Reviews of Books and Other Media

What are the outstanding works of history, art, science and literature pertinent to rural Alaska, and who are the agencies, companies, and individuals producing them?

 

 

An Interview with Julia Phillips, Part 2

An Interview with Julia Phillips, Part 2

In this episode, we dive into specifics about the author’s identity and experience as a white American woman from New York City, observing rural and Indigenous Russians of Kamchatka in their day-to-day lives. We hear her reflections about time spent in rural Kamchatka, traveling with dogsled teams, reindeer herding families, and gathering wild foods. We reflect on circumpolar questions about the ocean’s fish supply after Fukushima,

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While Nanabijou Sleeps: Tanya Talaga on racism and survival of Indigenous youth

While Nanabijou Sleeps: Tanya Talaga on racism and survival of Indigenous youth

Three hours north of Thunder Bay, Ontario, Armstrong had several large new homes situated on a rise above the town, each with a law enforcement vehicle parked in the driveway. Below these houses, most of the community lived in older, smaller, rundown homes. We wondered about the relationship between these officers in “Armstrong Heights” and the rest of the community, given

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An Interview with Julia Phillips, Part 1

An Interview with Julia Phillips, Part 1

Welcome to our podcast, Salmonberries, where we bring you stories, interviews, and discussions from across the circumpolar North to surprise, delight, and build community. Our inaugural podcast features an interview with author Julia Phillips, who wrote the debut novel Disappearing Earth . . . As I read it, I kept thinking of all the ways it is relevant to Alaska. I was so excited by the author’s approach to storytelling . . .

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Women of Kamchatka: Review of Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Women of Kamchatka: Review of Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips

Set in the Kamchatka peninsula of far northeastern Russia, debut novelist Julia Phillips writes in Disappearing Earth about the interior worlds of women, the importance of community, and the impacts of gender-based violence on both, with a depth of human insight reminiscent of Tolstoy. The story opens with the kidnapping of two young Russian girls . . .

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Civil Rights Heroine: Review of Fighter in Velvet Gloves by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich Jr.

Civil Rights Heroine: Review of Fighter in Velvet Gloves by Annie Boochever with Roy Peratrovich Jr.

Elizabeth Peratrovich’s history-making speech before the Alaska Senate in 1945 persuaded passage of America’s first state anti-discrimination act, nearly 20 years prior to Title VII of the US Civil Rights Act. Boochever’s concise, sensitively written, historical teen non-fiction book Fighter in Velvet Gloves conveys Peratrovich’s positive can-do life attitude . . .

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Review of One Water: dispatches from the streets and backcountry of Interior Alaska by Rob McCue

Review of One Water: dispatches from the streets and backcountry of Interior Alaska by Rob McCue

Rob McCue’s One Water is a refreshingly interior account, not only because the first person narrator reports from inside the action—often the interior of the city cab he drives in half the stories—but also in the sense of “interior” Alaska, with Fairbanks as its hub and “big village.” . . . It’s a feisty guy narrative from the underserved center of the state that quickly surprises you with its inclusiveness. You never know . . .

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Alaska Native Anthropology: Review of Menadelook, edited by Eileen Norbert

Alaska Native Anthropology: Review of Menadelook, edited by Eileen Norbert

Compiled and edited by granddaughter Eileen Norbert, Menadelook: An Inupiat Teacher’s Photographs of Alaska Village Life, 1907-1932 maps the transition of culture in the early 20th century of a man who bridged two worlds in the early 20th century. Norbert succeeds in demonstrating the importance of self-representation of indigenous culture in anthropology . . .

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Indigenous Women Authors: Review of The Round House by Louise Erdrich

Indigenous Women Authors: Review of The Round House by Louise Erdrich

When I first moved to a small village in rural Alaska, I would hang out in the school library. A lot. I was amazed to find so many books there, in this tiny community off the road system, where the cost of shipping goods exceeded $1/pound. Old books. New books. Lots of stories by writers I knew. Lots of history about Alaska, by writers I’d never heard of. But I struggled to find books by Indigenous women . . .

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Climate Change and Climate Justice: Review of Fierce Climate Sacred Ground by Elizabeth Marino

Climate Change and Climate Justice: Review of Fierce Climate Sacred Ground by Elizabeth Marino

Marino isn’t from rural Alaska, nor does she live there. But she’s spent enough of the right kind of time in the community of Shishmaref, to care deeply, and respectfully, and she brings the best of her academic skills to advocate for climate justice. With this Kigiqtaamiut ethnography, she bridges cultural gaps between realities of rural Alaska on the edge of climate change, and the churning mill of urban bureaucratic . . .

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Growing Up in Rural Alaska: Review of Homestead Girl by Chantelle Pence

Growing Up in Rural Alaska: Review of Homestead Girl by Chantelle Pence

On a bright winter day in February, in a sunny room above the University of Alaska Bookstore in Anchorage, author Chantelle Pence talked to her audience about her first book. She, and several Athabascan speakers, discussed growing up in rural Alaska. They spoke from various perspectives. They spoke with heart. And they reached our hearts. . .

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