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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.

Albuquerque Turkey, The
By John Vorhaus. Crown. 255 pp. This is a note for the Albuquerque Turkey.. $23.00.
Grifters Radar and Allie leave L.A. for Santa Fe after their big con nets them a million dollars. Allie is determined to go straight, get a degree in something, and live a normal life. Radar finally agrees but before they can even begin on this new life plan Radar’s dad Woody shows up in drag. Woody is a world class con artist on the run and desperate for help. Radar figures they can make just one more big sting and then go straight! Smoothly written, this page-turner has some good laughs, some over-the-top characters, a dog named Boy and the multiple twisting plot to make any airplane ride fly by (excuse the pun). []

Alexandre Hogue: An American Visionary: Paintings and Works on Paper
By Susie Kalil. Texas A&M University Press. 232 pp. Index. $35.00.
Hogue (1898-1994) is best known for his Dust Bowl paintings. Kalil argues persuasively that his foresight, understanding of nature, individuality, and evolution of styles over seven decades make him a “profound” artist. This coffee table art book with beautiful colored reproductions is heavy on the analysis of art elements, not surprising from an author who is an art curator and contributor to professional art journals. I came away from this book with a deep respect for this artist’s energy, determination and accomplishments. []

Alfonso Grows Up on the Sheep Trail
By Cindy Shanks. Authorhouse. 37 pp. $18.99.
Top Pick
In this companion book to "Emily Walks the Sheep Trail" (Southwest Books of the Year Children’s Pick, 2010) Alfonso, a young burro in training to become a pack burro, is heading to the White Mountains with 2,000 sheep. As he travels through desert, forest, grass, wildflowers and aspen trees, Alfonso tells us about his experiences and what he sees along the trail, sharing his opinions and feelings as a young pack burro learning how to be a big guy. []

All Indians do not Live in Teepees (or Casinos)
By Catherine Robbins. University of Nebraska Press. 385 pp. Index. $26.95.
I cannot resist asserting that no (very, very few) Indians live in Tepees, though many do live in casinos. Robbins, a freelance journalist with nearly three decades of experience, attempts an overview of the contemporary scene. As she sees it, and using many examples from southwestern groups, there is a new rise in outlook and prosperity, though with the continuing prospect of discrimination and, in some aspects, more legal and political pressures. This is not intended as an in-depth look; rather, as a survey attempting to say “where things stand today”. []

Always Messing with Them Boys
By Jessica Lopez. West End Press. 93 pp. $13.95.
Top Pick
"Always Messing With Them Boys" is about love and lust, life and loss, motherhood and pain, and it won’t be read down at the nunnery. “Mama is a boozehound / she’ll spit poetry / and bourbon fire from her throat” (p. 3) --- she’s young, brash and a bit wicked. Lopez throws lightning bolts of words, page after page, speaking as one for many. My own favorites are “Cool Woman Albuquerque” and “My Mama Is a Poet.” In a world of black-and-white poetry, Lopez is pure neon. She is also a competitive Slam poet and can be seen slamming on YouTube. []

Amadito and the Hero Children: Amadito y los Ninos Heroes
By Enrique Lamadrid. University of New Mexico Press. 60 pp. $19.95.
Top Pick
This bilingual historical story starts with nine-year-old Amadito, who lives in New Mexico in 1918 during the deadly Spanish influenza epidemic, La Influenza Española. Amadito's mother vaccinates her younger children, using scabs gathered from the older children’s smallpox vaccinations. She then tells her children the story of their great-grandmother, who traveled around New Mexico with a group of children - Los Niños Heroes- to share their vaccinations against smallpox, the same way Amadito’s mother vaccinated her children. This is an excellent book for school-aged readers, based on actual events and information about illness, death and survival in the 1800s and early 1900s. []

American Wall, The: From the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico
By , Maurice Sherif. University of Texas Press. 224 pp. $150.00.
Weighing 18 pounds and featuring essays in three languages, Maurice Sheriff's two-volume The American Wall is as imposing as the border wall it depicts in monumental black-and-white photographs.
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Anatomy of a Kidnapping: A Doctor's Story
By Steven L. Berk. Texas Tech University Press. 248 pp. $27.95.
A med school dean, Berk was kidnapped in his Amarillo, Texas home on a Sunday morning in 2005. This is a straightforward account of his brief (four hour) ordeal with thoughtful reflections on other aspects of his life and family, especially his two sons. []

Answer Them Nothing: Bringing Down the Polygamous Empire of Warren Jeffs
By Debra Weyermann. Chicago Review Press. 386 pp. Index. $24.95.
Weyerman exposes the incredible criminal empire of Warren Jeffs, Chief of Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints (FLDS), currently serving a life sentence for raping two underage girls. The rape, incest, and seduction of young boys do not begin to reveal the damage done to the FDLS community, where there is no public education, property ownership, First Amendment rights, or respect for civil law, where young boys are turned loose in the outside world with no social, vocational or independent thinking skills. This shocking expose of a community that exists in our state is eye-opening and scary. Highly recommended. []

