As we travel we often come across books that have been written about something that has taken place in the area we are currently in, or are about a famous local person. Since we generally buy our books in the second hand shops, we seldom if ever buy any of those local books, as they never seem to have them. Besides, we are usually more than happy with what we do buy, especially when the price is typically 25 cents per book.
Our trip to Alaska has proven to be different, and even before we started north, Linda had picked up two books that dealt with where we were going. That seemed to open the dam that we had built up, and we found ourselves buying books in the tourist shops and bookstores as we have been traveling this summer.
It is amazing how much we have enjoyed these books, though I think the fact that we really do try to read the stories when we are in the area they pertain to has a great deal to do with the pleasure we derive from our reading of them. Truth be told, we've probably missed more good books about the area than we have boughten, so with that in mind, here is the list to date.
|2010 Alaska Trip Book List|
|Title||Author||Area of Interest|
|Klondike||Pierre Berton||Great book about the Klondike gold rush, we consider it a must read if visiting Dawson City. Bob's favorite|
|I Married The Klondike||Laura Beatrice Berton||Life in the Klondike after the gold rush during the early 1900's. Written by the mother of the great Canadian author, Pierre Berton, it is rich in detail.|
|Tisha||Robert Specht||Story of a young teacher's adventures in Chicken, Alaska, it's for sale everywhere. Linda's favorite|
|A Cheechako Goes To The Klondike||C. W. Adams||First person account of a Klondike Stampeder who later became a steamboat captain. While not the easiest book to read, it details the everyday life in the Far North, showing not only what it took to survive, but also to prosper.|
|Best Tales of the Yukon||Robert Service||Wonderful collection of poetry that includes "Shooting of Dan McGrew" and "The Cremation of Sam McGee". Even if you don't like poetry, you'll like these.|
|The Dragline Kid||Lisa Augustine||Very entertaining book about a young girl who was born in the Kenai and what kind of life she lived, both in Alaska and on the "outside". Linda's second favorite|
|The Call of The Wild and White Fang||Jack London||Two great novels of adventure set in the Yukon where London spent time during the Klondike gold rush. One or both were probably required reading in High School, and if like me, you didn't read them then, it's never too late to enjoy these great adventure stories.|
|To Build A Fire And Other Stories||Jack London||Collection of London's short stories, many of which are set in the Far North, painting a detailed picture of the how life was at that time. I especially liked how many of the stories get into why people did what they did.|
|Captain Cook in Alaska and the North Pacific||James K. Barnett||While the Revolutionary War was being fought on the East Coast of North America, English Capt. James Cook was exploring the coast of Alaska. Rich with excerpts from the writings of the participants, it also contains drawings by John Webber who accompanied the voyage.|
|Alaska||James Michener||Supposedly the "great" novel about Alaska. I tried to read it, but for some reason it just didn't grab me.|
First off, don't think this is an exhaustive list of books to be read about the Far North. Far from it, as these are only the ones we have decided to buy and read. While each of these books is wonderful in it's own right, and many people would enjoy them, and for that matter, have alread enjoyed them, there is something really special about reading them while being in the places where they take place. For example, much of "Klondike" takes place in the area around either Dawson City, Yukon or Skagway, Alaska. "Tisha" is set in Chicken, Alaska, while "The Dragline Kid" was from Hope, Alaska.
When you can stand on the spot where the story took place, so to speak, it really brings what you read to life. It also introduced us to some literary greats we were not aware of, Pierre Breton and Robert Service in particular. It also serves to remind us that Canada has its own authors and poets who stand shoulder to shoulder with those from anywhere in the world. It is also a gentle reminder that romance novels and the latest fiction best sellers, are just that, best sellers, but out there on the bookshelves of the world are other stories, some true, some fiction, that while not nearly as popular, are far more interesting and better reading.