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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.

Native American Placenames of the Southwest: A Handbook for Travelers
By William Bright. University of Oklahoma Press. 143 pp. $19.95.
Editors Alice Anderton and Sean O’Neill have identified nearly 1500 terms/words from the late William Bright’s massive Native American Placenames of the United States which are located in Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma. There are a few errors and omissions, for example the substantial Pima community of Sacaton, Arizona, is not listed, but for the traveler or anyone with casual interest this handy volume will do the job. []
From A to Z this book of Indian place names at once entertains and surprises. Cold Spring, Arizona, translates from the Navajo words for “cold water flows up and out.” Texas is from a Caddo word meaning “friend” or “ally.” Narbona Pass in New Mexico was named for a Navajo leader. Oklahoma was a word coined from the Delaware words for “red people.” Tijuana, Baja California, was named for a Diegueño village called Tiajuan. Bright was a linguist and anthropologist who compiled a massive collection of place names, and experts Alice Anderton and Sean O’Neill not only improved his Southwest entries but added new ones. []

Natural History of the Santa Catalina Mountains, Arizona, A
By Richard C. Brusca, Wendy Moore. Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum Press. 232 pp. Index. $24.95.
Top Pick
Rockhounds, naturalists, and sightseers visiting the Santa Catalina Mountains now have an exceptionally fine guide to help them appreciate a unique Southern Arizona destination. One of the Madrean Sky Islands that connect the northern end of the Sierra Madre Occidental and the southern Colorado Plateau, the iconic Santa Catalinas rise straight up from the desert floor and transition rapidly through a series of biomes that are rich in biodiversity and geologic history. It’s a lot of information to sort out, but authors Brusca and Moore have sorted it brilliantly, beginning with the big picture (the significance of sky islands) and then moving on to the geologic, natural, and even the cultural history of the Santa Catalinas. This lavishly-illustrated volume provides maps, pictorial guides to flora and fauna, and profiles of people and events that have impacted the area. All the information is presented in easy-to-understand language and so is accessible to the most casual visitor, and travelers on the Mount Lemmon Highway will appreciate the landmark map. If you’re heading for the hills, don’t leave home without this excellent book. []
This spectacular book has many qualities and characteristics that make it outstanding, not the least of which is a text that describes the mountains north of Tucson in terms we can all understand. Side bars give us special insight into such things as tree rings and grasslands. The illustrations are in fine color. And the entire book is printed on heavy "slick" paper and bound with metal spiral "rings" for easy opening and many years of use. []

New Mexico's Reptiles & Amphibians: A Field Guide
By Patricia P. Bartlett, R. D. Bartlett. University of New Mexico Press. 312 pp. $24.95.
With its color pictures and clear descriptions, this portable field guide should prove quite useful in identifying and enjoying New Mexico’s lizards, turtles, salamanders, frogs, and snakes. Maps indicate the ranges of 165 species, and sections describe habitat, size, and similar species. The Bartlett’s have written more than 50 books on reptiles and amphibians, and this one should appeal to a wide range of ages. []

New Mexico's Spanish Livestock Heritage: Four Centuries of Animals, Land, and People
By William W. Dunmire. Univerisity of New Mexico Press. 233 pp. Index. $34.95.
Building on a lifetime of research and personal experience which produced books such as “Wild Plants of the Pueblo Province” and “New Mexico’s Living Landscape” Dunmire shows how herding had a major impact on the history of the Southwest. []

New Mexico: A History
By Art Gomez, Joseph P. Sanchez, Robert L. Spude. University of Oklahoma Press. 384 pp. Index. $26.99.

This very readable history of New Mexico salutes the state’s diverse ethnic groups and portrays New Mexico in a global context. Intriguing stories abound and historical characters come alive.
Nightzone: A Posadas County Mystery
By Steven F. Havill. Poisoned Pen Press. 301 pp. $14.95.
With two dozen mysteries published, all with New Mexico and southwestern settings, Havill keeps us turning pages! There is no Posadas County, NM, but his books have created it, peopled it, and tracked murderers through it. Mystery fans who want to visualize the settings for the stories they read will find this, and all of Havill’s stories, exactly to their taste. Once again retired sheriff Gastner gets pulled into a murder investigation and, as always, his thoughtful approach leads the reader to discoveries we can understand and appreciate. []

Norton Trilogy, The
By Jack L. August, Jr.. Texas Christian University Press. 224 pp. Index. $37.95.

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