For hikers and other earthy-crunchy types, the National Outdoor Book Awards offer plenty of good leads on books for the long winter nights. This year, two local efforts made the list.
Lou Ureneck, chairman of the journalism department at Boston University, was a winner in the outdoor literature category with "Backcast: Fatherhood, Fly-fishing, and a River Journey Through the Heart of Alaska.'' From the judges: "'Backcast' plays out like the long and splendid arc of a fly line, unfurling on an Alaskan river trip that Lou Ureneck has arranged to re-connect with his son. As the trip progresses, Ureneck reflects back on his own life while adroitly capturing the sometimes hilarious and sometimes serious interactions between himself and his son. The result is a realistic and heartwarming story of a father and his son—and a work of outdoor literature of the highest order."
The other homegrown book -- one I wrote about last year -- hones in on a world away. "Arctic Wings: Birds of the Artic National Wildlife Refuge" edited by Stephen Brown, a director at the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences, was a winner in the design and artistic merit category. From the judges: "'Arctic Wings' establishes a new benchmark in the art and literature of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. This is not only a book of exceptional photography, but it also includes solid and factual information, along with a series of essays by noted biologists and conservationists. Topping off this stylish, impressively designed book is an included CD of the birdsongs of the refuge."