Reading the North

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily NewsSeptember 15, 2012 

The Adventurous Motorcyclist's Guide to Alaska

By Lee Klancher with Phil Freeman (Octane Press, $29.95)

The blurb: This travel guide lists all the routes through Alaska with recommended dirt road excursions, plus itineraries for the best sightseeing, food, drinks and places to sleep.

Excerpt: "The Glenn is the main thoroughfare into Alaska, and the best paved road in the state. The road has as much curve as you'll find in Alaska outside of an Anchorage nightclub, and the mountains are majestic and the valleys glacier-packed.

"Your bike of choice is open here -- you can enjoy this road on an R1, a Wing, or a GS. Whatever you ride, take some care -- the curves tend to be coated with pea gravel on occasion, and the frost heaves can also toss you for a loop.

"Sport bike riders in the state pack this road, particularly the stretch outside of Palmer. You'll see clusters of them howling down the pavement, hell-bent for leather."

Meat Eater: Adventures From the Life of an American Hunter

By Steven Rinella (Spiegel & Grau, $26)

The blurb: The author chronicles his lifelong relationship with nature and hunting while investigating the ethics of killing and the way our food reaches our table. The story is told through the lens of ten hunts, including a hunt for Dall sheep in Alaska.

Excerpt: "Just to be clear, catch-and-release fishing amounts to poking a hole into a fish's face and exhausting it, then letting it go because you don't want to hurt it. When I say the practice is strange, I'm saying that its initial invention must have been the result of some freakish anomaly. If you rolled back human history to the very beginning and let our species have another go at it, we'd definitely rediscover such things as dancing, hunting, the benefits of shelter, transoceanic shipping, drug abuse, restaurants, and maybe even online dating. But catch-and-release would almost certainly join the ranks of high-heeled shoes and wearing your pants down around your hips so that you've got to walk funny in order to keep them from falling down. The circumstances that delivered theses ideas just wouldn't be replicated."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

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