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If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name: News from Small-Town Alaska (2006)

af Heather Lende

MedlemmerAnmeldelserPopularitetGennemsnitlig vurderingOmtaler
6142828,983 (3.62)53
Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air--and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town--from births to weddings to funerals--she does. Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who wore nothing but a red union suit and a hat he never took off, not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; worrying about her son's first goat-hunting expedition; observing the awe-inspiring Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warmhearted style brings us inside her small-town life. We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard; their five children; and a colorful assortment of quirky friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers--as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land. Like Bailey White's tales of Southern life or Garrison Keillor's reports from the Midwest, NPR commentator Heather Lende's take on her offbeat Alaskan hometown celebrates life in a dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful place.… (mere)
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nonfiction. Small town Alaskan living. Not super exciting or anything, but if the goal is to get an idea of what Haines townfolk are like, this does the trick. ( )
  reader1009 | Jul 3, 2021 |
Not a bad book put together with news and events of a small town in Alaska. Felt many I could relate to in a fashion, having grown up in a small town in the Mid-West. I liked it it brought out some of the things that many don't realize that it takes for people to get along ... especially in remote places like this one. ( )
  Ralphd00d | May 4, 2021 |
This is just on a long hiatus. It's good, but after a few chapters, I need a break from it.
  JustZelma | Dec 20, 2020 |
A memoir of a small slice of the author's life spent in Haines, Alaska. Heather wrote obituaries for the local paper. She went to each family who had a death and asked them for information about the deceased. The author was also involved in the arts, education, and even city council as well as church activities. This was mildly interesting. 298 pages ( )
  Tess_W | Sep 24, 2020 |
Best for: People about to visit or who have just visited rural Alaska; people who like short slice-of-life stories.

In a nutshell: Obituary writer and Haines resident shares stories of life in a rural Alaskan town.

Line that sticks with me: “Following an old Haines rule, we dressed for the weather, not the vehicle.” p 19

Why I chose it: Two weeks ago I was on a cruise in Southeast Alaska, and took an excursion through Haines. It was a gorgeous part of the country, and when I saw this book in a store at our next stop, I decided to pick it up.

Review: Author Heather Lende is a journalist for one of the two local papers in Haines, population 2,400. About 15% of the residents are Tlingit, and pretty much everyone participates in some form of hunting, subsistence fishing, or dramatic outdoor activity like snowshoe hiking.

As you might expect from this book, there is a lot of talk about how Haines is the best place on earth, and how the people who live there are a different type, but Ms. Lende is also honest in examining some of the downfalls and challenges of choosing such a life. If someone is seriously injured during a snowstorm, they might not be able to get evacuated out. Their closest level one trauma center is in Seattle. Because of the types of jobs one can find in town, there are deaths from fishing accidents, or small aircraft crashes.

Many — but not all — of the stories relate to a death, which makes sense, since Ms. Lende is an obituary writer. But some are just about other components of life, whether adopting a daughter from overseas, or working with a political opponent on a fundraiser for medical bills.

This book is well written, but there are some parts that I found questionable. The first is the chapter when Ms. Lende goes to adopt her daughter. She repeatedly uses the term G*psy instead of Roma to refer to her daughter’s birth family. Not cool.

There’s also a chapter about political disagreements that is meant to come across as teaching the reader a lesson about how you can still come together and have pleasant times with people you disagree with. Unfortunately, the disagreement she and this man in the story had was essentially over the humanity of members of the LGBTQ community, so I had a hard time with the ‘let’s all get along’ nature of brushing that very real issue under the rug.

I enjoyed reading this, but I wouldn’t really say I recommend it. ( )
  ASKelmore | Aug 6, 2017 |
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I have lived in Haines, Alaska, all of my adult life but there are still times, especially winter evenings when the setting sun washes over the white mountaintops, the sky turns a deep blue, and the water is whipped into whitecaps by the north wind, that I can't believe my good fortune.
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Tiny Haines, Alaska, is ninety miles north of Juneau, accessible mainly by water or air--and only when the weather is good. There's no traffic light and no mail delivery; people can vanish without a trace and funerals are a community affair. Heather Lende posts both the obituaries and the social column for her local newspaper. If anyone knows the going-on in this close-knit town--from births to weddings to funerals--she does. Whether contemplating the mysterious death of eccentric Speedy Joe, who wore nothing but a red union suit and a hat he never took off, not even for a haircut; researching the details of a one-legged lady gold miner's adventurous life; worrying about her son's first goat-hunting expedition; observing the awe-inspiring Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival; or ice skating in the shadow of glacier-studded mountains, Lende's warmhearted style brings us inside her small-town life. We meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local lumber yard; their five children; and a colorful assortment of quirky friends and neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, and volunteer undertakers--as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land. Like Bailey White's tales of Southern life or Garrison Keillor's reports from the Midwest, NPR commentator Heather Lende's take on her offbeat Alaskan hometown celebrates life in a dangerous and breathtakingly beautiful place.

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