Faith of Cranes: Finding Hope and Family in Alaska
By Hank Lentfer (Mountaineers Books, $16.95)
The blurb: Hank Lentfer listened to cranes migrating over his home in Southeast Alaska for twenty years before bothering to figure out where they were going. In this memoir, following those cranes would lead him to parenthood and responsibility.
Excerpt: "We stood shoulder to shoulder around the wood stove, rubbing our hands, thawing our bellies, and then turning around to defrost our backs. Frank stuffed more wood into the firebox and another cookie into his mouth. He passed the round -- a triple batch of oatmeal with butterscotch bits and plenty of sugar. Frank had baked them the previous night back in Juneau, before the winds picked up. Anya took a half. Richard grabbed one. I scooped two.
" 'I feel like a rotisserie chicken,' Frank said, spinning by the stove. I laughed, choking on my cookie and spitting crumbs across the cabin's rough plank floor. Anya laughed at me. Richard laughed at Anya. It wasn't all that funny. But we were drunk on the feel of blood returning to near-frozen fingers and toes, giddy to be out of the boat, off the water, and into that tiny palace of a cabin. We giggled our way through a round of cocoa and then a round of tea. Even after I thawed, I stayed near the stove, drawn as much to Anya's smile as to the wood's heat."
In the Footsteps of My Father
By Sheldon A. Gebb
(Publication Consultants, $19.95)
The blurb: Recalling a trek to Alaska from the Yukon over a century ago, Sheldon Gebb tells the story of his father's mining adventures through the elder Gebb's diary.
Excerpt: "In the late 1800s thousands of individuals from all walks of life journeyed to Alaska in search of gold. Few discovered gold and many lost their lives in the process. During his 1909-1909 journey north Dad took many risks and endured hardships that would have ended the life of a lesser man. In order to understand his love of adventure it is instructive to review the varied activities of his formative years, which gave him the confidence to press forward in his quest for gold in the Yukon.
"He was a person who loved being with people and yet was entirely comfortable being alone. He relished jokes no matter the risk of performing them. He was used to working long hours seven days a week and to enduring hardship without complaint. He was a master at getting others to do things for him and at receiving handouts without embarrassment. He had a high opinion of himself and yet showed moments of depression when things did not go his way. He loved to win but hated to lose. His diary demonstrates that the skills he acquired and developed in his early years equipped him well for the adventures and the challenged he encountered in Alaska and the Yukon Territory."
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News