Anne Hillerman is the author of the popular Bernie Manuelito mysteries which ably continue the story of Jim Chee and Joe Leaphorn her late father Tony’s beloved sleuths. In Spider Woman’s Daughter and Rocks with Wings she has proven herself to be a talented author with compelling tales to share with her readers. She was kind enough to share her own reading interests with your local library and we appreciate her kindness!
“Recently, I’ve been reading a lot of history about the development of the American West for a contest I’m judging, and I have fallen in love with two wonderful new books. Ladies of the Canyon by Lesley Polling-Kempes is the story of five women from the East who, separately, made new lives for themselves in the Southwest and in the process changed the course of history. The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck, combines the fascinating history of the Oregon Trail with a contemporary adventure following the settlers’ route undertaken by two very different brothers. I also was fascinated by William Wells and the Struggle for the Old Northwest by William Heath, the story of a white man raised by the Miami Indians, and his challenge to bridge both worlds at a time of tremendous upheaval on the American frontier.
I just finished a four-session class on the complex and poetic Navajo creation myth taught by author Paul Zolbrod. Zolbrod’s English translation of the Navajos’ story of how they came to be, drawn from interviews with elders and the work of anthropologists and missionaries, is poetic, exciting and eye-opening—a hero’s journey and then some. It’s called Dine` bahane’ <cq lower case>. Anyone with a passion for Joseph Campbell’s work or a good adventure tale will find it fascinating. One of the central premises is that friction between men and women causes much of the trouble that plagues humanity.
I like to read mysteries, of course, and I’m especially partial to writers who focus on the west. Some of my favorites are Margaret Coel, J.A. Jance, David Morrell, Michael Orenduff, Susan Cummins Miller, Joseph Badal, Pam Christie, and Steve Havill. I enjoy re-reading my father Tony Hillerman’s great stories, especially his Navajo mysteries which inspired me to continue the series. I enjoy the thrilling work of Michael Connelly, Chuck Greaves, Johnny Worthen and the brilliant historical mysteries of Charles Todd. I love the poetry of Navajo writer Luci Tapahonso, the lush science writing of Diane Ackerman and the thoughtful prose of the late Oliver Sacks. And many, many more. If I were writing this tomorrow, I might come up with a different list.
Reading saves my sanity, inspires me, calms me down, transports me to places I could never visit and teaches me things I didn’t realize I was ignorant about. The best gift my dear parents gave me was teaching me to read. They took me to the library before I could walk. I got my very own library card as soon as I could print my name. My first job was shelving books at our neighborhood public library.
One of my greatest joys is to open a book on a topic I know nothing about (and think I probably have no interest in) and find myself swept away by the author ‘s passion for subject and the skill with which he or she tells the story. Where better to find these books than our beloved public libraries?”