Recommendations For Everyone Left On Your Shopping List

Maggie Grimason
5 min read
Death Ship
Share ::
Jim Hoffsis reads every single book put onto the shelves at Treasure House Books & Gifts in Old Town (2012 S. Plaza NW). According to Jim, that’s the only way he can provide a good recommendation to his patrons, whether they are tourists wandering in off the Plaza or long-time New Mexico residents. Jim Hoffsis runs the show at Treasure House along with his son, John. Treasure House provides readers with the very best from New Mexican writers as well as a wide selection of books on topics pertinent to us desert dwellers. John Hoffsis was kind enough to provide his book recommendations for all the bookworms on your holiday shopping lists—all of which are available at Treasure House, many of which are available at other local book havens like Bookworks and Page One.

Death Ship by Joseph Badal, $15.99 from Suspense Publishing

“He’s as good a writer as any suspense writer that’s on the bestseller’s list,” Hoffsis said of Joseph Badal, who lives and writes in Sandia Park.
Death Ship, his most recent offering in the Danforth Series takes readers across the globe, where the main character, Robbie Danforth’s, ship is hijacked by pirates. “These books are very, very well written,” Hoffsis continued, noting that he believes Badal is one book away from breaking into a larger market and achieving well deserved fame for his expansive brand of thrilling fiction.

The Jewish Legacy in New Mexico edited by Richard Melzer, $19.95 from Rio Grande Books

“This book is basically a complete history of Jewish involvement in New Mexico,” Hoffsis said of this anthology of articles collected in 30 years of work by the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society. This winner of the 2015 New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards “Best Religious Book” category is “very thorough” according to Hoffsis and provides excellent, sometimes overlooked context on New Mexico’s rich history.

Red Gold by Robert D. Kidera, $12.99 from Suspense Publishing

“I’m not the only one who loves this book,” Hoffsis said of
Red Gold, a thriller that received both the Tony Hillerman Award and Best Mystery Award at this year’s New Mexico-Arizona Book Awards.With this first novel, Kidera established himself as a heavyweight in the local writing scene. “It’s captivating, it’s spellbinding,” Hoffsis said of the book, “I read it in a day and a half.”

What Makes a Snowflake by Ross Van Dusen, $19.95 from Rio Grande Books

Retired graphic artist Ross Van Dusen takes on topics in science through his adorable and accessible children’s books. “This book is done in such a lovely, fun way,” Hofssis said of this book, the winter-time companion to the earlier
What Makes a Rainbow. “It explains science to young children with very funny rhymes. The writing is very memorable.”

The Farolitos of Christmas by Rudolfo Anaya, $18.40 from Museum of New Mexico Press

The Farolitos of Christmas, like all of Anaya’s works, is a New Mexico classic. This new edition of the children’s book, originally published in the ’80s, is re-envisioned with all-new artwork by Amy Cordova and two new added stories, “Season of Renewal” and “A Child’s Christmas in New Mexico, 1944”. “It’s a charming, traditional story set in the ’40s about the tradition of lighting the farolitos. If ever there was a classic for the children of New Mexico, this is it,” said Hofssis.

Grandma Lale’s Tamales by Nasario Garcia, $24.95 from Rio Grande Books

“Nasario Garcia is one of the best know folklorists in New Mexico,” Hoffsis explained, “he’s written a lot about oral histories, but lately what he’s been doing is writing about his childhood.” This lovely children’s book, with vibrant illustrations, recipes and a small Spanish-English glossary describes his life growing in the Rio Puerco Valley and his grandmother’s fantastic tamales. “It’s just a delightful book.”

Pie Town Revisited photography by Arthur Drooker, $34.95 from University of New Mexico Press

Inspired by the classic photographs of small town life done by the Farm Security Administration in the 1940s, Arthur Drooker sought to update that vision of what it means to live and work in rural New Mexico through this coffee table art book. “These modern photographs are taken in the same spirit as the ones taken in the ’40s,” Hoffsis said, “some of these are absolutely gorgeous. This is a great depiction of New Mexico.”

Hey Kids!

Mesaland Series
Mesaland Series by Loyd Tireman,, illustrations by Ralph Douglass, $12.95 from UNM Press

The Mesaland series, a collection of children’s books by Loyd Tireman that were originally published in the 1940s,, has just been reprinted by UNM Press. With its eye-catching artwork, stories focused on Southwestern animals and mid-century charm, these tales of woodpeckers, jackrabbits, coyotes and other creatures of the desert are sure to make a handsome addition to any child’s, or adult collector’s, bookshelf.


The Jewish Legacy in New Mexico


Red Gold


What Makes a Snowflake


The Farolitos of Christmas


Grandma Lale’s Tamales


Pie Town Revisited

Mesaland Series

1 2 3 214