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6 Alaskan Reads Packed with Snow and Adventure

December 17 2020
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Cool wind on your cheek, down coats out of the closet, the smell of frost in the air: these November and December days bring on the Alaskan aesthetic. Live out your Alaskan daydreams with these six blockbuster books about devastation, unexpected love, and the undeniable draw of nature. By turns magical, terrifying, sublime, and poignant, these tales all capture the range of the wilderness, its timeless appeal, and its unimaginable scope. So bundle up in your favorite knit blanket, grab a cup of tea, and settle in for an adventure far beyond your familiar four walls.

The Simple Wild
by K.A. Tucker

A romantic novel of self-discovery, THE SIMPLE WILD follows twenty-six-year-old Calla Fletcher as she returns to her birthplace in rural Alaska to visit her dying father. Calla, who’s lived her entire life with her mother in Toronto, is unprepared for her father’s beloved rugged and isolated lifestyle, a fact that Jonah, the proud man who helps run her father’s charter plane company, won’t let her forget. But as Calla settles in, she and Jonah form a bond that leaves Calla torn between two worlds.

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The Simple Wild
K.A. Tucker

City girl Calla Fletcher attempts to reconnect with her estranged father, and unwittingly finds herself torn between her desire to return to the bustle of Toronto and a budding relationship with a rugged Alaskan pilot in this masterful new romance from acclaimed author K.A. Tucker.

Calla Fletcher was two when her mother took her and fled the Alaskan wild, unable to handle the isolation of the extreme, rural lifestyle, leaving behind Calla’s father, Wren Fletcher, in the process. Calla never looked back, and at twenty-six, a busy life in Toronto is all she knows. But when her father reaches out to inform her that his days are numbered, Calla knows that it’s time to make the long trip back to the remote frontier town where she was born.

She braves the roaming wildlife, the odd daylight hours, the exorbitant prices, and even the occasional—dear God—outhouse, all for the chance to connect with her father: a man who, despite his many faults, she can’t help but care for. While she struggles to adjust to this new subarctic environment, Jonah—the quiet, brooding, and proud Alaskan pilot who keeps her father’s charter plane company operational—can’t imagine calling anywhere else home. And he’s clearly waiting with one hand on the throttle to fly this city girl back to where she belongs, convinced that she’s too pampered to handle the wild.

Jonah is probably right, but Calla is determined to prove him wrong. As time passes, she unexpectedly finds herself forming a bond with the burly pilot. As his undercurrent of disapproval dwindles, it’s replaced by friendship—or perhaps something deeper? But Calla is not in Alaska to stay and Jonah will never leave. It would be foolish of her to kindle a romance, to take the same path her parents tried—and failed at—years ago.

It’s a simple truth that turns out to be not so simple after all.

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MENTIONED IN:

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Far from Here
by Nicole Baart

Danica Greene is nervous when her pilot husband, Etsell, accepts a three-week job in Alaska, but is then devastated by the news that his plane mysteriously disappeared after takeoff. Desperate for answers, Danica leaves her hometown in Iowa for Alaska. But as information begins to surface about lies Etsell told and the identity of the woman who disappeared with him in the plane, Danica must decide how to give up her old life and start a new one.

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Far from Here
Nicole Baart

From the author of Summer Snow—a suspenseful, breathtaking novel about true love, starting over, and finding the truth…at all costs.

How long do you hold on to hope? 

Danica Greene has always hated flying, so it was almost laughable that the boy of her dreams was a pilot. She married him anyway and together, she and Etsell settled into a life where love really did seem to conquer all. Danica is firmly rooted on the ground in Blackhawk, the small town in northern Iowa where they grew up, and the wide slashes of sky that stretch endlessly across the prairie seem more than enough for Etsell.  But when the opportunity to spend three weeks in Alaska helping a pilot friend presents itself, Etsell accepts and their idyllic world is turned upside down. It’s his dream, he reveals, and Danica knows that she can’t stand in the way. Ell is on his last flight before heading home when his plane mysteriously vanishes shortly after takeoff, leaving Danica in a free fall. Etsell is gone, but what exactly does gone mean? Is she a widow? An abandoned wife? Or will Etsell find his way home to her? Danica is forced to search for the truth in her marriage and treks to Alaska to grapple with the unanswerable questions about her husband’s mysterious disappearance. But when she learns that Ell wasn’t flying alone and that a woman is missing, too, the bits and pieces of the careful life that she had constructed for them in Iowa take to the wind. A story of love and loss, and ultimately starting over, Far From Here explores the dynamics of intimacy and the potentially devastating consequences of the little white lies we tell the ones we love.

