Friday, April 20, 2012

Minnesota Book Awards 2012

Minnesota Book Awards 2012

The Minnesota Book Awards were presented on Saturday, April 14th, 2012 to a sold out crowd.
I would love to say I was in attendance but I was not.  Next year, I hope to attend and read some of the book finalists before I get there. 

FYI:  Click on the book image and it will take you to Amazon.

And the winners are........

Children's Literature:  BookSpeak! Poems About Books by Laura Purdie Salas, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon (Clarion Books/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company)

A collection of wacky, whimsical poems about books and all the treasures they contain. Laura Purdie Salas, the acclaimed author of Stampede!, is back with another collection of wild and weird, wacky and winsome poems about all the magic to be found on a single bookshelf. In BookSpeak!, each poem gives voice to a group that seldom gets a voice . . . the books themselves! Characters plead for sequels, book jackets strut their stuff, and we get a sneak peek at the raucous parties in the aisles when all the lights go out at the bookstore!Illustrator Josée Bisaillon’s mixture of collage, drawings, and digital montage presents page after page of richly colored spreads filled with action and charm. Together, Salas and Bisaillon deliver a unique collection brimming with ideas as much about spines and dust jackets as they are about adventure and imagination. (Goodreads)

General Nonfiction:  Fool Me Twice: Fighting the Assault on Science in America by Shawn Lawrence Otto (Rodale)

"Whenever the people are well informed," Thomas Jefferson wrote, "they can be trusted with their own government."

But what happens in a world dominated by complex science? Are the people still well-enough informed to be trusted with their own government? And with less than 2 percent of Congress with any professional background in science, how can our government be trusted to lead us in the right direction?

Will the media save us? Don't count on it. Of the 2,975 questions directed to the candidates for president in early 2008, just six mentioned the words "global warming" or "climate change," the greatest policy challenge facing America. To put that in perspective, three questions mentioned UFOs.

Today the world's major unsolved challenges all revolve around science. By the 2012 election cycle, at a time when science is influencing every aspect of modern life, antiscience views from climate-change denial to creationism to vaccine refusal have become mainstream.

Faced with the daunting challenges of an environment under siege, an exploding population, a falling economy and an education system slipping behind, our elected leaders are hard at work... passing resolutions that say climate change is not real and astrology can control the weather.

Shawn Lawrence Otto has written a behind-the-scenes look at how the government, our politics, and the media prevent us from finding the real solutions we need. Fool Me Twice is the clever, outraged, and frightening account of America's relationship with science -- a relationship that is on the rocks at the very time we need it most. (Goodreads)

Genre Fiction:  Big Wheat by Richard A. Thompson (Poisoned Pen Press)

1919 on the high prairie, and a small army of people and machines moves across the land, bringing in the wheat harvest. Custom threshers, steam engineers, bindlestiffs, cooks, camp followers, and hobos join the tide. The threshing season is on.

But there is also an evil upon the land. A killer who calls himself the Windmill Man believes he has a holy calling to water the newly plucked earth with blood. The moving harvest is an endless supply of victims. He's been killing for years and has no plans to stop. Who could stop him? Nobody knows he exists.

But then a young man named Charlie Krueger, jilted by his childhood sweetheart and estranged from his drunkard father, joins the harvest as a steam engineer. But in a newly harvested field in the nearly black Dakota night, he comes upon a strange man digging a grave. Now he is the only person who can stop the evil. But the killer knows his name and when next they meet, one of them will have to die….


Memoir and Creative Nonfiction:  A Song at Twilight: Of Alzheimer’s and Love by Nancy Paddock (Blueroad Press)

"A Song at Twilight: Of Alzheimer's and Love" is a feature-length memoir by acclaimed Minnesota poet Nancy Paddock. The book tells the story of her parents' descent into the netherworld of Alzheimer's, and the challenges and choices for care that she and her sisters faced while confronting this most baffling and tragic of diseases, now afflicting millions of people and their families. This is one daughter's story of Lois and Ralph Pearson, whose love of life and each other transcended the darkest moments of war, separation, heartache, and family tragedy to achieve a memorable state of grace spanning six decades of marriage.
Paddock recalls her parents' early lives together on St. Paul's East Side, including their playful courtship on the city's ice rinks, as well as her own fond recollections of growing up in the post-war glow of the 1950s and '60s.

