1988, Linda and Sixto Valdez learn to love each other’s very different families and cultures, raising their child to walk proudly in both worlds. “Crossing the Line” cuts through the fears and preconceptions that fuel the continuing political turmoil over immigration. The book is available at amazon.com.
A finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for editorial writing in 2003, Linda Valdez is a columnist and editorial writer at the Arizona Republic/azcentral.com. She has written extensively about immigration and border issues. Her commentary opposing Arizona’s infamous anti-immigration laws earned her the Scripps Howard Walker Stone Award for editorial writing in 2011.
Other ASU Book Group meetings and selections for 2016-2017 include Oct. 26 (Matt Bell: “Scrapper”); Nov. 30 (Betty E. Hammer Joy: “Angela Hutchinson Hammer: Arizona’s Pioneer Newspaperwoman”); Jan. 25 (Michael Smith: “At Home with the Aztecs: An Archaeologist Uncovers Their Daily Life”); Feb. 22 (Tara Ison: “Ball”); Mar. 29 (Martin Beck Matuštík: “Out of Silence: Repair across Generations”); andApr. 26 (Melissa Pritchard: “A Solemn Pleasure: To Imagine, Witness, and Write”). Additional selections TBD.
The ASU Book Group is sponsored as a community outreach initiative by the Department of English and organized in partnership with the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing.
Wednesday, February 24th from 12pm-1pm, ASU instructor Lori Eshleman (College of Letters and Sciences) will be giving a book discussion on her novel Pachacuti: World Overturned(Bagwyn Books).This discussion is open to all in the ASU community and will be held in the Piper Writers House on ASU’s Tempe campus.
Lori Eshleman, who has taught at ASU since 1994, has always been drawn to those spaces in time where cultural and religious traditions have encountered each other, from the European Middle Ages to colonial Latin America to the American West. Her new book of historical fiction explores the overlap of complex issues of race, gender, politics and religion through characters whose lives become entwined during an uprising in the Andean kingdom of Quito in the 1700s.