A Shiver of Memories: My Life in the Slow Lane
By Linda Mae Usher (Linda Mae Usher)
The blurb: The rural Michigan resident offers a memoir of her life, which includes more than 27 years in Alaska, which included a time without electricity, plumbing or a telephone.
Excerpt: "I'm pretty sure my birth went unnoticed by most of the world, but I'll start this story there, even though I don't remember it. As a matter of fact, I don't remember much about the next few years either. This is unfortunate because I have no way to refute certain stories my sister Judy tells, about what I was like during this time. Since she is almost 13 years older than me, she had the privilege of being my babysitter many times. She says that I was stubborn, but I refuse to believe it!
Here is one of Judy's stories: Sometimes she would tell me something, such as, 'Stay out of the street; there's a car coming!' I would reach out my hand toward her and pretend I was turning off the radio, twisting the imaginary dial with a loud 'Click!' She says that once I had turned her off, nothing she could say would get through to me. Wasn't she lucky to be my babysitter?"
Wi-Fi and the Bad Boys of Radio: Dawn of a Wireless Technology
By Alex Hills (Dog Ear Publishing, $16.95)
The blurb: After being a teenage ham radio enthusiast, Hills worked to bring radio, TV and telephone service to northern Alaska, leading a small band of innovators to overcome "the band boys of radio" -- the unpredictable behavior of radio waves -- and build the network that would become the forerunner to today's wi-fi.
Excerpt: "It's a small town. It could be anywhere in the American Midwest. There are no traffic lights in the town center -- only a flashing red light at the main intersection, where a farm tractor halts and then crawls forward. Radio waves swirl everywhere, but they are invisible.
Each day the little hamlet wakes up, rubs its eyes, and begins to move. One by one, cars stop at the blinking light. They pause and proceed deliberately along Main Street -- with extra care when children are nearby. People drift in and out of the Main Street shops, stopping to chat with friends and neighbors. A raised voice is rarely heard. It's a friendly little place, and, except for the occasional political dispute, everyone gets along."
-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News