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PNBA BOOK AWARDS

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2023 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award Winners

Each year, the PNBA Book Awards celebrate exceptional books written by Northwest authors. The books on this page were selected by a dedicated volunteer committee of independent booksellers out of hundreds of nominated titles all published in 2022. Congratulations to this year’s winners!

The Wok: Recipes and Techniques

by Kenji López-Alt (Seattle, WA)

The Wok is an beautiful introduction to and exploration of the pan that is certain to become the most versatile in your kitchen. Filled with tricks and technique, featuring thoughtful and scientific sidebars, and loaded to the rim with recipes and photos—whether a novice considering your first wok or a seasoned cook looking to up your game, you cannot go wrong with a teacher like Kenji!

W.W. Norton & Company

The Necessity of Wildfire: Poems

by Caitlin Scarano (Bellingham, WA)

The poems in Caitlin Scarano’s The Necessity of Wildfire burn slowly but searing, her words lulling readers into a sense of comfort in the exploration of the minutiae of everyday life only to be suddenly startled into a higher clarity. The collection is complex and compelling, revealing a connection to both the personal and universal experience. These poems make an impact upon first reading and will affect you each and every time you return.

Blair

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century: Stories

by Kim Fu (Seattle, WA)

This collection of short stories reflects on family, coming of age, grief, relationships, and both the promise and uncertainty of the future. Each story is dynamic and thought provoking. It's rare to read a collection where every story stirs something inside. Tin House

Red Paint:

The Ancestral Autobiography of a Coast Salish Punk

by Sasha taqwšəblu LaPointe (Tacoma, WA)

Filled with her own experiences as a person of Coast Salish heritage alongside those of her ancestors, Sasha Lapointe’s Red Paint takes us from her rough childhood and early punk rock days in Washington to graduate school in New Mexico and back. Her journey of self-discovery, including a commitment to live up to her namesake great-grandmother’s legacy as a tribal elder, results in a powerful book and ongoing life story as LaPointe channels legacy into her work as an artist and activist. Counterpoint

Ma and Me: A Memoir

by Putsata Reang (Seattle, WA)

An excellently interwoven story of the refugee experience, Americanization of immigrant children, tension and trauma between mothers and daughters, and the lingering effects of war. With a journalist's eye and a creative writer's heart, Reang has crafted a memorable memoir with poignant lines —worthy of bookmarking for life. MCD/Farrar,

Straus & Giroux

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy: A Novel

by Jamie Ford (Great Falls, MT)

A beautiful and ultimately hopeful story about family, legacy, hurt and healing. Ford does an incredible job of weaving together the stories and trauma of seven generations of women, connecting their hope and heartbreak. Atria Books Paperback release in May!

Pathogenesis : A History of the World in Eight Plagues

by Jonathan Kennedy

available in April, hardcover, Crown

By placing disease at the center of his wide-ranging history of humankind, Kennedy challenges some of the most fundamental assumptions about our collective past—and urges us to view the current moment as another disease-driven inflection point that will change the course of history. Provocative and brimming with insight, Pathogenesis transforms our understanding of the human story.

Empress of the Nile : The Daredevil Archaeologist Who Saved Egypt’s Ancient Temples from Destruction

by Lynne Olson

available now, hardcover, Random House

In the 1960s, 50 countries contributed nearly a billion dollars to save a dozen ancient Egyptian temples, built during the height of the pharaohs' rule, from drowning in the floodwaters of the new Aswan High Dam. But the massive press coverage of this unprecedented rescue effort completely overlooked the gutsy French archaeologist who made it all happen. Without the intervention of Christiane Desroches-Noblecourt, the temples would be at the bottom of a huge reservoir.

Sensational : The Hidden History of America's "Girl Stunt Reporters"

by Kim Todd

available in April, hardcover, Harper

A vivid social history that brings to light the “girl stunt reporters” of the Gilded Age who went undercover to expose corruption and abuse in America, and redefined what it meant to be a woman and a journalist—pioneers whose influence continues to be felt today.

Closing out Women’s History Month at Village Books in Fairhaven

Friday, March 31, 7pm

KIM TODD

A Fever in the Heartland : The Ku Klux Klan’s Plot to Take Over America, and the Woman Who Stopped Them

by Timothy Egan

available in April, hardcover, Viking "With meticulous detective work, Timothy Egan shines a light on one of the most sinister chapters in American history—how a viciously racist movement, led by a murderous conman, rose to power in the early 20th century. A Fever in the Heartland is compelling, powerful, and profoundly resonant today." –David Grann, author of The Wager and Killers of the Flower Moon

On Savage Shores : How Indigenous Americans Discovered Europe

by Caroline Dodds Pennock

available now, hardcover, Knopf

A landmark work of narrative history that shatters our previous Eurocentric understanding of the Age of Discovery by telling the story of the Indigenous Americans who journeyed across the Atlantic to Europe after 1492. Drawing on their surviving literature and poetry and subtly layering European eyewitness accounts against the grain, Pennock gives us a sweeping account of the Indigenous American presence in, and impact on, early modern Europe.

