Southwest Book Reviews

University of Nevada Press

The premise of Denice Turner's new memoir Worthy is about being raised in a Mormon household in suburban Utah, trying to find her place in the Church. But it's also about Turner's struggle to win the love and acceptance of her mother: a woman whose severe bipolar disorder was repeatedly misdiagnosed throughout her lifetime. That theme is what caught the interest of KNAU's Southwest Book Reviewer Mary Sojourner, and it ended up bringing the two writers together in a very cathartic way.

www.laraineherring.com

If you've ever decided that you're finally going to sit down and write the novel, article, or collection of short stories you've always wanted to do only to find that months later you haven't written a word, then author Laraine Herring has some advice for you. In her new book Writing Begins with the Breath, the Prescott-based writer offers an almost yogic perspective on the influence breathing can have on writing. It's an idea KNAU's Southwest Book reviewer Mary Sojourner thinks is spot-on.

In the latest installment of KNAU's Southwest Book Review, we go back 20 years to the first novel by Arizona-based writer Alfredo Vea, Jr. Set in the desert town of Buckeye in the late 1950's, La Maravilla tells the story of Beto, a young boy torn between his love and fear of living in different worlds - both real and mystical. According to our book reviewer Mary Sojourner, Vea uses the Sonoran desert as a powerful measure of time.

bradenhepner.com

Pale Harvest is the breakout novel by writer Braden Hepner. Set in Utah's high desert in the 1970's, it explores themes of extinction; extinction of small towns, family and self. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says Pale Harvest is a powerful story of harshness and healing.

Torrey House Press

In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, the reviewer - Mary Sojourner - becomes the reviewed. Sojourner's latest novel 29 has just been released. It tells the story of Nell Walker, a woman navigating a cycle of despair after losing her heart - and her job as a high-powered corporate executive - all at once. She flees Los Angeles and ends up in the small desert town of Twenty Nine Palms in a battle against energy developers who are threatening sacred lands. Arizona Public Radio's Gillian Ferris spoke with Mary Sojourner about blending her passions for writing and environmental activism into the pages of 29.

Copper Canyon Press

"Flood Song" is the second book by writer Sherwin Bitsui. The collection of post-modern poems is both lyrically fragmented and linguistically stunning and combines the author's experiences living on and off the Navajo Nation, where he was born. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, commentator Mary Sojourner says "Flood Song" is a gorgeous collision of images.

University of Nevada Press

It's 1929, and the first thing Ruth Farley does when she arrives at her homestead in a Mojave Desert canyon is to climb out on a pinon branch and rip down a rusted tin can wired there.

KNAU's Southwest Book Review: 'Yellowcake'

Jun 20, 2014

Ann Cummins’ 2007 novel “Yellowcake” is set in the uranium country of northern Arizona and New Mexico. In the book, the Flagstaff-based author presents two families struggling with the complex fallout of the mining life. In KNAU’s latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says “Yellowcake” is a compelling work by an author who captures humanity at its most personal level.

KNAU's Southwest Book Review: Cold Deck

May 9, 2014
University of Nevada Press

Cold Deck is the latest novel by Nevada-based writer H. Lee Barnes. Set in Las Vegas, it chronicles the life of a single father, struggling to raise his children and keep his life from spiraling out of control in "Sin City". In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, Mary Sojourner says Cold Deck is poignant, gritty and kept her reading well into the night.

It's hard to put a label on author Pam Houston's books. The prize-winning writer blends together fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Houston will be in Flagstaff this weekend headlining the Northern Arizona Book Festival. In KNAU's latest Southwest Book Review, writer Ann Cummins reviews Houston's latest novel, Contents May Have Shifted, the true story of an imaginary character named Pam Houston.

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