Each year when I coordinate the annual series "Best Southwest Books of the Year" (and by the way, the 2012 edition is available now, free, at local libraries and a few bookstores), Bunny Fontana, who was on the panel that selected the books, would always turn his list in with a sigh. "I know," he'd say, "I've forgotten someone."
I offer the same apology. The following titles are just 10 of the many possibilities. One thing not missing, however, is variety. The books are listed alphabetically by title.
"Double No-Hit: Johnny Vander Meer's Historic Night Under the Lights"
By James W. Johnson
A wonderful retelling of one of baseball's great events: back-to-back no-hitters pitched by Cincinnati left-hand pitcher Vander Meer. Johnson weaves together biographies, details of the players and the times and an inning-by-inning account of the second game, June 15, 1938. This is not just for sports lovers. (May)
By John Spaulding
Spaulding, a clinical psychologist, has had his work - poems filled with insight and heart-wrenching details - published in numerous prestigious publications, including The Atlantic and the Southern Review. (March)
"Hogs, Mules and Yellow Dogs"
By Jimmye Hillman
Hillman, a University of Arizona professor emeritus of agricultural economics, grew up in southeastern Mississippi, a part of the state dominated by subsistence economics - a world away from the celebrated decadence of William Faulkner's Oxford, Miss. His parents were schoolteachers who supplemented their income by farming. Hillman's remarkable memory records politics, food, lifestyle, vocabulary and more. (June)
"In Saguaro's Shadow"
By Ernest Schusky
An entertaining and informative look at Tohono O'odham culture and lifestyles in the early 1940s. Two members of the Tohono O'odham people represent opposing points of view about their place in 20th century U.S. society. (December)
"Javelinas on Her Doorstep: Sarah Gorby's Lifelong Quest to Save Wildlife"
By Lorna Kraemer and RaMar Gorby Orgeron
Details and recollections of the life of one of the area's earliest and most colorful wildlife rehabilitators whose selfless work continued for 30 years beginning in the 1970s. (June)
"Last Water on the Devil's Highway: A Cultural and Natural History of Tinajas Altas"
By Bill Broyles, Gayle Harrison Hartmann, Thomas E. Sheridan, Gary Paul Nabhan and Mary Charlotte Thurtle
An outstanding collection of data for the archives. Tinajas Altas is an indispensable water stop on the Devil's Highway, a famous route along the Arizona-Mexico border. The contributors are all well-known in their fields: including archaeology, history, botany and conservation. (October SAA)
"Rotting in the Bangkok Hilton"
By T.M. Hoy
In this quirky, riveting account of serving time in a Southeast Asian prison, Hoy, who was convicted of accessory to murder in Thailand, paints a picture of constant mistreatment, relentless discrimination, primitive facilities, bribery and still, camaraderie, collegiality, accommodation and sacrifice. (September)
"Saguaro National Park"
By Jane Eppinga
Saguaro National Park achieved its status in 1994. Eppinga does a fine job of corralling the details of the growth of this local environmental treasure from its beginnings in 1933 as a national monument. Tucsonans were involved and are given credit. (August)
"The Third Law of Motion"
By Meg Files
Pima Community College's effective and tireless provider of editorial help for local writers displays her own considerable writing facility in this novel about two young people trapped in the mores of the second half of the 20th century. (August)
Written and illustrated by Joan Sandin
A delightfully illustrated and rhymed account of happenings on Feb. 14, 1912, the day Arizona was admitted into the Union. The scenes are historically accurate and the rhymes work - it's good for kids and adults, both! (July)
For a list of all of the books included in the 2012 monthly editions of Southern Arizona Authors, you can visit our website: southernarizonaauthors.org