Here's a quick guide to some of the key characters in Tucson's book scene. For more information on activities, events and reading groups check the book list in the Home + Life section of the Sunday Star.

The independents

Antigone Books

411 N. Fourth Ave., 792-3715

• Most popular title this summer: "State of Wonder" by Ann Patchett for adults. "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins for adults and teens.

• This summer's most popular title by a Southern Arizona author: Byrd Baylor's 1977 novel "Yes is Better than No," set in Tucson, "has been out of print for a long time, but it was reprinted this year and is a great seller. It is well worth reading or reading again," says Trudy Mills, Antigone co-owner.

• Recommendation for the waning days of the summer: "The Night Circus" by Erin Morgenstern. "This will appeal to folks who like fantasy, but it is not a traditional fantasy novel."

• New release you're looking forward to: "Desert Reckoning: A Town Sheriff, a Mojave Hermit, and the Biggest Manhunt is California History," by Deanne Stillman, who lives in Tucson. And a book coming in the fall by Bisbee author Bill Carter: "Boom, Bust, Boom: A Story About Copper, the Metal that Runs the World."

• The niche: Antigone, started in 1973, is one of the few feminist bookstores in the country that is still in operation. Mills says it is now a community bookstore: "We respond to the book interests of our customers and keep those interests in mind when ordering new books, without abandoning our progressive roots, of course."

• Events:

7 p.m. Friday - Other Voices Women's Reading Series featuring Pamela Uschuk and Charlotte Lowe. Open mic will follow.

Sept. 7 - Annette Kolodny, "In Search of First Contact."

Sept. 14 - Rafe Sagarin, "Learning from the Octopus: How Secrets from Nature can Help Us Fight Terrorist Attacks, Natural Disasters, and Disease."

Sept. 28 - Stillman, "Desert Reckoning."

Oct. 5 - Lili DeBarbieri, "A Guide to Southern Arizona's Historic Farms and Ranches."

Nov. 18 - Barbara Kingsolver, "Flight Behavior" at the Temple Of Music and Art.

• Book groups: Antigone has several book groups. Anyone is welcome - check the website.

Clues Unlimited

3146 E. Fort Lowell Road, 326-8533

• Summer's most popular title: Don Winslow's "Kings of Cool" and Charles Todd's "An Unmarked Grave: A Bess Crawford Mystery."

• Summer's most popular title by a Southern Arizona author: Anything by J.A. Jance.

• Recommendation: James Lee Burke's "Creole Belle: A Dave Robicheaux Novel."

• New release you're looking forward to: C. E. Poverman's "Love by Drowning. "He's a Tucson writer and there are scenes set here," says Chris Burke, who opened Clues in 1996.

• The niche: "As Tucson's mystery bookstore, Clues Unlimited seeks to present the best in mystery and suspense, often the kind of books you won't come across at a chain store or on the grocery store racks" says Burke. "We know our genre and help people find overlooked or under-promoted books. We also promote Arizona writers, including non-mystery writers."

• Book groups: Clues has a book club that meets at 2 p.m. on the second Sunday of the month. The books are chosen by the group. To join, go into the shop or call.

• Endnote: "We have the world's most adorable bookstore dog, Bosco, a rescued racing greyhound, who's content to lie at your feet while you look at books."

Mostly Books

6208 E. Speedway, 571-0110

• Summer's most popular title: "The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins, followed by the rest of the trilogy, "Catching Fire" and "Mockingjay."

• Summer's most popular title by a Southern Arizona author: Nancy Turner's books - "The Star Garden," "Sarah's Quilt," "These Is My Words," "The Water And The Blood."

• Recommendation: "Summerland" or any other Elin Hilderbrand novels. "All of her novels take place on the beaches of Nantucket and are filled with amazing characters and just enough drama to keep you entertained," says Tricia Clapp, who has co-owned the store with her sister Bobbe Arnett since 1988.

• New release you're looking forward to: Lee Child's new novel "A Wanted Man: A Jack Reacher Novel," "Frozen Heat" by Richard Castle based on the TV show "Castle" and "Flight Behavior" by Barbara Kingsolver.

• The niche: This neighborhood independent bookstore carries at least 100,000 titles and accepts used books for trade. About 30 percent of the store's books are new. It carries new releases, best-sellers, a full complement of genres and topics, and gift items.

• Events:

1-3 p.m. Sept. 29 - Local author open house.

1-4 p.m. Oct. 6 - 24th anniversary celebration with book signings, food and activities.

• Book groups: Mostly Books has non-fiction, LitWit (which reads every genre), fiction and mystery groups that meet at 7 p.m. Wednesdays. Find more information at its website.

• Endnote: Mostly Books offers textbook rentals on its online site,

It also has a large selection of e-books at its website.

University of Arizona BookStores

Student Union Memorial Center, 1209 E. University Blvd.

Stores at Park Place and Tucson Mall, Arizona Health Services Center, McKale Memorial Center, South Campus Sierra Vista, and downtown on Stone Avenue. 621-2426

• Summer's most popular title - of the non-textbook variety: "Fifty Shades of Grey: Book One of the Fifty Shades Trilogy" by E.L. James.

• Most popular title by a Southern Arizona author: "Arizona: A History", revised edition by Thomas E. Sheridan, a researcher and professor with UA's Southwest Center and Department of Anthropology.

