Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing All Nonfiction Books - A :
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.
- ABeCedarios: Mexican Folk Art ABCs in English and Spanish
- By K. B. Basseches, Armando Jiménez, Moisés Jiménez, Cynthia Weill. Cinco Puntos Press. . $14.95.
- Wood sculptures from Oaxaca, Mexico illustrate this bilingual alphabet book.
- About My Life and the Kept Woman: a Memoir
- By John Rechy. Grove Press. 356 pp. . $24.00.
- Born in Depression-era El Paso of a Mexican mother and Scottish father, award-winning novelist John Rechy examines how he came to terms with the way his heritage and sexuality set him apart, and how he resisted being defined by men and women who wanted him to be something he was not. Richey is the best-selling author of City of Night among other notable titles.
- Adventures of Slim and Howdy, The: a Novel
- By Kix Brooks, Ronnie Dunn, Bill Fitzhugh. Center Street. 257 pp. . $22.99.
- Country music duo Brooks and Dunn team up on a novel about the adventures of two Texas cowboys who ride the range in their pickup truck and try the musical stage. Their lives as they wish they could be? Or were?
- Anatomy of the Grand Canyon: Panoramas of the Canyon's Geology
- By W. Kenneth Hamblin. Grand Canyon Association. 143 pp. Index. $49.95.
- Magnificent panoramic photos of the Grand Canyon are keyed to the layered rock formations, geologic faults, and place names. The result is an exceptionally vivid and clear portrayal of the canyon’s geology. Kenneth Hamblin strived to show “the canyon’s fundamental features, the sequence of rocks,” and geologic structure. And he does. The panoramas give the sense of standing on the rim or in the canyon. I do wish he had talked a bit about his camera and panorama photography. A beautiful book. [ ]
- Ancestral Landscapes of the Pueblo World
- By James E. Snead. University of Arizona Press. 208 pp. Index. . $45.00.
- In its 100+ year history the discipline we know as archaeology has developed, and cycled through, a variety of theoretical frameworks aimed at understanding what prehistoric life in the Southwest was like. Snead picks up the philosophical cudgel, so to speak, aiming at understanding how prehistoric pueblo life fitted into the world in which it existed. A book for professionals to chew on, ponder, and criticize. [ ]
- Ancestral Zuni Glaze-Decorated Pottery: Viewing Pueblo IV Regional Organization Through Ceramic Production and Exchange
- By Deborah L. Huntley. University of Arizona Press. 112 pp. Index. . $17.95.
- The glazes used on Zuni pottery reveals a wide network of trade and social interaction. This technical report demonstrates the importance of ore sources and isotopes in determining points of manufacture and dispersed trade, and it proposes additional exchanges and implications. “For people living in the Zuni region during the Pueblo IV period, social boundaries and interactions were permeable and defined at multiple scales” (page 81). [ ]
- Ancient Landscapes of the Colorado Plateau
- By Ronald C. Blakey, Wayne Ranney. Grand Canyon Association. 156 pp. Index. $34.95.
- When we think of geologic time, the Grand Canyon’s slice of eons comes to mind. But this book takes the canyon’s history back into deep geology, back 1.75 billion years, when much of what we think of as North America was covered by ocean. This imaginative recreation is portrayed by photos, paintings, and charts, and backed by a sound understanding of plate tectonic geology. You don’t need much knowledge of geology to understand or appreciate this book, but you will need a limber mind to comprehend the scope of time and distance. Just when you think you’ve seen the canyon from every perspective, this one comes along with a new look. Very well done. [ ]
- Arab/American: Landscape, Culture, and Cuisine in Two Great Deserts
- By Gary Paul Nabhan. University of Arizona Press. Index. . $17.95.
