Reading about Alaska
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Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.
Here's a review from Books in Review (firstthings.com):
Its central figure, a recent college graduate named Chris McCandless, is spiritually ill at ease in his well-to-do East Coast bourgeois home and strikes out on his own, impelled by a need to make a new life for himself.
Determined to live authentically on the edge, he makes his way to Alaska where, provisioned with ten pounds of rice and a collection of his favorite paperbacks, he establishes himself north of Mt. McKinley in an abandoned Fairbanks city bus and proceeds to live off the land, supplementing his rice with moose meat, small game, and berries.
Touching Spirit Bear, which is a YA novel I love.
A brief review (with spoilers cut) from Mikaelsens' website:
Within Cole Matthews lies anger, rage and hate. Cole has been stealing and fighting for years. This time he caught Peter Driscal in the parking lot and smashed his head against the sidewalk. Now, Peter may have permanent brain damage÷and Cole is in the biggest trouble of his life.
Cole is offered Circle Justice: a system based on Native American traditions that attempts to provide healing for the criminal offender, the victim, and the community. With prison as his only alternative, Cole plays along. He says he wants to repent, but in his heart, Cole blames his alcoholic mom, his abusive dad, wimpy Peter÷everyone but himself÷for his situation.
Cole receives a one-year banishment to a remote Alaskan island.
Didn't the dude from Into the Wild die out in the wilds? Or was it another guy who wanted to get away from it all and failed miserably?
I really enjoyed reading the book and have re-read it several times.
For fiction, I'm considering Alaska, White Fang, Julie of the Wolves and Mrs. Mike. I can't seem to decide on one or even two!
I have the opposite issue with non-fiction. The only two that interest me each have a negative. Coming into the Country is supposedly dated and Into the Wild is about someone who I think did something very stupid.
Anyone have some additional non-fiction ideas?
(Edited to fix the touchstones
into the wild is a fascinating story, and it's a success as a book because it goes beyond the news headline (depressing stupid fatal misake) and explores the emotional, philophical and psychological reasons behind why the subject did what he did. It explores how many others have, or almost have, followed his path, and how some wish they would. There are peolple jealous of him. What is depressing is that he failed while coming so close to surviving it. Of course, had he survived there would be no book.
If your looking for a nonfiction discussion of Alaska, it's history, culture, wildlife, or whatever, then this isn't your book. But, if your looking for something you can't put down and that will stay with you, then this might be it.
edited for a couple typo's
something weird is happening here! The book is Race across Alaska by Libby Riddles and Tim Jones. It's an account of the Iditarod race from the point of view of the first woman to win that race. Engrossing.
My legislator has written several books, Mike Doogan.
I also love Libby Riddles, and she wrote a cute children's book called "Danger: The Dog Yard Cat" a big favorite of my kid's and now their kids.
Heather Lende as recommended in #12 above is probably the best picture of my Alaskan perspective, even though I live in Anchorage, the biggest city, still just several neighborhoods close together.
My opinion - forget the goofy "Into the Wild" and that dumb guy that got eaten by a bear, really folks, we aren't like that. Any questions, we'd love to see you up here for a visit (smile).
Snowstruck sounds interesting. I know nothing about avalanches except that they are very powerful and should be avoided at all costs. Since I last posted here I have read Cold Hands Warm Heart by Jeff King which I found not nearly as interesting as Race Across Alaska by Libby Riddles and Tim Jones. Jeff King's book seemed rather dull to me: Interesting facts but a bit lifeless. Riddles and Jones gave me the facts and told a better story.