The much-anticipated opening of Changing Hands Bookstore’s new Phoenix location this evening — along with First Draft, a coffee, wine and beer bar — provides a perfect opportunity to kick off your summer reading, regardless of whether you prefer ink-and-paper, audio, or e-books. Dive into our series of suggestions with these books exploring the fascinating and frustrating push-and-pull energy of siblings.
“There may be no relationship…that’s closer, finer, harder, sweeter, happier, sadder, more filled with joy or fraught with woe, than the relationship we have with our brothers and sisters,” says Jeffrey Kluger, who wrote The Sibling Effect: What the Bonds Among Brothers and Sisters Reveal About Us.
This nonfiction work examines the genetic drive for competition between siblings, myths and truths about birth order, the dynamics of blended families, and “favorite child” guilt. “The longer life expectancies get,” says Kluger, “the more of us will arrive in an old age in which we’ve outlive a spouse and other loved ones, and our kids have scattered.” He continues, “Sibs are often the only ones left — and often the people who know you and love you the best.”
Yehuda Koren and Eilat Negev use 16 pages of photos and plenty of personal narrative for In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The Remarkable Story of the Lilliput Troupe — A Dwarf Family’s Survival of the Holocaust.
In the perilous years of World War II, an extended family of seven Jewish dwarf adults and many of their normal-sized siblings, spouses, cousins, and friends managed to survive Auschwitz thanks to the fascination they held for Dr. Josef Mengele, who conducted endless painful research.
Another true tale of determination comes from Kabul, Afghanistan, where Kamila Sidiqi protected and provided for her siblings by establishing a dressmaking business under the repressive Taliban regime. The Dressmaker of Khair Kahan by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon describes Sidiqi’s courage and ingenuity as she faced gender oppression along with practical challenges including a lack of electricity and possible punishment for her efforts.
True Sisters is based on the very real 1856 disaster of the doomed Martin Handcart Company, which sent Mormon converts on a journey of 1,300 miles by foot from Iowa City to Salt Lake City. Sandra Dallas used journals and historical accounts to describe strong women in catastrophic adversity — more than a quarter of the 575 members of the expedition froze or starved to death, but Dallas’s characters, including several families, tackle trials of faith and great hardship bolstered by friendship.
See the American West from a completely different — and violently skewed — angle in Patrick deWitt’s The Sisters Brothers, a gritty novel about professional killers Eli and Charlie Sisters. Beavers, bears, horses, alcohol, gold, guns, and grievous injuries play a part in the brothers’ gritty quest, woven with stylized, deliberately choreographed sentences reminiscent of the Coen brothers’ 2010 remake of True Grit.
Kevin Wilson’s first novel The Family Fang enters the quirky, surreal world of parents Camille and Caleb Fang, performance artists who are perfectly comfortable using their children as props in their pieces of public drama. Daughter Annie (“Child A”) and son Buster (“Child B”) return home after personal and professional humiliations, only to discover their crucial roles in the Family Fang’s loftiest work of art. Wilson has a gift for addictively dry humor and refreshing prose, and it’s rumored that Jason Bateman and Nicole Kidman are slated to star in a film adaptation.
Another debut comes from Eleanor Brown, who successfully gambles with an unusual first-person plural narrative in The Weird Sisters. The title and its eponymous sisters are all named for Shakespearean characters, and the setting is a deeply academic family in which everyone is always reading. Rose, Bean, and Cordy take risks to step beyond birth-order expectations in a story rich with memorable descriptions and turns of phrase.
“I have never looked into my sister’s eyes,” writes Lori Lansens in the voice of her character Rose, who takes turns narrating The Girls with her conjoined twin Ruby.
“Raise your right hand,” Rose continues. “Press the base of your palm to the lobe of your right ear. Cover your ear and fan out your fingers — that’s where my sister and I are affixed, our faces not quite side by side, our skulls fused together…I have carried my sister like an infant since I was a baby myself, Ruby’s tiny thighs astride my hip, my arm supporting her posterior, her arm forever around my neck.” While the 29-year-old sisters may be forced to share nearly everything physically, they still maintain secrets and an emotional distance in unusual ways.
Lionel Shriver’s novel Big Brother delves into interdependence of a different stripe when Pandora attempts to rescue her enormous brother from his life-threatening obesity by becoming his full-time live-in weight-loss coach, jeopardizing her own marriage to a fitness freak in the process.
For a warm-weather romantic respite, visit the cool Pacific Northwest setting of the Friday Harbor series by Lisa Kleypas, whose beautifully edited and consistently strong, smooth writing lends extra dimension and appeal to her contemporary and historical novels. The first three books of the series — Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor, Rainshadow Road, and Dream Lake — introduce the three Nolan brothers and their sister Victoria, exploring complex sibling relationships and hints of supernatural influence.
Share your own sibling-related book suggestions in the comments, and watch for our next list of summer reading ideas.
