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Reading the north

Matt Sullivan,

Growing Up in Norman Rockwell's America

By James J. Asher (Sky Oak Productions, Inc.)

The blurb: This memoir recounts growing up in Detroit during the Great Depression and World War II, plus the authors time as a soldier stationed in Alaska during the Korean War.

Excerpt: "The turbulent ride up the inside passage to Alaska in February with gale warning weather and a rolling sea had its rewards. From the pitching deck, I saw majestic and pristine snow-covered glaciers glistening in the winter sun with schools of whales playing nearby, exhaling water high in the air from their blow holes, and then breaching out of the water in a vertical lunging motion and belly landing with a great displacement of water. They seemed to be having a merry time.

The ship docked at Seward and we were transported to a narrow-gauge railroad that rocked us gently up and through a mountain pass to a whistle-stop near Anchorage where trucks were waiting. There was snow everywhere and not a footprint to be seen as far as the eye could see."

Best of the Best From Alaska

Edited by Gwen McKee and Barbara Moseley (Quail Ridge Press, $16.95)

The blurb: The cookbook collects more than 350 recipes featuring Alaska-centric ingredients like salmon, halibut and blueberries, all compiled from favorite dishes provided by 56 local cookbooks.

Excerpt: "Searching for cookbooks in Alaska was a fascinating experience. Tasting the local fare, meeting so many friendly people, and seeing the extraordinary scenery along the way was truly a memorable adventure.

The first time we saw salmon jumping, it was almost like a personal welcome! That certainly was the case in Ketchikan. Creek Street, even in the rain, had the wooden plank feel and rushing-creek sound that put you into another era, and being wet and a little uncomfortable made it all the more authentic. We found the most charming bookstore where narrow wooden stairs led us to one cozy cubbyhole of lovely books after another. The cookbook section was my sit-down spot, of course, and I soon found out what they do with all those salmon!"


By Tam Linsey (Tam Linsey)

The blurb: The Alaskan author's new novel depicts a world in which much of humanity has turned to cannibalism after genetically altered weeds have devastated Earth.

Excerpt: "'Run!'

The girl didn't know much of the Cannibal language, but she understood that word.

In the sky, a strange flying machine had appeared, its curved, metal belly glinting in the desert sun. Twigs of desiccated bushes trembled as the near-silent thing descended, and dust swept into the girl's eyes and filler her nostrils. The woman gripping her hand lurched in to a run, jerking the child off her feet and dragging her a few steps before abandoning her.

The girl twisted to squint at the sky. A cone of flame erupted from the machine and pounded the parched ground a few steps away, engulfing shrubs and people alike. Screams, worse than when Brother Eli was butchered, cut through the fiery roar."

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News

Compiled by Matt Sullivan, Anchorage Daily News