Reading the north

October 27, 2012 

The Baked Alaska Story

Written and illustrated by Chris Vine (Sky Oak Productions, Inc.)

The blurb: The story of a distant frozen planet and its population of industrious snowmen, "The Baked Alaska Story" follows the rise and fall of an empire of snow built on foundations of multicolored ice cream.

Excerpt: "Far away in outer space, amongst the furthest shooting stars, was a planet made of ice and snow.

It had its own moon and eight twinkling stars. The planet was called Baked Alaska. Snow and ice covered the entire surface of the planet. It was always snowing, but on one particular night there was an unusually heavy fall of snow. The following morning, there in the snow, stood a tiny, fully-formed snowman. He began to roll in the snow. As he rolled the snow round and round, the snowman started to clone himself. They both began to roll the snow. They rolled and cloned over and over again, and soon it became quite crowded."

Ice Floe III

Edited by Shannon Gramse and Sarah Kirk (University of Alaska Press, Fairbanks, $10)

The blurb: The third volume of the series collects contemporary poetry from Alaska, Canada, Iceland, the Faroe Islands, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia, with work printed in its original language plus English translations.

Excerpt: "Fireweed seed in a light breeze

above a narrowing dirt road

in the Old Believer village

of Nikolaevsk, drifting past

a church with icons painted

on its doors, floating high over

fading meadows like white bearded

patriarchs who will soon lie down

beneath another winter's snow."

Snap Decisions: My 30 Years as an Alaska News Photographer

By Jim Lavrakas (Far North Press, $19.95)

The blurb: Former Anchorage Daily News photographer Jim Lavrakas shares this memoir filled with photos and stories from across the state.

Excerpt: "Anchorage was a busy place during the waning years of the pipeline boom. Busy for the cops, that is.

Bad behavior on the streets meant police officers had to be especially careful with the simplest contact with the public.

I was working part-time for ADN during this period in April 1980, praying my initiative would land me a full-time job. Driving around town listening to the police scanner, cruising for news, I heard an accident called out for Spenard Road. I headed over and started to photograph the very quiet scene.

The paramedics had put the driver of the wrecked car into an ambulance, and his girlfriend, Angela Barnhurst, wanted to get in with him. Officer Lance Iiams told her 'Now.' When she insisted, a tango ensued. Guess who prevailed?"

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

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