Librarian Teresa Becker contributed to this article.
- Changing Hands carries new and used books, and friendly staff members can help you with special orders
- 300 W. Camelback Rd., Phoenix, 85013 — 602-274-0067
- 6428 S. McClintock Dr., Tempe, 85283 — 480-730-0205
- Find a dazzling array of books in the Phoenix Public Library and Maricopa County Library systems
- Visit the Maricopa County Reads Summer Reading Program website and register yourself — or your whole family — to read your way to a free book
- Brown, Eleanor. The Weird Sisters (2011)
- Dallas, Sandra. True Sisters (2012)
- deWitt, Patrick. The Sisters Brothers (2011)
- Kluger, Jeffrey. The Sibling Effect: what the bonds among brothers and sisters reveal about us (2011)
- Koren, Yehuda & Eilat Negev. In Our Hearts We Were Giants: The remarkable story of the Lilliput Troupe: A dwarf family’s survival of the Holocaust (2005)
- Shriver, Lionel. Big Brother (2013)
- Lansens, Lori. The Girls (2007)
- Tzemach Lemmon, Gayle. The Dressmaker of Khair Khana: five sisters, one remarkable family, and the woman who risked everything to keep them safe (2011)
- Wilson, Kevin. The Family Fang (2011)
Coming up: Delicious tales, scientific curiosities, and stories of love gone wrong
DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Southern Rail Opens May 30 at The Newton
Uptown Phoenix restaurant highlights diverse flavors from the American South
“Regardless of how many restaurants I’ve opened, and best laid plans, the process is never what I expect,” admits executive chef and owner Justin Beckett. “After numerous research and development trips, a few exciting design revisions and several iterations of the menu, we are finally ready to share this passion project with our loyal supporters who’ve waited so patiently.”
And for their patience, guests will be rewarded with Chef Justin Beckett’s signature take on dishes inspired by the “lowcountry” cooking of the coastal Carolinas, the famous Cajun and Creole fare of New Orleans, and the slow-smoke barbecue of south Texas.
“Long before the farm-to-table concept emerged, southern cooks took great pride in preparing dishes with a real focus on local produce,” adds Chef Beckett. “At Southern Rail I wanted to pay homage by incorporating Arizona’s unique local produce in creative takes on some of the South’s most iconic dishes.”
Chef Beckett’s interpretations of the diverse flavors of the American South will include:
• House smoked chicken and grilled Andouille sausage gumbo
• Cornbread salad with grilled cauliflower, marinated tomatoes, pickled beets and okra
• House smoked trout with sweet pea cake and spiced tomato jam
• Fried green tomatoes with pimento cheese
A robust American beverage program, overseen by owners and sommeliers Scott and Katie Stephens, and touches of the South’s infamously warm and welcoming brand of hospitality will complement the Southern Rail menu.
“It only takes one visit to the South to be inspired by the cuisine and culture,” notes Katie Stephens.
Southern Rail is the sole restaurant located in The Newton, an adaptive revitalization of the iconic Beef Eaters building at 3rd Avenue and Camelback Road. For more information, visit SouthernRailAZ.com.
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Luci’s Healthy Marketplace is thrilled to present the EatTable DrinkBar Cooking Series: Tastes of Italy with Chef James Monaci.
This series of classes will introduce you to the secrets of making fine Italian foods. From appetizers like soups, salads and cheeses to amazing main course pizzas and pasta dishes, come learn authentic cooking techniques while enjoying fine Italian wine along the way! For more information and to sign up, visit www.lucishealthymarketplace.com.
ITALIAN COOKING CLASS SCHEDULE:
*All classes will be accompanied by wine
• PASTA AND SAINT VALENTINE’S: February 13, 2014
Join Chef Monaci in making fresh pasta of Spaghetti, Fettuccine and Papardelle with enticing sauces from scratch to orchestrate the flavors, textures and colors.
·SALADS FOR ALL FOUR SEASONS: April 6, 2014
Garden Seedless Watermelon & Arugula, Red Onion, Ricotta Salata and Glazed Walnuts served with a Pomegranate and Balsamic Vinaigrette and three more surprising seasonal salads.
• CULURGIONES…WHAT ARE THEY? A SARDNGA SECRET TRANSLATED AS “LITTLE BUNDLES” June 8, 2014, Sunday
The Culurgione is a filled hand-made pasta, from Sardinia, Italy, much like the traditional Ravioli. And…of course a couple of enticing sauces from scratch to compliment the Culurgione and Wine.
• SOUPS TO CALM YOUR PALATE: August 17, 2014
Butternut Squash and Carrot Soup with a medley of mushrooms and two more calm your palate soups.
• SERVING UP THE ULTIMATE PIE: October 5, 2014
Making gourmet pizza from scratch, along with several delicious pizza sauce recipes, and topping off with a wide variety of ingredients.
