April/May’s Book Nook Selections

Book Nook

April/May Selections

by Santa Fean Staff

John Nieto: Forces of Color and Spirit by Susan Hallsten McGarry

In this stunningly beautiful coffee table book, Santa Fe writer Susan Hallsten McGarry unspools American contemporary artist John Nieto’s biography, his personal story told as a journey of discovery. Recognized worldwide for his signature blend of expressive colors, dynamic brushwork and powerful compositions, Nieto speaks a universal language. Readers will appreciate the in-depth view into Nieto’s life as they learn the story behind the man and how his domestic and foreign travel inspired his paintings.

Nieto’s dazzling paintings reflect both his reverence for his heritage and his sophisticated worldview, resulting in works that place him in the vanguard of contemporary American colorists. He depicts Native people as icons of dignity and unity. His buffalo, bears and coyotes, captured in pulsating, saturated hues, are symbols of survival that affirm the vibrant spirituality inherent in all living things.

April May Book covers
Photography ©Kelly Haug


In this international award-winning children’s novel, a young girl living in New Mexico, discovers that her quiet desert village is the epicenter of bizarre time distortions that reach all the way back to the Renaissance. Nine-year-old Philomena, confident and independent, teams up with her grandmother’s psychic cat to solve a series of mysteries involving strange paintings. Their investigations take them across time and space to worlds powered solely by imagination. The courageous time travelers not only decode the baffling paintings, but also discover that inspiration can come from unexpected places; that perseverance, love, and creativity are richly rewarded; and that the only tools needed to take flight and soar are imagination and the stroke of an artist’s brush. — Marc Romanelli

AT THE PRECIPICE: New Mexico’s Changing Climate by Laura Paskus

If the realities of climate change worry you, they should. Environmental journalist and correspondent Laura Paskus, who tracks climate change at both state and federal levels, lucidly presents a disconcerting reality:  In New Mexico and the Southwest in general, climate change has already done untold damage. For instance, in the Upper Rio Grande Basin, average temperatures are increasing at twice the global average. Stretches of the Rio Grande are drying up. Mountains are being devastated by fires. All of this is nudging us toward ecological collapse. Paskus, however, is hopeful. Her eye-opening book is also a call to action and stewardship to help save our precious, imperiled land and to provide a better world for future generations. — Brian Nelson

AN ONION IN MY POCKET: A Life with Vegetables by Deborah Madison

Deborah Madison’s latest book, An Onion in My Pocket, is a lyrical telling of a life richly layered with one experience after another, unfolding like an onion’s many layers when peeled. This is a memoir to savor. Madison takes us from her childhood on a dairy farm in upstate New York to her awakening as a chef at the San Francisco Zen Center, where she spent eighteen years. She then landed a job at fabled Chez Panisse before helping open San Francisco’s farm-driven Greens Restaurant, and eventually putting down roots in northern New Mexico. This memoir spans the globe, offering a feast of stories, poignant and passionate, infused with a love of cooking and of life. — Lynn Cline


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