Culture : The Story of Us from Cave Art to K-Pop

by Martin Puchner

available now, hardcover, W.W. Norton & Co.

For millennia, humanity has sought to understand and transmit to future generations not just the “know-how” of life, but the “know-why”—the meaning and purpose of our existence, as expressed in art, architecture, religion, and philosophy. From Nefertiti’s lost city to the plays of Wole Soyinka; from the theaters of ancient Greece to Chinese travel journals to Arab and Aztec libraries; from a South Asian statuette found at Pompeii to a time capsule left behind on the Moon, Puchner tells the gripping story of human achievement through our collective losses and rediscoveries, power plays and heroic journeys, innovations, imitations, and appropriations.

WACO : David Koresh, the Branch Davidians, and a Legacy of Rage

by Jeff Guinn

available now, hardcover, Simon & Shuster

A fascinating account of the events that went down on the Branch Davidian's compound in Waco, Texas and an analysis of the US government's involvement.Guinn does an excellent job finding connections between these moments, the January 6th Insurrection, and the Oklahoma city bombing. I found this book to be very thought-provoking. –Maddie

The Peking Express : The Bandits Who Stole a Train, Stunned the West, and Broke the Republic of China

by James M. Zimmerman

available in April, hardcover, PublicAffairs

In 1923 Shanghai, native and foreign travelers alike are enthralled by the establishment of a new railway line to distant Peking. With this new line comes the Peking Express, a luxurious express train on the cutting edge of China’s continental transportation. But the train’s passengers are not the only ones enchanted by the Peking Express. The bandit revolutionary Sun Mei-yao sees in it the promise of a reckoning long overdue. From his vantage in Shantung Province, a conflict-ravaged region through which the train must pass, he identifies the Peking Express as a means of commanding the global stage.

Crooked : The Roaring 20s Tale of a Corrupt Attorney General, a Crusading Senator, and the Birth of the American Political Scandal

by Nathan Masters

available in March, hardcover, Hachette Books

Newly elected to the Senate on a promise to root out corruption, Burton "Boxcar Burt" Wheeler sets his sights on ousting Attorney General Harry Daugherty, puppet-master behind President Harding’s unlikely rise to power. Daugherty is famous for doing whatever it takes to keep his boss in power, and his cozy relations with bootleggers and other scofflaws have long spawned rumors of impropriety. But when his constant companion and trusted fixer, Jess Smith, is found dead of a gunshot wound in the apartment the two men share, Daugherty is suddenly thrust into the spotlight, exposing the rot consuming the Harding administration to a shocked public.

The Dirty Tricks Department : Stanley Lovell, the OSS, and the Masterminds of World War II Secret Warfare

by John Lisle

available in March, hardcover, St. Martin’s Press

This is the untold story of the OSS Research and Development Branch—

“The Dirty Tricks Department”—and its role in World War II. In the summer of 1942, Stanley Lovell received a mysterious order to report to an unfamiliar building in Washington, D.C. When he arrived, he was led to a barren room where, after a disconcerting amount of time, William “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the OSS, walked in the door. “You know you’re Sherlock Holmes, of course,” Donovan said as an introduction. “Professor Moriarty is the man I want for my staff … I think you’re it.” Following this life-changing encounter, Lovell became the head of a secret group of scientists who developed dirty tricks for the OSS, the precursor to the CIA.

Still Life With Bones : Genocide, Forensics, and What Remains

by Alexa Hagerty available in March, hardcover, Crown I want to shout from the rooftops how incredible and important this book is. Personal accounts of the Guatemalan and Argentinian genocides alongside the forensic proof Hagerty examines are astounding. This is a heavy but beautiful book full of gut-wrenching stories, I implore anyone interested in war, history, or humanity to ingest it. –Kiana

"Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it!" Well, here is your chance to prepare yourself for the future. Join the Village Books Armchair Historians Book Group - "understanding the past!"

We meet the second Monday of each month from 6pm to 7:30pm in the Fairhaven Village Books Readings Gallery. Discussion titles listed at villagebooks.com.