OVER THE PAST YEAR, these pages have featured dozens of great books about New Mexico and/or by New Mexicans. The tomes have ranged from deep reads about the Apache people, Rough Riders, and the precarious fate of coyotes to dreamy pages of poetry, classic children’s tales, and ways to rev up your creative engine. Any of them would make a fine present (rustle through back issues for ideas), but we stashed away a few stacks of books—and one pie-licious video—that just might win you best-gift-giver honors.
ART AND CULTURE LOVERS
EDITED BY TANYA BARSON (Abrams Books)
The doors-busting Georgia O’Keeffe exhibition this year at London’s Tate Modern demonstrated the global appeal of Abiquiú’s iconic painter. The catalog accompanying it includes knowledgeable essays by foremost O’Keeffe scholars, including Cody Hartley, director of curatorial affairs at Santa Fe’s Georgia O’Keeffe Museum. Numerous color images bedeck its pages, and it even resurrects early writers’ critiques of her. (Waldo Frank, 1926: “She is a woman who has fused the dark desires of her life into a simplicity so clear that to most of her friends she is invisible.”) This gorgeous coffee-table book demands to be read as well as seen.
ESSAY BY AMY VON LINTEL (Radius Books
The O’Keeffe Museum draws a tighter arc than the Tate retrospective, focusing solely on watercolors that the artist crafted during her pre–New Mexico sojourn in Texas. Lucky visitors got to see 51 of them at the museum this year; Radius Books celebrates them in a lusciously designed, oversize catalog with a few foldout pages and a bare minimum of text. In these works, O’Keeffe plays with the human form, abstract shapes, and, always, color. Tucked into the back cover is a second book, Georgia O’Keeffe: At Home in the Wonderful Nothing, with an essay and historical photos of the artist, making this an indispensable addition to the O’Keeffe oeuvre.
ESSAY BY CARMEN VENDELIN (Pomegranate Communications)
Inspired by Japanese wood-block prints and master printer Gustave Baumann, Tucumcari native Kate Krasin created a radiant body of silk-screen prints before her death in 2010. Her landscapes and bee’s-eye views of New Mexico flora became popular prints, calendars, and greeting cards. The New Mexico Museum of Art holds a large collection of her originals, and this catalog features them in all their moody serigraph glory—as inspiring to Krasin’s fellow artists as they are to other creative souls.
A PLACE IN THE SUN
The Southwest Paintings of Walter Ufer and E. Martin Hennings
EDITED BY THOMAS BRENT SMITH (University of Oklahoma Press)
That two artists who met in Munich would help define the regional style of the American Southwest is but one of the quirks that underscore the Taos Society of Artists. Ufer and Hennings bridged their classical European training with the new vistas and “exotic” peoples they encountered in New Mexico, where each artist developed a looser hand and a brilliant palette. The Denver Art Museum drew on its rich collection of the artists’ works for this impressively illustrated volume, which includes essays tracing their arc from Germany to Taos, where the mountains, Ufer wrote, “are the American Parnassus.”
DRAWING INTO ARCHITECTURE
The Sketches of Antoine Predock
BY CHRISTOPHER CURTIS MEAD (University of New Mexico Press)
You won’t find any blueprints by New Mexico’s best-known modern architect here. Instead, after a brief introduction, this lovingly designed book offers Predock’s eloquently simple drawings and watercolors. At times, the page hints at a hill’s slope; at others, the early outline of a future building emerges. Many serve as visual koans posing questions for which every viewer may find different answers. A favorite: the impressionistic 1962 sketch of birds over mid-Atlantic waters, as graceful as Japanese calligraphy.
NEW MEXICO KICKS ON ROUTE 66
BY MARTIN LINK, PHOTOS BY LARRY LINDAHL (Rio Nuevo Publishers)
Car culture is alive and well in New Mexico, though with varying degrees of success along portions of old Route 66. This sprightly volume carries readers on the Mother Road—from Glenrio to Gallup—in easily digestible segments, with plenty of shout-outs to cool side trips, annual events, and fascinating details your five-miles-over-the-speed-limit driver might otherwise miss.
Custom Made in New Mexico
BY DON J. USNER and KATHERINE WARE (Museum of New Mexico Press)
The most fabulous cars in New Mexico grew out of Chicano culture and stand today as incredible investments in automotive ingenuity. Lowriders found themselves the subjects of exhibits at both the New Mexico History Museum and the New Mexico Museum of Art this year; here, two of the curators dive into their significance before giving over the bulk of the book to expressive photographs by the likes of Usner, Norman Mauskopf, Dottie Lopez, Siegfried Halus, Meridel Rubinstein, and more. Warning: Reading this book may compel you to give a rusted-out ’59 Chevy the bulk of your free time.
Spanish Judaism, the Inquisition, and New World Identities
EDITED BY ROGER L. MARTÍNEZ-DÁVILA, JOSEF DÍAZ, and RON D. HART (Fresco Books)
In 1492, Spain ordered all Jewish residents to convert to Catholicism or leave the country. A groundbreaking exhibition this year at the New Mexico History Museum gathered remarkable artifacts revealing the ways religious intolerance tore apart the relative harmony of a young Spain—and explored the effects of the resulting diaspora on other regions, including New Mexico. From the Spanish Inquisition’s arrest of a governor and his wife in Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors to the growing acknowledgment of Jewish roots among New Mexico Hispanics today, the book offers both a scholarly analysis of troubled times and images of artifacts that bear pertinent witness to the tenacity of threatened cultures.
