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Naked Rainbow and Other Stories, The = El Arco Iris Desnudo y Otros Cuentos
By Nasario García. University of New Mexico Press. 242 pp. $18.95.
Top Pick
The author's childhood village of Ojo del Padre (modern Guadalupe) in the Rio Puerco Vally southeast of Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, provides the inspiration for these stories about the common folk in the tiny town. Whether it is the group of variously disabled men who meet regularly to curse their condition, or the village women who created their own method for permanently ridding the village of a cheating peddler, or the constantly maligned three-breasted woman who lived happily ever after, there is something to be learned about the human condition. Sometimes serious, often funny, perhaps even bawdy, the vignettes are a delight to read. The stories are also repeated in Spanish, an added incentive for those interested. []
Garcia writes these simple tales in Spanish then translates them himself, which means, of course, that he is free to translate them to suit himself. However, he provides both a glossary and a section of idiomatic words and phrases with his translations for those of his readers, like me, whose ability to understand is based in only one of the two languages. The characters who populate these stories are the common folk of central New Mexico; earthy, uneducated, simple, sometimes greedy, and almost always wise. Their stories are often funny and always to the point.

Collection of stories set in New Mexico's Rio Puerco Valley, presented in English and Spanish.
Nation's Highest Honor, The
By James Gaitis. Kunati Inc. Book Publishers. 249 pp. $22.95.

Satirical chronicle of everyman, Leonard Brentwood, confronting the whims of a dysfunctional society.
Navajo Folk Art
By Chuck Rosenak, Jan Rosenak. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 168 pp. Index. $18.95.
Loaded with color photos of the artists and their work, this third edition of the book first published 15 years ago updates some biographical information and includes artists not previously covered. Divided into eastern, central, and western portions of the Navajo Reservation, the excellent text provides both general information and detailed descriptions.
Navajo folk art has become a saleable commodity as never before. Moreover, it has found its way to museums and galleries that have in the past sold only the best of pottery, rugs, paintings, and jewellry. Individual artists and their work have contributed a new art form, sometimes whimsical, always delightful. Here creativity knows no bounds. Johnson Antonio's carved dolls show distinct personalities, while Delbert Buck can always find something for his cowboys to ride whether it be rabbits or bulls. Here are chickens, weavings, beaded figures, pots, and furry goats. Nicely published []

Neighbors of Casas Grandes, The: Excavating Medio Period Communities of Northwest Chihuahua, Mexico
By Paul E. Minnis, Michael E. Whalen. University of Arizona Press. 295 pp. Index. $60.00.
The Casas Grandes archaeological site of northern Chihuahua is one of the most interesting in North America. This technical book details the role of neighboring communities during the period of A.D 1220-1450. The book poses questions about the region, introduces the sites that may answer the questions, and then offers answers. Required reading for advanced scholars. []

New Deal for Native Art, A: Indian Arts and Federal Policy, 1933-1943
By Jennifer McLerran. University of Arizona Press. 299 pp. Index. $59.95.
It is not difficult to find museums and galleries illed to the brim with American Indian arts and crafts. These are also available from reservation trading posts and Indian markets, which pop up at regular intervals all over the country. The indigenous productions include pottery, massive sculpture, jewelry, carvings from wood, and whatever treasures the imagination can produce. Add folk art which is fast becoming a collector's item. It was not always this way. The Great Depression affected the Indian tribes along with the rest of the country.The New Deal for Indian Policy sought ways to improve the market for Indian art with Civilian Conservatiion Cotrps projects,cooperatives, and more. John Collier was one who was actively involved in numerous projects. More importantly, the Santa Fe Indian school encouraged Native art, a change from earlier Indian policy. []

New Mexico Colcha Club: Spanish Colonial Embroidery & the Women Who Saved It
By Nancy C. Benson. Museum of New Mexico Press. 168 pp. Index. $23.50.
Top Pick
The word colcha refers to a particular stitch in sewing but is often applied to finished products such as bedspreads and coverlets decorate with it. Benson describes its evolution in the New World, and particularly in the Southwest where it arrived with immigrants from farther south in Mexico. In addition to showing designs in excellent color photos she provides details of the lives of women in north central New Mexico, around Espanola, whom she credits with keeping the colcha tradition alive.
It is safe to say that there has never been one morning that I awoke thinking about embroidery, certainly not “colcha”-style which is a long, couching stitch typically used on bedspreads. But this book certainly merits eye-opening attention on any of several levels: its perfect photos of altar cloths, clothes, quilts, rugs, including revealing details; its well-told blending of history and domestic life; its knockout design that features a fine mix of color, font, and layout; its heartwarming stories about the New Mexico women who kept this tradition alive for the past four centuries; or its pure passion for the craft. It is a superb, cheersome book, and interesting also in that it is a softcover book with a jacket. []

New River Blues
By Elizabeth Gunn. Severn House Publishers Ltd.. 214 pp. $28.95.

Police Detective Sarah Burke must solve a double-murder in an exclusive Tucson neighborhood, while her niece, mother, and boyfriend all become house guests.
No Angel: My Harrowing Undercover Journey to the Inner Circle of the Hells Angels
By Jay Dobyns. Crown. 328 pp. $25.95.
Top Pick
ATF agent, and former UA football player, Dobyns recounts in suspenseful detail his two-year assignment infiltrating the notoriously secretive Hells Angels motorcycle gang in Arizona. Dobyns' ability to portray his targets as flesh-and-blood human beings (some of whose traits he admires) and the edgy description of his own descent into the shadow world of drugs and casual violence open a revealing window on law enforcement's war on outlaw motorcycle gangs and elevate his story above run-of-the-mill true crime memoirs. []
You’re riding your chopper motorcycle in tight formation with the Hells Angels at 90 miles an hour down a Phoenix freeway at night. Your front wheel is a foot from the bike in front and you are about to die. You are Jay Dobyns, ex-football player, aka Bird Davis, undercover cop for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco, and you’ve infiltrated the baddest outlaw motorcycle gang on the planet. Now that you’re in, how do you get out? And how do you ever return from your biker persona to your old self? How do you salvage your family and sanity? Fiction? No bro, true story. Most of the action takes place in Arizona, with big scenes in Nevada, California, and Mexico. Meeting the characters, especially Big Lou, is worth the trip – none of them is totally evil nor totally good, even Dobyns, but all are dangerous. Ignore this tight, vivid narrative at your own risk. []

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