Saturday, November 26, 2011

Nancy E. Turner, THESE IS MY WORDS

I stayed up until 3 a.m. last night reading this one--one of my new TOP 10 picks for the year. Based on the story of her great-grandmother's life in the Arizona Territories (1881-1901), Turner wrote the book as a diary that Sarah Prine begins in her late teens as she and her family set out for Texas, with horrible consequences. Part historical tale, part love story, it's gritty and real and poignant. Even the marginal characters are round and well-drawn, with their own wishes and histories. It took me about 20 pages to get in and then I did not put it down; it reminded me of Mrs. Mike, another memoir about a girl carving out a life in the wilderness. This book won the Arizona Author Award and was a finalist for the Willa Cather.


Enjoyable debut mystery novel starring an investigative reporter (by a former reporter for The Washington Post). Plenty of murder and some good twists, though there are marks of the "first novel"--things like a page and half on why the newspaper industry is having financial problems and characters whose psychology shifts a bit from beginning to end. But it's an engaging read, and I'd recommend if you're in the mood for a mystery.