As I noted on the main California page, I was somewhat hesitant to add Island of the Blue Dolphins to my list for California, because I was concerned about the possibility of a very dated view of Native Americans (it was first published in 1960). So I actually read an expanded version: Island of the […]

Alodiks are mentioned several times in And She Was by Cindy Dyson, as being a type of Russian fry bread. Brandy is first introduced to them by Carl who makes them for the party at his bus home. They are also served at the tsunami party, and mentioned in one of the flashback scenes with […]

I started thinking about how food enhances setting while I was reading The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones, and that, pretty quickly, made me remember a food moment from And She Was by Cindy Dyson – the decayed seal flipper. There’s a scene in And She Was where Brandy and some of the others from […]

The Alaskan Laundry by Brendan Jones (2016) is a pretty good book, and a great one for getting into the setting of Alaska. The title comes from one of the supporting characters, Newton Scarpe, called Newt, who is just chock full of colorful metaphors (sadder than a midget with a yo-yo; clean as a broke-dick […]

It’s a testament to Cindy Dyson’s power as a writer that I was able to identify with and root for a main character who is so different from me and has so many characteristics that I tend to think of as weaknesses (the casual drug use and the alcohol abuse in particular). I’ll try not […]

In the Author’s Note, Cindy Dyson talks about which parts of And She Was were true to Aleutian history and which were fictionalized. We don’t know if any groups of women broke taboos to hunt sea mammals during the Russian-Aleut War. We do know that many starved. As a mother myself, I imagined what a […]

And She Was has some great quotes about the Aleutian Islands that really express the setting wonderfully: I read that a few archaeologists did not believe the standard ice age migration theory. … They did not believe that the Aleuts had come on clumsy feet, plodding after mammoths. No, they had come in boats agile […]

Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse was my first book choice for Alaska, and its eponymous bird was the reason for these parallel posts on bird sightings in my book choices. The Aleutian sparrow is a variety of Song Sparrow, which is described as a larger, darker variety according to the Audubon online bird guide. I […]

This books brings up some great discussion topics – things I’d be interested in hearing about from other people’s perspectives. Below I’ve posted three broad topics / questions that I would love to hear your thoughts on. In the next week or two, I will also be posting a link to my thoughts for each […]

Aleutian Sparrow by Karen Hesse was a quick but interesting read. The story is a fictionalized first-hand account of the relocation of Americans from the Aleutian Islands to camps in southeastern Alaska (near Ketchikan in this case), and the hardships they endured there. It’s classed as Children’s Literature, and it’s definitely one I could see […]