78 books like Jimmy Bluefeather

By Kim Heacox,

Here are 78 books that Jimmy Bluefeather fans have personally recommended if you like Jimmy Bluefeather. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of To the Bright Edge of the World

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Author Of Without Children: The Long History of Not Being a Mother

From my list on women without kids (that aren’t sad).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a historian who knows women have long lived not-sad lives without children. I’ve spent years researching the full and vibrant lives women without children lived throughout history—lives that often were only possible because they didn’t have the responsibilities of motherhood. I’m also a woman living a decidedly not-sad life without kids. And yet, in popular imagination, a woman without kids must be longing to be a mother or grieving the fact that she isn’t. I know firsthand that it can be isolating not to have kids. But in writing about the sheer variety of lives non-mothers lived in the past, I’m trying to show that we’re not alone.

Peggy's book list on women without kids (that aren’t sad)

Peggy O'Donnell Heffington Why did Peggy love this book?

Unlike Ivey’s other book The Snow Child, which grapples with the grief of infertility (a book I also love!), this book considers the opportunities a life without children allows for.

It opens with Lieutenant Colonel Allan Forrester as he prepares to lead an expedition into Alaska in 1885. His wife, Sophie, is an explorer in her own right and plans to accompany him—until they realize she’s pregnant and decide she has to stay behind.

Spoiler: Sophie miscarries and learns she will likely never be able to carry a baby to term. But this isn’t an endpoint for Sophie: instead, it sets her on a path toward professional and creative success, as well as love and happiness in her marriage.

We’re used to reading about how motherhood gives life meaning—I loved Ivey’s portrait of how not having kids can do the same.

By Eowyn Ivey,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked To the Bright Edge of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE EDWARD STANFORD TRAVEL WRITING AWARDS 2016.

Set in the Alaskan landscape that she brought to stunningly vivid life in THE SNOW CHILD (a Sunday Times bestseller, Richard and Judy pick and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize), Eowyn Ivey's TO THE BRIGHT EDGE OF THE WORLD is a breathtaking story of discovery set at the end of the nineteenth century, sure to appeal to fans of A PLACE CALLED WINTER.

'A clever, ambitious novel' The Sunday Times

'Persuasive and vivid... what could be a better beach read than an Arctic adventure?' Guardian


'Stunning and intriguing... the reader finishes…


Book cover of Ordinary Wolves

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Kantner’s book, from 2004, is the first literary novel, in my judgment, to present an authentic view of contemporary Alaska.

The story (thinly disguised from the author’s own life) is told by a white boy growing up in a remote northern part of Alaska, living with his family as an earlier generation of Inupiaq people did. The boy fits in with neither the modernizing Inupiaq of a nearby village nor the white world, although he is very much at ease with the natural world and the skills his life demands.

When he later tries city life, the contrast is stark and painful. Kantner presents both worlds in exquisite detail as he explores larger themes about values, choices, and human relationships. Ordinary Wolves won the Milkweed National Fiction Prize.

By Seth Kantner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Ordinary Wolves as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ordinary Wolves depicts a life different from what any of us has known: Inhuman cold, the taste of rancid salmon shared with shivering sled dogs, hunkering in a sod igloo while blizzards moan overhead. But this is the only world Cutuk Hawcley has ever known. Born and raised in the Arctic, he has learned to provide for himself by hunting, fishing, and trading. And yet, though he idolizes the indigenous hunters who have taught him how to survive, when he travels to the nearby Inupiaq village, he is jeered and pummeled by the native children for being white. When he…


Book cover of The Alaskan Laundry

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Set in the 1990s, this very engaging novel tracks the arrival of a young, angry, and confused Tara Marconi to a southeast Alaska town and then follows her as she matures alongside a set of memorable and often damaged characters.

The depictions of small-town life and the fishing industry are well-wrought, as are the conflicts that many Alaskans face with themselves, their pasts, and the environment. This counts as a coming-of-age story but is unique in its depiction of a strong, smart, and adaptable young woman finding her true, independent self in a place where self-realization is not just allowed but encouraged.

At its most basic, The Alaskan Laundry is a testament to how places and spaces shape us, and how we find where we belong. 

