The Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association (PNBA), a non-profit association of independent bookstores from five Northwest states, Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, each year picks six or more authors to be promoted in member stores during the winter and spring of 2018. This year’s Committee considered more than 420 nominated titles published during 2017 for a 2018 award.
Winners were announced in early January.The Association produces educational and promotional events and materials for its members and offers literacy, free speech, and author promotional vehicles through its member stores.
Since 1965, the PNBA annual Book Awards have recognized such luminary figures in Northwest literature as Ivan Doig, Ursula K. Le Guin, David James Duncan, Cheryl Strayed, Jonathan Evison, Erik Larson, Chuck Palahniuk, and Sherman Alexie. Many of these authors were honored by PNBA before they received national attention.
PNBA’s Awards Committee is comprised of nine volunteer booksellers from throughout our member region. The 2018 winners are below:
You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me
Using both poetry and prose, Alexie lays bare his complicated feelings about his “wildly intelligent, arrogant, opinionated, intimidating” mother’s life and death, weaving a tapestry of memories both harrowing and hilarious. His complex exploration of grief and reconciliation leaves no question unasked, no cruelty unexposed, and no pain hidden. Readers will be grateful for the opportunity to understand a conflicted son mourning an imperfect mother.
—PNBA Awards Committee
Hachette Book Group / Little, Brown and Company
American War A Novel
Omar El Akkad
This is the story of America at war with itself, and Omar El Akkad has some news for you: it’s more frightening than you could ever imagine. Using years as a professional journalist as his catalyst, El Akkad imagines an America fighting over fossil fuel, where the sides fall via familiar pisions: North and South, blue and red. American War is a beautifully written but brutal wake-up call for all of us who think it can’t happen here. —PNBA Awards Committee
Penguin Random House / Alfred A. Knopf
The Book of Mistakes
As with so many of the best stories, this one begins with a mistake: specifically, an errant splotch on an otherwise perfect illustration. While this mistake easily evolves into a feature within Luyken’s developing pen-and-ink drawings, the mistakes just keep coming. And they keep turning into wonderfully charming good ideas until a whole and beautiful little world is created, mistakes and all. The ever-encouraging message about turning mistakes upside down or right side up makes this the perfect book for a budding (or well-entrenched) perfectionist! —Phinney Books
Penguin Random House / Dial Books for Young Readers
In 2008, artists Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring made a letterpress broadside featuring a quote by suffragist Elizabeth Cady Stanton: “Come, come my conservative friend, wipe the dew off your spectacles and see the world is moving.” This began a years-long project, printing broadsides inspired by feminists throughout history and donating a portion of the proceeds to appropriate causes. This book collects all twenty-four broadsides in luscious color. While O’Leary and Spring’s definition of “feminist” is broad at times, they dig deep to feature lesser-known and under-lauded women. Wonderful for budding activists and designers. —Elliott Bay Book Company
Penguin Random House / Sasquatch Books
Idaho City, ID
Wade and Jenny porced after that horrific day on the mountain years before. Ann, Wade’s new wife, wishes to unravel the mystery of that day yet, fearing his pain, she can’t bring herself to confront her him. As the years pass and he slips into early dementia, Ann sees her last chance for answers disappearing along with Wade’s compromised mind. Lush with details of Ann’s detailed excavation of the imagined inner lives of Wade, Jenny, and their children—the complex web of their actions, motivations, repercussions—Idaho is a devastating and utterly gorgeous tale of marriage, mistakes, guilt, and redemption.
—PNBA Awards Committee
Penguin Random House / Random House
The Science and Spirit of the Ocean
Orcas Island, WA
Surfer, sailor and conservationist Jonathan White has an obvious love for the sea, but this lyrical tribute of science, history and travel tales is much bigger than the author himself. Tides elucidates how the cycle of life on Earth maintains a steady beat with the ebb and flow of the tide and what’s at stake when the rhythm of the ocean is disrupted by climate change. The book is peppered with detailed interviews and is rich with photographs, illustrations, and diagrams that further enhance this captivating read. —PNBA Awards Committee
Trinity University Press
Indie Spirit Honor
Lake Oswego/Portland, OR
Imagine all of these ideas lined up inside him—mutterings, musings, minutia, magic—so tightly packed that by absolute necessity they escape in giant gorgeous bursts of words and laughter and knowing. Once released, there is no stopping them. —Committee Comment