books of interest to Alaskans
(Published: April 20, 2003)
Waitress! The U.S.A. From the Other Side of the Tray
photo to enlarge
Alison Owings (University of California Press, $29.95)
blurb: "The author traveled the country to hear firsthand what
waitresses think about their lives, their work and their world. The
women speak candidly about how their jobs affect their bodies, their minds
and their hearts. They talk of customers and bosses, co-workers and
current events, outrages and affections, and sometimes even food.
Included in the collection of tales are the memories of Alaskans Linda
Bolanos and Susan Donley, waitresses at the Kashim in Wasilla."
"The Kashim, which means 'meeting place' in Aleut, had a reputation
as the best place to eat between Fairbanks and Anchorage, said Linda
Bolanos. Her mother agreed but then added that was not saying much.
The food! "I couldn't believe how poor it was, as far as quality,
compared to the states." The service! "Alaska's so much different than the
Lower 48. They're laid-back. I don't know if they knew what the word
'service' meant in Wasilla at the time."
in a Northern Sky
Charles Douglas Hayes (Autodidactic Press, $24.95)
blurb: "Charles Douglas Hayes is an ex-Marine and a former police
officer. He lives in Alaska, where he has worked for more than 20
years in the oil industry. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the author of 'Flow,'
says of the book: 'Reading "Portals" is like looking through a
kaleidoscope in which breakneck adventure and science fiction occasionally
reconfigure themselves into patterns of ancient wisdom. Don't start
unless you have enough time to finish it, because you won't be able
to put it down.' "
"The Crime: Dallas, Texas -- Octo ber 31, 1968. Seasons don't ring
true in Texas. There should have been a chill in the air, but there
wasn't. The night was warm, moist and muggy. June bugs buzzed about
the streetlights in a low, guttural groan like distant chain saws in
timber country. A squad car pierced the darkness at
miles per hour (in a 30-mile-per-hour zone), red lights forcing crimson
shadows on the houses, the siren off. It was quitting time on Halloween
night. The swing shift was over at 11 p.m., and it was five minutes
till. This was an emergency of another kind -- it was called getting
Shaman: A Robert Sable Mystery
Sean E. Thomas (White Amber Press)
blurb: "This Alaska author has written four other mystery novels.
In this one, children are being kidnapped and slaughtered in the
Alaska Bush. State trooper Robert Sable takes over the investigation from
Nicholas Kelly, who has vanished without a trace. Sable, along with
the FBI, has to deal with an elusive killer who is more cunning than
all Sable's previous adversaries.
"A dozen dog-eared manila folders lay scattered across Sergeant Robert
Sable's battered oaken desk. He'd inherited the missing children's
case just a few days earlier along with his new assignment to the
Token detachment. Sable had handled some pretty horrific cases in his
10 years with the Alaska State Troopers, but no other case had repulsed
and intrigued him."