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The Water Knife, Paolo Bacigalupi, December 12, 2023

Description: Water has always been a contentious issue in the Southwest and many "wars" have ensued over who has the right to the water and how much. Bacigalupi uses the skirmishes between Arizona, Nevada, and California for Colorado River water for this thriller. How much could be real in our future? The evening's discussion will center around the story and its connection to reality. 

Moderator: Donna Reiner, Ph.D., a historic preservation specialist, crafts personalized booklets detailing the rich history of historic properties for both new and long-standing owners. She also conducts historic research for National Register nominations, primarily focusing on properties in Arizona, California, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Donna is a co-author of three books published by Arcadia Publishing, including "Tovrea Castle," "Historic Heritage Square," and "Phoenix's Greater Coronado Neighborhood." Her contributions extend to a monthly history column in the "Arizona Republic" and historical pieces for Downtown Phoenix, Inc.

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The Anthropocene Reviewed, John Green, June 20, 2023

Description: The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale – from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar. John Green's gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. "The Anthropocene Reviewed" is an open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.

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How the Word is Passed, Clint Smith, February 9, 2023

Description: A deeply researched and transporting exploration of the legacy of slavery and its imprint on centuries of American history, "How the Word Is Passed" illustrates how some of our country's most essential stories are hidden in plain view – whether in places we might drive by on our way to work, holidays such as Juneteenth, or entire neighborhoods like downtown Manhattan, where the brutal history of the trade in enslaved men, women, and children has been deeply imprinted.

Moderator: Dr. Anthony Pratcher II is an historian from the Salt River Valley. He currently teaches at Barrett, the Honors College at ASU. He held previous appointments at the Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy in the Department of History at Carnegie Mellon University and at the Center for the Study of Race + Ethnicity in America at Brown University. His public scholarship explores space and race in the American Southwest and he also serves as a Board member at the George Washington Carver Museum and Cultural Center in Phoenix. 

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The City We Became, N.K. Jemisin, August 15, 2023

Description: In Manhattan, a young grad student gets off the train and realizes he doesn't remember who he is, where he's from, or even his own name. But he can sense the beating heart of the city, see its history, and feel its power. In the Bronx, a Lenape gallery director discovers strange graffiti scattered throughout the city, so beautiful and powerful it's as if the paint is literally calling to her. In Brooklyn, a politician and mother finds she can hear the songs of her city, pulsing to the beat of her Louboutin heels. And they're not the only ones.

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Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer, April 23, 2023

Description: As a botanist, Robin Wall Kimmerer has been trained to ask questions of nature with the tools of science. As a member of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, she embraces the notion that plants and animals are our oldest teachers. In "Braiding Sweetgrass," Kimmerer brings these two lenses of knowledge together to take us on "a journey that is every bit as mythic as it is scientific, as sacred as it is historical, as clever as it is wise." Elizabeth Gilbert

Moderator: Carrie Cannon is a member of the Kiowa tribe of Oklahoma and is also of Oglala Lakota descent. She has a B.S. in Wildlife Biology, and an M.S. in Resource Management. She began working for the Hualapai Tribe of Peach Springs, AZ in 2005 where she began the creation of an intergenerational ethnobotany program for the Hualapai community. She is employed as an Ethnobotanist for the Hualapai Department of Cultural Resources. She administers several projects promoting the intergenerational teaching of Hualapai ethnobotanical knowledge working towards preservation and revitalization to ensure tribal ethnobotanical knowledge persists as a living practice and tradition.

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Spring/Summer 2022 Book Picks

Book Club Planning Committee


Alesha Adolph

ASU Public Allies Intern, Arizona Preservation Foundation


Kathryn Leonard

Arizona State Historic Preservation Officer


Jim McPherson

Board President, Arizona Preservation Foundation


Donna Reiner

Board Member, Preserve Phoenix

AZ Preservation Book Club Recommendations!

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