Culture Shock

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Erin Adair-Hodges
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In late 2008, the New Mexico Book Co-op revealed the winners of the New Mexico Book Awards in a number of categories, ranging from adventure to New Age. In this time of hardship and privation, won’t you consider making your next book purchase a local one? A state can only handle so many starving artists, and New Mexico is pretty full up. Here is a terribly brief sample of the award recipients and your potential new book-friends:

Best of Show/Best Biography Into the Devil’s Den: How an FBI Informant Got Inside the Aryan Nations and a Special Agent Got Him Out Alive , Dave Hall and Tym Burkey with Katherine Ramsland (Ballantine, $25)

Perhaps this book should have also won for most comprehensive subtitle. In the ’90s, Dave Hall (an ex-biker) infiltrated a group of homicidal, coked-up, selectively religious neo-Nazis so as to avoid a conviction on minor drug charges. He ended up being chosen as the group’s successor before helping to bring them down. Special Agent Tym Burkey currently works in the FBI’s Albuquerque office (who knew we had one?) while Hall’s location could not be disclosed as he is under federal protection. Did I mention this is real? This is real. This happened.

Best Young Adult Book Lawn Boy , Gary Paulsen (Wendy Lamb Books, $12.99)

The genre of young adult fiction is a funny thing to get a handle on, much like young adults themselves. Generally, YA fiction is geared toward kids 12-and-up. Paulsen is considered one of the masters of this genre, and while
Lawn Boy ‘s story of a 12-year-old boy, his lawnmower and burgeoning summer business is best-suited for a crowd that is younger than the book’s protagonist, any book by La Luz resident Paulsen is guaranteed to be thoughtful and respectful of its audience. Especially great for boys who need some weaning from the Xbox.

Best Reference Book Decoding Design: Understanding and Using Symbols in Visual Communication , Maggie Macnab (How, $35)

New Mexican design expert Macnab posits that effective visual communication is best achieved through an understanding of the design inherit in nature. Concepts such as unity, duality and transformation are pulled from the natural world and brought to fruition in everyday design. An impressive text for neophytes and experts alike.

This is just a snippet of the array of books recognized by the New Mexico Book Co-op. For the entire list of award-winning books, go to

Culture Shock

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