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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.

Radiant Curve, A: Poems and Stories
By Luci Tapahonso. University of Arizona Press. 93 pp. $35.00.
Top Pick
You’re welcome to approach this as the poetry of a Diné (Navajo) woman, but you’ll be short-changing yourself if you limit it to that. Her work, as revealed in the 29 prose and poetry selections here, reaches across designations. Family is foremost and we can all relate. The most revealing and deepest selection was the patriotically powerful “The American Flag” but not for reasons that you’d predict. One, “Festival of the Onion,” tells about “losing” author Scott Momaday, but he is found: “can a man be lost if he accompanied by three women?” And if you need a heartfelt laugh, try “New Boots;” I’m still grinning. The title of this volume, number 64 in the Sun Tracks book series, derives from a line about the Holy People: “We exist within the radiant curve of their care and wisdom” (page 19), as Tapahonso so touchingly reminds us. A bonus is the CD of her reading from this and her two previous books. Take her with you; she’ll make the trip more enjoyable. []
Five short narratives, the title of one of which provides the title of the book, are distributed among Tapahonso’s poems, and in fact her words flow poetically no matter which designation we choose to give to them. Reading carefully crafted words such as these always makes me want to say “Why don’t we all read more poetry?” I always answer myself “Because we are too lazy! We mostly want our writers to tell us everything; poetry makes us think.” And Tapahonso makes us think, and feel, and care, and wonder, and... []

Radicalism in the Mountain West, 1890-1920: Socialists, Populists, Miners, and Wobblies
By David R. Berman. University Press of Colorado. 386 pp. Index. . $39.95.

Berman studies the socialist and populist movements to trace the rise and fall of radicalism in the west.
Rainwater Harvesting for Drylands and Beyond. Volume 2, Water-harvesting Earthworks
By Brad Lancaster, Joe Marshall. Rainsource Press. 419 pp. Index. $35.95.
Top Pick
Tired of seeing rain water from your roof and yard run down the street while you pay more and more to water your shade trees and garden? Brad Lancaster offers a rain barrelful of tested ideas on how to harvest that runoff with berms, basins, diversions, swales, and mulching. The ideas range from simple morning projects to master plans involving major landscaping, but as with most good notions, the key is to start somewhere. This bountiful book, the second in a trilogy of books of consequence for the Southwest, will help us rethink how we obtain and use water. []
Tucson and the Southwest have a problem: we live in a desert, we have used water like there was no end to it, and now we realize there is. What can we do? Thanks to the pioneering work of Brad Lancaster and others, there are good solutions to that with little or no cost. In this, his second volume of three, Brad shows in a easy to understand manner, supported with lots of illustrations, how to re-form yards, parks and other landscapes to capture rainfall and care for landscaping in natural ways. Because the average urban home in the Southwest uses more potable water on the yard than in the house, these measures can easily cut water bills in half for most people. For putting practical sustainability to good use, this is a top pick for those who live in the Southwest, and elsewhere []

Rare Plants of Texas: a Field Guide
By Jackie M. Poole. Texas A&M University Press. 640 pp. Index. . $35.00.
Clear, direct, interesting, and useful are good things in a book, and this one is especially good. From an opening sentence , “Texas is a big state,” to the sections on the state’s natural regions, to a cogent explanation of what makes a plant rare, endangered, or threatened with extinction, this book excels. But its centerpiece is coverage of several hundred plants, giving taxonomy, habitat, descriptions, sketches and photos, and maps of their range. The authors ably argue that for these plants to survive, the public as well as scientists must be able to recognize and appreciate them. They admirably introduce this diverse and until now largely hidden segment of Texas’s 5,100 species of plants. New species, nodding yucca (Yucca cernua) and Matt Turner’s aster (Arida mattturneri) have been discovered in the 21st century. []
The book is a botanists dream and one that naturalists, academics and environmental consultants will find enormously valuable. Although, don't count on finding all these plants since many are described for which there are no living samples. That however, does not detract from a magnificent effort to describe rare plants that have or do exist in Texas' eleven natural regions. In addition to sections on history of plant conservation and management and restoration of rare plants, there is a glossary and some 80 pages of references. Included are hundreds of photographs and accurate sketches of plant parts and a map of Texas that highlights the various counties in which each species can be found. []

Redrawing Boundaries: Perspectives on Western American Art
By Peter M. Hassrick, Laura Caruso. Denver Art Museum. 80 pp. $22.50.

