Reading the North

November 5, 2011 

Champion of Alaskan Huskies

By Katie Mangelsdorf (Publication Consultants, $19.95)

The blurb: This biography tells the story of Joe Redington and how he would go on to become the "Father of the Iditarod."

Excerpt: "The Redingtons now had their first Alaska winter under their belt. Spring was poking its nose around the corner and Joe had made a decision. Time to build a new cabin. This new cabin would have only one stove to stoke this time. And no running water. The first batch of mosquitoes made its grand and noisy entrance. Though their bite was weak, their size foretold the next wave of vicious and voracious mosquitoes. What the second wave lost in size, they sure made up in numbers. But as most Alaskans do, the Redingtons learned to overlook those noisome insects and tune in only to the work at hand. Joe learned that 'if you don't make a fuss at them, they won't make a fuss at you.'

"Vi added with a smile, 'When people fuss about mosquitoes now, I just kinda laugh.'

"Joe had a house to build."

2012 to Oneness: What World Do You Choose?

By Lizette Estelle Stiehr (Northbooks, $22)

The blurb: A collection of poetry, Stiehr offers a view of the year 2012 as an end of an era, not the end of the world, drawing inspiration from extensive study of the Mayan calendar.

Excerpt: "No one snowflake

"thinks it is responsible

"for the avalanche.

"Yet as each crystalline form

"seeks to reflect the light,

"the light switch

"is turned on.

"No more shoveling out the dark.

"The balance has shifted.

"An avalanche of Light!"

Alaska Quarterly Review

Edited by Ronald Spatz (University of Alaska Anchorage, $6.95)

The blurb: The literary journal is published twice each year and features collections in fiction, nonfiction and poetry.

Excerpt: "It happens when she's in the checkout line at Kroger: the child ahead of her -- a toddler, no more than three, says loudly, 'Mommy, did that lady eat a baby?' He's staring at Gretel's bright red sweatshirt.

"The toddler's mother is in high heels. Her hair is perfect. She smiles at Gretel and says, 'I'm sorry about him. When are you due?'

" 'I didn't eat a baby,' Gretel informs the toddler. Then, to his mother: 'I'm not pregnant, I'm fat. You should teach your son that it's rude to ask personal questions.'

"Then she leaves her cart where it is and steps out the sliding doors into the Mississippi sunshine."

-- Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

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