Southwest Books of the Year
We call this, "Southwest Books of the Year: Best Reading in the Year 2000." Pretty bold talk. How do we come up with these choices? Who are we?
First off, the panel is made up of five dedicated Southwesterners, devoted to its literature: Lesley Bailey, Deborah Bock, Bruce Dinges, Joyce Whaley and Norman Whaley. They have spent the last 12 months reading, discussing and evaluating dozens and dozens of books. Working together but deciding separately, they have produced what we call, confidently, "The Best Reading in the Year 2000." Each panelist selects a list of 10 titles.
In the final analysis, picking a title, says Bock, "Is a gut level reaction. It's based on my personal interest in archaeology, anthropology, sociology and natural history."
Dinges says, "I look for books that tell me something new or lead me to look at the region in fresh ways. A well-written book always gets my attention. But it has to have depth. I ask myself: 'Will this book be in my library 10 years from now?'"
"If the books I choose have anything in common with one another," says Bailey, "it may be their power to convey the feeling of experiences of being in this part of the world."
More than 150 books crossed the Southwest Books of the Year desk in 2000. Thirty-seven of them are our Best Reading picks; the 38th pick is an audiotape.
A quick look at the list shows you that the publishers can come from anywhere: Maine, California, Mississippi, Washington, Arizona. It's the book that has to be anchored in the Southwest. And it has to have been published in the preceding 12 months. This explains why our master list contains only 131 titles.
We've eliminated books about Latinos in New York City, cowboys in Canada and with the greatest of reluctance, Basques in northern Nevada (Mountain City by UA alumnus Gregory Martin). We have, however, dipped into Mexico. We've included some children's titles, some cookbooks and even a little book that's filled with antique post cardsready for mailing, except the stamp (don't get carried away and try for a penny postage).
-J.C. Martin Coordinator, Southwest Books of the Year
Southwest Books of the Year sponsors:
Thanks to the Southwest Books of the Year supporters:
- Bookman's Used Books • Music • Software
- Border Books and Music on Oracle
- Reader's Oasis
- The University of Arizona Press
- Antigone Books
- Clues Unlimited
- Mariposa Books & More
- Mostly Books
- Second Look Books
- Singing Wind Book Shop
- Friends of the Green Valley Library
- Friends of the Kirk-Bear Canyon Branch Library
- Friends of the Arivaca Branch Library