Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing Complete List - W :
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.
- Walk Across Texas, A
- By Jon McConal. TCU Press. 153 pp. Index. . $19.95.
- Journalist Jon McConal and two friends meet people, talk history, and describe the countryside as they walk 450 miles across Texas. Their easy-going trek takes them into country stores, pastures, historic court houses, and riversides. All is told in a folksy
drawl as friendly as the people they meet and interview along the way. Marginally Southwest, their trip went from Perryton, near the Oklahoma border, to Granbury, near Fort Worth. You’ll need to bring your own map to follow their route. Instead of Ernest Tubb’s “Waltz Across Texas,” this is a stroll across Texas and almost as much fun.
- Walk Me to Midnight
- By Jane St. Clair. Capstone Fiction. 224 pp. . $15.95.
- When Tucson therapist and host of the talk show Ask Dr. Susan learns on the radio that one of her best friends has died by assisted suicide she flies to NYC for the memorial service feeling certain that what has occurred is murder. Unable to prove her suspicions she returns to Tucson where she must deal with a rebelling son as well as a mounting listener audience who think her attitude about assisted suicide is all wet. Clever dialog, fine character development and excellent handling of a complicated (if sometimes over the top) plot set this satisfying mystery apart from the herd.
- We Became as Mountains: Poems of the Pueblo Conquest
- By Nancy Wood. Western Edge Press. 86 pp. $14.95.
- These poems tell the story of the Pueblo Indians from the time of creation to the building of the first atomic bomb.
- Weeds in South Texas and Northern Mexico: a Guide to Identification
- By J. H. Everitt, Christopher R. Little, Robert I . Lonard. Texas Tech University Press. 222 pp. . $19.95.
- If a weed is a plant out of place, then here are 189 weeds that Texas farmers and gardeners may find volunteering among, or instead of, their crops and lawns. Though some are species introduced from foreign lands, most are native plants that don’t know the rules or follow the fence lines. Some are quite beautiful, as the book’s color photos show. Put another way, this is a book about the plants that preceded the fields and that eventually will inherit the fields when the irrigation and herbicides stop. A good identification book. [ ]
- Western Echoes of the Harlem Renaissance: The Life and Writings of Anita Scott Coleman
- By Cynthia Davis, Verner D. Mitchell. Universityof Oklahoma Press. 300 pp. $19.95.
- Little known even in her own time, Anita Scott Coleman was an accomplished black writer whose stories and poems were published in various literary magazines both during her early residence in New Mexico and later in Southern California. Editor Davis provides an excellent short biography and reprints more than a dozen of Coleman’s published stories and many poems.
- What Men Call Treasure: the Search for Gold at Victorio Peak
- By Robert Boswell, David Schweidel. Cinco Puntos Press. 339 pp. $25.95.
- In the 1980s and early 1990s, novelists and longtime friends Schweidel and Boswell stumbled upon the story of "Doc" Noss and the fabulous treasure he supposedly found in the 1930s, and then lost, on the present-day White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. In this meandering account, they interweave their personal stories with that of Terry Delonas' herculean effort to unlock the secret presumably buried inside Victorio Peak. Sadly for treasure-seekers, and casual readers, there is no resolution to this tale, although both authors express varying degrees of skepticism. For Boswell, the search for buried gold is a metaphor for post-modern America, while for Schweidel it illustrates the power of belief to trump fact. [ ]
- Where Clouds Are Formed: Poems
- By Ofelia Zepeda. University of Arizona Press. 21 pp. $14.95.
- In forty poems Ofelia Zepeda captivates us with her desert homeland, the tension between city and reservation life, and the ironies of living in two cultures, Native American and modern American. She writes with subtle description and compelling insight. One moment my favorites are “An O’odham at Yosemite,” “Blacktop,” and “The Way to Leave Your Illness,” and the next moment I hang on “Landscape” with its lines “She was in constant contact with the earth. / With each shuffle she pushed the earth along, with each step she dragged time along.” Then I reread “The Other World,” with the refrain “When we get back to / our world, can we rent a video…?” The poet’s first world? The desert “of sand, rocks, mesquite, / rattlesnakes, lizards, and little rain.” This volume, number 63 in the Sun Tracks series, is sure to bring you a smile and new thought. [ ]
- Zepeda’s poetry frequently alludes to her Tohono O’odham heritage but her themes are universal and we feel/see them as if they mirrored our own lives: children, celebrations, plastic lawn chairs, a hospital I.C.U., the world, in fact, in a few words. [ ]
- Wild Flight
- By Christine Rhein. Texas Tech University Press. 102 pp. . $21.50.
- Only one poem is ostensibly Southwestern: “Wren’s Nest in a Saguaro,” but don’t let that stop you from holding the book. I heartily recommend read “And the Beat Goes On” and “Upon Being Asked What I Believe In.” The former is a clever, thoughtful blending of songlines and slogans that run through our heads (for example “Still crazy after all these years./ Don’t worry be happy./ My dog’s bigger than your dog./ Another day in paradise.”). The latter runs with lines like “…the word in,/ the way it dumps quicksand before / love and trouble, or after belief / and jump right!” This is Rhein’s first book of poems—expect more. [ ]
- Wild Inferno
- By Sandi Ault. Berkley Hardcover. 304 pp. . $23.95.
