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Summer reads are not so guilty pleasures

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Need help deciding what books you want to read this summer? Here’s a handful that might pique your interest.

 “I Miss You When I Blink Essays” by Mary Laura Philpott. Taken together, these essays are more like a string of wickedly insightful, engaging remembrances that will make the reader think and at times smile. Philpott offers food for thought on growing up, work, identity, family relations and much more. Here’s one snippet: “I worry that my kids will inherit my worst traits, that they’ll turn out too much like me, fixated on racing to the finish line with a perfect score.” You’ll want to read on. And on.

“City of Omens, A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands” by Dan Werb. Juárez is apparently not the only northern Mexican border city suffering from the death of its female residents. Tijuana, Mexico’s third-largest city, has its own social troubles. The author finds that over the past decade, Tijuana’s murder rate has skyrocketed, with many of its victims women. He concludes that the murders are related to environmental poisons, drug overdoses and HIV transmissions, issues that have him searching for answers on the U.S. side of the border, just over the border wall in San Diego. Werb is an assistant professor of epidemiology at the University of California-San Diego.

“Badge of Honor” by Karen Glinski. Emerson is 11 years old, but he’s growing up in a hurry in this novel for young readers. He’s helping his grandpa, Charlie Nakai, herd sheep on the Navajo reservation. Grandpa is bitten by a rattlesnake, and Emerson must drive him to the nearest hospital, in Shiprock. Emerson has other adventures. He encounters thieves who have stolen valuable Navajo jewelry and military medals. Emerson must stay safe but also help the police. This is the latest in Glinski’s Emerson and Lucky series. Lucky is Emerson’s dachshund buddy. (Glinski, an Albuquerque resident, signs copies of “Badge of Honor” from 1-3 p.m. Sunday, June 23, at Treasure House Books & Gifts, 2012 S. Plaza NW, Old Town, and at 3 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at Organic Books, 111 Carlisle SE.)

“Put on Your Owl Eyes – Open Your Senses & Discover Nature’s Secrets” by Devin Franklin. The book encourages kids to learn about nature, whether they’re in the woods, a city park, a home backyard or an empty lot. Learning, the author suggests, comes by sitting quietly, watching and listening to the sounds of nature. Franklin is an official at Flying Deer Nature Center, a wilderness school and community.

“Nature, Culture & The Sacred A Woman Listens for Leadership” by Nina Simons. Enough of the old patriarchal system dividing people by gender. The book has won two Nautilus Book Awards. Simons, of Santa Fe, is co-founder of Bioneers.

“Buffalo Cactus and Other New Stories from the Southwest” edited by D. Seth Norton and Brett Garcia Myhren. If the summer heat is making you drowsy and shortening your attention span, you may want to read short stories rather than full-length novels. In this collection are stories about the American Southwest by 20 authors, three of whose writings I had previously read and enjoyed; those three are Kirstin Valdez Quade, José Skinner and Alberto Alvaro Ríos.

“Fixed and Free – Poetry Anthology 2018” edited by Billy Brown of Albuquerque. Like short stories, poems can be an accessible short form. This anthology is packed with verse – 314 poems by 113 poets, all of whom have read their work at Fixed and Free-sponsored readings. This is the third Fixed and Free published anthology.