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The 30th Northern California Book Awards honors the best in Bay Area publishing

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California before us: Local author Laura Cunningham's book is nominated for a Northern California Book Award

arts@sfbg.com

LIT This week brings the 30th installment of the National California Book Awards. Some of the books up for awards have been written about in the Guardian during the past year, including Rebecca Solnit's Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, Richard O. Moore's Writing the Silences, and Destiny Disrupted: A History of the World Through Islamic Eyes, by the 2011 Fred Cody Award for Lifetime Achievement winner Tamim Ansary. Local authors, editors, and translators among this year's nominees include Solnit, Moore, Aife Murray, Brian Teare, Damion Searls, Michael Alenyikov, John Sakkis (who has contributed to the Guardian), Kate Moses, Matthew Zapruder, Lewis Buzbee, Neelanjana Bannerjee, and Pireeni Sundaralingam.

The 2011 edition of NCBA arrives at a time when the value and resolve of independent booksellers is clear. For many years, Borders and other chain stores seemed poised to kill small businesses devoted to selling books, and in fact, chain marketing undoubtedly has had a negative impact on individual shops. But Borders recently filed for bankruptcy, while a number of unique booksellers in the Bay Area and beyond continue to survive and thrive. Thanks to the Berkeley-based Small Press Distribution and San Francisco shops such as Needles & Pens, small publishing is also alive and within real-life reach. Here is the list of this year's NCBA nominees, for the next time you venture into the neighborhood bookshop or library.

 

FICTION

 Ivan and Misha, stories, Michael Alenyikov (TriQuarterly Books, 212 pages, $18.95)

 Heidegger's Glasses, Thaisa Frank (Counterpoint, 320 pages, $25)

 Gold Boy, Emerald Girl, stories, Yiyun Li (Random House, 240 pages, $25)

 Death is Not an Option, stories, Suzanne Rivecca (W.W. Norton, 22 pages, $23.95)

 The More I Owe You, Michael Sledge (Counterpoint, 320 pages, $15.95)

GENERAL NONFICTION

 Winner-Take-All Politics: How Washington Made the Rich Richer—And Turned Its Back on the Middle Class, Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson (Simon & Schuster, 368 pages, $27)

 The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, Michael Lewis (W. W. Norton, 320 pages, $15.95)

Maid as Muse: How Servants Changed Emily Dickinson's Life and Language, Aífe Murray (University Press of New England, 324 pages, $35)

 Aftershock: The Next Economy and America's Future, Robert B. Reich (Alfred A. Knopf, 273 pages, $27.95)

 The Twilight of the Bombs: Recent Challenges, New Dangers, and the Prospects for a World Without Nuclear Weapons, Richard Rhodes (Alfred A. Knopf, 400 pages, $29.95)

 

CREATIVE NONFICTION

 Not by Chance Alone: My Life as a Social Psychologist, Elliot Aronson (Basic Books, 304 pages, $27.50)

• A State of Change: Forgotten Landscapes of California, Laura Cunningham (Heyday, 352 pages, $50)

• Cakewalk, a memoir, Kate Moses (The Dial Press, 368 pages, $26)

 Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, Rebecca Solnit (University of California Press, 167 pages, $24.95)

 Deep Blue Home: An Intimate Ecology of Our Wild Ocean, Julia Whitty (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 256 pages, $24)

 

POETRY

 Suck on the Marrow, Camille T. Dungy (Red Hen Press, 88 pages, $18.95)

Trance Archive: New and Selected Poems, Andrew Joron (City Lights Publishers, 120 pages, $14.95)

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