ForeWord Reviews Announces 2011 Book of the Year Award Winners

ForeWord Reviews is thrilled to present the following book titles as award winners.
 
June 29, 2012 - PRLog -- ForeWord Reviews is pleased to announce the winners of the 2011 Book of the Year Awards and the Independent Publisher of the Year.
At a ceremony today at ALA’s Annual Conference in Anaheim, California, ForeWord named 209 Book of the Year Award winners in 54 categories. These books, representing the best independently published works from 2011, were selected by a panel of librarian and bookseller judges.
Two books were also named Editor’s Choice Prize winners, a distinction that comes with a $1,500 cash prize. The Editor’s Choice Prize for Fiction was given to The Permanent Press for All Cry Chaos by Leonard Rosen (978-1-57962-222-0).
“It’s a rare pleasure to find a protagonist who reads like a literary figure in a thriller,” said editor-in-chief Julie Eakin.
Wolverine Farm Publishing was presented with the Editor’s Choice Prize for Nonfiction for its book, Logodaedaly by Erzsébet Gilbert (978-0-9823372-9-5).
“Logodaedaly defies categorization,” said Kimber Bilby, ForeWord’s marketing and awards director. “It's not a true reference book, but it is a beautifully written book about words—albeit quirky, obscure ones that I'm sure you've never heard of! Gilbert’s magical dictionary is a linguistic delight.”
The other category winners were selected by dozens of librarians and booksellers who are experts in the subject matter of the books they judged, and who make purchasing decisions daily for their collections or bookstores.
Chelsea Green Publishing was named the Independent Publisher of the Year for its significant contributions in the categories of politics and sustainable living. Two outstanding titles from the publisher this year were award winners. They are: Reinventing Fire by Armory B. Lovins and the Rocky Mountain Institute and the much-touted book of essays by Edward Hoagland, Sex and the River Styx.
ForeWord’s founder and publisher, Victoria Sutherland, spoke at the awards ceremony and announced the winners. “After fifteen years of recognizing great books with this award process, I still have an enormous sense of admiration for the title assortment and I’m so thankful for the help of our readership, booksellers and librarians who help us sort out the top choices based on their experiences.”


ForeWord Reviews, a journal dedicated to reviewing independently published books, was established in 1998 and serves as the flagship periodical of booksellers, librarians, agents and publishing professionals who want to access the best from small presses. ForeWord also provides a myriad of services to publishers including international trade representation, Book of the Year Awards, the Clarion fee-for-review service, and an interactive website for the book community at www.forewordreviews.com.  


FICTION/MYSTERY
All Cry Chaos: A Henri Poincaré Mystery
Leonard Rosen
The Permanent Press
Hardcover $29.00 (332pp)
978-1-57962-222-0

   At the age of fifty-seven, Interpol detective Henri Poincare still has the capacity to be shocked and saddened by human brutality. And in this first of a projected series of mysteries Poincare has plenty to be shocked about. He is still haunted at having seen the aftermath of an ethnic slaughter in Bosnia that took the lives of dozens of Muslim men and boys, even though he has tracked down and captured Stipo Banovic, the mild-mannered former librarian who supervised the killings.  
Now Poincare is confronted by another atrocity: Someone has blown up a hotel room in Amsterdam, apparently atomizing a brilliant young math professor from Harvard who was in the city to address an impending meeting of the World Trade Organization. In the course of investigating the explosion, which has all the earmarks of a professional assassination, Poincare turns up a veritable gallery of suspects, ranging from an indigenous-rights firebrand from Peru to a billionaire mutual funds manager in Boston. Poincare’s quest hop-scotches him through Europe, the US, Canada, and back. Meanwhile in France, his extended family is under Interpol protection because Banovic has triggered from his jail cell a plot to kill them all.
There is yet one more element of danger Poincare has to contend with: Millions of fundamentalist Christians around the world are counting down the days until the second coming of Christ, and some of them are blowing themselves up in public places in the hope of hastening the divine return.
Temperamentally, Poincare is principled and by the book. He persistently refuses to tamper with evidence or sidestep the laws he’s vowed to uphold, a moral fastidiousness that prompts a fellow detective to sneer, “You know, this is the reason bad guys win—because scrupulous pricks like you play by the rules.” However, as one calamity after another rains down on Poincare, he has to ask himself if some people aren’t too evil to deserve fair play.
Reduced to a summary, the plot of All Cry Chaos sounds a bit far-fetched, but Rosen takes the time to brush and untangle each thread until his grand tapestry of action is revealed.  Moreover, he thoroughly invests himself in the characters he’s created, making them not just believable but whole. Their speech conveys their immersion in the professions or politics he’s assigned to them, whether it’s a lecturer in theoretical mathematics discussing fractals or a resistance fighter coming to a boil about the evils of imperialism. Poincare himself alternates fluidly between being a no-nonsense investigator and a doting, heart-on-his-sleeve grandfather. Ultimately, his Job-like moral struggles are just as riveting to witness as his analytical processes, and by the end of the book it’s obvious that Poincare has the depth and motivational momentum to sleuth for readers again.
Edward Morris
May 2012


Reference
Logodaedaly, or, Sleight of Words
Erzsébet Gilbert
Wolverine Farm Publishing
Softcover $18.95 (221pp)
978-0-9823372-9-5

Reading dictionaries is a particular delight enjoyed by those who find words fascinating. It may sound silly to those not as enamored of language as logophiles, but this practice builds vocabulary as it aids the mind in acquiring more information.

Erzsébet Gilbert has plucked over a hundred words from the Oxford English Dictionary—that noble tome from which all other dictionaries surely arise—and constructed an abridged version with fictional vignettes in each entry. Not only that, Gilbert skillfully weaves certain characters through the book via these flash-fiction additions. Some examples carry a dreamy quality, while others are clearly meant to be funny as well as clever.

The title refers to having a flair with words, which Gilbert has in abundance. Each entry includes a pronunciation guide, derivation, part of speech, and definition. No linear story line exists as it would in a short story or novel, but the fictional elements of each entry are coherent and complete, as well as containing the use of the word in question.

The genius of this book is in Gilbert’s choice of words that are not typically used in English these days. She devised each entry’s fictive portion with a specific year attached—and then wrote the flash fiction in the style prevalent for that year. Thus, for “wasserman” (a man-shaped sea monster): “(1533 ANONYMOUS. Bestiarium Maestitia) p 11 We depart to fight the Wasserman, and we daren’t go unarmed. For we hath heard those Horros of the Lost Galleon, as tolden by the survivors whose near-drown’d skin hath turned entirely as Weed-of-Sea.”

Illustrator Sherise Talbott’s black-and-white drawings are well-executed whimsies which also visually define the entries where they appear. Some, like the entry for “tribuloid,” “bearing prickly or spiny fruit,” have straightforward illustrations, while others are more fanciful and even humorous. A spider hanging from its silk thread cleverly illuminates “filipendulous.”

Logodaedaly would make a welcome gift to anyone interested in the English language, from linguists to librarians. It can be sampled at leisure, and indeed should be, because not even logophiles read a dictionary as they would a novel. Opening this book is thrilling, something like getting a box of chocolates with no guide to what’s inside them. Verbal effervescence of this caliber is a rare treat. Highly recommended.

J. G. Stinson
November 18, 2011
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