A professor Stephen Buchmann’s latest book, “The Reason for Flowers,” is just out in paperback. The book, hailed as “extraordinarily good” by E.O. Wilson, looks at the sex life of flowers as well as mankind’s long fascination with them. Buchmann recently appeared on “Zona Politics with Jim Nintzel.” This is a lightly edited transcript of that interview. Your book, The Reason for Flowers, is really a celebration of flowers and the role they play in nature. Why do you find flowers so fascinating?The bottom line is, I like to think that if flowers didn’t exist, if they hadn’t come on the scene over a hundred million years ago, that maybe humans wouldn’t be here. So I think of our distant common relatives as seeing flowers as the harbinger of fruits and food that would soon come next. I think this has a lot to do with our innate preference for flowers, and the fact that since they do turn into fruits and seeds, they end up feeding the world.And we use them for romantic gestures, but they have some very strange sex lives themselves, and you get right into that at the start of the book. Talk a little bit about that.
Originally hailing from Globe, local author Eric T. Knight has had a lifelong love affair with reading. Whether it was reading his mother’s romance novels, or sifting through classics works of Poe and Dickens, Knight spent many of his early years with a book in hand.Growing up on a working cattle ranch 30 miles outside of the small town of Wickenburg, Knight said there wasn’t much to do as a kid, so he saw reading as the best means of escape. “We didn’t have TV very often,” he said, “and reading was it, so I read everything; from fantasy, to sci-fi, to mom’s romance novels if I had to. That’s what we did when we didn’t have anything else to do, we read.”Knight continued on with his love of the written word through high school, where he was a strong student. After graduating, Knight said he did everything he could to move away from his small town and moved to Tucson to go to the University of Arizona.Writing was not his first choice of study, he at first attempted business and journalism.“I was bouncing in and out of programs,” he said, before receiving a degree in creative writing, it was a passion he said went hand-in-hand with his reading.
David Foster Wallace was an author you either lauded for being brilliant or loathed for being pretentious. His 1996 opus “Infinite Jest” elevated him to the status of literary rockstar overnight and cemented the thousand page novel as a cultural touchstone. This Gen-X J.D. Salinger eventually caught the attention of Rolling Stone reporter David Lipsky, who accompanied Wallace through the last few days of his book tour for a lengthy interview. Said interview never graced the magazine’s pages, but Lipsky would commemorate the author’s 2008 death with a published account of his experience — and this is where we get “The End Of The Tour.” Based on Lipsky’s book, it’s a film that you’ll either laud as being brilliant or loath for being pretentious. Either way, it deftly channels the spirit of the late great Wallace.And as his medium, Jason Segel brings the house down. Physical similarities aside, who knew the dude from “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” and “I Love You, Man” could disappear into a role like this? I didn’t. From that first awkward wave to the final bittersweet moments, his Wallace is a disarmingly hypnotic presence uncomfortable with his newfound fame. Clinging to his average joe persona for dear life, the actor’s trademark empathy perfectly meshes with Wallace’s sullen smarts and the results are stunning. Having to rattle off dense dialogue and make it seem casual was tough enough, let alone an attention to mannerisms that a YouTube comparison would ace; not bad for a comedian pretending to be a writer. He might just pretend his way into some Oscar talk.Jesse Eisenberg is also perfectly casted as Lipsky, the twitchy reporter trying to get his own writing career off the ground. This David has a tough job to do: nab a juicy story from the passive Wallace while fighting off his own jealousy. They eventually begin to bond as friends, yet the actor’s unsettled demeanor constantly keeps those issues front and center. As is the case in real life, the interviewer is never the one being praised; but don’t let that sway you from