V.26 No.31 | 8/3/2017
Buckskin Cocaine

Book Review

New Mexico After Dark

The high desert underworld of Buckskin Cocaine

Buckskin Cocaine

There is a particular emotional distance with which each character is held, until the moment when zooming in close and revealing vulnerability will be most wrenching.
V.26 No.28 | 7/13/2017

Author Interview

10 Questions for Melinda Snodgrass

Let's get to know local literary master Melinda Snodgrass a little better.
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V.26 No.23 | 6/8/2017

Book Review

Memory Rendered into Poetry

Jacqueline Woodson's visit and her novel, Another Brooklyn

In Another Brooklyn, two-parts poetry and one-part prose, it's not just the story that resonates, but the knack that Jacqueline Woodson has for infusing the world she creates with the contemplativeness that comes with her earnest poetry.
V.26 No.19 | 5/11/2017
Sunshine State

Book Review

All Roads Lead to Florida

Sarah Gerard's dark evocations of the sunshine state

Sarah Gerard's book of essays, Sunshine State, is an ode to the many faces of her home state, with a the dizzying toggle between internal landscapes and external forces, shifting between the poetic and the starkly unsentimental.
V.26 No.18 | 5/4/2017
Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube

Summer Reading

Baby, It's Hot Outside

Beat the summer blues with ice cold reads

Maybe we can dispel the heat by turning inward and finding the swamp cooler that chugs away within each of us. Stoke your own internal air conditioner with these super chilly reads.
V.26 No.14 | 4/6/2017
Universal Harvester

Book Review

Midwestern Horror Mise en Scène

Universal Harvester falls short of its promise

Universal Harvester

Universal Harvester, despite its amazing jacket design and intriguing concepts, fails to ever pull the reader in fully.

V.26 No.11 | 3/16/2017
Junk Yard Dogs

Poetry Review

Junk Yards, Church Yards, Everything In-Between

Damien Flores translates the life of the city into poetry

Damien Flores' work is strongly rooted in Albuquerque, speaking with such specificity that Burqueños will read things in these textured lines that no reader from outside could ever, but at the same moment Flores trains his eye on the universal.
V.26 No.6 | 2/9/2017

Book Review

Who Comes for the Girls

Zadie Smith's inquiry into race, belonging and privilege

Swing Time

A reader could easily pick up this novel and enjoy it without putting any thought to the underpinnings of all the drama; just as likely, what underpins each scene might be what others find most compelling and important.
V.25 No.52 | 12/29/2016

Book Review

The Magic of Solitude

Pond stands apart from literary convention

Claire-Louise Bennett's auspicious debut, Pond, distinguishes itself from other books published this year in every way—from subject to structure to tone, all the way down to the story's values.
V.25 No.45 | 11/10/2016
The Gloaming

Book Review

The Specter of Consequences

The Gloaming traces grief across continents

The Gloaming, by Melanie Finn, traces grief across continents.
V.25 No.41 | 10/13/2016

Event Horizon

Vinyl Fetish

Sunday, Oct 23: Albuquerque Record Convention

Find LP, 45s, EPs, 78s, T-shirts, music-related books and posters, turntables, cassettes, 8-tracks, reel-to-reel tapes, DVDs, VHS and miscellaneous rock'n'roll debris.
V.25 No.37 | 9/15/2016
The Last Samurai

Book Review

The Last Samurai in London

No, it doesn’t have anything to do with that awful Tom Cruise movie

The Last Samurai

The Last Samurai is a brilliant work that turns a classic story on its head.
Child of Duende

Author Interview

Telling the Soul's Truth

Magic abounds in Child of Duende

Michelle Adam wrote of a spirit to awaken a spirit.
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V.25 No.35 | 09/01/2016

The Daily Word in Slave Labor, NASA and Honeybees

The Daily Word

A new study gives insight into treating anxiety disorders. Scientists determine that the key isn't simply lowering cortisol levels in the brain, it's lowering them in particular areas of the brain.

