Fishes of the Last Frontier
By William J. Hauser (Publication Consultants, $19.95)
The blurb: Written by a fishery scientist with more than 30 years of experience in Alaska, the book examines the biology, ecology and management of 43 fish species.
Excerpt: "The lake chub is a minnow. It is the only minnow we have in Alaska waters, and although many Alaskans will say they have seen a minnow in Alaska, few have. How many times have you said something like, 'Wow! Look at all those minnows!' 'Oh, it's just a minnow.' I've heard a number of people say things like that and it makes me smile inside because, although I understand the intent of the speaker, to me, the word minnow has a particular meaning. What exactly is a minnow?
"The term minnow is a general term that many people use to refer to almost any small and often silvery fish. Most often, they are considered to be important only as bait for larger fish. To a fish biologist, however, a minnow is a member of a particular family of fish, Cyprinidae, the minnow family. The minnow family includes carps, goldfish, shiners, chubs, and more."
The City Beneath the Snow
By Marjorie Kowalski Cole (University of Alaska Press Fairbanks, $22.95)
The blurb: This collection of short stories paints a portrait of contemporary Alaskans.
Excerpt: "Penny Lampson drove from Fairbanks to Delta Junction three times a year to pick up goat milk yogurt for her skin cream business. She took along her son, Kelly, so he could enjoy the goats. The long drive, an hour and a half, was a little boring for him, but in the past year of troubles, Penny's wandering-through-the-desert year she called it, the round-trip was a bit of an oasis. Kelly was good at daydreaming; he could make the time pass. Just north of Delta they'd bounce two miles over a rough road to the Old Believers' goat farm, and he'd get to feed peanuts and grass to the goats while Mom loaded the gallon tubs of yogurt into her coolers and paid the Russian woman. The little Alpine goats were like dogs -- mild and friendly, they liked people. Loved a scratch down the stiff fur of their handsome noses. They followed Kelly with his handful of peanuts all along the fence.
"The Russian woman was younger than Penny. She wore a scarf around her yellow hair, a dress to the middle of her calves, and short rubber boots. She didn't meet Penny's eyes or make small talk."
Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News