• THE ART OF CHEESE MAKING: December 7, 2014
An Introduction to Latticini—the family of fresh-milk products that are Mozzarella, Burrata, and Ricotta.
Six Cooking Class Package $199.99
Since 1974, Changing Hands Bookstore has been a Tempe institution, offering not only books, but author events, writing workshops and a commitment to engaging with the community. In spring 2014, Phoenix will be lucky enough to have its very own, brand new Changing Hands location.
How is it that in a time when bookstores are more likely to close their doors than open new ones, an indie store is actually expanding? Simply put: the community asked for it.
According to Cindy Dach, co-owner and general manager of Changing Hands and an advocate for the development of downtown Phoenix and the Roosevelt Row Arts District, customers had been asking for a more central location for years.
And for years, Changing Hands searched for that perfect location. “It’s a tough business, it’s not a highly profitable business, so we needed all the pieces to come together to where we felt we could serve the community in the way they wanted to be served,” says Dach.
The store was dedicated to making it happen, but that determination extended far beyond their own efforts, particularly when it came down to the hard details of funding the new project. The customers, who had clamored for a new location, had also asked how they could help make it happen. This neighborhood favorite needed more than just the encouragement of their patrons, but their financial help as well.
“Loans have high interest rates. Loans have a lot of ties. And we did take out loans for the store, but we also wanted an opportunity for customers to feel like they helped build this bookstore,” say Dach.
When Changing Hands launched an Indiegogo campaign to cover some of the costs, over 1100 people contributed, raising more than $91,000 in a single month. In return, they got to choose from a variety of literary-themed t-shirts, note cards and experiences designed especially for the campaign. But most importantly, they and the rest of the valley will get the added value of the new bookstore they wanted for their community.
Dach and her staff have been awed and overwhelmed by the support. “Forget the dollar amount, that number is really just – 1100 people helped build this bookstore.”
The new Changing Hands will be housed in The Newton, an adaptive reuse project in the former location of Beefeaters restaurant at 3rd Avenue and Camelback in the Uptown district. The Newton will also house a restaurant called Southern Rail (by the owners of Beckett’s Table) and a co-working space.
The new location will take the strength of its Tempe store and tailor it to the culture of central Phoenix. “It’s going to be the urban version of (the Tempe) store,” says Dach. It will inhabit a smaller space and have an inventory that reflects the needs of its patrons.
“The community will tell us what it wants there. The market will decide, so with time, it’s gonna be our recommendations and what that community wants from that store.”
Aesthetically, the Phoenix store will have a different feel from its sister location, with the bones of the original building informing the new space. The design concept is being led by Phoenix architect, Christoph Kaiser, whose work can been found in other downtown spots like Postino Central, Kitchen Sink Studios and homes in the Garfield District.
Another addition in the Phoenix location will be a beer, wine and coffee bar called First Draft Book Bar.
Ultimately, the new Changing Hands will provide a place for the Phoenix community to gather, but in a way that is uniquely its own. Says Dach, ultimately, “the community will shape how that bookstore will look and feel.”
Photos by Andrew Pielage. Courtesy of Changing Hands.
Here at DPJ, we’re all about sharing what we love. Beyond the stories that make us love downtown, we often come across things that catch our eye, tingle our senses or have us dancing in delight. “We Like…” turns a brief spotlight on the little treasures that make our day, with helpful links so you can share in the fun.
When I was young I thought that artists were born fully formed and able to accomplish amazing work right out of the gate. Later I came to recognize that what makes an artist truly great is all of the time spent learning technique, honing their craft, refining their vision, solving problems, and growing into their talent. Recently I stumbled across an example of that kind of evolution in the work of a remarkable local artist, Jordan Alexander Thomas.
I first came across his delicious robot constructions at Made art boutique a few years ago. I don’t really care one way or another about robots, but these charmed me immediately. Not only were they imaginative, cheerful and affordable, they also had magical little “secret compartments” built into their bodies. I am a sucker for a box, and the hidden boxes in these robot bodies had me leaping for joy.
Flash forward a couple of years to just a week or so ago, when I wandered into Practical Art one afternoon with a friend and discovered an entire exhibition of Thomas’s newest robots. In just a few short years his constructions have evolved from charming, slightly rough-hewn curiosities, to gorgeously wrought works of art. I kid you not, they are absolutely beautiful.
So, quick like a bunny, before the show comes down, trundle yourself off to Practical Art and spend a little time marveling at these fabulous constructions. They’d make a perfect gift, especially if you tuck a little surprise into the secret compartment. For those of you who don’t want to commit to a larger piece, Thomas has created smaller scale “busts,” as well as some sweet and wearable pins.
Jordan Alexander Thomas bills himself as a robot artist, which might lead some people to overlook his work. Don’t make that mistake. He has created unique, exquisite, finely detailed sculptures that just happen to be robots. When you slow down enough to look closely, you will be amazed and delighted. Your mind will be blown and Santa may just have to bring me one for Christmas!