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Southwest Books of the Year: Ring in 2019 with some regional reads

Arizona Daily Star
Jan 6, 2019

If you’ve been looking to sink your teeth into some southwestern-themed literature, we have a list of the best reads of 2018 courtesy the Pima County Public Library and Friends of the Pima County Public Library.

The 42nd annual edition of “Southwest Books of the Year: Best Reading 2018” looks to shine a light on titles about Southwest subjects or that are set in the Southwest.

The top picks were reviewed by a panel of six subject specialists and come recommended by two or more panelists.

Selections range from fiction and mysteries to history, poetry, art, food, and nature writing — all specific to our corner of the planet.

Top Picks of 2018

John Woman“John Woman”

By Walter Mosley. Atlantic Monthly Press / Fiction

“We are bit players in events that surpass the religions, sciences and philosophies of the world.” So says Professor John Woman, who is on the verge of being denied tenure and booted from a mysterious private college within striking distance of Phoenix. Mysterious? Yes: It harbors Cold War secrets, and it sits atop a hidden lake, far underground, with a population of blind sturgeons. Moreover, it’s run by a cabal of deep-thinking but sinister-minded people who make Keyser Söze look like an underachiever. John Woman fits in, but only to the extent that it’s not his real name, and he’s killed a man and broken a whole bunch of other rules besides. Mosley (“Devil in a Blue Dress”) is an ascended master of the socially-conscious murder mystery. Here he adds a deep well of subtle philosophical argument based on mountains of reading and years of thinking. The book isn’t for every taste, and certainly not for younger readers, but those who come to it will find themselves thinking of Professor Woman and his offbeat theories long after they reach the end of Mosley’s beguiling yarn.

— Panelist Gregory McNamee. Also selected by Bruce Dinges

(via Arizona Daily Star)