Eisenberg’s impressive turn.David Margulies’ script is an uppercut to the conventional biopic format, placing emphasis on the conversations over the actions. Don’t immediately groan if you hate talkie movies, though, because there’s never a moment where the energy falls flat. This is actually a pretty strong candidate for “movie that will change your mind about talkie movies.” Back by James Ponsoldt’s attentive direction, the film’s two hours brush by in the span of a water cooler conversation; to the point where you wish there was more to see (and hear). It’s thought-provoking, it’s sad, it’s hilarious. It’s all things that a good movie should be, and then some. I haven’t read “Infinite Jest,” but if it’s anything like “The End Of The Tour,” I’m going out to get a copy right away.Danilo Castro is a resident of Oro Valley and writer for the Film Noir Archive blog at www.filmnoirarchive.com
Reddit is a website with quite a mixed reputation. Structured under different, thematically-based forums called “subreddits,” the site allows users to post their own pictures, videos, and written submissions for others to see and comment on. Many people have been put off by Reddit because of its insular, sometimes exclusive community as well as some questionable subcultures within the website. Though the accusations of incubating hatred and bigotry are true in some cases, the site in its entirety cannot be judged based on the actions of some.One of the brighter spots of Reddit, the r/IAmA (“I am a / Ask me Anything”) subreddit, was responsible for allowing celebrities, business professionals, and other interesting people from all walks of life to host question and answer sessions with users. Everyone from famous actors, authors, teachers— even President Barack Obama— have hosted sessions through the subreddit.With such a successful and popular operation as r/IAmA, dismissing the woman who acted as the main facilitator for these sessions came as more than a shock to many in the Reddit community. Victoria Taylor, one of the more visible and popular Reddit employees, was completely vital as the point-of-contact between people trying to coordinate for the website and the actual celebrities. With her sudden and inexplicable removal, moderators from the r/IAmA community say that they are now in a position in which they cannot effectively run Q&A sessions. This sudden dismissal sent many in the Reddit community into an uproar against Reddit interim-CEO Ellen Pao. Within an hour of Taylor’s removal being announced many moderators of the site’s more popular sections decided to fight back by privatizing some of the most popular sections of Reddit. By going private, only a small, predetermined list of users will be able to access the subreddit, disallowing general internet users to fully enjoy the content on the website.Staff members, including Pao herself, immediately responded to the general outcry by telling Reddit users that the company is restructuring and redesigning their systems to allow better communication between users and employees.Communication, or lack thereof, has been a key issue between Reddit moderators and the administrative staff for quite some time. There has been a long-running feeling amongst Reddit moderators and users that the Reddit staff does not seriously appreciate the massive amount of volunteer work that must be done to keep the website running. Reddit moderator, “Gilgamesh” best describes the animosity:
Elizabeth Evan’s new novel explores what we keep hiddenElizabeth Evans, a professor emeritus in the University of Arizona’s Creative Writing department, has just released her fourth novel, “As Good As Dead,” a suspense thriller about the price that secrets can extract even decades later. Evans is among the authors who will be appearing at this weekend’s Tucson Festival of Books. Q: Tell us a little bit about the book.A: When it begins, we are in Tucson. It’s 2008 and the main character, Charlotte, goes to answer the door and there is a woman standing there who turns out to be a friend she hasn’t seen in 20 years. They were very good friends when they were in their early 20s, but they had some real envy and competition between them. Charlotte is not quite sure whether to be happy to see her friend, who knows some secrets about her, or whether to be afraid. And that’s kind of where things kick off.