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The Call of the Wild
by Jack London

Hailed as a classic of American literature and one of the most popular novels of all time, THE CALL OF THE WILD is a daring adventure tale. Buck is the large but docile canine pet of Judge Miller and his family in California in the 1890s—until he is stolen and sold to work as a sled dog in Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. The harsh natural world and the brutally violent world of men collide and transform Buck, pushing him further and further toward his primitive nature.

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The Call of the Wild
Jack London

Enriched Classics offer readers accessible editions of great works of literature enhanced by helpful notes and commentary. Each book includes educational tools alongside the text, enabling students and readers alike to gain a deeper and more developed understanding of the writer and their work.

The Call of the Wild tells the story of the magnificent dog, Buck, who’s loyalty is tested by cruel men in search of gold in the Klondike. Brutally treated, Buck finds the blood of his wolf ancestors rising within him and breaks free to roam the Alaskan wilderness as leader of a pack instead of as a pawn in his owner’s ruthless mission.

Enriched Classics enhance your engagement by introducing and explaining the historical and cultural significance of the work, the author’s personal history, and what impact this book had on subsequent scholarship. Each book includes discussion questions that help clarify and reinforce major themes and reading recommendations for further research.

Read with confidence.

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The Snow Child
by Eowyn Ivey

In Eowyn Ivey’s poignant and magical debut, Jack and Mabel struggle to maintain a home in the 1920s Alaskan wilderness. One day they spot a mysterious little girl in the forest who calls herself Faina. While they aren’t sure how she survives outside alone, they do grow to love her as if she is their own daughter. But like the beautiful and brutal wilderness, Faina has her own secrets yet to be revealed—secrets that have the power to change all of their lives.

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The Snow Child
Eowyn Ivey

For fans of “Once Upon a Time”

If you’re over the age of 11 and still obsess over fairy tales, odds are you’re a loyal viewer of “Once Upon a Time.” In between episodes, you’ll love Eowyn Ivey’s retelling of a classic Russian fairy tale. During the season’s first snowfall, a childless couple builds a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone—and they glimpse a young girl running through the trees. As with all fairy tales, however, things aren’t always what they appear.

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The Great Alone
by Kristin Hannah

By the bestselling author of THE NIGHTINGALE, THE GREAT ALONE is an explosive, heartfelt family drama. Ernt Allbright is a volatile Vietnam war vet eager to make a fresh start for his family on the Alaskan frontier. Leni, his thirteen-year-old daughter, is struggling to find her place among a turbulent time and within a turbulent household. Her mother, Cora, is desperate to please the man she loves, even as she sees him deteriorating. Together, they must survive the winter in their small cabin as darkness closes in on all sides.

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The Great Alone
Kristin Hannah

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union
by Michael Chabon

A temporary safe haven for Jews in the wake of the Holocaust, Sitka remains a community of Jewish immigrants sixty years later. But the upcoming Reversion is set to return the territory to Alaskan control, and homicide detective Meyer Landsman already has enough to worry about with his failing marriage and the recent the murder that he is charged with solving. When orders come down to mysteriously drop the case, Meyer must face his own obsessions in this epic, genre-bending detective tale by the renowned Michael Chabon.

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The Yiddish Policemen's Union
Michael Chabon

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MENTIONED IN:

The 10 Most Popular Books of July

By Off the Shelf Staff | July 30, 2021

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By Rémy Ngamije | July 29, 2021

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By Jennifer Proffitt | July 28, 2021

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By Off the Shelf Staff | July 27, 2021

10 Crowd-Pleasing Books That Are Easy to Love

By Chris Gaudio | July 26, 2021

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Photo credit: iStock / Marseas

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