Edit ModuleShow Tags

The San Diego Magazine Book Awards


Published:

It’s March, which means it’s time for the San Diego Magazine Book Awards, honoring the best locally authored books. To be considered for an award, a book has to have been reviewed in this column during the previous calendar year. Picking the winners this year was no easier than last, with so many good titles to choose from. However, like cream in milk, the books included on this page rose to the top:

T. Jefferson Parker’s Silent Joe (Hyperion, $23.95) gets our nod for best fiction. On the surface, it’s a murder mystery, but the story is far more than just the crime. Fallbrook author Parker has been called a writer of “the thinking man’s bestseller,” and in Silent Joe he painstakingly crafts the details of a father’s life—missteps, dishonesty, corruption and all. The adopted son, Joe Trona, is at the center of this story. When his father is murdered, Trona is forced to come to terms with the truth about his father’s life and then turn inward, toward his own painful history.

Two books were chosen as winners in the nonfiction category. The first, Star-Spangled Eden: 19th-Century America Through the Eyes of Dickens, Wilde, Frances Trollope, Frank Harris, and Other British Travelers (Carol & Graf, $26), covers two critical dec-ades in U.S. history—1830 to 1850. La Jolla author James C. Simmons tells the story of those years through the thoughts and words of eight famous British visitors, with colorful, engaging tales of their adventures in America.

The second, Blue Frontier: Saving America’s Living Seas (W.H. Freeman & Co., $24.95), was written by former San Diegan David Helvarg. Although he left in the mid-’80s, journalist Helvarg writes in great detail about San Diego’s problems with ocean pollution, presenting a compelling and disturbing history of maritime America and ocean politics. The book includes interviews with everyone from Navy personnel and oil-industry executives to local surfers and environmental activists.

For best business book, we picked Retirement Bible (Hungry Minds, $34.99), an enormously informative guide to investing for retirement, regardless of your age. San Diego finance writer Lynn O’Shaughnessy wrote this for the layperson, and she covers the intricacies of 401(k) and other retirement plans, IRAs, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. The book also provides step-by-step action plans for investing at and before retirement.

Choosing an exceptional children’s book is always tough, because of our region’s abundance of talent in this area. This year we selected the beautiful, tender-hearted Peepers (Harcourt, $16), written by Eve Bunting and illustrated by James Ransome. As brothers Andy and Jim help ferry tourists around the New England countryside they call home, they crack jokes about their surroundings and the tourists, known as leaf peepers. Despite their bravado, the boys wind up awed at the beauty around them.

Lawrence Hogue gets our vote for best travel book. His All the Wild and Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape (Island Press, $24.95) is a beautifully written record of the landscape and wildlife of the Anza-Borrego Desert, as well as the history of the people associated with it. Hogue also paints a very real picture of the contradictions that arise when we try to manage a wilderness environment.

These were the best in 2001, but nearly every book included in the Books column is worthy of note in some way. Nature’s Virus Killers (M. Evans & Co., $19.95), by La Jolla physician Mark Stengler, is a fascinating look at how viruses work and how the right combination of diet, herbs, vitamins and minerals can inhibit their harmful effects. Tradewinds and Coconuts: A Reminiscence and Recipes from the Pacific Islands (Tuttle Publishing, $34.95), by San Diego food writer Jennifer Brennan, is far more than a recipe collection. She includes the history of island cooking, line drawings of native cookware and enchanting stories of her travels to the region. And Ashes of Aries (St. Martin’s Minotaur, $23.95), the fifth astrologically themed novel from Escondido writer Martha Lawrence, is a fast-paced page-turner of a mystery—complete with kidnapping, arson and murder.

And that’s just for starters. Keep up with San Diego’s finest authors all year long right here in the Books column.

The Winners

Fiction
Silent Joe
T. Jefferson Parker

Nonfiction
Star-Spangled Eden
James C. Simmons

Blue Frontier
David Helvarg

Business
Retirement Bible
Lynn O’Shaughnessy

Children’s
Peepers
Eve Bunting
(illustrated by James Ransome)

Travel

All the Wild and Lonely Places
Lawrence Hogue
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

More »Related Stories

Farmer's Table Is Surprisingly Excellent — and Disappointing

The La Mesa restaurant boasts farm-to-table recipes but the only person who is passionate is the chef

Letter from the Editor: To Diet or Dig In?

Editor in chief Erin Meanley Glenny dishes on the June issue of San Diego Magazine

Where to Run in San Diego in June

This month's top 5Ks, 10Ks, marathons, and more
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. The Best of North County 2017
    We scouted the greatest, buzzworthiest things to do, see, sip, and taste north of the 56
  2. A Beer-Lover’s Special (and Very Limited) Beer Alternative
    Cidre Brut, a Génépi-infused cider created by the US Grant Hotel, is a one-of-a-kind taste experience
  3. 89 Things to Do With Your Kids in San Diego
    Camps, classes, and activities for San Diego’s youngest—and perhaps busiest—residents
  4. 10 Scenic Hikes Within an Hour of San Diego
    You’ve mastered all the trails in your area—now plan a Saturday to get outside for a hike and enjoy the views just a bit farther afield
  5. Jason Mraz Is Growing Coffee on a Farm in Oceanside
    We spoke to the musician about all the whys — why food, why farming, why Oceanside, why coffee?
  6. The Flower Fields Debuts a New Bloom
    This year the Carlsbad icon introduces a historic poinsettia display
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Promotions

Go Ahead... Ask McMillin!

At McMillin Realty, we are encouraging you to bring us your real estate questions. We will answer these questions….. for free.

Not Your Grandma's Orthotics

New year, new – shoe? Staying on your feet for long hours at a time just got a whole lot more comfortable with Wiivv’s BASE custom insoles
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module
Edit Module

Connect With Us:

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Sponsored

9 Reasons You Need a Better Barber

Get the look and service you deserve at this East Village salon

Enter a Drawing You Could Actually Win

There are more than 1,700 prizes in the Dream House Raffle
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit Module Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags