Real Alaskan Fish Tales
By Loren Pitchford (Windjammer Press, $16.95)
The blurb: Retired oil executive and 30-year Alaska resident Loren Pitchford shares anecdotes and recommendations on where to go, what to use and how to catch more fish.
Excerpt: "Opening Day of fishing in Alaska is not like opening day anywhere else. For example, in the Lower 48 states you are graced, for the most part, with four distinct seasons each year, namely Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. In Alaska you are graced with five seasons most years including: Early Winter, Mid Winter, Late Winter, Break-up, and Summer. As a consequence the fishing for most Alaskans is dictated primarily by these seasons.
"In Alaska you don't go fishing during the winter months in freezing temperatures and ice and snow unless you're a member of the lunatic fringe of ice fisherman who enjoy that kind of misery. And you don't go fishing during 'break-up' because that's when the rivers are pure mud and running at flood state. So, instead, you patiently wait for 'break-up' to run its course and the first signs of green vegetation to appear."
The Chukchi Bible
By Yuri Rytkheu (Archipeligo Books, $16)
The blurb: A collection of myths and stories of the author's own family, this book serves as both a history of the Chukchi people who inhabit the shores of the Bering and Chukchi seas and a cautionary tale.
Excerpt: "A Raven, flying over an expanse. From time to time he slowed his flight and scattered his droppings. Wherever solid matter fell, a land mass appeared; wherever liquid fell became rivers and lakes, puddles and rivulets. Sometimes First Bird's Excrements mingled together, and this created the tundra marshes. The hardest of the Raven's droppings served as the building blocks for scree slopes, mountains, and craggy cliffs.
"Yet the world created from the stomach and bladder of the First Bird was still immersed in utter darkness."
The Clara Nevada: Gold, Greed, Murder and Alaska's Inside Passage
By Steven C. Levi (The History Press, $19.99)
The blurb: The Alaska historian pieces together an account of the Clara Nevada's final voyage, attempting to solve the riddle of the lost steamer that resurfaced 10 years after a tragic night and became known as Alaska's ghost ship.
Excerpt: "On the evening of February 5, 1989, the night the Clara Nevada left Skagway, every possible maritime factor was mitigating against the ship. It was an old, poorly refitted and marginally operational vessel. Its crew was of questionable ability and virtue. It was steaming the turbulent winter waters of Alaska's Inside Passage, running before a ninety-mile-an-hour wind churning up waves cresting at twelve to fifteen feet. It was also snowing. Such a night, mariners today remark, would have made a 'dead fisherman quiver.' "
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News