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Southern California independent booksellers celebrate 2013 favorites

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The Southern California Independent Booksellers Assn. -- SCIBA -- celebrated its favorite books of the last year and got to know some writers with books on the way Friday night at its 2013 Authors Feast.

The event includes the SCIBA Awards, a look into its trade show, which continues today, and a dinner at which authors with upcoming books had to switch tables, speed-dating style. Bestselling thriller writer Jeffery Deaver, whose book "The October List" debuts next week, gave the keynote address.

To be eligible for the awards, books must in some way reflect the Southern California experience, and the author must live in the region, Mexican border north to Morro Bay. Winners were:

Fiction: "Mary Coin" by Marisa Silver, who did not attend

Nonfiction: "Little Flower: Recipes from the Cafe" by Christine Moore. "This isn't my world; I live in a kitchen," Moore said. Having a book of recipes, she said accepting the award, "is a dream for every cook."

Glen Goldman Art, Architecture and Photography: "Rock 'n' Roll Billboards of the Sunset Strip" by Robert Landau. Landau explained that he began shooting Sunset Strip billboards when he was a boy and lived near the Strip.

T. Jefferson Parker Mystery Award: "What the Heart Remembers" by Debra Ginsberg, who did not attend.

Young Adult Fiction: "Far Far Away" by Tom McNeal. McNeal noted he has two teen sons who play sports. "They're very keen on awards," he said. "Now I get to go home and say I won one."

Middle Grade Fiction: "Write This Book" by Pseudonymous Bosch. "I'm supposed to be a mysterious secret author," Bosch said from the stage, undisguised, "but I've known half of you a long time now." However, he did ask the photographer not to snap his picture.

Picture Book: "The Dark" by John Klassen and Lemony Snicket. Klassen, who won the 2013 Caldecott medal for another picture book, "This Is Not My Hat," which is very sweet, admitted, "I love being scared by picture books."

The dinner included 39 authors switching tables once, giving them a chance to meet two tables full of booksellers, local publishing house reps, and the occasional journalist. Most of those authors have books coming out this fall or in early 2014.

Oren Teicher, head of the national American Booksellers Assn., was in attendance, and was unsurprisingly upbeat about the state of bookselling. New stores are opening all the time, and people who own independent bookstores are devoted to them. The biggest challenge they face, he said, was how swiftly the business is changing.

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Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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