By Brendan Jones,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Alaskan Laundry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

On the icy waters of the Bering Sea, a lost, fierce young woman finds herself through the hard work of fishing and the stubborn love of real friendship.

Tara Marconi has made her way from Philly to “the Rock,” a remote island in Alaska governed by the seasons. Her mother’s death left her unmoored, with a seemingly impassable rift between her and her father. But in this majestic, rugged frontier she works her way up the commercial fishing ladder—from hatchery assistant all the way to king crabber. Disciplined from years as a young boxer, she learns anew what it means…


Book cover of Sivulliq: Ancestor

Nancy Lord Author Of pH: A Novel

From my list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a long-time Alaskan (and former Alaska writer laureate) with a passion for my place—its people, environment, and history. I’ve always read widely in its literature and have watched it mature from superficial “last frontier” stories into a complex and diverse wealth of authentic and well-told stories. Since 2015 I’ve reviewed books for the Anchorage Daily News and have made it my business to know and support the growing Alaska writing community. Alaska is particularly strong in nonfiction writing while fiction (other than mysteries and short stories) has been slower to develop, and I’ve chosen to highlight five examples of novels that present truths through imaginative leaps.

Nancy's book list on authentic Alaska by Alaskans

Nancy Lord Why did Nancy love this book?

Alaska’s Indigenous people—expert storytellers and artists—have yet to author many works of fiction, so it’s a pleasure to have discovered this new novel by a writer of Inupiaq heritage.

Set in 1893 during a smallpox epidemic, Sivulliq features two viewpoint characters—an Inupiaq mother whose small daughter is kidnapped by a commercial whaling captain and a Black whaler on the whaling ship. The fast-paced plot follows the family’s efforts to find the ship and rescue the child, while life aboard the ship is narrated by the reluctant whaler.

The historic truths brought to life here include the devastation of Native Alaskans from disease and famine, the prevalence of Black whalers and the often-brutal conditions on board, and Inupiaq spiritual connections (then and now) to the land and ancestors. 

By Lily H Tuzroyluke,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Sivulliq as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In the spring of 1893, arctic Alaska is devastated by smallpox. Kayaliruk knows it is time to light the funeral pyres and leave their home. With her surviving children, she packs their dog sled and they set off to find family. Kayaliruk wakes with a bleeding scalp and no memory of the last day. Her daughter was stolen by Yankee whalers, her sons say. They begin chasing the ship, through arctic storms, across immeasurable distances, slipping into the Yankee whalers' town on Herschel Island, and to the enemy shores of Siberia. Ibai, an African American whaler, grew up in New…


Book cover of Raven Stole the Moon

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Author Of The Damnable Legacy

From my list on for escaping to Alaska.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a huge fan of Alaska—a landscape of unforgiving weather patterns, inaccessible terrain, savage animals, and undeniable pristine beauty. I’m also a nature lover and spend as much time outdoors as possible, often hiking and marveling at spectacular vistas like those found in The Damnable Legacy. But I’m also an avid observer of the human race and am fascinated by all sorts of behaviors: why we pursue our passions, how we love and grieve, and whether we can really change who we are at the core. 

G.'s book list on for escaping to Alaska

G. Elizabeth Kretchmer Why did G. love this book?

I’m recommending Raven Stole the Moon for a few reasons. First, it addresses maternal guilt and loss, which are important themes in my novel. Second, it incorporates Native Alaskan mysticism, drawing on the author’s Tlingit heritage. I am always intrigued by spiritual lore, and one of my characters, who also has a Native Alaskan background, relies on nature to anticipate—or even predict—the future. And finally, I’m an overall fan of the author (who also wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain) and found the book to be entertaining—and let’s face it, entertainment is one of the key reasons we read!