Minnesota Award:  Pioneer Modernists: Minnesota’s First Generation of Women Artists by Julie L’Enfant (Afton Press)

In the early twentieth century Frances Cranmer Greenman, Alice Hugy, Elsa Laubach Jemne, Clara Mairs, Evelyn Raymond, Jo Lutz Rollins, and Ada Wolfe established successful careers as artists in Minneapolis and Saint Paul. They played significant roles in the development of the art schools, galleries, and arts organizations that make the Twin Cities a major cultural center today. Yet their strong reputations were eclipsed mid-century by the rise of Abstract Expressionism and other male-dominated modernist movements.
Drawing on unpublished papers, contemporaneous accounts, and interviews with their students, descendants, and collectors, Pioneer Modernists presents a new picture of their cosmopolitan art training, multi-faceted careers, and sometimes unconventional lives, set in the context of the tumultuous events of the twentieth century. (Goodreads)

Novel and Short Story:  The Law of Miracles and Other Stories by Gregory Blake Smith (University of Massachusetts Press)

These stories take place in the space where the rational and irrational intersect the space governed by The Law of Miracles. Writing with a remarkable range of invention, Gregory Blake Smith has created a world in which his characters navigate between the everyday and the extraordinary: an aged Russian woman who lives simultaneously in the St. Petersburg of iPods and BMWs and in the starving Leningrad of the Siege; a Venetian art conservator who loves the women of the Renaissance paintings he restores but cannot bear the touch of the woman at his side; a down-and-out slot-machine technician who calculates the probability of his wife s dying. Yet for all their variety of setting and subject, there runs through each of these stories a thread of the miraculous, a suspicion that the transcendent lies just at the edge of perception. We watch the characters of The Law of Miracles struggle toward that transcendence, whether it be through love or art or violence, until we as readers feel like the main character of the Pushcart Prize winning Presently in Ruins that if we could only parse the seemingly random details of our existence some new pattern of meaning would emerge, some new magic that would transform our lives. (Amazon)

Poetry:  Whorled by Ed Bok Lee (Coffee House Press)

What does it mean to be a Global Citizen in an era of constant war, rampant industrialization, and ever-advancing technology? Lees ever-wandering cultural and spiritual nomads struggle to make sense of what it means to be a citizen of an increasingly homeless world. In a world where "all love is immigrant," Whorled confronts and celebrates the many complications of global politics through meditations on war, migration, and culture. In settings from San Francisco to Seoul, the Midwest to Kazakhstan, Ed Bok Lee considers what it means to be a citizen in a world where "you can't win the past / or stalk redemption."Raised in South Korea, North Dakota, and Minnesota, Ed Bok Lee is the author of Real Karaoke People, which won the PEN Open Book Award. He is an assistant professor at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minnesota. (Goodreads)

Young People's Literature:  With or Without You by Brian Farrey (Simon Pulse/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division)

Eighteen year-old Evan and his best friend, Davis, get beaten up for being loners. For being gay. For just being themselves. But as rough as things often seem, at least Evan can take comfort in his sweet, sexy boyfriend Erik--whom he’s kept secret from everyone for almost a year.

Then Evan and Davis are recruited to join the Chasers, a fringe crowd that promises them protection and status. Davis is swept up in the excitement, but Evan is caught between his loyalty to Davis and his love for Erik. Evan’s lied to keep his two worlds separate. Now his lies are about to implode…and destroy the very relationships he’s been trying to protect. (Goodreads)

Reader's Choice:  The Tanglewood Terror by Kurtis Scaletta (Alfred A. Knopf/Random House Children’s Books)

When 13-year-old Eric Parrish comes across glowing mushrooms in the woods behind his house, he's sure there's a scientific explanation. But when they start encroaching on the town—covering the football field and popping up from beneath the floorboards—Eric knows something's seriously wrong. Not that much else is going right: his parents are fighting, his little brother Brian is a little pill, and he's had a falling-out with his football team—over a pig.

Then a runaway girl from a nearby boarding school warns Eric that the fungus could portend the town's doom and leave it in rubble—just like the village that inexplicably disappeared in the exact same spot over 200 years ago. Eric, Brian, and Mandy set out to solve a very old mystery and save the town of Tanglewood. (Goodreads)

 There you have it.  The best books in Minnesota right now.  I am excited to say that the young people's literature winner, Brian Farrey, has agreed to be an author in the spotlight here on BookSnob in the Fall of 2012.  I am really excited about it.

Have a great weekend.
Read Minnesota!