In 1993, long before Oprah’s picks and celebrity book clubs, Eight, Arizona PBS introduced Books & Co. The series was based on a simple premise. We would invite writers to join our host to discuss their work and the craft of writing. Over the years Books & Co. has captured some remarkably candid moments as more than 150 guests have shared their thoughts, their moods, even their intellectual quirks.
There’s much ado about books these days. Will e-readers make physical books obsolete? Or can they peacefully co-exist? Kindle, Nook or tablet? Book stores are closing, but book sales, traditional and electronic, are holding their own. Book clubs are a growing phenomenon, “what’s on your coffee table?” is still a dependable conversation starter, and Books & Co. is celebrating 20 years of bringing you conversations with top contemporary authors, and exciting new finds you’ll want to know about.
April 2013 marks the 20th anniversary of Books & Co., and we are celebrating with all-new episodes – our biggest season in 15 years – and an expanded schedule. Join host Alberto Rios, ASU Regents’ Professor of English, distinguished author and poet (also the very first Books & Co. guest in 1993) as he welcomes a new guest each week to our Eight studios for a half-hour of wide-ranging conversations, including fresh faces on the literary scene, as well as established and prominent writers.
Our website is designed to be a resource for book clubs and bibliophiles of all stripes, where you will find:
Video or audio podcasts for all episodes
extended interviews and host’s impressions from more recent episodes
interview transcripts for many episodes
book summaries with brief author biographies, for every episode.
It is a resource book clubs can use to choose titles and authors or to develop discussion topics. You can also just catch up on some of the great episodes you may have missed.
On Sunday, April 7 at 2:30pm, best-selling author Sue Grafton helps us kick off our new season, with Jennifer Spiegel, Betty Webb and Tom Leveen appearing in the weeks that follow. Throughout May, June and into July, viewers can enjoy new episodes of Books & Co., an Eight original production made possible by the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at Arizona State University.
A Look Back at Books & Co. Hosts from 1993 to Now
1993-1998: Ron Carlson and Jana Bommersbach
The first hosts of Books & Co. were former ASU Professor Ron Carlson, a writer himself, and journalist/author Jana Bommersbach. They alternated hosting the show throughout each season, from the show’s inception through 1998.
2004-2009: Ron Carlson Books & Co. took a hiatus until 2004, when prolific author Ron Carlson resumed hosting through early 2009 – with the exception of one single episode in 2008, in which Jana Bommersbach returned to interview Ron about his latest book Five Skies, which was just being published at that time.
2009 – present: Alberto Álvaro Ríos
Mid-way through the 2009 season, our current host, multi-award-winning author and poet Alberto Álvaro Ríos, took over the host’s chair. Alberto is also Regents Professor of English at Arizona State University and Katharine C. Turner Endowed Chair in English. He added his “Host’s Impressions” to Eight’s online resources for each author featured on the show, and as an established author himself, Alberto continued the Books & Co. tradition of conversations with fellow authors that probe deeply into the writer’s craft.