Series Opens with Insights on “Arizona 100” Books

Aug. 21, 2012

Bruce Dinges, director of publications at the Arizona Historical Society and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Arizona History, delivers the opening talk in the Reading Arizona Lecture Series coinciding with Special Collections’ current exhibition “Arizona 100: Essential Books for the Centennial.”

“Arizona 100: Reflections on Essential Books of the Grand Canyon State” will be held Aug. 23, 7-8:30 p.m. in the UA Special Collections. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be followed by a reception.

Inspired by Arizona’s Centennial, last year a group of seven bibliophiles set out to develop a readily accessible list of fiction and non-fiction books that define Arizona. Surveying more than 200 titles, the final 100 titles were selected for having “diverse geographical, cultural, and political literary merit” for Arizona.

The current edition of The Journal of Arizona History presents the culmination of this yearlong effort and the Special Collections’ exhibition and related lecture series is an opportunity for the community to participate in this statewide literary project.

With more than 30 years’ experience in reviewing, recommending, and discussing Arizona’s literary tradition, Dinges was one of the seven selectors for the “Arizona 100” bibliography.

In his talk, Dinges will reflect on the extensive, and sometimes surprising, process of selecting a collection of emblematic works that, if read collectively, express who and what Arizonans are. Although some authors were immediately included, notably Edward Abbey, Byrd Baylor, and Barbara Kingsolver, other works called for review and re-reading. Dinges will also share the story of other titles that warranted discussion and debate among the selectors.

Contact: Bob Diaz at 520-621‐7010 or diazj@u.library.arizona.edu.