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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.

Old Border Road: A Novel
By Susan Froderberg. Little, Brown and Company. 292 pp. $23.99.
Top Pick
Froderberg reaches for the literary heavens in her lyrical debut novel and, by and large, she hits the mark. In a drought-stricken corner of the Southwest (the town is unnamed, but Froderberg clearly means Yuma), a teenage bride struggles to define herself in a parched physical and emotional landscape where dreams evaporate and trust is as elusive as the life-sustaining rain. Abandoned by her parents and betrayed by her husband, she draws biblical lessons from the natural world and from the resilient people who make their way through this hard land. At once stark and evocative, this compelling story explores terrain that is achingly personal and boldly universal. Comparisons to Cormac McCarthy are inevitable, but they underscore rather than diminish Froderberg’s stellar accomplishment. []
The unidentified Southwest border area, which must be Yuma, is a major character in this novel set in the present yet with a sense of history. Katherine, 17, escapes her dysfunctional parents, drops out of school, and mesmerized by Son, scion of wealthy ranchers, finds she’s moved from frying pan to fire. Son is a womanizer; Katherine gains wisdom from her in-laws and expands her ability to cope with hard work, learning new skills, and developing insight into others while all are coping with an overwhelming drought. The language is lyrical, biblical, unusual and a reason for the success of the novel. Highly recommended. []

Old West Swindlers
By Robert Barr Smith, Laurence J. Yadon. Pelican Publishing. 303 pp. Index. $16.95.
The authors share countless schemes and variations on schemes, amusing anecdotes about myriad schemers, and the colorful language used in the “business” of separating people of means from their worldly wealth in the Old West. Most of these swindlers were charmers, who dressed and spoke well, who often had accomplices, and many took pride that they limited their scams to wealthy folks, usually non-locals. Often they had the cooperation of corrupt law enforcers, as Soapy Smith did in Denver. This lighthearted and informative book covers a mind-boggling number of swindles and swindlers. One should have no excuse for becoming a victim after digesting this volume. []

Out of This World: New Mexico's Contributions to Space Travel
By Loretta Hall. Rio Grande Books. 175 pp. Index. $27.95.
The story of New Mexico’s contributions to space travel go back to the time when Robert Goddard began testing his rockets near Roswell and end (for the time being) at Spaceport America in Sierra County which is a commercial Airport licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). In between those years were astronauts in training, accounts of UFOs and numerous tests of various rockets. One of the most interesting chapters is the training of chimpanzees for their flights into space. []

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