At the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Fall Trade Show, the PNBA Awards Committee presented an overview of some nominated titles by northwest authors and illustrators that have captured their hearts this year. Committee chair Kim Hooyboer of Third Place Books (Seward Park, Seattle, WA) explained that this year a record-breaking 421 titles were nominated. She explained how the awards are meant “to honor and raise up an incredible and diverse range of voices in our region.” The shortlist for the Awards will be announced in November, and the winners will be announced in January 2018.
The Child Finder by Rene Denfeld. “Denfeld has the ability to tap the ocean of emotion inside her and uses her spare, delicate prose with grace and surgical precision to deliver this stunning story.” –Dianah Hughley, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR
Dianah also mentioned how much she loved The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch and The Mercy of the Tide by Keith Rosson.
The Clockwork Dynasty by Daniel Wilson. “Steampunk collides with historical fiction to create a unique sci-fi thriller.” –Cedar Goslin, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR
Cedar noted that this might be “one of the weirdest books [they] received,” but that could make it just the thing for the right reader, especially since the author manages seamless transitions between two perspectives and represents Oregon (the setting for one storyline) so well.
The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. “There are those among us who prefer solitude and nature over the busy world we’ve become accustomed to; they may be the wisest of all.” –Melissa Opel, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA
Melissa encouraged the audience to imagine not being plugged into technology or even speaking to another human being for 27 years… and then urged us to “unplug. Pick up this book. Read it. You’ll love it.”
Speed of Life by J. M. Kelly. “A book about complex familial relationships, raising a child as a teen mother, and growing up poor in Portland, Oregon.” –Kate Larson, Liberty Bay Books, Poulsbo, WA.
Kate enjoyed that this YA novel was so honest and complex.
Someone You Love Is Gone by Gurjinder Basran. “I read this slight, ghostly novel in one afternoon– engrossed in its multi-generational exploration of grief and family, traveling between Canada and India over several decades.” –Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT
Ariana also mentioned Land on Fire: The New Reality of Wildfire in the West by Gary Ferguson as a book that felt like one of the most timely titles on the list of nominees.
Little Blue Chair written by Cary Fagan and illustrated by BC illustrator Madeline Kloepper. “With whimsical illustrations rich in detail and stunning in composition and color, Madeline Kloepper brings to life the journey of a little blue chair as it changes hands and touches the lives of all who put it to use. A charming testament to the value of ownership and the power of letting things go.” –Erin Kaempf, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR
Erin pointed out that the illustrations in this picture book are full of charming little details and high contrast, creating visual appeal that stands the test of multiple readings.
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie. “Alexie’s memoir is a raw portrait of grief and a soaring celebration of humanity, not just in spite of our flaws, but because of them.” –Kim Hooyboer, Third Place Books, Seattle, WA
Kim celebrated this “incredibly poignant piece of writing” and highly recommends the audio version, read by the author, as well.
Audience members mentioned Idaho by Emily Ruskovich and The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken as favorites.