Literary

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Valley author Stephanie Elliot’s debut novel, “Sad Perfect” hits shelves February 28, in the middle of National Eating Disorder Awareness Week, which starts this Sunday, February 26. This timing is a happy accident, Elliot says, but it couldn’t be more fitting for the novel.

“Sad Perfect” follows 16-year-old Pea, who struggles to keep her eating disorder a secret from a new boyfriend. In the midst of her budding relationship, Pea's eating disorder, anxiety and depression take over and she watches as her life starts to spiral of control and a wide cast of characters come to her aid.

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Originally from Spain, Olvido García Valdés is one of the most renowned poets in the Hispanic literary community. Last October, Phoenix-based Cardboard House Press published the translated version of her book And We Were All Alive/ Y Todos Estabamos Vivos. Local poet and translator Catherine Hammond will be presenting Garcia Valdes's award-winning poetry collection at Changing Hands Bookstore in Tempe this Friday, January 13 at 7 p.m.

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If it’s true that “silence is golden,” then the trend of “silent reading clubs” around the Valley is rich indeed. The idea of people showing up at a bar or a coffee shop with books and simply sitting and quietly reading together has its appeal, especially considering how much “information” we’re barraged with these days. This month, two local silent reading groups are hosting events – and one is breaking the silence.

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Award winning writer and Phoenix native Stella Pope Duarte's new book, Raul H. Yzaguirre: Seated at the Table of Power, is the adventure tale we've loved reading since our first chapterbooks as kids... except hers is a nonfiction account of Raul Yzaguirre, prominent civil rights activist, former U.S. ambassador to the Domincan Republic, and presidential professor of practice in community development and civil rights at ASU. We spoke with Duarte ahead of her book signing, tomorrow, Dec. 1, in Mesa.

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Though Mindy Tarquini’s debut novel Hindsight has nothing to do with hospitals, it was in a children’s hospital in Philadelphia where she realized her desire to write it. Tarquini was working as an ultrasound technician when she noticed a patient’s mother – who, considering the circumstances, hardly ever smiled – reading Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” and bursting with laughter. She wondered what it would be like to write something so cheerful it could help someone transcend their current circumstances, as grim as they may be, for even a few moments. That thought guided her while writing Hindsight. Tarquini describes her novel as “a layered contemporary fable” about a woman from a tight-knit Italian American family who has the ability to remember all of her past lives and how the lessons learned therein dictate how she lives in the present.

Hindsight, released Tuesday, has already received high praise. Tarquini is originally a native of Philadelphia but now resides in the Valley. She will be hosting her first-ever book signing and reading at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix this evening (Wednesday) at 7 p.m. We chatted with the author about her inspirations for the novel.

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The first PHX Zine Fest introduced Downtown Phoenix to dozens of West Coast zine makers Sunday afternoon.

Zines are self-published, DIY magazines – equal parts grandma’s craft closet and anarchic punk concert (basically, on the opposite end of the spectrum as PHOENIX magazine). Find them at art walks, festivals and independent bookstores and music venues (or, make your own in this easy how-to from Rookie magazinie).

Here are our five favorite zines, both for their unique qualities and for how they exemplified key zine traits: DIY spirit, advocacy, creativity and humor:

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Several years ago, Laurie Notaro set her TiVo to record “Real Housewives of New Jersey.” In a stroke of luck, the DVR malfunctioned and instead recorded a BBC show about female pilots who had vanished trying to fly over the Atlantic. The largely untold story struck the veteran Valley journalist and “New York Times” bestselling author as something worth digging into, and this week, after years of research and recreating the true stories of three of these unsung aviatrixes and their race to cross the Atlantic, Notaro’s historical novel “Crossing the Horizon” hits shelves from Simon & Schuster imprint Gallery Books.

Notaro will read from and sign copies of the book, show a short film, and introduce a guest speaker from the Phoenix chapter of women pilots organization the 99s at Changing Hands Bookstore in Phoenix at 7 p.m. Thursday, October 6 (more info here). We recently caught up with the author to discuss “Crossing the Horizon.”

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Back in the Golden Age of comic books (around 1940 to the mid ‘50s), comic books were mainly geared toward children. Little boys would save up their rainy day pennies and forgo an ice cream pop or new toy just to read Superman’s latest exploits. Thanks to more mature storylines and the rise of superhero movies, the comic book market eventually crossed age and gender lines.

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Few people have made a career out of being awkward and deliciously geeky the way actress-vlogger (that’s short for “video blogger,” n00bs) Felicia Day has. Once a shy, home-schooled nerd who wrote poems about “Ultima 7” and spent two hours a day immersed in “World of Warcraft,” the adult Day turned her everyday life into fodder for her Kickstarter-funded web series The Guild and the Geek & Sundry YouTube Channel.

For more than 50 years, PHOENIX magazine's experienced writers, editors, and designers have captured all sides of the Valley with award-winning and insightful writing, and groundbreaking report and design. Our expository features, narratives, profiles, and investigative features keep our 385,000 readers in touch with the Valley's latest trends, events, personalities and places.