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

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

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3.68

(112)
|Views: 62|Likes:
Published by Workman Publishing
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.
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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Publish date: Jun 3, 2005
Added to Scribd: Jun 11, 2013
Copyright:Traditional Copyright: All rights reservedISBN:9781565126565
List Price: $12.95

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02/26/2015

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9781565126565

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lake_o_ucc reviewed this
Tiny Haines, Alaska, ninety miles north of Juneau, is 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 community affairs. As both obituary writer and social columnist for the local newspaper, Heather Lende knows better than anyone the goings-on in this breathtakingly beautiful place. Her offbeat chronicle brings us inside her busy life: we meet her husband, Chip, who owns the local hardware store; their five children; and a colorful assortment of friends and offbeat neighbors, including aging hippies, salty fishermen, native Tlingit Indians, Mormon spelunkers . . . as well as the moose, eagles, sea lions, and bears with whom they share this wild and perilous land.
banjo123 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
This is a series of essays about life in small town Alaska. Of course, there are many stories of neighbors banding together to help each other out; spaghetti feeds, canning salmon, etc. It could be way too cutesy—but it isn’t. Lende is honest, and self-reflective. I was going to rate this 3 or 3 ½ stars, based on the writing, but in the end, I enjoyed reading the book so much I am moving it up to 4 stars. I was intrigued by this description of a way of life so different than mine. I love the outdoors—but at heart I am a city girl. Haines is a town of 2400 in a remote location in the inner passage. Drop-dead gorgeous-- and with lots of perils. One of the most harrowing parts of the book is a description of a 5-6 hour drive to Whitehorse, through a snowstorm, with Lende’s son who had acute appendicitis. (They made it in the nick of time.)From reading this book, life in Haines is super-dangerous. Maybe it’s because Lende is an obituary writer, but there is death after death, many of them deaths of young people engaged in outdoor pursuits. Yet Lende still allowed her own daughters to work in a fishing boat, because she wanted them to be a part of the place. I admire Lende for this, but I don’t understand it.Another strong part of the book is her description of living in a small town, where everyone is like family, and you have to get along, despite strong differences of opinion. This is so different than my life—I live in an especially liberal part of Portland, Oregon, so seldom encounter any non-tree-huggers. In one chapter, Lende describes trying, unsuccessfully, to put together an anti-homophobia workshop after a bullying incident at the local high school. Lende was frustrated, but I was heartened by her brave attempts to engage her conservative neighbors in this fight.
olgalijo reviewed this
Rated 5/5
I was pleasantly surprised by "If you lived here I'd know your name". Living in Juneau I had assumed that this book was not so god, but it sold well as a tourist charmer. Well, I was wrong. Every single Haines scene described is engrossing in itself.
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
Lende chronicles the various lives and deaths of the people of Haines, Alaska, an almost inaccessible hamlet 90 miles north of Juneau. In writing her social and obituary columns for Haines's Chilkat Valley News-some of which are included here-she blends reportage and humor. Lende has lived in Haines all her adult life and is well-known in town. She deftly illuminates local color: the sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle and sports a ZZ Top beard, the high school principal who moonlights as a Roy Orbison impersonator, and the one-legged female gold miner. Lende covers death in her community in all its forms-accidental, intentional and inevitable-and notes, "writing about the dead helps me celebrate the living." While comic, the book also has some sensitive, insightful anecdotes. For example, Lende, a contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, portrays the building of a coffin for a beloved mother by her youngest daughter; the sinking of a family boat with a tender farewell for a fearless fisherman; the mourning of a quirky, civic-minded "aging hippie"; and the goodbye to a Texas woman who hosted an annual Mississippi blues party. Lende's picture of an Alaskan small town is colorful and captivating. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2005-04-18, Publishers Weekly
heyjude_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Essays about life - and death - in very, very small-town Alaska. Humorous, poignant. Worth reading.
jillstone reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Wonderful non-fiction about a woman and her family living in Alaska. She writes the obituaries for the local paper and in this small town that means sitting down with the recently bereaved. This is a love story to the small town of Haines, Alaska. The many offbeat characters that make their home in Alaska co-exist with the Natives. Lende deals with the normal family issues and searches for reason when tragedy strikes.Both this book and "Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs" her latest, are full of heart, hope and the beauty of the wilderness Lende shares with her family and friends.
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
Lende chronicles the various lives and deaths of the people of Haines, Alaska, an almost inaccessible hamlet 90 miles north of Juneau. In writing her social and obituary columns for Haines's Chilkat Valley News-some of which are included here-she blends reportage and humor. Lende has lived in Haines all her adult life and is well-known in town. She deftly illuminates local color: the sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle and sports a ZZ Top beard, the high school principal who moonlights as a Roy Orbison impersonator, and the one-legged female gold miner. Lende covers death in her community in all its forms-accidental, intentional and inevitable-and notes, "writing about the dead helps me celebrate the living." While comic, the book also has some sensitive, insightful anecdotes. For example, Lende, a contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, portrays the building of a coffin for a beloved mother by her youngest daughter; the sinking of a family boat with a tender farewell for a fearless fisherman; the mourning of a quirky, civic-minded "aging hippie"; and the goodbye to a Texas woman who hosted an annual Mississippi blues party. Lende's picture of an Alaskan small town is colorful and captivating. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2005-04-18, Publishers Weekly
clue_4 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
I thought this was great! Heather Linde and her husband moved to small town Alaska in 1984. In her book she tells about their life there and also tells the stories of the people they live among. A quote from USA Today: "If you like the stories on Prarie Home Companion or Northern Exposure, you'll love some real news from small-town Alaska." You can go to the Haines, Alaska website to get a visual picture of the places Heather describes. Pretty amazing!
tjsjohanna_1 reviewed this
Rated 4/5
Ms. Lende shares snippets of stories of her neighbors and friends and along the way reflects on life and love and death. She also shares a good bit of life in the small town of Haines, Alaska - which sounds much like many small towns but with the added adventure of being isolated and filled with people who have strong opinions about a great many things. Good read.
Publishers Weekly reviewed this
Lende chronicles the various lives and deaths of the people of Haines, Alaska, an almost inaccessible hamlet 90 miles north of Juneau. In writing her social and obituary columns for Haines's Chilkat Valley News-some of which are included here-she blends reportage and humor. Lende has lived in Haines all her adult life and is well-known in town. She deftly illuminates local color: the sewer plant manager who rides a motorcycle and sports a ZZ Top beard, the high school principal who moonlights as a Roy Orbison impersonator, and the one-legged female gold miner. Lende covers death in her community in all its forms-accidental, intentional and inevitable-and notes, "writing about the dead helps me celebrate the living." While comic, the book also has some sensitive, insightful anecdotes. For example, Lende, a contributor to NPR's Morning Edition, portrays the building of a coffin for a beloved mother by her youngest daughter; the sinking of a family boat with a tender farewell for a fearless fisherman; the mourning of a quirky, civic-minded "aging hippie"; and the goodbye to a Texas woman who hosted an annual Mississippi blues party. Lende's picture of an Alaskan small town is colorful and captivating. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

2005-04-18, Publishers Weekly

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