Winners of the 2010 National Outdoor Book Awards

shelved under Nature and Award Winners

The National Outdoor Book Awards call themselves "the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program." Who am I to doubt them? With no further ado, I give you to 2010 Winners of the National Outdoor Book Awards.


Adventures among Ants: A Global Safari with a Cast of Trillions (Winner in the Nature and the Environment Category)

by Mark W. Moffett

Mark Moffett is something of a fanatic when it comes to bugs. He has been variously described as Doctor Bug, Ant Man, or the Indiana Jones of Entomology. It comes as no surprise then, that in this colorfully illustrated book, he would take us for an unusual and far-ranging ride in search of the hidden world of ants. What we discover in their world are behaviors which are strikingly similar to those of humans: warriors, builders, hunters and farmers. We find ants engaged in market economies and production lines, and dealing with hygiene, recycling and warfare. There's a wonderful energy to Moffett's writing. He's rigidly scientific, that's a given, but he makes science fun.


An Entirely Synthetic Fish: How Rainbow Trout Beguiled America and Overran the World (Natural History Literature)

by Anders Halverson

A fascinating story unfolds in the pages of An Entirely Synthetic Fish. Aquatic ecologist, Anders Halverson adeptly chronicles the rise and fall of rainbow trout. Once this highly adaptable species was the fish of choice among wildlife managers, stocked in rivers, streams, and lakes worldwide; and, in fact, it is still the most commonly stocked fish in the US. But more recently, biologists have realized that it competes with native fish, and in some locations it is being eradicated. Nicely blending a balance of natural history, historical information, and personal accounts, Halverson has created a thoroughly engaging and thought-provoking work.


The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating (also in Natural History Literature)

by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

Author Elisabeth Tova Bailey is struggling to recover from a severe illness which has kept her bedridden for months at a time. While barely able to lift her head, she begins to take interest in a common woodland snail residing in a flower pot that a friend has given her. One evening, she watches transfixed as the snail, ever so slowly, begins to eat the withered blossoms of some long-gone flowers. In the quiet of her room, she can hear something... she can hear it eating! In this beautifully written, mesmerizing work, Bailey skillfully merges her own observations with scientific information. In the end, reader and author alike learn that a simple but wondrous little creature can give solace and hope to a life gone awry.


Kook: What Surfing Taught Me About Love, Life, and Catching the Perfect Wave (Outdoor Literature)

by Peter Heller

Peter Heller is on a quest. His quest is to learn in one year how to surf well, to master one big, beautiful hollow wave that only a very experienced surfer can ride. But there's a problem. He is a beginner. In fact, he is a kook, a derisive term in surfing lingo for a bumbling, rank beginner. There's another problem: his love life. In that endeavor, he is also a kook. Middle-aged, with a string of disappointing love affairs, Heller is hopeful that things might change with the new love of his life%u2014Kim, a beautiful woman of Chinese descent. In this rich and gracefully written book, Heller's creative and artistic abilities are on full display. We follow along with him on an insightful, year-long quest as he grapples with the dual, ever capricious, challenges of love and the sea.


Pilgrims of the Vertical: Yosemite Rock Climbers and Nature at Risk (History/Biography)

by Joseph E. Taylor III

This is one of those rare works that treats climbing history as a subject of serious study, rather than a narrative or biography. While clearly academic in nature with 73 pages of endnotes, it is, nevertheless, a fascinating and illuminating read for climbers and non-climbers alike. Author Joseph Taylor views the history of rock climbing through a social and cultural lens. In one chapter "The Moralists," Taylor describes the process by which Yosemite climbers%u2014quite surprisingly for a motley and wildly independent lot%u2014create a moral code, a set of environmental ethics by which to climb. Later in the book we find that key members of the climbing counterculture undergo a metamorphism, and end up embracing mainstream American ideals, going on to successful business and professional careers, and even starting multi-million dollar companies. There's plenty of fat to chew upon here, plenty of ways of examining the world of climbing in a refreshingly new light.


