Southwest Books of the Year
Browsing Complete List - P :
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.
- Paleontology of New Mexico, The
- By Barry S. Kues. University of New Mexico Press. 432 pp. Index. $45.00.
- If you like fossils, really like fossils, then this is the book for you. Organized by epochs, it is wealth of information about ancient species, how they evolved, and where to find them in New Mexico. It is both a primer on fossil collecting and a catalogue of known species, which may give impetus to collectors to unearth new finds. It is a rich introduction to the state’s fascinating geology and diverse species through time. It is written for advanced amateurs, but it’s accessible to anyone willing to read deeply. For example, one discussion notes that the study of fossils has strongly helped our understanding of plate tectonics, past environments and climates, the evolution of life, the geologic time scale, and history of the earth. The author’s love of fossils shines through the precise, expert prose. [ ]
- Pistols, Petticoats, & Poker: the Real Lottie Denos-- No Lies or Alibis
- By Jan Devereaux. High-Lonesome Books. 277 pp. Index. $25.00.
- Deno’s story (she was a “lady of the night” in Texas and New Mexico at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries before marrying well and becoming a proper lady) has been told a number of times, but Devereaux retells the story with careful attention to facts. She documents the truth and investigates and dismisses myths. [ ]
- Poetry of Remembrance, A: New and Rejected Works
- By Levi Romero. University of New Mexico Press. 159 pp. $21.95.
- Sometimes serious, sometimes humorous Romero’s “works” [sly humor in the subtitle; all the works are poetry and normally one says “new and SELECTED...”–did your eye skip that one?]. Wonderful, creative images are sprinkled throughout along with the humor; for example these lines from “Simple Math”: “I don’t know what today will bring tomorrow...what it may add or subtract...it is a process of trial and error and I’m known to leave a path like eraser grains on paper...”
- Too many poets write to become something they are not; Levi Romero writes to be someone he is. And his poems are wonderful. Dragon flies, low rider cars, grandmothers, and adobe homes appear with ease and depth. This book is exceptionally comfortable and satisfying, even if you don’t read the bits of Spanish or know the particular geography of New Mexico. His images flow easily, such as “along the walking trail/ of the west rim/ the shadows of our noses/ fall into coyote paw prints/ etched into the damp soil’ (p. 66). His ‘High School English” is universal in its moods and insight into adolescence. His “Dance of the Hollyhock” welds reader with poet in its lines “as we move on, knowing that the palm heat of plenty/ at times burns with the cold hand of not enough” (p. 104). One especially touching poem, “El vientinueve de agosto,” is a tribute to mothers, and includes the lines “and the stories are spoken/ as if they matter.” Romero’s poems matter. [ ]
- Power of the Texas Governor, The: Connally to Bush
- By Brian McCall. University of Texas Press. 172 pp. Index. $24.95.
- According to the author, the Texas governor's office is fairly weak since gubernatorial powers are not specifically enumerated. The governor can however, take advantage of the fact that the legislators' jobs are part-time and the mere threat of calling a special session is one way to get goals passed. More importantly, personality and highly developed social skills are necessary in order to build relationships and get things done. George W. Bush, and Ann Richards are two who were most successful in this area. They are contrasted with the terms of John Connally, Preston Smith, Dolph Briscoe, William Clements, and Marc Smith, each of whom had his own personality problems in dealing with the legislature. [ ]
- Power's Garden: A Novel
- By Dianne Ebertt Beeaff. Five Star Publications. 256 pp. $15.95.
- Follow the relationship of two southeastern Arizona families—one Texan, one Mormon—whose cultures collide during the early 1900’s, as severe drought grips the Gila Valley Desert.
- Power, Passion, and Prejudice: Shootout in the Galiuro Mountains
- By Barbara Brooks Wolfe. Imago Press. 167 pp. Index. $12.95.
- In 1917 a shootout between a county sheriff’s posse and a family of miners provided a perennial mystery story that still fuels conjecture as family descendents try to defend or accuse the participants. This Arizona saga drew author Wolfe to offer what she heard over the years and found in archives. She does offer some new information, but few citations. [ ]
- Price of Sanctuary, The
- By Gaylon E. Greer. Medallion Press. 316 pp. $27.95.
- Faced with a manslaughter charge Shelby Le Cervoisier cuts a deal with a secret government department then finds herself the target when her corrupt boss wants her dead. Greer sets this chase-thriller partly in Las Vegas, Nevada, and Flagstaff, Arizona, but locale is unimportant when the contract killer sent to get rid of her cannot do the job and instead begins helping her and her much younger sister avoid yet another contract killer. Out of the frying pan, into the fire. [ ]
- Private Women, Public Lives: Gender and the Missions of the Californias
- By Bárbara Reyes. University of Texas Press. 246 pp. Index. $50.00.
- The author presents the translations of testimonios of three California women during the mission period in California: the head housekeeper for Mission San Gabriel;an Indian woman accused of conspiring to murder; and a request by the first lady of California for a divorce. Here is a very interesting study of gender relations in Colonial California. A fine addition to gender and women's studies. [ ]
- Putrefaction Live
- By Warren Perkins. University of New Mexico Press. 253 pp. $21.95.
- Half Navajo, his father is an Anglo, James is not sure of anything, a classic case of “maybe I’ll grow up tomorrow”. In his late twenties and drifting between Flagstaff and the deserted ranch his parents own on the Navajo Reservation, he finds two things to care about: his neighbor (a woman with two young children and a mean s.o.b. husband) and “his” loud as thunder and ultimately profane four piece band, Putrefaction. [ ]