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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.

Garden of Aloes, A
By G. Davies Jandrey. The Permanent Press. 240 pp. . $18.00.
Jandrey lets her characters, six women--three adult, three young (14, 15 and 11), speak for themselves in alternating chapters. Living in the Miracle Mile area of Tucson they present a spectrum of views of each other as well as their surroundings. The rape of the youngest, coming late in the story, serves to remind the reader of the variety of life experiences that may, as one woman opines, toughen our outsides but leave us humans with soft centers. Excellent dialog and character development, a story well-told from many points of view. []

Genizaro & the Artist, The
By Analinda Dunn, Napoleón Garcia. Rio Grande Books. 108 pp. $15.95.

Napoleón Garcia, a native of Abiquiú, New Mexico, worked 40 years for artist Georgia O’Keefe at Ghost Ranch, and now shares his insider’s story.
Gila Libre!: New Mexico's Last Wild River
By , M.H. Salmon. University of New Mexico Press. 127 pp. $19.95.
Known as "Dutch" to friends and acquaintances, bookseller/publisher/writer Salmon gives us eight short lively chapters that frame a cursory, but very personal, history of the Gila River. Rising in southwestern New Mexico, the Gila would, if there ever were enough rain to push it past various diversion dams and across two hundred miles of sandy soil, merge with the Colorado near Yuma. He is no fire-and-brimstone anti-developer, but we know where his sympathies lie! []
If you draw blood from Dutch Salmon, you likely will find river water, for his first love is the upper Gila River, flowing freely for its first 150 miles in New Mexico’s high country, where it is the state’s last wild river. The forested heights and meadows were home to Apache chieftain Geronimo, last of the mountain men Ben Lilly, and ecologist Aldo Leopold. Few know it as well as the author; fewer write so eloquently about its mysteries and beauties, its history and people. Salmon is an eloquent spokesman for this Yellowstone of the Southwest. One could lead a full life there. []

Girl with the Crooked Nose, The: a Tale of Murder, Obsession, and Forensic Artistry
By Ted Botha. Random House. 262 pp. $25.00.
Fans of television's "CSI" and "America's Most Wanted," especially, will enjoy this story of Philadelphia forensic artist Frank Bender. Botha focuses on Bender's efforts to identify the remains of young women murdered in Juarez, Mexico, with frequent flashbacks to the famous cases that brought Bender celebrity, but little money. It is a compelling tale, even though the author is unable to bring it to a satisfying conclusion. Life, unlike TV drama, sometimes leaves us with loose ends. []

Glorious Defeat, A: Mexico and its War with the United States
By Timothy J. Henderson. Hill & Wang. 216 pp. Index. . $14.00.

God of War
By Marisa Silver. Simon & Schuster. 288 pp. $23.00.

Set in a run-down trailer park on the desolate shores of the Salton Sea, this is a moving coming of age novel about a boy struggling to find his identity in a dysfunctional family. His mother in complete denial, he is burdened with the enormous responsibility of caring for his autistic younger brother.
God's Middle Finger: Into the Lawless Heart of the Sierra Madre
By Richard Grant. Free Press. 290 pp. Index. . $15.00.
Just read Bruce's review. []
The book is for guys who like adventure and to take chances. Here is a true story by an Englishman, obviously bored with the hum drum of daily life, so he risked a trip into Mexico's Sierra Madre where any rules governing law and order were non-existent. The place was an outpost for drug lords, opium farmers, smugglers, and others needing somewhere to hide. Mixed in this batch of humanity are the Native people of the area, the Tarahumara. The author depicted this group as mostly drunk and whose Easter celebration was a surreal combination of changing, drumming, whooping, and dancing. In using God's Middle Finger as the title for the book, he was referring to the one remaining finger on an effigy of God about to do battle with good and evil. It would have been appropriate for the author to describe the Tarahumara world view as a combination of long held indigenous beliefs and mission teachings and that they use effigies to act out these beliefs and above all to ploe4ase God so that he will continue to care for them. They also brew their own beer, tesguino, and drinking parties are an accepted ritual in this culture. []

