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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.

El Malpais National Monument
By Marilyne Maybery. Western National Parks Association. 15 pp. .

This is beautifully illustrated guide to an extraordinary geological treasure in west central New Mexico, another in the excellent series by the Western National Parks Association.
Elephant Quilt, The: Stitch By Stitch to California
By Susan Lowell, Stacey Dressen-McQueen. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. 40 pp. . $16.95.
Top Pick
"Slow, slow, slow go the wagon wheels. But my little needle flies quickly, quickly, quickly. We are going to California in a wagon train." So begins Lily Rose's account of her family's 1859 journey along the Santa Fe and Gila Trails. To commemorate this great undertaking, Lily and her grandma are making a quilt from patches of fabric and their memories of joy and sorrow along the way. Always, Lily Rose anticipates seeing "the elephant," a metaphor for the new, impossible-to-imagine life awaiting her. Accomplished storyteller Susan Lowell has outdone herself this time! Her choice of words is exquisite, and the character development she achieves is extraordinary in a picture book. This is a well-told story, blessed with marvelous, well-imagined pictures by Stacey Dressen-McQueen. []

To commemorate their trip along the Santa Fe and Gila Trails in 1859, Lily Rose and her grandmother sew a quilt.
Embracing Watershed Politics
By William A . Blomquist, Edella Schlager. University Press of Colorado. 220 pp. $55.00.
Not specifically a southwestern book this analysis of western water problems, and solutions, suggests there is nothing new about the mix of water and politics so we better "get on with it". []

English Major, The
By Jim Harrison. Grove Press. 255 pp. $24.00.
Cliff, the sixty-year-old protagonist of this doleful novel, hits the road with a jigsaw puzzle map and a plan to rename the states and birds as he tries to make sense of his life after a divorce by his wife of thirty-eight years and the loss of the Michigan farm he had been tending since he abandoned his career as an English teacher. Harrison has covered this emotional landscape before and no one does it better. A swing through Arizona, New Mexico, and Utah provides the book's Southwest connection. []

By Charles Bowden, Julián Cardona. University of Texas Press. 295 pp. Bill and Alice Wright photography series;. $50.00.
Top Pick
Cardona’s large-format black and white photographs, nearly 200 of them, tell stories about people, mostly Hispanic, on both sides of the border and elsewhere: a spade jammed into the ground on a desert roadway [is someone buried here?], a man and his dog asleep in a doorway, a clean-up crew on a rooftop after Katrina. But if Cardona speaks with photo images that attack the mind, Bowden’s text attacks our conscience. His words are simple words arrayed in simple sentences that pile up meaning upon meaning until, eventually, the reader is crushed by the content. In some sense the text is reflected in the astonishing color photo on the jacket: a desert landscape littered with abandoned detritus of humanity. Hundreds (thousands?) of water jugs, backpacks, jackets, shirts, even briefcases; so many, in fact, that large areas of ground in between chollas and other desert plants are completely covered with human refuse. Mind boggling. []
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Extraordinary Texas Woman
By Judy Alter. TCU Press. 81 pp. $8.95.

Eye of the West
By Nancy C. Wood. University of New Mexico Press. 132 pp. . $39.95.
With a number of books to her credit—non-fiction, poems, children’s, photos, fiction, Nancy Wood now gives us another fine photograph collection of real people. She captures faces and activities among Colorado folks who she calls “The Grass Roots People” -- rural working folks, the Utes of southwestern Colorado, and residents of Taos Pueblo in New Mexico. Her images are quite revealing and sensitive of people and places worth knowing. Many of the pages show times-gone-by and bring a certain nostalgia of the nation we once were and many would still like to be. []
In addition to being a fine writer, which she has proved in several other published books, Wood has the photographer's eye. She sees people, all Westerners and many of them Southwesterners, in ways that make them come to life before her lens. []

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