Take Home ‘Bar Flies’

A new collection of stories will make the perfect gift for the book lovers on your list

Since 2015, Phoenix residents have gathered at a downtown bar once a month to listen to true stories told live on stage. The show has popped up at museums, bars, parks, and even Tucson's Hotel Congress—and now, for the first time ever, Valley Bar's popular monthly reading series Bar Flies is a book. "Bar Flies: True Stories From the Early Years" features 60 favorite essays from the show's first four seasons, collected by the show's co-founders Amy Silverman and Katie Bravo.

Barbara VanDenburgh, USA TODAY Books Editor, had this to say about the book:

"Life rarely goes as planned. And thank goodness, or else where would the good stories come from? Bar Flies is the good stuff, real people telling real stories that revel in life's messy glory and illuminate the commonalities that connect us all. In this anthology of soul-baring first-person essays are stories of love, loss, triumph, redemption, thrown Christmas trees, misadventures with edibles and disastrous Kiss Kam moments.

"Told by teachers and immigrants, musicians and missionaries—everyday people with the wisdom perspective brings—these tales are hilarious and heartbreaking in turn, resonating with the sort of honesty that makes you want to tell your own stories. Reading this book feels like sitting in a chic bar, nursing an old fashioned while the coolest person in the joint spins you a yarn."

The book will be released Tuesday, Dec. 17, at Bar Flies' annual holiday show, Eating Christmas, at The Van Buren in Phoenix. A book is included with each ticket. Tickets are $20 and available at barflies.org and thevanburenphoenix.com.

The evening will begin at 5 p.m. with a book reception and Paper Mart featuring paper goods for sale by local makers, followed at 7 p.m. by a Bar Flies show featuring Katie Bravo, Brad DeBiase, Nikki DeLeon Martin, Jacob Meders, Anwar Newton, Laurie Notaro, Robrt Pela, Sativa Peterson, Amy Silverman, Deborah Sussman, Gabe Trujillo, Sarah Ventre, Amy Young, Joy Young and Tom Zoellner.

If you can't make it to Phoenix for the show, you can order the book at changinghands.com.