By Garth Stein,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Raven Stole the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this haunting debut, Garth Stein brilliantly invokes his Native American heritage and its folklore to create a mesmerising supernatural thriller. When Jenna Rosen, a grieving young mother, returns to the remote Alaskan town where her young son drowned, she discovers that the truth about her son's death is shrouded in legend - and buried in a terrifying netherworld between life and death. Armed with nothing but a mother's protective instincts, Jenna's quest for the truth is about to pull her into a terrifying and life changing abyss. Helped by a young man who falls in love with her, Jenna…


Book cover of The Epic of Qayaq: The Longest Story Ever Told by My People

Charles Wohlforth Author Of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change

From my list on the dark, gritty, beautiful truth of Alaska.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've never been anything but a writer, despite growing up and spending my first 50 years in Alaska. Alaska has been my major topic—what else could it be in that overwhelmingly powerful place?—but it has also been my frustration, because Alaska is a real place that exists in most readers’ minds only as a romantic vision, and they resist any other version. Like the real Eskimos in my book, whose world is melting from climate change as they pump millions of barrels of crude oil from their homeland. The writers I chose are all Alaskans, like me, who tell those stories about the magical, terrifying place that lies behind the Disney version you already know.

Charles' book list on the dark, gritty, beautiful truth of Alaska

Charles Wohlforth Why did Charles love this book?

This is an ancient, novel-length tale of a hero in the Alaska wilderness near the dawn of time, confronting the cruelty and grief endemic in a world in which survival always hangs on the luck and skill of the hunter. Oman, who died in 2018 at 102, told me 30 years ago about holding onto the Qayaq story, even through the years when her cultural practices were effectively outlawed. She grew up at a time in Kotzebue when her father, a shaman, could only tell the ancient stories of her Inupiaq people at night, in secret, vouchsafing them with her for another generation. As an adult she continued collecting them, and then, in her old age, published this graceful and haunting story, which seems to reach to us from another world.

By Lela Kiana Oman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Epic of Qayaq as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is a splendid presentation of an ancient northern story cycle, brought to life by Lela Kiana Oman, who has been retelling and writing the legends of the Inupiat of the Kobuk Valley, Alaska, nearly all her adult life. In the mid-1940s, she heard these tales from storytellers passing through the mining town of Candle, and translated them from Inupiaq into English. Now, after fifty years, they illuminate one of the world's most vibrant mythologies. The hero is Qayaq, and the cycle traces his wanderings by kayak and on foot along four rivers - the Selawik, the Kobuk, the Noatak…


Book cover of Alaska

Laura Galloway Author Of Dalvi: Six Years in the Arctic Tundra

From my list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!).

Why am I passionate about this?

Why I chose to write about cold climates: I spent nearly seven years living in the North of Norway in the Sámi reindeer herding village called Guovdageaidnu, or Kautokeino in Norwegian. I cherish my time in that part of the world. 

Laura's book list on life changing books on life in the Arctic (and other cold climates!)

Laura Galloway Why did Laura love this book?

I first read this novel when I was 11–my parents had it in the study, and for some reason, I picked it up one day–probably because there was nothing on TV, and I couldn’t stop reading. I was captivated by this book; it was like nothing I’d ever read, describing a place that was so different from my midwestern home.

It’s the story of Alaska and its history–told in a pacy, thrilling way. I still remember this book 40 years on, which says something! 

By James A. Michener,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Alaska as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this sweeping epic of the northernmost American frontier, James A. Michener guides us through Alaska’s fierce terrain and history, from the long-forgotten past to the bustling present. As his characters struggle for survival, Michener weaves together the exciting high points of Alaska’s story: its brutal origins; the American acquisition; the gold rush; the tremendous growth and exploitation of the salmon industry; the arduous construction of the Alcan Highway, undertaken to defend the territory during World War II. A spellbinding portrait of a human community fighting to establish its place in the world, Alaska traces a bold and majestic saga…


Book cover of Living High: An Unconventional Autobiography

Margaret Meps Schulte Author Of Strangers Have the Best Candy

From my list on getting you talking to strangers.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I was a youngster, my parents took me on 6-week journeys across the United States by car. We'd stop in a small town each night, and I would explore on foot and meet other kids at the swimming pool or ice cream shop. That slow mode of travel has become my default, and I've spent years exploring back roads, small towns, and bywaters by car, bicycle, and sailboat. I write about the strangers I've found and the "candy" I've gotten from them: strangers have lessons for all of us and are not as dangerous as we've been told.

Margaret's book list on getting you talking to strangers

Margaret Meps Schulte Why did Margaret love this book?

Sometimes, when we read history, it seems so dry and different from our own lives that it's hard to comprehend. In the 1920s and 30s, June Burn homesteaded on an island in the San Juans, lived in Alaska, and traveled across the country with a donkey cart. Yet I can envision myself in her adventurous life because her views were so much like my own. She was a feminist and a strong, brave woman who used her writing as an excuse to talk to strangers.