Grand Canyon's North Rim and Beyond: A Guide to the North Rim and the Arizona Strip
By Stewart Aitchison. Grand Canyon Association. 96 pp. $12.95.
Another succinct, informative, and beautifully designed guidebook from the Grand Canyon Association. In a mere ninety-six pages, nature writer Aitchison introduces travelers to the history, wildlife, and sights along the less-visited northern lip of the Grand Canyon and its approaches. Helpful maps and dozens of color and black-and-white photographs enhance the appearance and usefulness of this essential guide. []
Few places in America are as mysterious or as scenic as the Arizona Strip, that sparsely settled land lying between the Grand Canyon’s North rim and Utah. If you can read this book and not yearn to go there, check your pulse for signs of life. Aitchison provides an alluring text and a selection of stunning photos. This enormous, gorgeous landscape may be the Southwest’s last frontier. Aitchison is an able and willing guide. []

Grand Canyon: Views Beyond the Beauty
By Gary Ladd. Grand Canyon Association. 82 pp. $14.95.
If you have ever tried to look through those little telescopes at Grand Canyon viewpoints and tried to pick out landmarks, this is the book for you. Photographer Gary Ladd has taken superb photos from those overlooks and added the landmark names. Just don’t’ tumble over the edge while looking at this fun book. It is an excellent introduction to the canyon. []

Great Chiles Rellenos Book, The
By Janos Wilder. Ten Speed Press. 144 pp. Index. $16.95.
Here is a darned interesting cookbook filled with yum-in-the-tum recipes for chiles rellenos. Perhaps better for reading or adding to a cookbook collection, however, since its size, 10x4 inches makes it difficult to keep open. There are some interesting salads, but those who watch waistlines and without a lot of time to deep fry many of these dishes, will have to enjoy the food vicariously. []

Great Texas Chefs
By Judy Alter. TCU Press. 86 pp. Index. $8.95.

The latest in the series of pocket-sized and illustrated volumes from the TCU Press about all things Texas. This offering provides profiles of notable chefs who cook in notable Texas restaurants, and features some of their favorite Texas recipes.
Growing up with Tamales / Creciendo con Tamales
By Gabriela Baeza Ventura, Gwendolyn Zepeda, April Ward. Piñata Books. $15.95.
Top Pick
Six-year-old Ana narrates this bilingual tale of two sisters who make tamales together each Christmas. Ana can't help noticing that older sister Lydia always gets the more interesting tasks! Longing to take on more responsibility, Ana imagines the scene when she's two years older -- reading big words, reaching high places, riding a bike without training wheels AND getting to spread the tamale dough on the corn husks. Of course, when Ana's older, Lydia will be older still, and able to take on even more. It's just not fair! This charming book is as much about tamale making as it is about childhood, family, tradition, and dreams. Illustrator April Ward's strong colors and expressive images are the ideal complement. []

Six-year-old Ana makes tamales with her sister each Christmas, and dreams of what she'll be able to do when she's older.
Guide to American Indian Beadwork of the Southwest, A
By Rose Houk. Western National Parks Association. 47 pp. . $ .
Beads have long played functional and artistic roles in Native American cultures, and this colorful palm-sized book ably explores those many uses. From bracelets to moccasins to cradleboards to miniature baskets for the tourist trade, this book depicts a dazzling array of items, as well as artistic talent and craftsmanship. []
American Indians have long used shell and porcupine quills for decorating clothing, moccasins, cradleboards, and more. With the introduction of glass beads in the mid 1500s the art took off and today one can find beaded bowls, tennis shoes, bags, purses and pouches, jewelry, baskets, and miniatures. The Arizona Quechan and Cocopah are noted for their fine beaded collars, he Apache create beaded hair ornaments, while the Zuni are particularly creative with little figurines. A nice little book for the basics. []

Guide to Prehistoric Astronomy in the Southwest, A
By J. McKim Malville. Johnson Books. 166 pp. Index. $18.00.
Top Pick


Long ago, a number of ancient civilizations around the world understood the regularity of astronomical movements in the sky, and regularly used observations to measure seasonal variations as the basis for annual calendars. Peoples who had to travel over distances of many hundreds of miles on foot could find this very useful in establishing times to get together for regular trade gatherings. Professor J. McKim Malville, a respected astronomer and elected Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science for his work in solar astrophysics, has done pioneering work around the word investigating these early cultures, one of which was here in the Southwest. In this book he describes findings, theories, hypotheses and conjectures about the meaning and function of stone alignments and buildings of the prehistoric Southwest.


For advanced reading, we also recommend Foundations of New World Cultural Astronomy, edited by Anthony Aveni (2008), a Notable Southwest Book of the Year, which includes papers on many of these sites.
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