Southwest Book Reviews

University of Washington Press

Humbug Valley is a lush meadow in Northern California; a place the indigenous Maidu Indians believe was specifically chosen for them by the great spirits of their ancestors. For years, it's been the site of a controversial timber harvesting project by the large utility company that owns the land. And a group of activists known as "The Reclaimers" has been fighting against it. They are the main characters in Ana Maraia Spagna's latest work of non-fiction, Reclaimers...the focus of this month's Southwest Book Review by Mary Sojourner.

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.

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