Harwood Centennial: 100 Works for 100 Years
Nicole Dial-Kay, Emily Santhanam (Museum of New Mexico Press)

The Harwood Foundation opened its first show in 1923, more than a decade before the town of Taos was incorporated. That longevity is a testament to the Harwood Museum of Art’s center-stage status as the second-oldest art museum in the state and the very first library in Taos. Harwood Centennial is more than a beautiful catalog to accompany the museum’s 100th-anniversary exhibition, on display through January 28, 2024. It’s an engrossing record of how the museum shaped the artists’ colony and vice versa. With 100 works that represent the breadth of artists featured in the Harwood, from contemporary masters like Jaune Quick-to-See Smith to modernists like Patriciño Barela, plus photographers that span from Ansel Adams to Taos Pueblo member Deborah Lujan, Harwood Centennial belongs in the collection of any art lover.

Blurred Boundaries: Perspectives on Rock Art of the Greater Southwest
Photographs by William Frej, text by Polly Schaafsma (Museum of New Mexico Press)

“An impossible harmony, a consonance of background and foreground, of canvas and image, of ritual-artistic creation inseparable from and indebted to its place.” That’s how Frank Graziano characterizes Southwest rock art in his introduction to this gorgeous oversize tome. The Colorado Plateau’s rock art is photographed by William Frej in stark black-and-white prints that incorporate surrounding landscapes. Polly Schaafsma’s insightful essay and captions detail the visual vocabulary behind human figures, spirals, stepped clouds, animals, and shields.

The Gardens of Los Poblanos
Judith Phillips (University of New Mexico Press)

Is it possible for one historic property to encapsulate ten thousand years of agricultural history in the Land of Enchantment? The Gardens of Los Poblanos makes a strong case for it. Told by writer and landscape designer Judith Phillips, the story of Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm demonstrates the deep agrarian roots of Los Ranchos de Albuquerque. From its days as the ancestral homeland of Tiwa-speaking pueblos to the gardens’ reincarnation, in 1932, by pioneering landscape architect Rose Greely, Los Poblanos is a living record of the Río Grande Valley’s environmental past and present. “The landscape is a work of the mind,” says historian Simon Schama. Anyone reading this book, strolling the lavender fields, or driving under the grand allee of cottonwoods at Los Poblanos can appreciate the great minds and hard work that crafted this gem of a retreat.

Speaking with Light: Contemporary Indigenous Photography
John Rohrbach, Will Wilson (Radius Books)

Diné photographer and Speaking with Light co-curator Will Wilson calls the photographs in this new book “acts of visual sovereignty.” Beginning with “State to State,” a prologue that presents Indigenous treaty delegation images by non-Native photographers, Speaking with Light showcases a chronological and visually dramatic reclamation of Indigenous narratives. In the “Survivance” section, images by Tlingit/Nisga’a artist Larry McNeil poke fun at The Lone Ranger’s Tonto character, underscoring general themes of humor and creative resistance. In the closing “Indigenous Visualities” section, Chemehuevi photographer Cara Romero’s Water Memory (2015)—a dreamlike inkjet print of two subjects in traditional dress plunging through turquoise waters—recalls Native creation stories. This ambitious, thoughtful survey opens new ways of seeing.

Discover the sweet, spicy, and savory magic of the Southwest with these cookbooks and memoirs.


The Big Book of Hatch Chile
Kelley Cleary Coffeen (University of New Mexico Press)

If we’re recommending any chile-lovers’ cookbook besides The New Mexico Magazine Centennial Cookbook this season, it’s got to be The Big Book of Hatch Chile. New Mexico State University professor Kelley Cleary Coffeen has compiled 180 recipes that showcase the unmatched flavor of America’s most beloved chile pepper, along with fun facts. (Did you know one chile contains six oranges’ worth of vitamin C?) With recipes for delights including a Chile Dirty Martini, this absorbing cookbook celebrates the sweet, spicy, and savory magic of the state's best export.

The Poetics of Fire
Victor M. Valle (University of New Mexico Press)

Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Victor M. Valle turns his lens on chile in the Americas in this anthropological exploration of colonialism and place. On the patio of a Santa Fe restaurant, the cool taste of a sandía granita (watermelon ice) with Chimayó chile leads Valle to touch on the systematic poverty of Río Arriba County, the displacement of Indigenous people, and the place scholar Gloria E. Anzaldúa calls Nepantla, a meta-space for “painful in-betweenness.” Chile serves as a metaphor and a decolonizing tool through which Valle recounts histories from preconquest Mesoamerica to 20th-century New Mexico. You might never eat red chile-smothered blue corn enchiladas again without considering Valle’s searing poetics of place, taste, and memory.


