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Alaska!

By Lukie Marriott

As we celebrated longer hours of daylight this spring, I was reading a novel set in the interminable darkness of an Alaskan winter. Yet, despite the lack of daylight (just over 3 ½ hours on the shortest day in Fairbanks), Alaska inspires and fascinates many people who are looking for true wilderness and adventure, plus opportunities for quiet and solitude. Maybe you yourself don’t want to live there, but you can experience it vividly through these books.

  • The Great Alone

    2018 by Hannah, Kristin

    Descriptions of the severe beauty and the pioneer-spirited people who dare to live in Alaska's remote regions are a large part of the appeal of this suspenseful tale of mental illness and abuse, and the determination of a mother and daughter to survive.

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  • Into the Wild

    1996 by Krakauer, Jon

    This is the haunting story of Chris McCandless, who rid himself of all earthly possessions and hiked, mapless and unequipped, into Alaska's interior. Why did he do it? The best-selling author and mountaineer provides some illumination as to why McCandless and others would choose to drop out of society and seek the unknown.

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  • Restless in the Grave

    2012 by Stabenow, Dana

    Edgar winner Dana Stabenow’s two mystery series feature the rugged landscape, native culture, and hardy people of Alaska. In this title, P.I. Kate Shugak (who loves her isolated cabin in the mountains) and State Trooper Liam Campbell work together to clear Liam’s wife of murder.

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  • The Wind Is Not A River

    2014 by Payton, Brian

    Few non-Alaskans know the story of the Japanese invasion of the Aleutian Islands during WWII, the subject of this vivid, well-researched novel. A Library Journal reviewer, who is a former resident of the Aleutians, praised the “accuracy of the author's portrayal of the land and people of the ‘birthplace of the winds.’”

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  • To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel

    2016 by Ivey, Eowyn

    Set in 1885, an explorer expedition sets off into Alaska’s hostile northern interior, woefully unprepared both physically and mentally. The letters that make up the bulk of the novel, between Lt. Col. Allen and his pregnant wife, give dramatic immediacy to the expedition. Ivey’s Alaska Territory is an inscrutable wilderness where only a thin thread separates man and animal, life and death.

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  • The Only Kayak: A Journey Into the Heart of Alaska

    2005 by Heacox, Kim

    Living the past 25 years in Glacier Bay, the “last wild shore,” Heacox writes movingly about the tension between the wilderness and the encroachment of modern life, in what Publishers Weekly calls “a charming reverie on Alaska’s past and a thoughtful look at its future.”

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  • All the Winters After

    2016 by Halverson, Seré Prince

    When Kache returns to his family’s cabin after a 20-year absence, he’s shocked to discover that a woman’s been hiding in it for 10 years. Described by Library Journal as an absolute delight, this book is filled with engaging characters, beautiful scenery, an unusual romance, and adventure.

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  • Going to Extremes

    1980 by McGinniss, Joe

    In the late 1970s, with the trans-Alaska pipeline in full throttle, journalist McGinniss went to see what was left of the "last frontier." What he found was tremendous turmoil, change and contradiction. For a less idealistic look at what Alaska is post-oil boom, McGinniss’ writing is poignant and historically important.

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  • Braving It: A Father, A Daughter, and An Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild

    2016 by Campbell, James

    If you want a taste of wildest Alaska, this father-daughter true tale is the apex. Hunting in 50 below temperatures, the grueling labor of building a cabin, mingling with grizzlies and polar bears, and Campbell's teenaged daughter embraces it all! Braving It is a meditation on wilderness and parenting, and a truly unusual story.

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