- In this sophomore effort (after 2007's Wild Indigo), BLM resource protection agent Jamaica Wild confronts the murder of a tribal elder during a wildfire that threatens Native American ceremonies at Chimney Rock in the Four Corners. An intriguing plot involving an ancient archaeological site and Ault's intimate knowledge of wildfire management and native customs make this a compelling read. [ ]
- Willard Clark: Printer & Printmaker
- By David Farmer. Museum of New Mexico Press. 95 pp. . $34.95.
- On his way to California Clark hit Santa Fe in 1928 (remember what happened in 1929!) and decided to stay. He weathered the Depression years as a commercial printer, but one with the artistic skills which allowed him to create handsome, multi-color illustrations for menus, sales brochures, and the like. WWII changed that when he went to work for the Los Alamos National Laboratory where he stayed until retirement 40 years later, then he picked up his wood-block cutting tools, bought other printing presses and began a second career as printer and printmaker. Farmer gives us a biography of both of those “printerly” years supplying dozens of color and b/w illustrations of Clark’s style which was perfectly suited to the Santa Fe that was becoming “the city different.” Handsome book, well-designed and beautifully printed. [ ]
- Wings in the Desert: a Folk Ornithology of the Northern Pimans
- By Amadeo M. Rea. University of Arizona Press. 293 pp. Index. . $70.00.
- "Piman imagination seems to have soared on the wings of birds, more so than with any other group of living things," ornithologist and ethnobiologist Rea writes in this fascinating book. For the past four decades, Rea has been a patient observer and keen listener, absorbing and assimilating what his Pima acquaintances have told him about the role of birds in their lives and culture. The result is a bird book like no other, describing species through Piman eyes while also explaining birds' place in the Piman world view and their various uses in ceremonial, religious, and everyday life. Because Rea allows his consultants to speak for themselves, this encyclopedic volume, intellectually rigorous and beautifully illustrated with line drawings, possesses an engaging informality that magically draws readers into the O'odham world. It is a gold mine of information for scholars and a joy for lay readers. [ ]
- Some books defy definition. This is one. It is a bird book about Native Peoples. It is an ethnology about living places. It is a dictionary about life. It is Amadeo Rea’s personal adventure among the complex group of Indians who live in south-central Arizona and north-central Sonora. Rea brings us gently and intimately into their world, and reminds us that our Linnaean classification system is but one way to observe and think of Nature. This book is a companion to his milestone books At the Desert’s Green Edge and Folk Mammalogy of the Northern Pimans. [ ]
- Winner Takes All: Steve Wynn, Kirk Kerkorian, Gary Loveman, and the Race to Own Las Vegas
- By Christina Binkley. Hyperion. 304 pp. Index. . $25.95.
- Binkley, a Wall Street Journal columnist, draws graphic verbal pictures of the corporate and personal shenanigans in the casino world. The style is snappy and humorous, and she “tells it like it is”. A good quick read without much geography but lots of personality.
- With Picks, Shovels & Hope: the CCC and its Legacy on the Colorado Plateau
- By Elizabeth A. Green, Wayne K. Hinton. Mountain Press Publishing Company. 286 pp. Index. $30.00.
- During the great depression, president Franklin Delano Roosevelt created a Civilian Conservation Corps that put some three million young boys to work and called it "the reclamation of natural resoures and the r3ecdlamation of young American manhood." Between 1933 and 1941, young people from all over the United States lived in various camps scattered over the Colorado Plateau and run by the military. During this time, they arrested soil erosion on twenty million acres, restored 3,980 historic buildings, planted four billion trees and fought forest fires. They built roads and bridges and strung 89,000 miles of telephone line. They developed state parks and built trails in the Grand Canyon. The results of their labors can be seen today in Arizona, New Mexico, Utah, and Colorado. The young men learned new skills, discipline and self assurance, and at the same time helped the country recover its economy since $20 of their $25 salary went directly to their families. The book includes personal histories of many individuals helped by the program. [ ]
- Wolves at Our Door
- By J.P.S. Brown. University of New Mexico Press. 295 pp. . $26.95.
- Jim Kane, the protagonist of Brown's acclaimed 1970 novel, returns to do battle with a ruthless Sonoran landowner enmeshed in the drug trade and determined to extend his empire at the expense of anyone who stands in his way. Kane, now a seventy-five-year-old grandfahter, holds fast to the centuries-old code of honor that settled the southwestern borderlands as he rides (and flies) in defense of family and neighbors. Nobody knows and writes about this country better than Brown, who is in top form in this action-packed adventure solidly grounded in the world he loves. [ ]
- Women's Warrior Society, The
- By Lois Beardslee. University of Arizona Press. 138 pp. . $16.95.
- Beardslee fills this small book with swtor3es and poetry dealing with the ways in which contemporary Native women merge traditional and modern lifestyles. There is little to identify that these women are of the southwest. [ ]
- Wrangling Women: Humor and Gender in the American West
- By , Kristin M. McAndrews. University of Nevada Press. 175 pp. Index. Explores gender roles and cultural stereotypes of the contemporary western horsewoman.. $21.95.
- An exploration of gender roles, folklore, and cultural stereotypes of the contemporary western horsewoman.