Longtime Tucson Weekly contributor Margaret Regan is set to publish “Detained and Deported: Stories of Immigrant Families Under Fire,” her second book about immigration’s impact on Arizona. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly said that Regan captures “intimate and heartbreaking” stories in “an authentic look at people caught between borders”; Kirkus Review said that “Regan’s books bring into focus the fates of undocumented people fighting against the odds to make it into America and then, if they get here, struggling, and often failing, to build a life”; and Booklist noted that “with other horrifying case studies, Regan provides discomfiting statistics to document the rise of the detention-industrial complex.” Regan will be reading from the book at 7 p.m. Friday, March 6, at Antigone Books, 411 N. Fourth Ave. She’ll also be making numerous appearances during the upcoming Tucson Festival of Books on March 14-15 and will be discussing the book at Etherton Gallery at 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 14. Q: What’s the new book all about? A: My first book, “The Death of Josseline,” was about the difficult and dangerous journey and everything that it does for the residents of the border, and all the militarization. My new book is about people who came here successfully in that big migration and have lived here for a long time. But they’re not documented. And what happens to them when they’re driving along in Phoenix or Tucson and they have a taillight missing and the cops stop them and they’re detained. This book is about people who are really embedded in our community and many of them have kids who are U.S. citizens. Some of them were brought here as children themselves
Since The Tucson Festival of Books debuted March of 2009, the yearly festival has been one of the premier attractions to our city, drawing well over 100,000 participants and tourists to the University of Arizona mall. Hundreds of authors, editors, and other members of the literary and academic communities come to Tucson to provide an unforgettable two days “where words and imagination come to life.” The Tucson Festival of Books will be returning March 14 and 15 from 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.This is much more than a book festival; the event is centered on promoting literacy and understanding of the world. “Giving back to promote literacy is the real success of the festival,” said Bill Viner, chief executive officer of Pepper Viner Homes and one of the festival’s founders. “Literacy is the foundation of building a strong, vibrant community, and the Tucson Festival of Books is proud to play a role in ensuring vital literacy programs are available.”The festival is offered free of charge to the public and free parking is provided by the university with its collection of surface lots and garages across campus. Just pack up the family and head to campus, enjoy the sun, and peruse through one of the largest annual book conventions in the nation. Events at the festival will encompass more than literary topics, ranging from science demonstrations for children, philosophical lectures, and a literacy benefit concert. Fans of the TV show “Longmire” should mark the festival in their calendars: One of the Tucson Festival of Books most popular authors, Craig Johnson, who writes the Walt Longmire mystery series, will be joined by “Longmire” TV show cast members Lou Diamond Phillips and Robert Taylor at 11:30 a.m. March 15 in the Student Union South Ballroom The University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences Have announced plans to host Noam Chomsky this year. This free, ticketed event is in partnership with The Nation Magazine and University of Arizona College of Social and Behavioral Sciences and will be held March 15 in UA Centennial Hall from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Diana Madaras doesn’t feel comfortable painting in public because the creative effort of putting color on canvas and bringing an idea to life is a very private endeavor for her, yet she readily shares her finished work, many pieces of which depict life in the Sonoran desert, with that same public.And as an additional way of showing how she developed her style of painting, as well as developed and changed as an artist, she’s published a retrospective of her life and work in the book, “Private Spaces,” which Madaras will introduce to Tucsonans this month. “Sharing the personal information in the book was difficult because I’m a very private person,” Madaras said. “But I hope that people will draw inspiration from the book and realize that it’s never too late to follow their dreams and make them come true.”“Private Spaces” chronicles the story of how Madaras, a New Jersey native, became a desert dweller who walked away from a successful marketing career to pursue her passion for art. Madaras was raised by a veterinarian father and developed a love of animals at an early age, which would feature in many of her artworks.Madaras came to Tucson in 1976 to pursue a master’s degree at the University of Arizona, and after graduation worked in sports marketing for national events. She didn’t pick up a paint brush until taking a trip to Greece, and within five years she was painting full time, and within 10, opened two galleries in Tucson and established herself as one of the most recognized artists in the area.“Private Spaces” reproduces 152 images of Madaras’s paintings, from her first watercolors painted in the Bahamas and Greece, through her African animal paintings and South Dakota Artist Rides work, to the Southwest landscapes, animals and florals from 1992 to the present.
