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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.

Landing in Las Vegas: Commercial Aviation and the Making of a Tourist City
By Daniel K. Bubb. University of Nevada Press. 157 pp. Index. $34.95.
As a commercial pilot based in Las Vegas Bubb knows the contemporary scene. Here he massages his academic thesis and dissertation into a clear and concise picture of how tourism has flourished thanks, at least in part, to its accessibility via the air. He is not much interested in those other pillars of the economy: gambling and prostitution. And, although he brings the story well into the 21st century, he does not try to balance the impact of commercial aviation with that of commercial air-conditioning! []

Landscape Dreams, A New Mexico Portrait
By Jeanetta Calhoun Mish, Marin Sardy. University of New Mexico Press. 140 pp. $50.00.
Top Pick
This large-format, black-and-white photographs (nearly 100 of them) demand attention–not because they are spectacular, no, but because they are thoughtful and filled with subtlety and nuance. A few people and a couple of horses hold the viewer’s attention, both because they are uncommon and because there are details that somehow draw the eye, as it were, to find out how the photographer did it. Viewed through his artistic lens, a fallen windmill, a horsewoman leaning on a porch pole, even two columns in Carlsbad Caverns, all represent the magic of New Mexico. []

Last Water on the Devil's Highway: A Cultural and Natural History of Tinajas Altas
By Bill Broyles, Gayle Harrison Hartmann, Gary Paul Nabhan, Thomas E. Sheridan, Mary Charlotte Thurtle. University of Arizona Press. 240 pp. Index. $49.95.
Top Pick
The Tinajas Altas, often called by the English designation “High Tanks,” are, as the desert rat might say, at least 30 miles from nowhere in the southwest corner of Arizona. Broyles and company have created a remarkably complete picture of the area based on a decade or so of in-depth research. This book is not just for scholars--every collection of desert literature, overland travel history and arid-lands botany should include it. []

Left for Dead: A Novel
By J.A. Jance. Touchstone. 293 pp. $25.99.
This police procedural ranges all over Arizona as Ali Reynolds is drawn into a whirlwind of murder when one of her police academy classmates is gunned down during what seems at first to be a routine traffic stop. Meanwhile her friend Sister Anselm is helping a young woman who has been beaten savagely and both victims are in a hospital in Tucson. Solid plotting and motivations along with good character development make this page-turner a thoroughly satisfying read. []

Legendary Locals of Marana, Oro Valley, and Catalina
By Barbara Marriott. Legendary Locals. 127 pp. Index. $21.99.
Barbara Marriott brings us the pride of small town heroes and founders, the women and men who lend special character to Southwest communities. Here she delivers us portraits and bios of people locally famous in three towns northwest of Tucson, Arizona. Celebrities range from Elias Aboud to Henry Zipf. What a fun way to appreciate local history. []

Letters of the Swiss Jesuit Missionary Philipp Segesser (1689-1762), The: An Eyewitness to the Settlement of Eighteenth-Century Sonora (Pimeria Alta)
By Albrecht Classen, ed. Arizona Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies. 245 pp. Index. .

A major contribution to Southwest history, these letters – reports, really – from missionary Philipp Segesser provide an eye-witness record of frontier Sonora in the eighteen century, complementing work by Kino and Pfefferkorn. The letters are freshly translated and notated. Some are personal glimpses into daily life of that time.
Lone Star Law: A Legal History of Texas
By Michael Ariens. Texas Tech University Press. 366 pp. Index. $49.95.

Law professor Michael Ariens brings to life the evolution of the Lone Star state’s laws on everything from rangeland grass to common-law marriage and oil rights to civil rights. It is a thorough and revealing look at an important topic, clearly told with sufficient irony and detail to make it rewarding reading.
Lowrider Space: Aesthetics and Politics of Mexican American Custom Cars
By Ben Chappell. University of Texas Press. 361 pp. Index. $55.00.
While cruising with the lowrider car clubs of Austin, scholar Ben Chappell takes us along in a wide-ranging discussion of family, community, art, racism, personal space, and identity. The pace speeds and plods, but overall the trip is informative and revealing. We learn about cars, working as a grocery checkout, living modestly, and finding car parts. To his surprise, Chappell meets not hoodlums but family men and women trying to make ends meet in this important sociology of cars. []

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