Best Books for Alaska

Book Cover: Paddling North
Destination: Alaska

Book: Paddling North by Audrey Sutherland


There are many reasons to read Paddling North. While paddling solo in a 9-foot inflatable kayak may exceed your tolerance for adventure, you will still benefit from the gentle humor, philosophical musings and sharp observations of Audrey Sutherland. To learn the details of the book and the trip up Alaska’s Inner Passage in the early 1980’s , click over to my review at My Itchy Travel Feet. (It’s okay, the library will still be open when you get back.)

I truly believe that this book should join classic nature adventure books like those by John Muir, Ann Zwinger or Edward Abbey.  And as a bonus to the wonderful intrinsic values of Paddling North–informative and fun to read–Sutherland is a dedicated reader, and her narrative is studded with book recommendations, and discussions of books and authors. She is such a dedicated reader that her waterproof bags include books, and she lists “Library” as one of the requirements for a good town.

Here are just a few of the books she recommends to Alaska travelers. You can see many more when you get this book. And you SHOULD get this book! (How’s that for bossy?)

As the Sailor Loves the Sea (1954/1999) by Ballard Hadman. Sutherland says this book, set in World War II in SE Alaskan islands and waters by a resident of Craig, Alaska had sparked her own interest in Alaska.

Glacier Bay, The Land and the Silence (1992) by Dave Bohn.

Evergreen Pacific: Exploring Alaska and British Columbia( 1997) by Stephen E. Hilson.

Travels in Alaska (2009) by John Muir.

Alaska’s Inside Passage Traveler: See More, Spend Less (1999) by Ellen Searby and Henry Jori.

Listening to Whales (2002) by Alexandra Morton.

Sutherland lists more books, some of them very specialized about canoeing, wild foods, animals, or navigation.

An Inland Voyage (1878). The well-read Sutherland talks about Robert Louis Stevenson– who before his travels with a donkey in Cevennes, wrote about a paddling journey in the north of France.

Essays of E.B. White (1977), “The Sea and the Wind that Blows”. Among the wide-ranging reading is one of my favorite writers, E. B. White.

Although I did not include Amazon links to this long list of books, I did link  Paddling North to my Amazon affiliate account.  If you are planning to stock up on Alaska books–or any other Amazon shopping, you can help A Traveler’s Library by using these links. And it costs you no more to shop that way! Hurray!

I want to thank the publishers of Paddling North for sending me a review copy, and thank Donna Hull at My Itchy Travel Feet for inviting me to write a review for her readers (and for you to share at this link).


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About Vera Marie Badertscher

A freelance writer who loves to travel. When she is not traveling she is reading about travel. When she is not reading or traveling, she is sharing with the readers of A Traveler's Library, or recreating her family's past at Ancestors In Aprons . She has written for Reel Life With Jane, Life is a Trip and other websites. Also co-author of a biography, Quincy Tahoma, The Life and Legacy of a Navajo Artist. Contact Vera Marie by e-mail.

2 thoughts on “Best Books for Alaska

  1. I had a great book that detailed what you would see out your cruise ship window as you cruised the Inside Passage. I can’t remember what it was called, but it was nice to be able to follow along in the book.

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