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2009 Rainbow Awards: Best Non Fiction Book



And the Rainbow Award goes to:

1) The First Risk by Charles Jensen, Lethe Press

In four extended sequences, The First Risk confronts the murder of Matthew Shepard and the myth of Venus and Adonis through the eyes of Italian Renaissance painter Luca Cambiaso; the eccentric women of Pedro Almodovar's All About My Mother and their search for authenticity; the nature of love and obsession in Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo and the pain and confusion of loss; and ''The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon,'' the compelling novella-in-verse of a physicist in search of his lost wife, haunted by a phantom voice that may or may not be hers...

2) A Report from Winter by Wayne Courtois, Lethe Press

"Well, it's hard to give the opinion since it's a memoir. But the author did a good job, describing the process of painful cutting the cord and bury the demons from his childhood." Caroline

A Report from Winter is a death-in-the-family story, a love story, and a meditation on the meaning of ''winter''--as a season and as a metaphor for family relationships. It's January 1998, and southern Maine is recovering from one of the worst ice storms in history. Into this unforgiving environment comes the author, flying home from Kansas City after a ten-year absence. His mother, Jennie, is dying of cancer. Though receiving excellent care in a nursing home, she has lost the ability to communicate. Needing support, Wayne makes an SOS call to Ralph, his longtime partner. Ralph boards a plane to Portland for his first exposure to a Maine winter, and to Wayne's family as well, including a feisty aunt and an emotionally distant brother. The contrast between a nurturing gay relationship and dysfunctional family bonds is as sharp as the wind sweeping in from the sea. Stubbornly unsentimental, A Report from Winter weaves childhood memories of winter with the harsh realities of living in a family where there's not enough love to go around. The memoir is a tribute to hard-won relationships built on mutual trust and understanding, defying an uncaring world.

3) The Underwater Hospital by Jan Steckel, Zeitgeist Press

"It gives a voice to the medical folks in the New Orleans hospitals who had to try to keep people alive with no idea of when - or even if -- help would come. I can't imagine anything worse than having lives in my hands and no tools or medicine to help them." Lee Rowan

This poetry chapbook is from Pushcart-nominated writer Jan Steckel, who is a bisexual activist and a Harvard- and Yale-trained pediatrician. She served as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Dominican Republic and cared for Spanish-speaking families in CA at a county hospital and at a large HMO. Her poems, short stories and nonfiction pieces have appeared in Scholastic Magazine, Yale Medicine, So to Speak, Margin and Lodestar Quarterly.

Honorable Mention:
4) The Memory Palace by JoSelle Vanderhooft
5) The Gay Face of God by Bruce J. Simpson
Tags: author: charles jensen, author: jan steckel, author: wayne courtois, rainbow awards 2009
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