Reading the North

Ordinary Dogs, Extraordinary Friendships

Pam Flowers (Graphic Arts Books, $12.99)

The blurb: Author/explorer Pam Flowers has been working with dogs for more than 33 years -- as companions as well as vitally important "co-workers" on her expeditions. She has gathered many stories about valuable positive character traits she's observed in dogs that readers of all ages can enjoy and learn from.

Excerpt: "Haw, Anna!" I called. Anna turned left and we sledded along the edge of the ice, searching for some way to reach land. There were many holes in the ice but the standing water made them difficult to see. I had just glanced away toward the land when I heard a huge splash. I looked back at the team and Anna was gone! She had fallen through one of the holes! She swam back up to the surface and thrust her front paws onto the ice. Anna struggled to lift herself out of the freezing water but the ice was too slick and she couldn't get a grip. I ran up and grabbed her by the harness and started to lift. But the ice around the hole was so thin it began breaking away under me. If I fell into the water, we might both drown. I had to let go of Anna's harness.

The Laird of Ballanclaire

Anchorage resident Jackie Ivie (Zebra Books, $6.99)

The blurb: Constant Ridgely, seventh daughter of an upright patriot family, discovers Kameron Ballan, heir to the Laird of Ballanclaire, beaten senseless by a crowd of colonists. She must hide him or watch him die but the strange brawny Scotsman inflames passions she's never experienced.

Excerpt: "You ... are cruel." She tried stanching the agony. It sounded in her voice although she was doing everything in her power to keep it to herself.

"Nae. What's been done to your confidence and self-worth is cruel. I'm going to correct it. I only hope I'm man enough to stop once I've started."

"You aren't going to ravish me, are you?" she asked.

"Only in my dreams, darling."


Alaska resident Joan Naviyuk Kane (University of Pittsburgh Press, $15.95)

The blurb: Joan Naviyuk Kane, winner of the 2012 Donald Hall Prize in Poetry, said her poems leverage the power of language and lyric, while contending with issues of Inuit cultural and biological extinction.

Excerpt: "For the Man with Sealfinger"

With its line of distant junction,

Rain stops the air.

A white sound, unison.

Of a long arc, cranes

Aggregate and stage. Soon

To kneel by brackish water,

Watch them circle,

Gain altitude, and

Move directly eastward.

Setting calls to settle

In the heartrot of birches:

I, too, would listen