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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.

Family Ranch, The: Land, Children, and Tradition in the American West
By Madeleine Graham Blake, Linda Hussa. University of Nevada Press. 239 pp. Index. $24.95.
Here are some nice stories about the challenges and changes in ranching in the American West. The problem is: where in the American West? Are Walking Box and Crooked Creek ranches in our area of concern for Southwest Books? No location was given in each chapter head. There was no index to help. With effort, I found one ranch in Oregon; one in northern California, and another in northern Nevada. Too bad. It would have been so easy to list a location in the chapter head with the name of the ranch. []

Finding Beauty in a Broken World
By Terry Tempest Williams. Pantheon Books. 419 pp. $26.00.
Beginning with a mosaic class in Ravenna, Italy, Williams searches for the physical and metaphoric glue holding together the pieces of a world shattered in the terrorist attacks of 9/11. From her observations as part of a prairie dog recovery effort in the Utah desert and with a genocide memorial project in Rwanda, she finds hope in community and in the interaction between man/womankind and the natural world. This prose mosaic, pieced together from carefully crafted fragments, ultimately adds up to more than the sum of its parts. []

Finding Susie
By Sandra Day O'Connor, Tom Pohrt. Alfred A. Knopf. $16.99.
Top Pick
In this autobiographical tale by the former US Supreme Court Justice, young Sandra finds herself hoping “this will be the year when Mother and Dad will let me have a pet…” Over the summer, she attempts to tame several wild animals, including a tortoise, rabbit, coyote, and baby bobcat. Sandra’s efforts to make each her ideal pet are described in calm language that effectively advances the story and conveys a sense of the supportive environment in which the author was raised. When, inevitably, each animal must be set free, a loving adult is present to cushion the blow. At long last, Sandra meets the vivacious Susie, a little dog perfectly amenable to domestic life. We’re glad for them both! Tom Pohrt’s illustrations capture the stark beauty of the Sonoran Desert, and give expression and individuality to an exceptional family. []

Fire and Ice
By J. A. Jance. William Morrow. 338 pp. $25.99.
(fiction) When the spring thaw in the Cascade Mountains uncovers the remains of a young woman, Washington State special investigator J.P. Beaumont hopes it will yield new evidence in a string of similar murders. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Cochise County Sheriff Joanna Brady is wondering what happened in the sand dunes that left a man dead, under three sets of tire tracks. Connecting the dots, investigators eventually bridge the 1500 mile gap between Washington and Arizona and reunite the protagonists of Jance’s two longest running mystery series to solve a brutal tangle of lawlessness. In the process, Jance offers some interesting insight into the impacts of human trafficking.
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Fool's Gold
By Dexter K. Oliver. Duncan, AZ: Dexter K. Oliver. 233 pp. Unable to located book in WorldCat or Amazon. CJ. $$16.00.

Advertised as an irreverent romp, this self-published erotic novel involves wildlife biologist Wade Horn and his acquaintances around the community of Ajo.
Forester's Log, The: Musings from the Woods
By Mary Stuever. University of New Mexico Press. 264 pp. Index. $24.95.
The author is a career forester and fire fighter, and this book is a compilation of her brief articles told with gentle humor and first-hand authority for local newspapers. But this book is much more than that. It is the adventure of fighting forest fires in Arizona and New Mexico, the challenge of managing forests, and the joys of being in the woods. It is also insightful. Forest ecology has evolved since Smokey the Bear– “Where foresters in the 1960s and 1970s were focused on ‘board feet,’ today’s decisions are based on values such as ‘preserving biodiversity’ or ‘restoring ecosystem functions’ (p. 108).” Forester’s Log is worth reading, especially for its descriptions and discussion of the infamous Rodeo-Chediski fire of Arizona’s White Mountains. []

A collection of Stuever's essays on Southwest forestry, previously published in her syndicated column, "The Forester's Log.
Frequently Asked Questions About Butterflies
By Rose Houk, Paul Mirocha, Abby Mogollón. Western National Parks Association. 18 pp. $5.95.
Butterflies happen when caterpillars put on their best duds in order to find a mate and reproduce. Having just visited the Tucson Botanical Gardens’ wonderful annual butterfly exhibit, we were pleased to encounter this book. In the first paragraph, we learned that there are over 18,000 species of butterflies worldwide and over 600 in the western U.S. The states with the greatest number of species in the U.S. are Texas, Arizona and New Mexico, due largely to size, location, and wide range of habitat. Beautifully illustrated, sticking to basics and very readable, this is a another fine book in the Western National Parks Association’s great series on the wonders of nature. For those who wonder about butterflies, this is just the ticket.

Readers who enjoy this book might also be interested in others in this series like:
* Frequently Asked Questions about Hummingbirds, * Frequently Asked Questions about the Saguaro, and * Frequently Asked Questions about Western Sand Dunes. []

A beautifully illustrated, basic book with interesting information about butterflies, in the Western National Parks Association's series on the wonders of nature.
Fresh Mexico: 100 Simple Recipes for True Mexican Flavor
By Marcela Valladolid. Clarkson Potter/Publishers. 240 pp. $22.50.

A cookbook for creative, contemporary Mexican cuisine with an emphasis on health and practicality by TV culinary personality Marcela Valladolid.
From Guns to Gavels: How Justice Grew Up in the Outlaw West
By Bill Neal. Texas Tech University Press. 364 pp. Index. $29.95.
Award winner Neal recounts historic incidents set in Texas (and one from Montana) of frontier outlawry as the West was becoming tame. They are not inter-connected, but characters, both good-guys and bad-guys, appear from time to time in different places, mostly in the area around the Red River. Smoothly written for easy reading, but thoroughly documented for those who want to know more detail.
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Only in Texas! If one likes to read a collection of real-life stories of murder, violence, and nasty politics in exhaustive detail, this book is for you Just about every individual is an angry man filled with desire for revenge. There is a tiring number of posses and vigilante justice. Moreover, sitting judges often made their own law, depending on the situation and his point of view of the moment. The author, a criminal lawyer, has amassed an amazing number of facts to present first the background, and second, both the prosecution and defense opinions of the various trials recorded here. []

Further Adventures: A Novel
By Jon Stephen Fink. Harper Perennial. 368 pp. "Published as a 500-page paperback original in 1993, Further Adventures was ahead of its time. Now...it returns in an all-new slimmed-down twenty-first-century edition revised by the author." (book Jacket). $14.99.
Called on its cover “a classic revised” this is a slimmed-down version of Fink’s 1991 novel that ran to 500 pages. Reminding me somewhat of Michael Chabon’s The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, here a 1950s radio super-hero finds himself in his 70s in small town New Mexico forced to play a real-life hero by circumstances far beyond his control. Sometimes the circumstances seem beyond the author’s control as well.
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