The 5th Annual New Mexico Book Awards sponsored by the New Mexico Book Co-op, were announced November 18, 2011, at the MCM Elegante and for the first time the two top awards had two ties with very different books. For the first time, all of the authors/editors for the top four books live in Albuquerque Metro area.

The Best New Mexico Book (dealing with a New Mexico subject) was a tie between Loretta Hall’s Out of This World and Turquoise by Joe & Dan Lowry. The top award – The Best Book was a tie between A Good, Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan To Die by Gail Rubin and The World Comes to Albuquerque: The Dream Takes Flight with editors Tom McConnell, Dick Brown, Kim Vesely, and Paul Rhetts. It was a collaboration between the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta and Rio Grande Books.

In both of the top awards, there was a full-color, coffee table book and a black & white, more modest book. The judges found that the books were equal in scoring and presentation and scored the books with an exact tie. The Best New Mexico Books were a fraction of a point below the scoring of the Best Books.

Turquoise is the history of the New Mexico gem and features the Turquoise Museum in Old Town. Out of This World is the history of space exploration in New Mexico. A Good, Goodbye is a humorous look at planning for the end of life. The World Comes To Albuquerque is a history of hot-air ballooning in New Mexico at the 40th Balloon Fiesta.

49 other books were honored as winners in their category. Of note, Dave DeWitt, The Pope of Peppers, tied with himself with two different books in the Cooking Category. Slim Randles won two different awards with two different books. Rudolfo Anaya won for Randy Lopez Comes Home. Howard Bryan, Joe Sando, and Father Tom Steele were honored with categories commemorating their literary works. All three died in the past year. The New Mexico Centennial Office sponsored a new Centennial Category which was won by the Historical Society of New Mexico’s Sunshine & Shadows. Senator Pete Domenici’s Legacy, the book on the proceedings of the Las Cruces conference, won best Political Book. The MC’s for the evening were Paul Rhetts and Gary Herron, both of whom received awards during the evening.

Honored with the Friends of New Mexico Books & Authors were: Anne Hillerman, Jean Schaumberg, Sabra Brown Steinsiek, Max Evans, and David Steinberg.

The 2012 New Mexico Book Awards program will be announced starting the end of January, 2012. For information go to