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Clicking on a book cover will search for the book in the catalog. If it is not part of our collection, you may request it by clicking on the Can't Find It link. An icon indicates if the book is chosen by a panelist as one of the year's best.

Barberia: Barber Shops of the Borderlands
By Roy C. Jacobson. Montana Photo Art Publishing. 86 pp. August publication date, but not entered in OCLC until mid-November.. $45.00.
Reading between the lines of Jay Dusard’s complimentary foreword we understand that Jacobson is a photographer still developing his craft and with that in mind we can enjoy this eclectic display of sharply focused black/white images. Jacobson’s introduction explains how the book came to be, but this viewer wished for a better understanding of how the shops were chosen (Tucson is heavily represented while other border cities are left out) and why some images concentrate on people and others seem to want to document the shops. A few short texts are biographical, but most images are simply captioned as to name and location of the shop.

Beautiful Children
By Charles Bock. Random House. 417 pp. . $25.00.
Top Pick
In this auspicious debut novel, Bock paints a vivid and harrowing portrait of life in the shadows of the Las Vegas Strip. A missing teenager opens the door to an underground world in which the lines between victims and prey blur as a cast of runaways, hustlers, and desperate survivors intersect in often suprising, but always revealing, ways. Bock's ear for street dialogue is spot-on, while his insightful rendering of life in the modern West offers cause for both hope and despair. []

Before Santa Fe: Archaeology of the City Different
By Jason S. Shapiro. Museum of New Mexico Press. 232 pp. Index. $39.95.

Santa Fe, New Mexico has been a Euro-American settlement for nearly 400 years, but its human past extends 14,000 years further back; this informative book narrates that impressive story.
Between Two Rivers: The Atrisco Land Grant in Albuquerque History, 1692-1968
By , Joseph P. Sanchez. University of Oklahoma Press. 256 pp. $34.95.

Scholar Joseph Sanchez chronicles the full history of Albuquerque’s Atrisco Land Grant between the Rio Grande and Rio Puerco.
By Douglas J. Preston. Forge Books. 414 pp. . $25.95.
Bestselling author Preston proves that his popularity is no fluke in this engrossing thriller set on the Navajo reservation, where scientists are attempting to bring on-line the world's largest supercollider. Tribal activists, fundamentalist zealots, and an apparent saboteur provide the requisite tension as the plot builds to a climatic struggle between science and religion over the existence of God. A perfect beach or airplane read. []

Blue Smoke and Murder
By Elizabeth Lowell. William Morrow. 404 pp. $24.95.

A young woman river guide whose great aunt dies under mysterious circumstances discovers the hidden dangers of the western art business in this contemporary murder mystery romance by one of the most popular authors of the genre.
Bones in the Desert: The True Story of a Mother's Murder and a Daughter's Search
By Jana Bommersbach. St. Martin's True Crime Library. 288 pp. St. Martin's True Crime Library. $6.99.

Terri had always known that the handsome, charming, and usually unemployed Taw was manipulating her mother—but she did not know the extent of the abuse or how far he would go to defraud her. Then, just before Christmas in 2004, Loretta went missing. It would be more than a year before Terri learned the shocking truth.
Borders Within, The: Encounters Between Mexico and the U.S.
By Douglas Monroy. University of Arizona Press. 256 pp. Index. . $21.95.
What a pleasure to listen to someone who is thoughtful and reasoned, touching and visionary. In seven exceptionally smooth essays, Douglas Monroy studies the personal borders dividing people in our Southwest. Lumping Southwest citizens into “them” and “us,” Mexican and American, is neither productive nor accurate. Monroy “has issues,” as do each of us living here, but he faces his honestly, boldly, and looks to the future. His is an honest account, personal and inspiring. My favorite chapter is titled “How the new world border changes us.” []

