Many well-known writers made their homes in northern New Mexico in the 20th century. In the 1920s, the most celebrated were D. H. Lawrence and Willa Cather, both short-term Taos residents. Lawrence, the romantic and controversial English novelist, spent time here between 1922 and 1925; he reflected on his sojourn in Mornings in Mexico and Etruscan Places. Lawrence's Taos period is described in Lorenzo in Taos, which his patron, Mabel Dodge Luhan, wrote. Cather, a Pulitzer-prize winner famous for her depictions of the pioneer spirit, penned Death Comes for the Archbishop, among other works. This fictionalized account of the 19th-century Santa Fe bishop, Jean-Baptiste Lamy, grew out of her stay in the region.
Many contemporary authors also live in and write about New Mexico. John Nichols, of Taos, whose Milagro Beanfield War was made into a Robert Redford movie in 1987, writes insightfully about the problems of poor Hispanic farming communities. Albuquerque's Tony Hillerman has for 2 decades woven mysteries around Navajo tribal police in books such as Listening Woman and A Thief of Time. (Robert Redford, this time as director, has made movie versions of many of Hillerman's novels that feature the character Jim Chee for PBS.) In more recent years, Sarah Lovett has joined Hillerman's ranks with a series of gripping mysteries, most notably Dangerous Attachments. The Hispanic novelist Rudolfo Anaya's Bless Me, Ultima and Pueblo writer Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony capture the lifestyles of their respective peoples. A coming-of-age story, Richard Bradford's Red Sky at Morning juxtaposes the various cultures of New Mexico. Edward Abbey wrote of the desert environment and politics; his Fire on the Mountain, set in New Mexico, was one of his most powerful works.
Excellent works about Native Americans of New Mexico include The Pueblo Indians of North America (Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1970) by Edward P. Dozier and Living the Sky: The Cosmos of the American Indian (University of Oklahoma Press, 1987) by Ray A. Williamson. Also look for American Indian Literature 1979-1994 (Ballantine, 1996), an anthology edited by Paula Gunn Allen.
For general histories of the state, try Myra Ellen Jenkins and Albert H. Schroeder's A Brief History of New Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 1974) and Marc Simmons's New Mexico: An Interpretive History (University of New Mexico Press, 1988). In addition, Claire Morrill's A Taos Mosaic: Portrait of a New Mexico Village (University of New Mexico Press, 1973) does an excellent job of portraying the history of that small New Mexican town. I have also enjoyed Tony Hillerman's (ed.) The Spell of New Mexico (University of New Mexico Press, 1976) and John Nichols and William Davis's If Mountains Die: A New Mexico Memoir (Alfred A. Knopf, 1979). Talking Ground (University of New Mexico Press, 1996), by Santa Fe author Douglas Preston, tells of a contemporary horseback trip through Navajoland, exploring the native mythology. One of my favorite texts is Enchantment and Exploitation (University of New Mexico Press, 1985) by William deBuys. A very extensive book that attempts to capture the multiplicity of the region is Legends of the American Southwest (Alfred A. Knopf, 1997) by Alex Shoumatoff.
Enduring Visions: 1,000 Years of Southwestern Indian Art by the Aspen Center for the Visual Arts (Publishing Center for Cultural Resources, 1969) and Roland F. Dickey's New Mexico Village Arts (University of New Mexico Press, 1990) are both excellent resources for those interested in Native American art. If you become intrigued with Spanish art during your visit to New Mexico, you'll find E. Boyd's Popular Arts of Spanish New Mexico (Museum of New Mexico Press, 1974) to be quite informative.
If you like to cook, look for the Santa Fe Farmer's Market Cookbook, with recipes from vendors and chefs, to be released in spring 2009.
King of the Road -- If you like road trip stories to small New Mexico towns, check out my book King of the Road (New Mexico Magazine Press, 2007). It's a compilation of articles from my monthly column in New Mexico Magazine, in which locals tell the stories of their hometowns. It's illustrated with my photos too. Available on www.nmmagazine.com and www.amazon.com.
If you like to start traveling before you climb on the plane or into the car, you can do so easily by watching any number of movies filmed in the state. Over the years so many have been filmed that I won't list them all. Instead, I'll give the ones that provide a glimpse into the true nature of New Mexico. Silverado (1985), a lighthearted western, and the heartfelt miniseries Lonesome Dove (1989), based on a Larry McMurtry novel, start my list. Billy Bob Thorton's film adaptation (2000) of the novel All the Pretty Horses, Ron Howard's film version of The Missing (2003), and Billy Crystal in City Slickers (1991), are also some of my favorite westerns.
Favorite classics include Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), filmed in Taos and Chama; The Cowboys (1972), with John Wayne; Clint Eastwood's Every Which Way But Loose (1978); and Dennis Hopper in the 1960s classic Easy Rider (1969).
More contemporary themes are explored in Contact (1997), which featured the National Radio Astronomy Very Large Array in western New Mexico, as did Independence Day (1996). Also exploring alien themes, The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), with David Bowie, was filmed in southern New Mexico.
In recent years, New Mexico modified its tax laws to encourage filming here, so keep your eyes open for film crews taking over small villages or blocking off city streets. You may even get a part as an extra!
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.