Wednesday, November 10, 2010

National Outdoor Book Awards

The winners of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards have just been announced. These are books about things that actually take place in the outdoors, as opposed to books that are good to read in the outdoors. The purpose of the awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing.

The National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program. It is a non-profit, educational program, sponsored by the National Outdoor Book Awards Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University.

 The Outdoor Classic Award is given annually to books of unusual and lasting significance in the outdoor field. Books nominated for the Classic Award must have been copyrighted prior to 2000 and still be in print. Books are judged on the quality of writing and their merit and not by the author's or publisher's reputation. To remove regional bias, judges serving on the panel come from throughout the country. Additionally, the make-up of the panel is balanced as much as possible between men and women. The backgrounds of the judges -- twenty on this year's panel -- are diverse. Included on the panel are educators, academics, trade representatives, authors, book reviewers, and outdoor columnists. All of the judges serve without pay.
Here are this year's winners. Some of them are perhaps a little obscure for our readers, but one in particular has caught my eye previously: The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating, by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. Bedridden after being stricken with a mysterious virus, the author is brought some violets in a pot by a friend, and accompanying the violets is a small snail. In her newly quiet world, Bailey begins to observe the snail and it provides her with an oasis of calm from her frustrated thoughts. This slim tome can help readers appreciate the beauty of slower paces and smaller things in one's life. I've reprinted most of the winners here; you can find the rest, as well as descriptions of all of the titles, at the NOBA website.
  • Nature and the Environment. Winner. Adventures Among Ants: A Global Safari With a Cast of Trillions. By Mark W. Moffett. University of California Press, Berkeley. 
  • Natural History Literature. Winner. An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World. By Anders Halverson. Yale University Press, New Haven. 
  • Natural History Literature. Winner. The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating. By Elisabeth Tova Bailey. Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC.
  • Outdoor Literature. Winner. Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life and Catching the Perfect Wave. By Peter Heller. Free Press, New York.
  • Outdoor Literature. Honorable Mention. Just Passin’ Thru. By Winton Porter. Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, AL.
  • History/Biography. Winner. Pilgrims of the Vertical: Yosemite Rock Climbers & Nature at Risk. By Joseph E. Taylor III. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  •  History/Biography. Honorable Mention. The Last Man on the Mountain: The Death of an American Adventurer on K2. By Jennifer Jordan. W. W. Norton & Company, New York. 
  • History Biography. Honorable Mention. Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage. By Glyn Williams. Viking Canada, Toronto.
  • Classic. Winner. Annapurna: First Conquest of an 8,000-meter Peak. By Maurice Herzog. Lyon Press, Guilford, CT.  
  • Design and Artistic Merit. Winner. Freshwater Fish of the Northeast. Illustrated by Matt Patterson. Text by David A. Patterson. University Press of New England, Hanover, NH.  
  • Nature Guidebooks. Winner. Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species. By Charley Eiseman and Noah Charney. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.
  • Nature Guidebooks. Honorable Mention. Night Sky: A Field Guide to the Constellations. By Jonathan Poppele. Adventure Publications, Cambridge, MN. 
  • Nature Guidebooks. Honorable Mention. Molt in North American Birds. By Steven N. G. Howell. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Boston. 
  • Outdoor Adventure Guidebooks. Winner. Exploring Havasupai: A Guide to the Heart of the Grand Canyon. By Greg Witt. Menasha Ridge Press, Birmingham, AL.  
  • Instructional Category. Winner. Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success. By Andrew Bisharat. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.
Previous winners of NOBA awards include Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America, by Douglas Brinkley; Halfway to Heaven, by Mark Obmascik; Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-Fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska, by Lou Ureneck; Sky Time in Gray's River: Living for Keeps in a Forgotten Place, by Robert Michael Pyle; and Peak, by Roland Smith.






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