NASA always seems to be working on something mind-blowing and certainly larger than life. These days, it's a mission for a spacecraft called Osiris-Rex. Ever wondered what ingredients were involved in the making of the solar system? This spacecraft aims to follow a 500 meter, carbon-rich asteroid holding the answers.

Coffee is an essential component in many Americans' lives, but how much do you think about the origin of your precious roast? Not to put a damper on your beautiful, caffeinated morning but you can most likely thank slave labor for that latte.

Wake me up when the election ends.

I can almost smell musty pages and feel the buzzing yearning for knowledge from here.

In an attempt to kill mosquitoes carrying Zika virus, an aerial pesticide sprayed in South Carolina killed millions of honeybees. The sweet creatures crawled from their hives to escape the poison but died just outside the entrance.

It's bat season! Carlsbad Caverns National Park is home to hundreds of bats that head to Mexico when the weather gets chilly (so, right about now). Before you take a road trip to watch them pour out of the caves at dusk, here's some info about these little winged creatures.

Would you run 8.8 miles to school every day while barefoot? This guy would (and did). Read about the importance of education to Uganda native James Arinaitwe, who gladly took the lengthy journey to learn in his youth.

V.25 No.31 | 08/04/2016


Should. What does it mean? And why do we use it so often? It's been so normalized that we say it without realizing our intentions, without realizing that we're bound by obligation to act and live in certain ways for reasons unknown. It's a concept that I question often and desperately strive to detach from. In an ideal world, the “shoulds” are far from my life, thrown off a cliff or anchored to an ocean floor and certainly nowhere near my decision-making. Why? Because the entire idea exists on a foundation of societal pressure and expectation.

Last week I received a late birthday gift in the mail from my mother. I expected a silly card with a corny message inside, or some ridiculous clothing item that I would never pick out myself. Instead, I reached inside a slightly crumpled priority mail envelope and felt the cool, smooth cover and sharp cardboard edges of a book. The Crossroads of Should and Must, I read. The title was written in colorful letters and on the bottom was a small illustration of a sign with two arrows pointing in opposite directions, reading, “should” and “must.”

I held the colorful book and let the title sink in. Could it really be about what I thought it was going to be about? I turned the first few pages and started skimming. “These pages are a pep talk to honor that voice inside of you that says you have something special to give. It's a reminder that while there is no map for where you're going, many have traveled the road before. It's permission to unlearn everything you've ever been told you should do in order to learn what you must.” I flipped through the pages, quicker this time.

The book detailed the difference between a job, a career and a calling. It was filled with splashes of colorful artwork and creative fonts, and looked almost like an interactive journal or picture book at first glance. The author talked about her personal experience with stepping outside of her comfort zone in order to quit doing something she felt she “should” do, and to start honoring her true passions, regardless of money or fear of failure or rejection.

You know those times when you start reading a book and it speaks to you on a spiritual level and you don't put it down until your eyes are bloodshot from staying awake for so long and the final page has been turned? That's what happened. I read the entire thing in one sitting and might have teared up a couple of times. No shame.

My brain! My heart! When did someone jump inside of my skull, steal my thoughts, articulate them much better than I ever could and then publish them?! I sat on my couch in a bit of a haze, the torn envelope flung onto the floor, and felt a wave of calm inspiration mixed with a frenzied, overwhelmed desire to do everything in the world all at once.

After I came down from my post-reading high, I had to wonder: how real is this? How possible is it to live a life that serves you in every way, and to refuse to compromise your principles for the sake of societal acceptance or money? The idealist in me wanted every single word to be true. The idealist wanted to take the book and my keys and bolt out the door towards a life of unprecedented adventure. But the realist was skeptical, latching onto the all-too-well-known ways of comfort and conformity. I believe in living vulnerably, striving to look a fool and prove that I'm attempting things that make me uncomfortable, and I'm working on making that lifestyle a reality. This book was a reminder that simply being aware that I want to avoid a life of complacency and complete foreseeable structure is one step in the direction of where I do want to be.

Read the book. Even if you're someone who puts up barriers to mask your vulnerable side, and the thought of pages upon pages of cheesy, inspirational words is making you cringe with embarrassment. Especially you, read it.