Controversy abounds in the art world over the place of Western American art. This book of essays continues that discussion, with essays by eminent authors in the field.
Reflections of Grand Canyon Historians: Ideas, Arguments, and First-Person Accounts
By Todd R. Berger. Grand Canyon Association. 224 pp. $15.00.
Top Pick
There are hundreds of art books on the Grand Canyon. Now it is time for a book that tells its stories by people who lived them. Thirty-two writers have revived its history which includes new evidence of the disintigration of the Powell expedition. We learn about the Carnegie-Caltech and Nordenskiold expeditions, Native peoples and their relationship to the canyon,mules and trails, John Muir and Gifford Pinchot,women in the canyon, challenges to early medical care, cowboy camps, and running cattle on the North rim. These papers were presented by 34 participants in the Second Grand Canyon History Symposium held at the Canyon in January 2007. Enjoyable reading for all. []

Remarkable Curiosity, A: Dispatches from a New York City Journalist's 1873 Railroad Trip Across the American West
By Amos J. Cummings, Jerald T. Milanich. University Press of Colorado. 371 pp. Index. $26.95.

A collection of nineteen articles, originally published in the New York Sun, includes an interview with Mormon prophet Brigham Young and his wife, Anna Eliza Young, in Salt Lake City and comments on a failed LDS expedition to colonize central Arizona.
Reminiscences of Major General Zenas R. Bliss, 1854-1876, The: From the Texas Frontier to the Civil War and Back Again
By Ben E. Pingenot, Thomas T. Smith, Jerry D. Thompson, Robert Wooster. Texas State Historical Association. 519 pp. $39.95.
In this detailed memoir, Bliss recounts two decades of military service in West Texas and during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Although Bliss eventually achieved high rank more through endurance and longevity than stellar accoumplishment (Fort Bliss is named for a distant cousin), he was a meticulous, good-humored observer of people and customs along the U.S.-Mexico border and a reluctant participant in the surrender of U.S. forces in Texas following secession. The editors, experts in frontier military history, do an exemplary job in placing Bliss' reminiscences in their historical and social context. []

Revolution on the Range: the Rise of a New Ranch in the American West
By Joseph Courtney White. Island Press. 210 pp. Index. . $25.95.

Although cattle ranching is the stuff of western lore, the reality is that it produces only a very small portion of the meat we eat and has been one of the largest single causes of environmental destruction in the West. This is the story of how some people are working on changing that.
Richer Dust, A
By Amy Boaz. Permanent Press. 212 pp. . $26.00.
Here is a first novel. Admitting to extracting ideas from Trotsky, D. H. Lawrence, Mabel Dodge Luhan, and others, the author has created a setting in Taos during the twenties. It is here that Doll, a British painter, finds herself in spite of life's many setbacks. []

River Apart, A: the Pottery of Cochiti & Santo Domingo Pueblos
By Valerie K. Verzuh. Museum of New Mexico Press. 185 pp. Index. $45.00.
Another fine book from the Museum of New Mexico Press, dealing with the history of pottery from Santo Domingo and Cochiti pueblos a few miles apart on the Rio Grande. We learn that in the beginning the pottery of the two villages was virtually undistinguishible. Hundreds of color photos illustrate the two traditions and how they changed over time. The photographic catalog of collections includes date of various bowls, jars, cups, pitchers, and figures along with measurements. Artist is listed if known. Appendices discuss basic materials, tools, and techniques used for the pottery, a glossary, and time line of events in the Southwest. []

Road From La Cueva, The: a Novel
By Sheila Ortego. Sunstone Press. 140 pp. $26.95.

A constrained woman finds fulfillment via friendship and an extra-marital affair.
Rock Art of Arizona, The: Art for Life's Sake
By Ekkehart Malotki. Kiva Publishing, Inc.. 194 pp. Index. . $35,00.
Malotki, professor emeritus at NAU, has produced during his decades in Arizona more than a dozen scholarly books about Hopi symbolism, oral tradition, rock art, and similar topics. The present volume, while not limited to Hopi by any means, represents a culmination of years spent afield throughout the state with camera in hand. More than 400 color photos are supplemented by substantive texts suggesting how and why rock art is important, first covering those sites dating prior to 1000 B.C., then those sites after that date concluding with a chapter of “interpretation”. []

A comprehensive book, lavishly illustrated with full-color photos and line drawings, on the rock art in Arizona.
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