Memoir Breathing Stone: Living Small in a Southwest Village
Betsy James (Casa Urraca Press)

From 1992 to 1995, Albuquerque-based writer Betsy James resided in an old adobe near the center of Placitas and recorded her personal musings on the place’s past and present. The result is a keen-eyed chronicle of an outsider’s experience of the culture, told via James’s backcountry hikes, seasonal ditch-cleanings, and forays into graveyards and archaeological sites. Some entries are lengthy narratives, while others are poems; all are filled with sparkling observations. “The apple tree above the arroyo is white as a bride and full, full of bees,” she writes one April. “Around here, sunlight is a loud word.”

Under the Piñon Tree: Finding a Place in Pie Town
Jerry D. Thompson (University of New Mexico Press)

About a hundred years ago, Clyde Lee Norman began selling apple pies to travelers along the Magdalena Livestock Driveway from a piñon log cabin he called Norman’s Place. Soon to be known to everyone else as Pie Town, Norman’s Place laid the groundwork for the unforgettable Catron County outpost where author Jerry D. Thompson grew up. Under the Piñon Tree is as much a straightforward history of Pie Town and the surrounding area as it is a poignant memoir of a post-World War II boyhood spent near “vast forests of piñon and ponderosa pines, and the dark-blue tumble of rugged mountains in every direction.”

The literary offerings of New Mexico are as vast and expansive as the state's breathtaking horizons, and there is no shortage of captivating books to give as gifts this year.


The Great Taos Bank Robbery and Other True Stories, 50th Anniversary Edition
Tony Hillerman, introduction by Anne Hillerman, foreword by James McGrath Morris (University of New Mexico Press)

This slim trade paperback represents the best journalism of Tony Hillerman, a towering figure in New Mexico literature who is still mostly known for his crime-fiction series. Longmire series author Craig Johnson sums it up thusly: “Tony Hillerman loved people, and it shows in his characters.” From the title story—about a boneheaded 1957 stickup and subsequent manhunt in a town where everyone knew everyone—to an exquisite meditation on Mount Taylor from the vantage of I-40, Hillerman’s keen observations of New Mexico endure.


New Mexico Poetry Anthology 2023
Edited by Levi Romero and Michelle Otero (Museum of New Mexico Press)

Community, Culture, Family, History, Identity, Landscape, Nature, People, Querencia, Spirituality, and Water—these themes make up this sprawling, first-of-its-kind collection of poems from 218 writers throughout the state. Compiled by inaugural New Mexico poet laureate Levi Romero and emerita Albuquerque poet laureate Michelle Otero, the anthology generously presents poetic perspectives from every walk of life. Featured writers include Coral Dawn Bernal, Damien Flores, Jessica Helen Lopez, Nora Naranjo Morse, former New Mexico Magazine managing editor Kate Nelson, and National Book Award winner Arthur Sze.


The Soldier’s Truth: Ernie Pyle and the Story of World War II
David Chrisinger (Penguin Press)

Fans of World War II history will devour this latest book about Ernie Pyle, a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist, author, and New Mexico Magazine contributor who moved to Albuquerque with his wife, Jerry, in 1940. Chrisinger travels the war-related landmarks Pyle made famous in his journalism, seeking a deeper understanding of Pyle’s experiences as a soldier, writer, husband, and man.

Pablo Abeita: The Life and Times of a Native Statesman of Isleta Pueblo 1871–1940
Malcolm Ebright and Rick Hendricks (University of New Mexico Press)

In this first book-length biography of Pablo Abeita, authors Malcolm Ebright and Rick Hendricks highlight the achievements of this former governor of Isleta Pueblo, a man many people describe as the most important Indigenous leader of his time. The book includes photos, maps, letters, and detailed court case information. Ebright, the director of the Center for Land Grant Studies, and Hendricks, who served as New Mexico state historian, have co-authored other books, including The Witches of Abiquiu.

The Counterfeiters of Bosque Redondo: Slavery, Silver and the U.S. War Against the Navajo Nation
Matt Fitzsimons (The History Press)

“The renowned military heroes were the worst perpetrators of Diné slavery, and this book highlights the true Diné heroes who saved many of our ancestors,” writes Lynda Teller Pete (Diné) in the foreword. Author Matt Fitzsimons tackles the history of Bosque Redondo, a 19th-century internment camp established by the U.S. government for Navajo and Mescalero Apache prisoners. Called Hwéeldi in Diné, meaning “Place of Suffering,” the land was nearly impossible to farm, and starvation and illness were rampant. Fitzsimons
tells the story of Herrero Delgadito, among other notable Navajo silversmiths, who helped thousands of Indigenous people survive and escape from Bosque Redondo.

Nuclear Nuevo México: Colonialism and the Effects of the Nuclear Industrial Complex on Nuevomexicanos
Myrriah Gómez (University of Arizona Press)

The film Oppenheimer led to a renewed global interest in Los Alamos National Lab, where scientists created the atomic bomb. For many New Mexican families, however, the repercussions of nuclear discoveries belie Hollywood storytelling. Gómez, a native of the Pojoaque Valley and an associate professor at UNM, explores how people already living in and around Los Alamos were forever changed by the lab, as many were forced from their homes with little, if any, notice or compensation. In examining the consequences of nuclear weapons development in the state, Gómez highlights a side of the story that remains woefully underrepresented.