- In nine elegantly rendered essays, Nabhan ruminates on the ties - historical, personal, cultural, and environmental - that extend from his ancestral homeland in the Middle East to his adoptive home in the Sonoran Desert. And these connections are more concrete and meaningful than you might imagine. In a time of bitter conflict between the Arab and Western worlds, Nabhan makes a convincing argument for peace and environmental sanity based on shared kinship and landscape. [ ]
- Possibly the Southwest’s most famous Arab-American is Hi Jolly, the camel driver hired by the US Army back in the 1850s. Know to others as Hadji Ali, he is honored with a monument at Quartzite, Arizona. But his story is only one of thousands where migrants from the Middle East venture to the new world, bringing customs, foods, words, and culture. They have been here so long and securely that we seldom stop to think about their arrival. Gary Paul Nabhan journeys to home to Syria and Oman to reconnect with his ancestors, and finds more links with the Southwest and the Middle East than he ever imagined. This revealing book is an enthusiastic reminder to rejoice in the family of man. Because of this book, we’ll need to refocus our perceptions of who we are.
By coincidence, in the past few weeks I interviewed two friends from the small community of Ajo, Arizona. Their families came to America before 1900, one family from Turkey and one from Syria. Their names were Americanized and today their many friends and neighbors rarely stop to think that these second and third-generation Americans step out of Nabhan’s delightful book and into the American Dream.
- Eminent biologist Gary Paul Nabhan, one of the Southwest’s intellectual treasures, tells us of how his explorations of the people of this region and their relationships to plants led him on a surprising personal journey of discovery into his own heritage, as well as the heritage we desert denizens share – a delightful and amazing story.
- Archaeology of Regional Interaction, The: Religion, Warfare, & Exchange Across the American Southwest and Beyond
- By Michelle Hegmon. University Press of Colorado. 467 pp. Index. . $34.95.
- These essays discuss rarely-considered forms of interaction, such as intermarriage and the spread of religious practices, and focus especially on understanding the social processes that underlie archaeological evidence of interaction.
- Aridland Springs in North America: Ecology and Conservation
- By Vicky J. Meretsky, Lawrence E. Stevens. University of Arizona Press/Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum. 432 pp. (Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Studies in Natural History). Foreword by Gary Paul Nabhan.. $75.00.
- Few topics are more interesting than water in the desert. Of the seventeen chapters in this significant book, several focus on places in the Southwest. Dean Blinn details the dynamics of Montezuma’s Well in Arizona (ch 6), James Cornett provides deep insights into desert fan palm oases (ch 8), and Gary Nabhan explains plant diversity at the rich springs at Quitovac in Sonora (ch 12). And, of potentially long-lasting influence is the chapter proposing a spring classification system (ch 4). This book takes a proud place next to others in the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum series. [ ]
- Arizona Story, The
- By Kyle McKoy, Jim Turner. Arizona Historical Society and Gibbs, Smith Publisher. Index. .
- This lavishly illustrated elementary school textbook provides an overview of Arizona's geography, geology, history and economy.
- At the Confluence of Change: A History of Tonto National Monument
- By Nancy Dallett. Western National Parks Association. 253 pp. Index. $21.95.
- Tonto cliff dwelling was built by the ancient Salado people along the Salt River, east of the modern city of Phoenix, Arizona. The ruins are important for visualizing life back then, and this book is important for understanding and appreciating the struggles to preserve the dwelling and its artifacts. The book readably portrays at the larger picture of preservation policy and politics for other historic monuments in the Southwest. Many human stories add humor and interest to make this a lively tale. For example, while bathing in the open, one early superintendent had to keep an ear out for visitors approaching on the road below. Nicely done report on a fine national monument that opened in 1907. [ ]
- The subtitle tell us this book is "A History of Tonto National Monument" and indeed it is, one to be applauded for its thorough and sometimes technical coverage, for its footnotes, bibliography, and index, not for its appeal to the general reader. In other words, a book for scholars and very serious students. The Tonto Basin of central Arizona is probably better known for Zane Grey's cabin than for its somewhat remote National Monument. [ ]