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Last week two regional organizations announced the finalists for their annual book awards. I've listed the finalists below with links to New West's reviews of the books and author interviews. First, the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association announced the finalists for its Reading the West Book Awards (that's the new name of the MPIBA's longstanding book award series). The shortlist in the Adult category:Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession by Craig Childs (Little, Brown and Co.) • The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) • Volt: Stories by Alan Heathcock (Graywolf Press) • Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America by Eric Jay Dolin (W.W. Norton) • The Ringer by Jenny Shank (The Permanent Press) Also in the Roundup: The finalists for the High Plains Book Awards, The Whitefish Review seeks donations for its ninth issue, The High Desert Journal announces a poetry prize, and the tally on how many books Oprah helped David Wroblewski and Cormac McCarthy sell.

Reading The West & High Plains Book Awards Finalists Announced

Last week two regional organizations announced the finalists for their annual book awards. I’ve listed the finalists below with links to New West’s reviews of the books and author interviews. First, the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association announced the finalists for its Reading the West Book Awards (that’s the new name of the MPIBA’s longstanding book award series).

The shortlist in the Adult category:

Finders Keepers: A Tale of Archaeological Plunder and Obsession by Craig Childs (Little, Brown and Co.)

The Wake of Forgiveness by Bruce Machart (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)

Volt: Stories by Alan Heathcock (Graywolf Press)

Fur, Fortune, and Empire: The Epic History of the Fur Trade in America by Eric Jay Dolin (W.W. Norton)

The Ringer by Jenny Shank (The Permanent Press)

The shortlist in the Children’s category:

Phantoms In The Snow by Kathleen Benner Duble (Scholastic, Inc.)

Starfish by James Crowley (Disney Book Group)

Scumble by Ingrid Law (Penguin Young Readers Group)

The winners will be announced May 31.

The Parmly Billings Library announced the finalists for this year’s High Plains Book Awards for books that contribute “to the understanding of life on the High Plains.” The awards will be presented in Billings on October 15, during the High Plains BookFest that runs from October 13 through 16. The finalists include the following books:

Best First Book Award Finalists:

Bound Like Grass by Ruth McLaughlin (University of Oklahoma Press)

In Poetic Silence: The Floral Paintings of Joseph Henry Sharp by Thomas Minckler

Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home for Dinner by Amy Jo Ehman (Coteau Books)

Best Fiction Award Finalists:

Aliens in the Prime of Their Lives by Brad Watson (W.W. Norton & Company, Inc.)

Ghosts of Wyoming by Alyson Hagy (Graywolf Press)

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (Ballantine Books)

Best Nonfiction Book Finalists:

Bloodshed at Little Bighorn by Tim Lehman (The Johns Hopkins University Press)

Buffalo Bill: Scout, Showman, Visionary by Steve Friesen (Fulcrum Publishing)

Prairie Feast: A Writer’s Journey Home for Dinner by Amy Jo Ehman (Coteau Books )

The World Famous Miles City Bucking Horse Sale by Sneed B. Collard III (Bucking Horse Books)

For the complete list of finalists in the poetry, photography, and more, visit the High Plains Book Award website. According to the press release, “Readers can learn about the finalist books in weekly reviews published throughout the summer in the Sunday magazine section of the Billings Gazette.”

The Whitefish Review is looking ahead to the release of its ninth issue on June 10th. The issue includes work by Sherman Alexie, Bob Shacochis, Rick DeMarinis, Debra Gwartney, Lois Red Elk, and Mary Clearman Blew. (Clearman Blew has a new memoir, This is Not the Ivy League to be published by the University of Nebraska Press in September that I’m eager to read.) The Whitefish Review will celebrate the publication of the new issue with readings by Doug Peacock, Mary Clearman Blew, and Lois Red Elk at The Lodge on Whitefish Lake on June 10th, and they are seeking donations for the silent auction to be held on that night.

The High Desert Journal, based in Bend, Oreg., announced its Obsidian Prize for Poetry. Oregon Poet Laureate Paulann Petersen will judge, and the winner will receive $1,000. Entries are due July 30, 2011.

• I recently received a press release with some data compiled by The Nielsen Company about how many copies books endorsed by Oprah have sold, now that her long-running show is ending. According to Nielsen, 770,000 copies of the Oprah Trade Paperback edition The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by Colorado writer David Wroblewski (Oprah pick #62) have sold, not to mention 259,000 copies of the same book in hardcover, for a total of over one million copies of that book in American editions alone.

As for The Road by New Mexico-based writer Cormac McCarthy, a.k.a. Oprah pick #57, the Oprah Trade Paperback edition sold 1,385,000 copies and the hardcover sold 178,500. That means about 0.5% of all Americans own a copy of The Road, a Pulitzer Prize-winning apocalyptic novel. For all the doom-and-gloom news about books these days, that’s actually pretty encouraging. Here’s to the 0.5% of you who are my kind of people! (And by the way, Cormac McCarthy’s recent joint interview with filmmaker Werner Herzog on NPR’s Science Friday was very interesting–the podcast is available here.)
Please follow me on Twitter and {encode=”jenny@newwest.net” title=”email me”} with any regional books news or events.

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2 comments

  1. Don Zancanella

    Congratulations on your nomination, Jenny, and thanks for continuing to put out such great book features and reviews.

  2. Thanks, Don! And thanks for reading the New West books page.