November 25, 2022

Best Book Clubs in Phoenix: Changing Hands, Library, Poison Pen

Book clubs and literary get-togethers are all the rage in the mild-mannered, and the valley happens to have plenty of them. In Metro Phoenix, groups of books are housed by the dozens in library branches, independent bookstores, a museum, and even a few historic sites.

Avid readers looking to talk about all things book and author can find groups focused on local authors, westerns, and mysteries, while some just get together to read their own picks in silence. More than a few also have a bar.

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the hundreds of book clubs that take place throughout the valley, but here are a few worth checking out.

Click to enlarge

The Century Library Meeting Hall hosts a number of book clubs in the Biltmore area.

Michael Humphrey

Library of the century

1750 Highland Avenue East
The Biltmore-area Century Library—part of the Phoenix Public Library System—hosts the monthly Century Friends Book Club, which meets in the Century Library meeting room every first Wednesday of the month. Registration is not compulsory and there are no membership fees. It’s the same concept for the Century Friends Mystery Book Club, except members meet every third Thursday to discuss a selected mystery novel. New members are always welcome.

Changing hands Phoenix
300 Camelback Road West
The Central Phoenix location of two Changing Hands bookstores, this bookstore and happy hour stop hosts a number of book clubs. Here you will find the Arizona Opera Book Club, a Silent Book Club and the First Draft Book Club. The official book club of the First Draft Book Bar, the monthly meeting of the First Draft Book Club is guided by the Republicby Barbara VanDenburgh, and usually covers a buzz-worthy current release. Speaking of buzz, you can pick up a beer, wine, or coffee at happy hour prices during the conference.

Changing the temples of the hands
6428 South McClintock Drive, Tempe
Since 1998, Changing Hands’ Tempe location has been an obvious choice for book clubs. With get-togethers held at the back of the store, the club’s interests range from modern fiction, Spanish, science fiction and fantasy, and detective fiction to more specialized subjects like the Path of the Craft Bookgroup, the Mocha Girls Bookgroup and the Pagan Book Parler. Visit the Changing Hands book club website for a full list. You can also register your own club and get 10% off paperback selections and 20% off hardcover selections.

Click to enlarge The Desert Broom Bookcase is a stunning piece of architecture.  Oh, and there are also book clubs.  -BILL TIMMERMAN

The Desert Broom Bookcase is a stunning piece of architecture. Oh, and there are also book clubs.

Bill Timmerman

Desert broom library

29710 North Cave Creek Road, Cave Creek
Designed by Richärd + Bauer, the Desert Broom Library at Cave Creek is not only a beautiful LEED-certified building, it’s also home to the monthly Novel Ideas book club. Meeting every fourth Tuesday in the meeting room, the club selects everything from suspense and mystery to romance and non-fiction for its two-hour discussion. New members are welcome.

Click to enlarge Glendale's main library hosts the Real to Reel Book Group and several other book clubs.  - MARK W. LIPCZYNSKI

Glendale’s main library hosts the Real to Reel Book Group and several other book clubs.

Mark W. Lipczynski

Glendale Public Library Central Library

5959 West Brown Street, Glendale
Also called the Main Library, this flagship branch of the Glendale Public Library system is adjacent to the beautiful Glendale Xeriscape Garden. Glendale’s Main Library hosts everything from the southwestern and western-themed Best of the West book discussion group and the self-care group A You-niquely Designed Book Discussion Club to the afternoon readers and the group of mystery readers. The Real to Reel Book Group hosts discussions about books that have been made into movies and meets in the Great Meeting Room on the second Monday.

Grand Central Coffee Company
718 North Central Avenue
This massive cafe and event space includes the Second Wednesday Silent Reading Club hosted by Pete Petrisko and Stacey Champion. The monthly, family-friendly silent reading group encourages BYO book attendees to catch up on that novel/paperback/hiking guide/whatever. This book club is currently on hiatus, but will return in October 2017 with six installments starting Wednesday, October 11. The Grand Central Coffee Company also offers an extensive menu and bar, so you can indulge in a small dinner or a drink from 6-7am. pm the second Wednesday of the month. Each month also has a theme, named after the chapter of a book, to express life in Phoenix.

Phoenix Art Museum
1625 North Central Avenue
Book lovers and the art world collide at the Art Lovers Book Club at the Phoenix Art Museum. Held at the Lemon Art Research Library, the group has covered everything from The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickey and The pink suit from Nicole Mary Kelby to Yayoi Kusama infinity net. There are generally three discussion sessions per book each month. The event is free, but does not include entry to the museum itself. Space is quite limited, so an RSVP is required. Attendees should read the book in advance, which is usually carried in the museum store and is often available at the nearby Burton Barr Central Library.

Read on for more reading groups.