Annapurna (Classic)

by Maurice Herzog

There is no question that Annapurna is an outdoor classic. National Geographic calls it the "most influential mountaineering book of all time." It appears in Sport's Illustrated top 100 sports books, and likewise on Outside Magazine's list of best outdoor books. Brilliantly told by Maurice Herzog, it is the riveting account of the 1950 ascent the 26,493-foot Himalayan giant. What made the climb even more challenging was that it was unknown territory. No one really knew from what side to climb the mountain. Herzog's team reached the summit, a remarkable achievement in itself, but what happened on the descent is some of the most gripping in all of mountaineering literature.


Camping With the President (Children's)

by Ginger Wadsworth, illustrated by Karen Dugan

Camping with the President is a delightful and historically accurate book for children (ages 8-11). It's about two icons of the outdoor world: Theodore Roosevelt, our most outdoorsy president, and John Muir, the world famous naturalist. In May of 1903, President Roosevelt while on a western excursion made a planned stop at Yosemite National Park. Dismissing his Secret Service men and sending reporters away, he and John Muir went off on a camping trip. They spent four days together, chatting about the wonders of the outdoors and discussing the need to protect wild areas. Author Ginger Wadsworth captures those exciting days together, creating a marvelous portrait of the two men. That's complimented perfectly with Karen Dugan's colorful and lively illustrations of the two men.


Captain Mac: The Life of Donald Baxter Macmillian, Arctic Explorer (Also in Children's)

by Mary Morton Cowan

Promising explorers (ages 9-12) will be captivated by this 208-page biography. Moving along briskly, at a pace perfect for young readers, the book is about Donald MacMillan who explored the Arctic for nearly fifty years. MacMillan, a geologist, got his start in Arctic exploration when he accompanied Robert Peary's famous attempt to reach the North Pole in 1908-09. Smitten with the icy northern reaches, he continued going on various scientific and exploratory journeys until the 1950's. Author Mary Morton has done a first-class job with this book, combining solid research and exciting writing and creating a memorable likeness of this pioneering explorer.


Freshwater Fish of the Northeast (Design and Artistic Merit)

by David A. Patterson, illustrated by Matt Patterson

This lovely identification guide to 60 freshwater fish in New England is the result of collaborative work between a father (the author) and his son (the illustrator). What a job Matt Patterson did with the illustrations. He knows his fish and he knows his art. The illustrations are absolutely splendid: accurately rendered and artistically striking. Moreover, the book's designer created a handsome blend of art and text, and in places, even creates the appearance of fish migrating through the book. If you're a serious fisher in the Northeast, or if serious anglers come to visit, this is a book you'll want lying on the coffee table.


Tracks and Sign of Insects and Other Invertebrates: A Guide to North American Species (Nature Guidebook)

by Noah Charney, Charley Eiseman

Tracks and Sign... is an outstanding work and a first-of-its-kind. The purpose of this 592-page guide is to aid in identifying beetles, spiders, flies, ants, slugs, and many other invertebrates from the sign they leave behind. Signs include egg and egg cases, droppings, secretions, webs, cocoons, coverings, galls, burrows, mounds, tracks and trails. Included are 1,000 color photos and some 2,000 species. It's clearly a must-have for anyone who enjoys learning more about the invertebrates.


Exploring Havasupai: A Guide to the Heart of the Grand Canyon (Outdoor Adventure Guidebook)

by Greg Witt

There are any number of tucked away oases in the Grand Canyon, but if there is a Shangri-la, it's Havasupai. The remote and isolated village, also known as Supai, has been home to the Havasupai Indians for centuries. To get to Supai, you have to hike in 8 miles. Two miles beyond Supai is a campground, and explorations of Havasu Canyon and its famous turquoise waters begin from there. This full-color guidebook includes information on flora, geology, cultural history and backcountry trails, but it is the preparatory material which is some of the most useful: obtaining reservations, getting there, where to stay, choice of equipment, and other helpful hints to make your journey to Shangri-la a memorable one.


Sport Climbing: From Top Rope to Redpoint, Techniques for Climbing Success (Instructional)

by Chris Sharma, Andrew Bisharat

Andrew Bishardt is a senior editor at Rock and Ice magazine and he couldn't be better suited to write about sport climbing. He is an accomplished, versatile climber and an equally accomplished author. Bishardt's clear descriptions along with plentiful and instructive photographs provide thorough coverage of the sport. It's all there and all nicely done: history, gear, climbing moves, falling, belaying, motivation, and more.