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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.

Gems and Minerals of the Southwest
By Jennifer Sano , Jeffrey A. Scovil. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 95 pp. Index. $14.95.

A geologist and photographer team up on a beautifully illustrated basic guide to over 90 minerals.
Getting Away with Murder on the Texas Frontier: Notorious Killings and Celebrated Trials
By Gordon Morris Bakken, Bill Neal. Texas Tech University Press. 328 pp. Index. $18.95.

A compilation of historical events showing how justice in the old West was often highly subjective and had little basis in law.
Ghost Ranch: And the Faraway Nearby
By Craig Varjabedian. University of New Mexico Press. 128 pp. $45.00.
I have heard it said that for each person there is some special place, some conglomeration, or lack thereof, of trees, sky, desert, mountains, water that speaks somehow to the private self. Ghost Ranch, northwest of Abiquiu, New Mexico, is a place that has been that special place of attraction for multitudes including, of course, Georgia O’Keeffe who made it her home place for decades. And Varjabedian has done justice to it in presenting 91 black and white, full-page images that show its stark beauty, mostly without signs of human habitation. An essay by Belden C. Lane speaks to the question of “sacred landscapes” and Douglas A. Fairfield’s essay on Varjabedian’s aesthetics of imagery, though it comes last in the book, would in fact be an excellent piece of reading before looking at the images. []

Gila Country Legend: The Life and Times of Quentin Hulse
By Nancy Coggeshall. University of New Mexico Press. 280 pp. Index. $29.95.
Historian Durwood Ball describes the late Quentin Hulse as "the real thing"; readers of this eloquently written biography of the New Mexico rancher, hunter, guide, and outfitter will quickly understand why. Coggeshall, Hulse's companion during his twilight years, has assembled a moving portrait of the man that never descends into hagiography. Rather, what emerges from her recollections, interviews, and painstaking research is the story of a southwestern original, complete with the full complement of flaws and shortcomings, who nonetheless did the right thing as he saw it and was of one piece with the land he inhabited. Coggeshall has produced a rare thing: an uncommon testimonial to a common man. []

Glass of Water, A
By Jimmy Santiago Baca. Grove Press. 240 pp. $23.00.
Baca brings to his first novel all the passionate intensity that infuses his award-winning poetry and autobiographical writings. Two brothers - one angry and rebellious, the other thoughtful and committed to the land - fight in their own ways to overcome injustice and prejudice until the search for their mother's killer unites them in a common cause. Baca offers a bracing, no-holds barred view of immigrant field workers and their stuggles to carve out a piece of the American dream from a landscape where "a glass of water is the most important thing." []

Golondrina, Why Did You Leave Me?: a Novel
By Bárbara Renaud González. University of Texas Press. 176 pp. $24.95.
This multi-generational saga spins along at break-neck speed, and yet at times poetically. The narrator, Amada’s daughter, is compelled to tell her mother’s story: marriage to a brutal man in north eastern Mexico at age 13, escape across the Rio Grande, and three weeks later a marriage to a Texan...and away we go. Her new husband, the love of her life, is the heir to a heritage: he wants to take back the thousands of acres stolen by Richard King to become part of the fabled King Ranch. Aiii! []

Good Trade, A: Three Generations of Life and Trading Around the Indian Capital Gallup, New Mexico
By John D. Kennedy. Xlibris. .
This book was a great disappointment. I was looking forward to learning about the trading business over three generations in New Mexico. Unfortunately, those nuggets were hard to find because Kennedy used the opportunity to write a personal family memoir, filling the pages from from edge to edge with Courier type. The book needed an editor and a good designer.The photo on the cover was out of focus. []

Grave Images: San Luis Valley
By Kathy T. Hettinga. Museum fo New Mexico Press. 180 pp. $45.00.

Grave stones and cemetery art tell much about this community in southwestern Colorado as shown in these skillful photographs by Kathy Hettinga.
Graves at Seven Devils, The
By Peter Brandvold. Berkley Books. 233 pp. $5.99.

In this western novel, when bandits kill her cousin's family near the Arizona border, a woman bounty hunter and her sidekick go after them.
Great Basin, The: People and Place in Ancient Times
By Catherine S. Fowler, Don D. Fowler. Santa Fe, N.M. : School for Advanced Research Press. 166 pp. Index. $24.95.
The Great Basin is a large area in the heart of the American West that is notable for having streams and rivers that do not reach the sea: they drain into basins like the Great Salt Lake, most of which evaporate into dry salt pans. When latter day settlers arrived, they discovered scattered oases with good water where people could survive, and claimed it for themselves. Modern archeologists have found evidence of an even more remarkable story: the habitation of this dry desert by humankind goes back for millennia. This very readable book is part of a series published for popular audiences by the School for Advanced Research Press in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Written by a selected group of archaeologists who are experts in the region, it tells the fascinating story of what science has learned so far of the peoples who have inhabited this region during the past 13,000 years. Readers who enjoy this book might also be interested in this book, a 2008 Southwest Book of the Year: Fragile Patterns: The Archeology of the Western Papagueria, edited by Jeffrey H. Altschul, et al. []

Greg Lasley's Texas Wildlife Portraits
By Greg Lasley. Texas A&M University Press. 128 pp. Index. $30.00.
Acclaimed photographer Greg Lasley’s work has taken him around the world, but this fine collection focuses on the wildlife of his home state, much of which is common to other parts of the Southwest. With telephoto and macro shots, he brings the birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and arachnids to life, up-close and amazing. These stunning images must rank among the best you’ll find anywhere: a memorable and exciting visual treat. []

Guarding the Border: The Military Memoirs of Ward Schrantz, 1912-1917
By Jeffrey L. Patrick, Ward L. Schrantz. Texas A&M University Press. 205 pp. Index. $29.95.
This is the memoir of Ward Schrantz, a US Army soldier stationed along the Texas-Mexico border during the hey-day of Venustiano Carranza and Pancho Villa. He tells the human side of serving in military outposts and tent encampments. He candidly, and without complaint, tells the realities of sleeping on army cots and trying to keep dry under G.I ponchos. His camp humor, such as sneaking into Nuevo Laredo against orders, mixes with sympathetic character sketches or his bunkmates and even his sergeants. When in 1917 the US joined the battle of WWI, Schrantz was sent to the Meuse-Argonne offensive in France, and he later served in WWII. This is an excellent “duty tour” of soldier life, backed by Jeff Patrick’s thorough background research. []
Actually, there were fewer scrapes and fewer battles during the time Ward Schrantz served with the U. S. Army to keep peace along the Texas-Mexico border during the Mexican Revolution. Here is a good memoir that describes how the army worked, traveled, ate, and lived during an interesting period in history. By the way, It is a good read. []

Guitars and Adobes, and the Uncollected Stories of Fray Angélico Chávez
By Angelico Chavez, Ellen McCracken. Museum of New Mexico Press. 292 pp. $24.95.

The title piece in this collection is a short novel published serially when Chavez was in his early 20s. The “uncollected” stories were published in 1929 and the 1930s when he was at the beginning of a long (he lived to be 82) and widely published career.
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