THE COOKING WITH KIDS COOKBOOK
BY LYNN WALTERS, JANE STACEY, and GABRIELLE GONZALES (University of New Mexico Press)
Built on the 21-year foundation set by Santa Fe’s stellar Cooking with Kids program, this cookbook offers not just great recipes, but tips on teaching young ones the hows and whys of cooking. When to teach knife skills? Covered. Growing peas? You bet. Fitting kitchen chores to pint-size abilities? Absolutely. Beyond bonding in the kitchen, the cookbook helps families establish healthy eating habits and a taste for worldwide cuisine. The spiral binding and large print? Icing on the cake. New Mexico Magazine contributor Cheryl Alters Jamison wrote the foreword with fellow culinary authority Deborah Madison.
CURRY, KORMA & KEBAB
A Culinary Journey of India
BY PADDY RAWALL (Creative Response)
THE JAMBO CAFÉ COOKBOOK
Recipes and Remembrances of My Journey from Africa to America
BY AHMED M. OBO (Jambo Café)
Contemporary New Mexico cuisine has grown delightfully multicultural. (See “NM’s Wide World of Forks,” nmmag.us/nmglobaleats.) Cookbooks from two Santa Fe chefs demonstrate that reach at its tongue-tingling best. Paddy Rawal’s India-based Raaga restaurant and Ahmed Obo’s African-fusion Jambo Café have lured adventurous eaters eager to explore what the humble chile can do when paired with coconut milk, yams, peanuts, and enough spices to inspire an armada. Rawal impeccably breaks down the numerous regions of Indian cuisine and guides readers toward the lightest biryani, an array of curries, and a masala-tinged stuffed poblano pepper that may realign your rellenos addiction. Obo writes eloquently of his journey from Lamu Island to a Santa Fe that embraced him, his family, and dishes like Goat Pilau and Roasted Ginger–Butternut Squash Bisque. That’s all we’re going to say, because looking at the pictures in these books makes us too hungry to write.
PIE LADY OF PIETOWN
A FILM BY JANE ROSEMONT (Kuby Girl Productions)
At some point in the 1990s, Kathy Knapp, a Texas advertising executive, was driving through New Mexico when she saw a sign for Pie Town. Her intrigue about the unusually named place turned into a new home and a second career baking everybody’s favorite dessert. Rosemont’s paean to the Pie-O-Neer bakery brims with the owner’s infectious enthusiasm. After touring the short documentary to film fests around the world, Rosemont added extra content this year and made it available on DVD. Give it to your favorite sweet tooth, along with a promise to visit the real thing.
SAND DUNE DAISY
A Pocket Mouse Tale
BY LILI DeBARBIERI, ILLUSTRATIONS BY M. FRED BARRAZA (Westcliffe Publishers)
Set at spectacular White Sands National Monument, DeBarbieri’s text introduces children to native species like the pocket mouse, kit fox, red-tailed hawk, and lizards. The story carries Daisy on a dangerous mission to find food and, then, her home. (She’s saved by hopping onto a young visitor’s red sled.) It cleverly embeds information about the science of sand dunes and the ways of desert animals. Exploring it will enhance the whole family’s next White Sands trip.
Animal Stories of the Southwest
BY RAE ANN KUMELOS, ILLUSTRATIONS BY JAN TAYLOR (Rio Nuevo Publishers)
A sort of Aesop’s Fables gone native, Wild Wisdom relies on a variety of scholars to retell traditional stories from the Diné, Zuni, Apache, Tohono O’odham, Sioux, and other cultures. An impatient coyote creates the night sky’s confusion of stars. The allure of a blue raven’s egg turns the Zuni people into desert dwellers. Hummingbird gathers nectar to heal fellow birds. Combined with strong artwork, each one makes for a fine bedtime story.
GRANDMA LOLO’S MATANZA
A New Mexico Tradition
BY NASARIO GARCÍA, ILLUSTRATIONS BY DOLORES ARAGÓN (Rio Grande Books)
An accomplished teller of stories rooted in the Río Puerco Valley, García places Junie López, star of his previous Grandma Lale’s Tamales, into a traditional family matanza. Readers will feel the autumn chill and learn all the steps required for a proper pig roast, right down to the parceling out of meat, lard, and chicharrones to everyone who helped. Presented in both English and Spanish, the book also affords an opportunity to expand one’s bilingual skills. Aragón’s illustrations evoke folk-art sensibilities that invite read-aloud conversations. Don’t miss the recipes at the end.
THE COMPLETE SANTA FE BUCKET LIST
100 Things to Do in Santa Fe Before You Die
BY PATRICIA HODAPP (Rio Grande Books)
Director of the Santa Fe Public Libraries, Hodapp clicks through a laundry list of ways to live like a local, including the obligatory stops at museums and popular restaurants. Along the way, she also drops readers into places with classic WPA-era art, contemporary statues, and historical markers, like Billy the Kid’s brief incarceration near the Plaza.
IMAGES OF MODERN AMERICA
Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta
Balloon buffs will soak up this collection of new and historical images of Albuquerque’s annual sky spectacle. Brief text covers the fiesta’s main events and origins. A behind-the-scenes chapter gives a glimpse of burrito makers, fireworks crews, and “zebras,” the on-field launch guides.
Ghoulish Tales of the Wild West
BY ALAN BROWN (Arcadia Publishing)
From Albuquerque’s Hotel Parq Central to the Seven Rivers ghost town, near Artesia, Brown includes enough New Mexico spine tinglers to delight your out-of-town visitors. Objects move, shadows appear, and a long-dead lumberjack awakens a hotel guest. Other chapters cover Arizona, Colorado, Utah, and Texas.