Sunday, January 11, 2009

2009 Pacific Northwest Book Awards

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association is proud to announce the winners of its 2009 Book Awards, which were selected by a committee of independent booksellers from Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. The committee chose the following five books from nearly 200 nominees, all of which were written by Northwest authors and published in 2008. The committee also chose to give Alexandra Day, author of the ever-popular Good Dog, Carl series, a Lifetime Achievement Award. Alexandra Day is the pen name of Seattle-based author, illustrator, and publisher Sandra Louis Woodward Darling. In her Good Dog, Carl books, she has created a largely wordless, beautifully rendered world of bright colors and blissful days, the perfect fantasy of innocent exploration.

Here are the other books and authors recognized by the PNBA, as described by the Awards Committee:

Guernica: A Novel, by Dave Boling. In a fictional epic based on the very real tragedy of an extraordinary place devastated during the Spanish Civil War, debut novelist Dave Boling has written the kind of rich, compelling, and utterly unforgettable novel all too rarely attempted and even more rarely realized. Boling's remarkably researched book is a humane and thoughtful narrative of genuinely good people in impossible circumstances.

Wild Beauty: Photographs of the Columbia River Gorge 1867-1957, by John Laursen and Terry Toedtemeier. The writers/editors have selected some 130 images from dozens of photographers, covering 90 years of natural and man-made history, and, in doing so, have recreated an otherwise lost history of a truly awe-inspiring wonder of the West. This book is a beautiful and breathtaking work of research and rediscovery, to be appreciated and treasured by anyone with an interest in photography, history and the majesty of landscape.

American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, by Steven Rinella. The author brings a contemporary sensibility and a breathtaking grasp of the history of the bufaffalo in America with him on the hunt of a lifetime. In the process, he redeems the tradition of great writing by American outdoorsmen. Few books of this or any year offer such an immediate and lasting connection with the reality of our long and often tragic interaction with the natural world.

The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein. As a novelist, Garth Stein has already shown a remarkable talent and sensitivity. In this, his third novel, the author has set himself the almost impossible task of telling his story from the perspective of the one participant whose faith in the protagonist can never be doubted: his dog. In doing so, Stein has created, in Enzo, an aging and surprisingly wise mutt, who is perhaps the most memorable narrator of the year.

The William Stafford Memorial Poetry Award to Selected Poems 1970-2005, by Floyd Skloot. In this selection from a long and accomplished career, the poet and memoirist Floyd Skloot has established his place as one of the nation's premier poets. Across a wide range of moods, Skloot offers us his deeply moving and -- ultimately -- celebratory enthusiasm for the common moment.

The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association is a non-profit trade association that supports independent bookselling, literacy, and free speech in the Pacific Northwest. Each year since 1965, the PNBA has celebrated exceptional books written by Northwest authors through its awards program.

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