• Recommendation: A very funny nonfiction book of essays by Jenny Lawson, "Let's Pretend This Never Happened," says Ellen Dickinson of the general books department. "She's a little bit like the best-selling American humorist David Sedaris, but with her own quirks and unexpected turns."

• New release you're looking forward to: "Two autobiographies - Salman Rushdie's 'Joseph Anton' and Richard Russo's 'Elsewhere,' " Dickinson says in an email. And J.K. Rowling's, "The Casual Vacancy," her first novel for adults.

• The niche: The UA BookStores has been around since 1891. "We are proud of that history and happy to be part of Southern Arizona's local, independent bookstore market," says Dickinson.

Bookstores director Debby Shively says in an email, "We are really focused on our commitment to literacy in our community," as exemplified by its founding role in the Tucson Festival of Books. UA Bookstores also is the host of children's literacy programs and events such as Bat Night and the Desert Horticulturist Conference.

• Events:

"Meet the Cat in the Hat," at 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Sept 1. at the Student Union store and 10:30 a.m. Sept. 6 at Park Place, is part of the free program, Wildcats Advocating Literacy and Knowledge (W.A.L.K.), in which children's storybook characters visit along with crafts and storytelling.

Nov. 1 - Talk and book signing by author Luis Alberto Urrea ("Queen of America" and "The Devil's Highway") is part of a new collaborative program with the UA's Confluence Center for Creative Inquiry, which will offer free once-a-month musical and dance performances, as well as faculty lectures. Urrea's appearance will coincide with the annual Dia de los Muertos altar display. Information at

• Book group: The '12-'13 UA Reads book is "No Impact Man" by Colin Beavan, a nonfiction work that supports sustainability. Pima County libraries host UA Reads book groups. Info at

• Endnote: The BookStores is a self-sustaining unit within the UA's Division of Student Affairs. It is an independent college bookstore that does not receive any funding from the state, tuition or student fees.

The library

Pima County Public Library

Joel D. Valdez Main Library, 101 N. Stone Ave., 594-5500

List of branches at

• Summer's most popular title: "Fifty Shades of Grey" by E.L. James.

• The niche: The library is a big supporter of Tucson's book scene, says spokeswoman Kenya Johnson. "Our city is a thriving hub of writers and novelists and writers-to-be. We've been part of making the Tucson Festival of Books from the beginning to end because we want to grow a community of readers and writers.

"We really view our local, independent bookstores as our partners. We have a vested interest in sharing books and a love of reading and knowledge."

For example, the library worked with Bookmans to bring Harry and the Potters to Tucson and helped Antigone promote some of its events, such as the 25th anniversary of "Where's Waldo?"

• Events:

10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday - Fourth Annual Bilingual Literacy Fair at El Pueblo Activity Center, 101 W. Irvington Road, Attendees will receive free Spanish language books and backpacks. Educational activities for kids.

6:30 p.m. Aug. 20 - Books on Wheels Volunteer Orientation at the Himmel Library, 1035 N. Treat Ave. The program is getting under way and needs volunteers to select books for homebound residents. Fill out and bring the application at or call 594-5245 for more information

• Book groups: Activities and reading groups vary among the branches. Check the website for specifics.

• Endnotes: The Ask a Librarian Infoline (791-4010) can help with just about any question.

The library is launching a new service through OneClickdigital. At the end of August, the library will offer access to the largest collection of digital audiobooks and multi-access titles for all devices.

Writers haven

Casa Libre en la Solana

228 N. Fourth Ave., No. 2, 325-9145

• The niche: Casa Libre en la Solana is in many senses a writing studio, set up to support and enhance professionals and novices with residency programs. It's also a venue for classes, readings and professional development.

• Event:

7-11 p.m. Sunday Dive-In Movie Night - Bring a towel and float in the pool, eat popcorn, and drink cheap beer while watching a campy double-feature at this fundraiser. $12 donation to Casa Libre.

Used-book stores

The Book Stop

214 N. Fourth Ave.; 326-6661

• The niche: The Book Stop - yes, it's that place that was on Campbell Avenue until 2007- has been in Tucson since 1967 and specializes in general used and out-of-print books. Meander around the wooden shelves of the 3,000-square-foot shop and you will probably discover something special. The Book Stop buys, sells and trades.

Bookmans Entertainment Exchange

6230 E. Speedway, 748-9555; 1930 E. Grant Road, 325-5767; 3733 W. Ina Road, 579-0303; stores in Mesa, Phoenix and Flagstaff.

• The niche: The cluttered Bookmans on the northeast corner of Broadway and Tucson Boulevard of 30 years ago is now a bustling behemoth that buys, trades and sells just about any media-related item: books, music, movies, video games and systems, magazines, comics, electronics and knickknacks.

• Events: Bookmans locations frequently host art exhibits, musical performances, classes and workshops. Check the website.

The chain

Barnes & Noble

5130 E. Broadway, 512-1166;

Foothills Mall, 7325 N. La Cholla Blvd., 742-6402

• The niche: This is a large bookstore chain with big-city slickness and ambience. The Tucson stores are huge and you can find books, music, magazines, newspapers and have a coffee and a snack.

• Events: BN often brings in named authors, so check the website to see who might be stopping here on their book tours.

• Endnotes: Great staff picks, with some real gems on the bargain tables.