Born of Fire: the Life and Pottery of Margaret Tafoya
By Charles S. King. Museum of New Mexico Press. 160 pp. Index. . $45.00.
We are introduced to the matriarch of a dynasty of Santa Clara potters, Margaret Tafoya (1904-2001). "Clay is a gift," she told her children and grandchildren, "it is a privilege that the Clay Mother gives us and we are very fortunate. Though Taqfoya won many ribbons for her pots, she neither innovated a style like Maria Martinez' black pots or revived an art form like Nampeyo did with Hopi pottery. She turned out traditional Santa Clara pots, both in redware and black, many of which featured a carved design, and all perfectly polished. She is particularly noted for her enormous storage jars, and often used her traditional bear paw in some form on the jar. Here is a fine example of the evolution of folk art to fine art. The author has attempted to date Tafoya's works by noting the change in her signature over time. Margaret Tafoya haed 10 children, eight of whom became prize-winning potters in their own right. The books is a treasure and it is one waqy to own all of Tafoya's pots since it is amply illustrateed with her creations as well as those of her children []

Box of Light-Caja de Luz: Poems in English and Spanish
By Susan Gardner. Univ Of New Mexico Press. 97 pp. $16.95.

Descriptive poems about ordinary things-- night, memory, and eagles seen anew -- are told in both English and Spanish.
Bruce Aiken's Grand Canyon: An Intimate Affair
By , Susan Hallsten McGarry. Grand Canyon Association. 150 pp. Index. Includes fold-out maps.. $55.00.
Top Pick
The majesty and mystery of the Grand Canyon has lured many artists, and at the moment Bruce Aiken may be foremost among them. His distinctive landscapes, vistas, and details of the rim at sunset, the sheer walls in shadow, and the roaring rapids in the gorge are captivating. Among my favorites are “Makin’ the Pull at House Rock Rapids,” “Evening on the Tonto Plateau,” and “Supai.” This is the first book featuring his work and it is sumptuous. The text narrates Bruce’s journey to the Canyon and his 33-year career running the water plant below the north rim. Because the book is published by the Grand Canyon Association, it features his canyon paintings, but at least as interesting is his larger career as an artist, which is too briefly covered in the book’s appendices. You may wish to buy an extra copy and cut out certain gorgeous pages for framing.

I still would like to read a personal book by Aiken and his wife, Mary, chronicling their journeys through the canyon, his growth as an artist, and their raising a family in a wilderness; readers can find hints of this in their two charming essays in another book, Grand Canyon Stories Then and Now (edited by Leo Banks and Craig Childs).
Bruce Aiken is an artist with a strong sense of place. His place is the Grand Canyon, within which he and his family lived for over thirty years, while he tended the Park’s precious water supply at Roaring Springs. From this most fortunate niche, he was able to paint the wonders of the world’s most famous Canyon in all kinds of light, times, and seasons. Happily, the Grand Canyon Association welcomed the project of documenting this man’s body of work and sharing with us his very blessed life.The result is a beautiful volume which includes 70 full page, color reproductions of his paintings and numerous smaller paintings and photographs. Accompanying maps and appendices invite further study. []

More than 100 full-color reproductions of Aiken's Grand Canyon paintings, created during his thirty years of residency at Roaring Springs. The text is taken from a series of interviews with the author conducted in late 2006.
Brujas, Lechuzas Y Espantos = Witches, Owls and Spooks
By Alonso Perales. Pinata Books. $$9.95.

Six spooky stories from Mexican-American and barrio tradition.
Building the Borderlands: a Transnational History of Irrigated Cotton along the Mexico-Texas Border
By Casey Walsh. Texas A&M University Press. 234 pp. Index. $47.50.
Combine cotton farming with economics and sociology and you have a detailed, insightful account of what this crop meant to the lower Rio Grande Valley of northern Mexico and south Texas. Field cotton depends on irrigation, and some fascinating entrepreneurs brought water to arid lands. If you want to know where some of our current cross-border conflicts came from, then read this book, which is number 22 in Texas A&M’s environmental history series. []

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