Unravel the mystery of Dead Mountain with Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's newest novel, Nora Kelly's thrilling investigation into a cold case set in New Mexico.


Mark David Albertson (Irish Viking Publishing)

Deputy Sheriff Matt Bertram spends his days in Jemez Springs dealing with minor crimes and writing speeding tickets. But when someone steals invaluable artifacts from the Jemez Mountains, Bertram gets pulled into a supernatural adventure. Mark David Albertson, a native of northern New Mexico, weaves wit and humor into this thriller, the first book of the Matt Bertram crime-novel series.

The Way of the Bear
Anne Hillerman (Harper)

Viewers of AMC’s Dark Winds who are anticipating its third season can relax into Anne Hillerman’s newest entry in the Leaphorn, Chee, and Manuelito series. First begun by her father, Tony Hillerman, in The Blessing Way (1970), the series now follows Navajo Tribal Police officers Jim Chee and Bernadette Manuelito. In The Way of the Bear, unexplained deaths near Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument beg questions about the fate of fossils found on public lands. The scenery, rhythms, and themes may feel familiar, but the sheer number of possible suspects raises the stakes.

Deborah J Ledford (Thomas & Mercer)

The fifth crime novel from Agatha Award winner and three-time Pushcart Prize nominee Deborah J Ledford follows Eva “Lightning Dance” Duran, Taos County sheriff’s deputy and a member of Taos Pueblo. When the bodies of three Pueblo women are found, with a fourth woman missing, Duran races to find the killer and save the missing woman. For fans of crime fiction and atmospheric writing, Redemption is an addictive start to Ledford’s new mystery series.

Dead Mountain: A Nora Kelly Novel
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child  (Grand Central Publishing)

In this latest installment of the bestselling series inspired by true events, authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child pair up archaeologist Nora Kelly and FBI agent Corrie Swanson to investigate a cold case set in New Mexico. Two bodies from a nine-person expedition group are discovered in a cave in the Manzano Mountains. Six other bodies from the group were found in 2008, after the group went missing during a winter backpacking trip. One last person remains unaccounted for, and as Kelly and Swanson revisit the grisly details of the group’s demise, their search leads to a chilling revelation.

Give the gift of adventure to the young reader in your life.


Bella: Collector of Cuentos 
Carmen Baca (Somos en Escrito Literary Foundation Press)

Bella Montoya is 14 years old when she discovers a photo album in her grandmother’s attic—and then is magically pulled into one. On a grassy bank near a stream in the woods, she meets the spirit of her aunt, who offers her a cup of mint tea and an adventure in which she’ll learn more about herself, her family, her culture, and what she must carry into the future. Carmen Baca, who lives in northern New Mexico, creates a colorful, inspiring novel. Readers of all ages will learn from her glossary, a cast of characters that includes curanderas and La Llorona, a history of the northern New Mexico Spanish dialect, and other vibrant elements of an enduring culture.

Amelia and the Magic Ponies
Sue Houser Illustrations by Mariah Fox (Irie Books)

After a rainstorm thwarts Amelia’s hopes to ride the old-fashioned carousel during a fiesta in Peñasco, her abuelo promises she’ll ride the wooden ponies next year. When they return, Amelia searches for the ponies, only to discover them falling apart in an old barn and abandoned by their owner. Together, granddaughter and grandfather envision a happier future for the horses. A sweet tale about collaboration and determination that’s based on the history of Taos’s Tio Vivo carousel, this beautifully illustrated, award-winning book by native New Mexican Sue Houser is delightful reading for all ages.

Thomas H. Begay and the Navajo Code Talkers
Alysa Landry (Ohio University Press)

Part of the Biographies for Young Readers series, this illustrated biography by Alysa Landry examines the life of one of the last Code Talkers alive today. Through interviews with Thomas H. Begay and his family, Landry, who teaches journalism, English, and creative writing at the Navajo Nation’s Diné College, helps middle-grade readers understand the valuable contributions Begay and other Code Talkers made during World War II.

Celia C. Pérez (Kokila)

“Is family something you’re born into, something you build, or both?” These are the questions 12-year-old Addie Ramírez asks as she discovers that part of her biological family are the Bravos—the renowned lucha libre family of Esperanza, New Mexico. Celia C. Pérez, whose two other YA books, Strange Birds and The First Rule of Punk, have received numerous awards and accolades, balances lighthearted fun with deep, emotional complexity. Tumble, which received the Pura Belpré Award, is also available in Spanish.

Read more: We couldn’t cover everything, but we tried. Here are some notable and captivating books and authors from the past year.