ASU Book Group: a new year, some new authors

“Zora Folley: The Distinguished Life and Mysterious Death of a Gentleman Boxer”

The ASU Book Group kicks off its fourth year with some good reads, everything from biographies to paranormal romance novels. All selected titles are by local authors and ASU faculty and staff.

Sponsored by the ASU English Department, the group meets from noon to 1 p.m., the last Wednesday of the month, with the authors present. It is open to all faculty, staff, students, alumni and the public. The first meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 24.

Leading off this year’s reading is “Burning Shield: The Jason Schechterle Story,” by ASU graduate Landon J. Napoleon. Both Schechterle and Napoleon will be guests at the book group, which will meet in the Durham Language and Literature Building room 165.

Schechterle, a Phoenix police officer, was severely burned when a taxi smashed into his patrol car. "The fireball that consumed the vehicle should have killed him. But by a series of small miracles, Schechterle survived. "Dying would have been easier,” Napoleon writes.

On Oct. 29, in room 165 of the Durham Language and Literature Building, the group will discuss "A Discreet Gentleman of Discovery" by Glendale writer Kris Tualla. The book is about Brander Hansen, a deaf private investigator in 1700s Norway.

Hansen lost his hearing at age seven, his inheritance at 23. Furious at his father's betrayal, Brander bolts to Christiania and sets himself up as a “discreet gentleman of discovery” – he solves crimes for money.

The Book Group will meet next on Dec. 3, in room 165 of the Durham Language and Literature Building to discuss “A World Apart,” by ASU staff member Camelia Skiba, assistant to the director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration.

The romance novel is set in Romania, which is Skiba’s native country. It is the story of Lt. Cassandra Toma, a trauma surgeon in the Romanian National Army, who starts her deployment at a joint-unit air base on a wrong foot, clashing on her first day with her new commander, Maj. David Hunt. They meet. They clash. A forbidden passion consumes them with the intensity of an erupting volcano, leaving her heartbroken and him with tarnished honor and pride as an officer.

On Jan. 28, ASU assistant professor of English Sally Ball will be the guest and discuss her newest book of poetry, “Wreck Me,” in the Durham Language and Literature Building room 316.

“The book centers around a lung transplant, and comes to recognize that we need such violent, difficult interventions in other ways, as well ... (in love, for example),” said Ball.

On Feb. 25, Erin Quinn of Gilbert will be the guest author. Her paranormal romance novel, “The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love,” will be discussed as the Book Group meets in room 316 of the Durham, Language and Literature Building.

In “The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love,” a woman who can’t die meets the man destined to kill her. All Roxanne Love has ever wanted is to be normal – marriage, kids, the life of June Cleaver. She tries to fit in but can’t conceal her ability to defy death – not from the world, not from the darkest creatures of the Beyond, and not from the Reaper determined to destroy her. Now Roxanne is on the run, her only ally a compelling, dangerous detective with secrets of his own.

On March 25, Marshall Terrill, information specialist director with ASU Public Affairs at the ASU Downtown Phoenix campus, will discuss his newest book, “Zora Folley: The Distinguished Life and Mysterious Death of a Gentleman Boxer,” in room 316 of the Durham Language and Literature Building.

On July 8, 1972, former heavyweight contender Zora Folley, from Chandler, Arizona, died mysteriously at a Tucson hotel. Some say it was murder, some say it was a mob hit, others claim it was a freak accident. For more than four decades, Folley’s death has remained unsolved – until now.

New English faculty member Matt Bell will be the guest author April 29, in room 316 of the Durham Language and Literature Building.

He will discuss his novel “In the House Upon the Dirt Between the Lake and the Woods,” the story of a newlywed couple who escape the busy confusion of their homeland for a distant and almost-uninhabited lakeshore where they plan to raise a family.

But as their every pregnancy fails, the child-obsessed husband begins to rage at this new world: the song-spun objects somehow created by his wife’s beautiful singing voice, the giant and sentient bear that rules the beasts of the woods, the second moon weighing down the fabric of their starless sky, and the labyrinth of memory dug into the earth beneath their house.

The final meeting of the year is set for May 27, in room 316 of the Durham Language and Literature Building, author TBA.

For more information on the ASU Book Group, contact Judith Smith at