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AZ 100: A Community Discussion

Artistic mock-up of books in the shape of letters spelling out AZ 100 BKS

Reading Arizona Lecture Series Closes with a Community Discussion on the “Arizona 100” Book List

Community discussion and conversation is encouraged at the closing lecture of the Reading Arizona Lecture Series accompanying Arizona 100: Essential Books for the Centennial, the current exhibition on display at UA Special Collections. The lecture is followed by a reception and a book sale of select titles on the “Arizona 100” list. “Arizona 100” was created as a community literary project and, as such, the audience is encouraged to ask questions about the selection process and present alternative views on the titles that did – or did not – make the final list.

The book list is the result of more than a year of rereading, reviewing and lengthy discussion by a group of seven bibliophiles, all of whom have a deep connection with the literature of the Grand Canyon State. As selectors of the “Arizona 100” list, the group considers the extensive, and sometimes surprising, process of selecting a collection of emblematic works that, if read collectively, express who and what Arizonans are.

The selectors of the book list, who are also panelists for the Oct. 18 community discussion, are:  

  • Bill Broyles, retired teacher, writer, Southwest Books of the year contributor, and research associate at the University of Arizona’s Southwest Center
  • Steve Cox, director emeritus, The University of Arizona Press, with more than 40 years of experience as a writer, editor, and publisher
  • Bruce Dinges, director of publications and editor of The Journal of Arizona History at the Arizona Historical Society;
  • Alfredo Gonzales, bookseller, owner of the Chiricahua Book Company
  • W. David Laird, author, editor, Southwest Books of the Year contributor, and former director of The University of Arizona Libraries
  • Roger Myers, librarian at Special Collections in The University of Arizona Libraries
  • James J. Owens, antiquarian book dealer and the owner of Thorn Books in Tucson

In addition to the seven selectors, two community experts on Southwest literature share their insights on the “Arizona 100” list: J.C. Martin, book reviewer for the Arizona Daily Star and Helene Woodhams, librarian for the Pima County Public Library.

The current edition of The Journal of Arizona History presents the culmination of this yearlong effort to create the “Arizona 100” list and offers an in-depth bibliography of the selected titles with a summary, assessment of significance, and suggestions for further reading for each title. Special Collections exhibition and related lecture series is an opportunity for the community to participate in this statewide literary project.

Readers interested in purchasing the special edition of a Journal of Arizona History can contact the Arizona Historical Society. Additionally, a web exhibition created by Special Collections makes it easy to search for a specific title, view the original book jacket and cover art, and download a printable copy of the “Arizona 100” book list.

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