Top Summer Reads: Arizona Stories

In most parts of the United States, summer means hiking, fishing, and swimming; the joy of being outdoors means taking advantage of the warm weather at every opportunity before winter returns. This isn’t quite the case in Arizona, especially if you live in the lower elevations where summertime temperatures can surpass 110 degrees. Time spent outdoors in Arizona is optimally limited to early mornings and evenings. Frankly, summertime in Arizona is the perfect time to read; we have our outdoor fun when the temperatures recede in the fall. So there’s nothing better than curling up with a good book in an air conditioned room with the sun blazing outside— and hope for big clouds on the horizon signaling a spectacular monsoon storm.

If you’re new to Arizona, or have lived here your entire life, here are a few interesting books to crack open this season!

Books such as Apache Sunrise and Arizona Oddities show the different ways of life in Arizona

Apache Sunrise: Memories of San Carlosby Sonja White David

The author and her family, including three children, lived on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in Arizona from 1970-1975. Through a series of nonlinear vignettes both amusing and touching, the author shares stories of her time with the San Carlos Apache people in Arizona. Whether you’ve ever been to San Carlos or not, you’ll want to read this book.

The Turquoise Ledge: A Memoir by Leslie Marmon Silko

Silko is a well known Laguna Pueblo author who has written several mesmerizing books; this one is centered in Tucson, Arizona where she resides. Meant as a memoir, you’ll get wonderfully caught up in the lyrical prose Silko uses to describe the one-of-a-kind landscapes, animals, and weather of Arizona.

The story of Geronimo, the Chiricahua Apache warrior of legend, can be found in many well written books

Geronimo: His Own Story: The Autobiography of a Great Patriot Warrior by Geronimo & S.M. Barrett

A legend of the Old West, Geronimo was a Chiricahua Apache whose people were forced by the U.S. government to live on the San Carlos Apache Reservation in the 1870s. Geronimo and a group of followers, resistant to the relocation, escaped the reservation; the U.S. Army chased them for years in what became known as the Geronimo Campaign. This book tells the story of Geronimo’s life in his own words, translated by S.M. Barrett.

Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History by Karl Jacoby

Many in the United States have never heard of the Camp Grant Massacre, resulting in the deaths of 144 Aravaipa and Pinal tribespeople, which took place in 1871 in Southeastern Arizona. Using oral histories from the Apache people, Karl Jacoby presents us with a different side of history than is portrayed in most books. A great read for information about the violent conflicts between the various groups living in and around Arizona in the 1870s.

Small towns not far from Phoenix, Arizona are the subjects in this series of interesting books. They offer a fascinating look into life in the Old West, complete with well researched information and photos

Images of America Series (various authors)

While not one specific book, this series is a fantastic introduction to various locations around Arizona and the United States. The books are filled with photographs containing detailed captions and background. It’s amazing to view pictures from the last century and see how much has changed -or has not- epending on the area. This series features books about Globe, Miami, Superior, San Carlos, and even one called Mining Towns in Arizona. They each provide a treasure trove of information which will create a deeper understanding of an amazing state, and will point the reader to additional resources for history, customs, stories, and photographs of Arizona and its people.

-by Cameron Vines

Photos by Jim Lindstrom

The Pickle Barrel Trading Post in Globe, Arizona offers readers a large selection of hardcover and paperback books on a wide variety of subjects. Included in our inventory, in addition to historical accounts and stories, are picture books for children, tantalizing cookbooks, and interesting travel guides, all with a southwestern theme. Visitors will also find original and traditional music from the Native American tribes of Arizona, plus popular films and videos of the southwestern U.S. and our way of life.