10 Books You Should Read Before Setting off to Alaska

10 books to read before visiting Alaska

Alaska has become one of the most popular destinations not only for US citizens but from foreign tourists, as well.

Eight national parks, thousands of rivers, and an immense number of animals make this federal state a pure gem of nature. Spending holidays in Alaska is an inspiring and relaxing adventure.

However, before you set off, there are some great books you can read to prepare for the adventure. So here’s a list of ten carefully selected books you should read before a vacation in Alaska.

10 Fantastic Books on Alaska Everyone Should Read Before Visiting

Travels in Alaska by John Muir

#1 Travels in Alaska

Published in 1915 by John Muir, Travels in Alaska is a grandly written book, evocative of Alaska at the turn of the century.

The author was an explorer, a naturalist, and a philanthropist. His interests helped him write an ode to ordinary people living in an extraordinary landscape.

Passage to Juneau by Jonathan Raban

#2 Passage to Juneau

A striking modern travelogue written by Jonathan Raban and published in 1999, Passage To Juneau brings the taste of the classic literature about Alaska.

This travel writer and journalist decided to embark on a boat and see Alaska the way the first settlers did it. His description of the trip to and through Alaska is a poetic testimony to the wilderness and the effect it has on people.

White Fang by Jack London

#3 White Fang

Written by Jack London and published in 1906, White Fang is one of the most popular novels about Alaska.

Set in the period of the Klondike Gold Rush, this is a powerful allegory about the relationship between people and nature. The story revolves around a wild, violent dog that becomes gentle and peaceful when shown care and love.

Alaska's Wolf Man by Jim Rearden

#4 Alaska’s Wolf Man

This book is a must-read for people who are getting ready to set on a trekking adventure in Alaska. It contains the stories and notes written by adventurer  Frank Glaser. He was traveling around Alaska for forty years, from 1915 to 1955. During that period, he collected innumerable notes which he put together in this book.

Most of the time, he either walked around Alaska or used sled dogs to move around this state. His first-person narration is one of the best parts of this book.

Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer

#5 Into the Wild

Published in 1996 and written by Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild is a seminal book for people who are looking for shelter from the modern world.

It tells the story of Christopher Johnson McCandless, who went to Alaska after graduation to live in the wilderness.

Krakauer weaves a brilliant story about an urban young man and the interplay between him and the harsh living conditions of this beautiful landscape.

Coming into the Country by John McPhee

#6 Coming into the Country

John McPhee published the book Coming into the Country in 1976. Since then, it has become one of the most important anthropological books about Alaska in the last forty years.

The author discusses this state in three different sections. The first one talks about the wilderness, the second one is about the people governing and shaping Alaska, and the third describes those living in the distant corners of the state.

Two in the Far North by Margaret Murie

#7 Two in the Far North

Published in 1962, Two in the Far North is a biographical novel written by Margaret Murie. In this book, she describes her childhood, youth, and adult life in a landscape limited by natural borders and somewhat strict social norms.

Still, the book is written in a heartwarming and living way which shows the author’s affection for Alaska.

Glacier Pilot by Beth Day

#8 Glacier Pilot

In 1957, Beth Day published this exciting book about Bob Reeve, who became the greatest pilot of this cold region. He was best-known for the flights that no one else was brave enough to fly. The author describes his courageous flying achievements and his business success. He launched a profitable airline and invented special hacks for planes to fly successfully in cold regions.

This book is often out of stock. If you need to download it while in Alaska, you can use a VPN for Kindle Fire to get it through a secure connection.

Searching for Fannie Quigley by Jane G. Haigh

#9 Searching for Fannie Quigley

Author Jane H. Haigh brings the story of Fannie Quigley (nee Sedlacek). She was one of the few women who participated in the Klondike Gold Rush. She was a gold-digger in the original meaning of that word. She found gold and opened her own inn, too. Also, she was a trapper and a hunter in the harsh conditions of Alaskan nature. Her story, published in 2007, is both inspiring and touching, which makes it a great choice for those planning a trip to Alaska.

The Call of the Wild by Jack London

#10 The Call of the Wild

Published in 1903, this is Jack London’s most famous novel. Unlike White Fang, where the protagonist goes from wild to peaceful, The Call of the Wild talks about a transformation from peace to wilderness.

Although more than a hundred-years-old, the powerful imagery and uncompromised attitude that London expressed in this work still keep this novel both refreshing and thought-provoking.

A visit to Alaska is both a physical and mental journey. Its breath-taking landscapes and incredible views will make everybody start thinking about their own life and attitude.

While preparing for this trip, it’s a good idea to read the books from this list. You’ll see what some other people thought of Alaska and how it changed their points of view.

In the end, you might write your own story about Alaska, its magnificent nature, and hard-working people.

Have you read any books on Alaska you think others should be aware of? 

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10 books on Alaska

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