Our library theme for 2020 is Your Library Card, Your Ticket to the World–because with the library, you truly can travel around the world without ever leaving the comfort of your own home. Every month in 2020, we’ll be landing at a new place on the globe, but we’re starting off in Alaska.
The rugged beauty of Alaska has long inspired writers (and readers!), so it is not surprising how many books set in Alaska are in our system. And there’s a little something for every reader, regardless of preferred genre.
If you love historical fiction:
Eowyn Ivey’s To the Bright Edge of the World (2016)*
An epistolary novel that relies on letters, diaries, and newspaper articles, this acclaimed novel spins a dual-narrative–focusing on Lt. Col. Allen Forrester and his 19th century expedition into Alaskan Territory, in which the men soon realize they are far beyond the world they know and quite possibly far in over their heads, and his wife Sophie, who feels lonely and confined at the military barracks in Vancouver.
*Ebook and audiobook also available on Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoy the work of Tea Obreht, Sara Gruen, and Alix Hawley.
If you like mysteries:
Dana Stabenow’s Kate Shugak series (1992-present)**
Alaskan writer Dana Stabenow’s long-running Shugak series focuses on an Aleut investigator living in one of Alaska’s National Parks. Shugak is an intelligent, complex protagonist, and Stabenow’s Shugak mysteries grapple with complicated issues while also depicting Alaska’s breathtaking scenery. If you enjoy Shugak, you’ve got over 20 books in the series to enjoy–as well as one scheduled for release in 2020.
**Some titles also available as audiobooks on Libby.
Recommended for those who enjoy Sue Henry’s, Nevada Barr’s, and Tony Hillerman’s work.
If you enjoy lighthearted romances:
Sue Pethick’s Alaskan Catch (2019)
A breezy romance set in Ketchikan, Alaska, Emily isn’t looking for love when she meets Sam–or rather when she meets Sam’s dog Bear. She soon finds herself falling for both the dog and its owner. But will she actually get a chance to tell Sam how she really feels?
Recommended for those who enjoy a mixture of romance, comedy, and mystery.
If you prefer nonfiction:
Laura Hartema’s Bering Sea Strong (2018)
Laura Hartema grew up in the Chicago area, but she ended up finding adventure in the Alaskan commercial fishing industry. Her memoir is about her time in Alaska and chronicles what it was like to be the only woman working on a fishing boat for 3 months.
Recommended for those who enjoy memoirs.
Which of these books are you most likely to read? What’s your favorite book set in Alaska? Have you ever traveled to Alaska? Tell us in the comments!