Saturday, September 20, 2008

What In the World Is Alaska?

To honor Sarah Palin's nomination to Team McCain I thought I should read about Alaska. Winterdance is Gary Paulsen's description of his first Iditarod and made me realize the lonely beauty of Alaska and the toughness of the people to even suggest such a race. Gary Paulsen is also in another league all together - superhuman?

Then I read Sarah by Kaylene Johnson, just to establish a baseline on the lady for myself. This is a friendly biography published in Alaska. I felt the warmth of community which is important in such a large harsh land. Her childhood was school, basketball, hiking hunting,camping with the Wasilla Assembly of God a focal point for the family. As she said the kids I saw in Sunday school were the kids I went to school with. This community later volunteered in her campaigns for mayor of Wasilla and governer of Alaska. She was gutsy enough to challenge the entrenched politicians and straight talking enough to win. FBI corruption investigations into federal and state leaders also helped.
Now she's on the national and international stages. Will she be quickfooted enough to survive a national election is the question. And whether those outsider Alaskan values continue to reverberate with 'mainland' America makes the viewing interesting.

Soho Press has two Alaskan authors. So for a little local color I've started Stan Jones' Shaman Pass. The setting is an Inupiat village with a State Trooper born but not raised there. Nathan Active is having a hard time being accepted, seems a childhood in Anchorage makes him 'soft'.

The Woman Who Married a Bear highlights the Tlingit Indians of southern Alaska. John Straley seems to be writing from personal experience as a private investigator.

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