Tamales 101: A Beginners Guide to Making Traditional Tamales by Alice Guadalupe Tapp. Published in 2003 by Ten Speed Press, paperback, $19.95, 208 pages in color.
It must have been in the cards that we would be receptive to this book. It came Christmas Eve and we had a refrigerator full of Bueno and Tamale Molly tamales. This book has over 100 recipes from many Spanish-speaking countries. The author has over 50 years of tamale making experience and in the book are every kind of tamale including dessert types. It also includes sauces to go over or in the tamales. The book has a step-by-step traditional approach including how to steam the different types—something we did not know. All tamales are not made equally and this book walks you through all of them. It is a beautiful, mouthwatering book that would make a great present to get now for next Christmas and include with it a few of your own creations or the makings.

California Colonial: The Spanish and Rancho Revival Styles by Elizabeth McMillian, Ph.D. and photography by Matt Gainer and Elizabeth McMillian. Published 2002 by Schiffer Publishing, hardback $49.95, ISBN 0-7643-1460-2, 240 pages, many color and black and white photos.
The thing about Schiffer books is they are either fun with funky subjects like microcomputers or Bakelite jewelry or lush books on art or architecture. This book on California is beautiful in every sense of the word. The exteriors are fabulous and the detail shots of shelves, switchplates, and lamps are truly helpful to a decorator, builder, or collector. There is history, old black and white photos, a glossary, a resource guide, and a bibliography. There are a lot of things in the book that those of us who have nosed around California will say, “I remember that!” A great gift for someone in California or someone who wants to be there.

Contemporary Chicana and Chicano Art, by Bilungual Press Hispanic Research Center of Arizona State University. Published in 2002, paperback, 2 volumes (318 & 324 pages), $120 for the set.
This takes the award—the most pages, biggest price, but the most lush and picturesque books we have received to review. Truly a monumental project and the staff of the Hispanic Research Center at ASU should get a big congrats for the huge effort. We understand that this is just the beginning and more volumes are coming. Bravo. The books are huge, coffee table size. The color plates are full page with a bio on each artist.
To mention a few New Mexicans who made it are: Mary Antonia Wood, Luis Tapia, and Felix López, and the infamous California artist Alma López of bikini Guadalupe fame is also there. It is a who’s who of Latino/Hispanic art. So we have a problem, why did some traditional New Mexicans make it and some didn’t? If Felix made it, and he should, why not Charlie, Ramón, Nick, Victor, Marie and on and on. We hope they will be in the 3rd volume. We understand not everyone can get in the first volumes but we are clueless why some were left out. It is heavy with contemporary art and light on traditional that is being done today. In any case, this is a must-have for anyone in the art business—galleries, writers, museums, and fellow artists.

Chicano Visions: American Painters on the Verge by Cheech Marin. Published by Bulfinch Press in 2002, paperback $19.95, ISBN 08212-2806-4, 160 pages, full color.
The paintings that Cheech Marin puts in his book are “in your face.” They are expressive, dynamic, and many tell a story. The color plates are large. Subtle they are not but they do have subtle themes that are slightly hidden. Cheech is to be congratulated for seeing the importance of Chicano art many years ago, and collecting it while studying it. There is some valuable art discussion including comparing Chicano art to the early Beatles. His book is a testament to the movement and the force one collector can have in promoting an art form. The book and the exhibit are highly recommended. We hope Cheech continues with his quest to promote Chicano art. The exhibit is at the National Hispanic Cultural Center until May 18, 2003 (see page 12).

The Desert Home by Tamara L. Hawkinson. Published in 2002 by Northland Publishing, hardback, $40.00, ISBN 0-87358-796-0, 176 pages, full color.
If you had an extra $1,000,000 or so, some of the houses you would be interested in would be in this book. It is beautiful and shows off desert living to its fullest. Featured are the Chihuahuan Desert, the Sonoran Desert, the Mojave Desert, and western influences. There are tips on where to buy items and how to decorate. The High Desert of New Mexico is somewhat ignored but this is still a great book for those interested in home decor. It is really a good gift for someone moving to a new desert location and thinks they will be living in a ranch shack as their only alternative. High tech and traditional are covered.

Traditional Mexican Style Interiors by Donna McMenamin and photos by Richard Loper. Published in 2002 by Schiffer, hardback ISBN 0-7643-1693-1, $39.95, full color, 192 pages. Traditional Mexican Style Exteriors by Donna McMenamin and photos by Richard Loper. Published in 2002 by Schiffer, hardback ISBN 0-7643-1726-1, $39.95, full color. 192 pages.
Both of these books would be a must have for a interior designer in the Southwest or someone decorating their own home. They are ice cream for the eyes and can make you dream about tile, paint, furniture, nichos, tin, and doors. They are the kind of book to have on your coffee table but also ones you would use for a reference guide. You can’t have one without the other. These are Schiffer books so you know they will be good. There are many suggestions for living with art. Included are a glossary, bibliography and resources for paint and tile. They are packed with great photos.

Charreada photographs by Al Rendon. Published in 2002 by the Texas Folklore Society, 128 pages. hardback, $24.95, ISBN 1-57441-155-1, 73 photos in B&W.
This kind of book is a little gem. It is what folklore and history societies should be about. “Charreria are the traditions and skills of the Charro, the ideal Mexican on horseback.” The Charreada is the gathering of these horsepeople—charros and charras. The photos document this tradition so it is not lost. There are the costumes, horses, pagentry, and spectacle. This is a great reminder about the Mexican tradition and how it is still alive today in South Texas. There are essays by Julia Hambric, Bryan Wooley, and Francis Abernathy. The sepia photos reproduced as doutones are fabulous. This is a family activity passed down through generations and it is worth remembering and celebrating. It may be a little hard to get so here is the number for the publisher and their website or 1-800-826-8911.

Maria Paints the Hills by Pat Mora with paintings by Maria Hesch. Published in 2002 by Museum of New Mexico Press, 32 pages, softback $9.95, ISBN 0-89013-410-3, in full color, also available in hardback for $19.95.
The late Maria Hesch’s paintings add the Christmas spirit to this children’s book. It is a well done book that any child will love for the holidays and is a great idea for kids living outside of New Mexico. It gives them the full flavor of what natives are about here. When reading the book, memories of the Martínez and Minge houses or Golondrinas are evoked. It is simple, well done, and worth giving.

First published in Tradicion Revista, Volume 8, No. 1, Spring 2003.
Copyright 2003. May not be reproduced in any form without written permission.