By June Burn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Living High as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Courage, gaiety, and a fresh approach to life are reflected in this unconventional autobiography. It is a story of twentieth-century pioneers as resourceful as ever they were in the days of the old frontier. June Burn and her husband Farrar determined to go their own sweet way, enjoying first hand living and not surrendering to the routines of a workaday world. Through the years they had some high and glorious adventures, which included homesteading a gumdrop in the San Juan Islands of the Pacific Northwest, teaching Eskimos near Siberia, and exploring the United States by donkey cart with a baby…


Book cover of Coming Into the Country

Mike Gerrard Author Of Snakes Alive and Other Travel Writing

From my list on US travel writing chosen by a travel writer.

Why am I passionate about this?

I always wanted to be a writer but never thought I’d become a travel writer. And like many British teenagers, I also had a passion for the USA – its movies, its music, its writers – but never imagined I would end up living in Arizona. I’ve now traveled in the US widely and understand why its landscapes, its people, and its culture have produced so much good travel writing. It’s a country that’s inspiring and surprising in equal measure, ever-changing, vast, and even though I didn’t grow up there it certainly made me who I am. 

Mike's book list on US travel writing chosen by a travel writer

Mike Gerrard Why did Mike love this book?

Before I went to Alaska for the first time, I did some background reading and thankfully discovered this book and the writing of John McPhee. He and Alaska were made for each other. He’s the kind of writer who is interested in everything, and everyone, and conveys his curiosity and his discoveries with enthusiasm. Alaska is unique, as is McPhee’s style of writing, jumping from topic to topic as the mood – and his journey – takes him, and hauling the reader along with him. He’s the kind of traveling companion who’s forever saying: let’s see what’s down there, I wonder how that works, let’s go talk to that guy.

By John McPhee,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Coming Into the Country as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Coming into the Country is an unforgettable account of Alaska and Alaskans. It is a rich tapestry of vivid characters, observed landscapes, and descriptive narrative, in three principal segments that deal, respectively, with a total wilderness, with urban Alaska, and with life in the remoteness of the bush.

Readers of McPhee's earlier books will not be unprepared for his surprising shifts of scene and ordering of events, brilliantly combined into an organic whole. In the course of this volume we are made acquainted with the lore and techniques of placer mining, the habits and legends of the barren-ground grizzly, the…


Book cover of The Stars, the Snow, the Fire: Twenty-Five Years in the Alaska Wilderness

Charles Wohlforth Author Of The Whale and the Supercomputer: On the Northern Front of Climate Change

From my list on the dark, gritty, beautiful truth of Alaska.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've never been anything but a writer, despite growing up and spending my first 50 years in Alaska. Alaska has been my major topic—what else could it be in that overwhelmingly powerful place?—but it has also been my frustration, because Alaska is a real place that exists in most readers’ minds only as a romantic vision, and they resist any other version. Like the real Eskimos in my book, whose world is melting from climate change as they pump millions of barrels of crude oil from their homeland. The writers I chose are all Alaskans, like me, who tell those stories about the magical, terrifying place that lies behind the Disney version you already know.

Charles' book list on the dark, gritty, beautiful truth of Alaska

Charles Wohlforth Why did Charles love this book?

Haines was best known as a poet, highly respected by other writers but uncompromising and without much commercial success or recognition. This collection of essays in the form of a memoir similarly makes no compromise, dispensing with plot, characters, or even a clear sense of time and geography. Instead, Haines takes the reader deep into the mind of a lone man surviving for decades in the harshest wilderness, thinking, observing, and writing—his own mind. And the writing is so strong, it turns out, that he doesn’t need those usually necessary tools of narrative he pointedly ignores. Instead, we feel the cold, see the hypnotic stars above the snow, and feel the brittle edge of aloneness. Through sheer stylistic austerity, those dark lonely nights are real.

By John Meade Haines,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Stars, the Snow, the Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In this wilderness classic, the quintessential Alaskan frontiersman relates his experiences from over twenty years as a hoemsteader. As New York Newsday has said of his work, If Alaska had not existed, Haines might well have invented it.''


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Alaska, grandfather, and old man?

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