Arena Legacy: The Heritage of American Rodeo
By Richard C. Rattenbury. University of Oklahoma Press. 432 pp. Index. $65.00.
If one has not had the opportunity to tour the National Cowboy and Western History Museum in Oklahoma City, here is a chance to do it vicariously and savor the contents of a seven pound, 415-page book covering rodeo history. We learn that it honors America’s first indigenous and integrated sport. This included rodeo cowgirls who were among the first women in the United States to become professional athletes with “grace and grit.” It has grown from isolated contests of 100 years ago to a professional sport that is big business today with the NFR (National Finals Rodeo). Prescott, Arizona, claims the honor for inaugurating the first annual rodeo on July 4, 1888 now known as Prescott Frontier Days. There are hundreds of photographs of events and individuals who participated. Also included is a collection of boots, rodeo saddles, trophies, costumes, hats, works of art, sculpture, belts, buckles, posters, and a list of honorees. []

Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum
By William Ascarza, Peggy Pickering Larson. Arcadia Publishing. 127 pp. $21.99.
Here is a history in pictures of the world famous Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum from its inception in 1952 to the present day. Those of us who have visited over the years will note numerous changes from the early days when one could hold some of the animals to the present day when highly trained professionals are concerned with the ecology and geology of the desert, natural history of the animals, and educating the visitors about human, animal and plant life in the Sonoran desert. Highly trained docents stationed throughout the museum may show a barn owl, a tarantula, or describe the various animals to the visitors. Also included is a set of rare vintage –photograph postcards. []
More than 200 images from ASDM’s archives with excellent, descriptive captions. Also available from Arcadia is a packet of “15 Historic Postcards” with images taken from this book.
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Arizona: A Celebration of the Grand Canyon State
By Jim Turner. Gibbs Smith. 336 pp. Index. $40.00.
Top Pick
Recently retired as Outreach Historian at the Arizona Historical Society, Turner brings his decades of study and research on Arizona topics to this bravura--in the best sense of that word—effort. Ten topical chapters allow scope for sub-chapters that get at the details of events, and more than 300 illustrations show us how those people and events appeared to their contemporaries. A bibliography, divided by subjects, will allow readers to do their own searching, and the index is thorough and easily accessible. []
Turner has accomplished a seemingly impossible feat, to create a primer on Arizona, from its prehistory to its future, which makes a broad and complicated topic easily comprehensible to the uninitiated while including some information likely new to seasoned Arizonans, all the while creating a visual feast with beautiful photographs, mostly by the author, and arresting color reproductions of art by Maynard Dixon. This book, an antidote to ugly partisanship, made me proud to be a part of Arizona and it will probably have the same effect on you. []

Arizona: Scenic Wonders of the Grand Canyon State
By Kathleen Bryant, Caroline Cook, Jim Turner. Rio Nuevo Publishers. 76 pp. $11.95.
Although meant for tourists, this grand photo review of Arizona is a fun refresher course for residents. The text is quick and the photos are large and new, reminding even the most entrenched city dweller of the state’s beauty, charm, and history. []

Ask Me Why I Hurt: The Kids Nobody Wants and the Doctor Who Heals Them
By Randy Christensen. Broadway Books. 270 pp. $24.99.
Phoenix doctor Christensen explains how he came to run a mobile clinic, a Winnebago to be specific, on the mean streets of Phoenix. He recounts incidents that most readers will be shocked to consider and describes how the stress impacts him, and everyone around him. Everyone who thinks that a flashy and growing economy solves all our concerns about living the good life should be required to read this. []

Assumption: A Novel
By Percival Everett. Graywolf Press. 272 pp. $15.00.
Labeled a novel by the publisher, Everett’s latest is in fact a novella and two long short stories, all three pieces concerning northern New Mexico sheriff’s deputy Ogden Walker. Smoothly written, these “police procedurals” will satisfy even sophisticated mystery readers with their nuanced approach to character development and logical storytelling. Terrific leisure reading!
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Astonishing Light: Conversations I Never had with Patrociño Barela
By E.A. Mares. University of New Mexico Press. 66 pp. $22.95.
Barela, who died nearly 50 years ago, is still renowned for the primitive (he was self-taught) wood carvings he produced throughout the latter half of his life while living in Taos. His glowing brown figures remind this reviewer somewhat of the sculptures of Lithuanian stone-carver Jacques Lipchitz, a contemporary of Barela, born earlier but who lived longer. Mares’ admiring conversations are amusing, personal and sometimes lighthearted. And between the two there are enough words and phrases in Spanish to cause us non-native speakers to search out our Spanish/English dictionaries. []

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