He had a story he wanted to tell – one of redemption, hope, and change. Now, after 37 years, Fernando Prol has published his first book called “Sugar and Dirt: Memoirs of a Tortoise.”“I resolved that I would one day write the book and that I’d educate myself so that I’d be prepared to write a book,” said Fernando, who is now in his late 50s and works as a traffic engineer at the town of Marana.The book is a fictional memoir that is narrated by a 60-year-old man named F.P. Romero. His retelling gives a glimpse into his life in Cuba during Fidel Castro’s revolution, his family fleeing to America, and them adapting to a new culture - all the while going through difficult and traumatic circumstances. The book is a coming-of-age memoir that, though it is fiction, Fernando can relate to.The book’s storyline is intertwined with some of his life story. Making the book fiction rather than non-fiction was a choice that Fernando says has made writing the book more enjoyable.“Some of the things in the book would be hard to write,” said Fernando, who adds that his life had some very difficult moments that would be hard to relive. “Making it a fiction gave me more of a psychological separation. Second, it also let me be more creative.”Fernando tried writing the book when he was 22, but after multiple drafts and a lack of skill in writing, he crumpled up the pages and threw them away. For the next couple decades, he dedicated himself to learning the art of writing. Unlike most people his age, Fernando took a different route in learning. Instead of attending college he educated himself by reading through a list of numerous books that were recommended by a university.
What happens when a coyote falls in love with a human woman? What if he could become human? Follow Coyote as he pursues his dream, falling into a trap set by the shaman he meets one night. Yes, he can shape-shift but he cannot remain in human form once he falls asleep!The strange man standing at her door intrigues Sara. But this dark-haired stranger has been shot and needs help. At the hospital she realizes that he has no papers, no money and no ID of any kind. Where did he come from? He doesn’t seem to understand the simplest things.At home Sara settles the injured man on the couch for the night but in the morning he is gone, leaving his antibiotics behind. For some reason she can’t stop thinking about him. Her boyfriend wonders what’s got into Sara. She seems preoccupied and distant.What will happen the next time Coyote comes calling?Find out by reading "Just Another Desert Sunset," available online as well as these local stores: Mostly Books, Antigone Books, Spirit’s Child and The Yoga Tree.To find out more about the author visit: www.wolfmoontrilogy.com
Two authors with local ties have written books with themes from both sides of the parent-child dynamic. Marana resident Lori Alexander will have her first children’s book, “Backhoe Joe” published this fall and the road construction in the town was an inspiration. Alexander’s son Max was fascinated with big trucks and other construction equipment, so she often found herself looking at a lot of construction sites. “I found myself constantly stuck in traffic, as we sought out road-widening projects so he could see the machines in action,” Alexander said. “Some days, I wished my son had been a dinosaur fanatic instead. But in the end, his love of construction inspired Backhoe Joe, as we spent many hours together imaging what it would be like to have a backhoe of our very own.”The book, a picture book for children that comes out in mid September, is about a named Nolan, who finds a “stray” backhoe in the street. He names him Joe and can’t wait to adopt him. “Backhoe Joe is not very well behaved,” explained Alexander. “He revs at the mailman. He digs in garbage. As Nolan tries to train his new pet, he learns that this backhoe might already have a home.”While writing a 40-page children’s book may seem easy, it is actually a very lengthy process. Alexander’s initial story went through a number of re-writes. She turned to the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) for guidance and also went to writing classes and critique groups. It wasn’t until she found an agent that things started to really get moving.
A local author is receiving national attention after the release of her latest novel.Oro Valley resident Lala Corriere’s newest publication, “Kiss and Kill,” was recently featured on USA Today’s segment called “Books Recommended for This Weekend.”While Corriere spent the bulk of her professional career in real estate and interior design, she began writing novels 10 years ago because she felt it was her true calling.“When I worked in those other professions, I wasn’t passionate about them,” said Corriere. “Writing is what I am passionate about.”Corriere has since published four books with her fifth, “Bye Bye Bones,” on the way. She describes her work, which is often compared to author Carl Hiaasen, as “suspenseful, with a lot of twists and turns.”“Kiss and Kill” adheres to that genre. The story follows the life of romance author Chyna Blaze, whose peers are being killed one at a time, and Chyna, who suffers from anxiety and panic attacks, becomes a prime suspect of investigating detectives. Like much of Corriere’s other works, “Kiss and Kill” explores the dark underworld of crime and human nature, but through its plot twists and final resolution, also provides a meaningful thematic message.