January 7, 2018
We are excited to share that two of our titles were selected by the Southwest Books of the Year Award committee members as Top Books of 2018. Southwest Books of the Year: Best Reading 2018 is published by Pima County Public Library in partnership with the Friends of the Pima County Public Library. This year marks the 42 edition of the annual awards, which started with the Arizona Daily Star and continued by the Library in 2000.
A Natural History of the Mojave Desert by Lawrence Walker and Fredrick Landau was selected from our Spring 2018 catalog by Gregory McNamee.
Gregory McNamee, a longtime Tucsonan, is the author of more than 40 books and more than 6,000 periodical pieces. He is a contributing editor to Kirkus Reviews and to the Encyclopaedia Britannica:
“The Mojave Desert is renowned for its frightful heat, boasting the highest temperature ever reliably recorded on Earth. It’s not much known for anything else, and some geographers even consider the Mojave not an entity unto itself but “a transition zone between its larger neighbors, the Sonoran Desert to the south and the Great Basin Desert to the north.” So write Walker and Landau, scientists at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, who disprove that assumption with this gracefully spun, richly photographed handbook. They note that the Mojave “contains about 3,000 plant species and about 380 terrestrial vertebrate animal species,” a quarter and a sixth of which, respectively, are found nowhere else. Three million humans also make their homes in the Mojave in places like Victorville, CA, Kingman, AZ, and of course Las Vegas. Readers will be surprised at some of the mysteries of the place—how the creosote bush got to the Mojave from its South American birthplace, for instance, and how birds have adapted to the scorching heat. The book is a desert rat’s delight.”—Gregory McNamee
Pat Mora’s latest poetry collection Encantado, published this fall, was selected by Christine Wald-Hopkins.
This is the fourth Southwest Books of the Year selection panel for longtime educator and occasional essayist Christine Wald-Hopkins. A member of the National Book Critics Circle, she has reviewed books for national and regional publications.
““Encantado”: “adj., enchanted, haunted.” And “rambling (said of a house).” These translations all variously apply to Santa Fe writer Pat Mora’s haunting, rambling, poetic house of many rooms, Encantado. In the tradition of Thornton Wilder’s Our Town and Edgar Lee Masters’s Spoon River Anthology, Mora has created a fictional Southwestern town—Encantado—and peopled it with characters both living and dead. Each of the poems has a different speaker; each of the speakers has a unique story. Physically and metaphorically, the río, the river, runs through the town and unites the lives. Their lives are humble; their voices unassumingly lyrical. Cobbler Señor Ortega, for example: “I live in languages, Spanish, English—/and shoes, old zapatos, their leather tongues.” And the Japanese physician returned from World War II detention: “Such tears, nightmares, sighs, /and the wood butterflies. I/watch fragile wings swirl, rise. Fly.” Encantado is an affectionate, affecting creation.”—Christine Wald-Hopkins
Congratulations to all the winners! For the complete list, see: https://www.library.pima.gov/browse/genre/local/southwest-books-of-the-year/