Reading the North

September 1, 2012 

Ms. Remorse By Clayton Hanson (Clayton Hanson)

The blurb: The Alaska author's latest novel is about the bond formed between one boy whose father left and mother passed away and another whose family runs a crabbing business in the Bering Sea.

Excerpt: "Nick walked into the bank wearing slacks, a button-up and a baseball cap. Before he had left the house he had checked to make sure that the tattoo on his right forearm wasn't visible. The police had photographed it plenty of times. It wouldn't take them long to find him in the FBI database. His beard was longer than it had ever been before, and he couldn't wait to shave it off. Letting his dark brown hair and beard grow was the easiest way to blend in as a local in Santa Fe and his facial hair helped hide his chiseled chin. During his four and a half months there, Nick had learned the city was one of the last stopping points before children of the 60s went to the big Woodstock in the sky. All he needed was to wear Teva sandals, tan shorts and a Hawaiian print shirt and his assimilation was complete."

Tunnel Vision: The Life of a Copper Prospector in the Nizina River Country

By Katherine Ringsmuth (National Park Service)

The blurb: This book tells the story of Martin Radovan, who spent nearly 70 years searching for minerals in the Wrangell Mountains. In following his life with wife Augusta, the book touches on Alaska's connections to Hawaii, the role of women in mining communities, the boom and bust cycle that created and sometimes deserted Alaska towns and the global significance of copper mining.

Excerpt: "Apparently, Martin's time in the Pacific Northwest was also short. He quickly put his railroad skills to good use and, in 1907, decided in his words 'to pursue advertisements he'd seen to work on the Cordova and Northwestern Railroad in Alaska.' The pay was advertised at $3 a day, much more than he had ever made in his life. Martin arrived at Cordova, Alaska, on October 9, 1908, and quickly found work for the Katalla Company, the contractor building the Copper River & Northwestern Railway. Celebrated as an engineering feat, the railway line cost nearly $25 million to build. Supporting the line were two American business giants: financier J.P. Morgan and the Guggenheims, a family of industrialists who made its fortune in the mining and smelting industry."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

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