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THERE'S MUCH TO BE SAID FOR A LONG BOOK
This is one of my favorite books by one of my favorite authors. When I first joined audible almost five years ago, the first thing I did was look up my favorite authors. I was totally bummed to find out there were no Michener Novels. Also confusing, since Michener's novels were some of the first to ever be recorded. I listened to this book and several others on cassette tape. I wrote to audible several times to ask them to get his recordings. I am now one happy camper. It will take years, but I hope one day to listen to all his books.
THIS AIN'T AMERICA, THIS IS ALASKA
This should be listed as Historical Fiction, not Fiction/Contemporary. No one writes history like Michener. Each chapter is really a book. If you find the size too much, just listen to a chapter and come back later for another chapter, although I am betting you will not be able to put it down. Besides history, James likes to throw in lots of science, but don't worry, he captures all the wonderment of science and you will learn with pleasure.
THE GREAT LAND
Michener starts at the beginning. He starts with plate tectonics and explains cool things like Alaska was once the true North Pole and it was once on the equator. He talks about the animals. For instance camels started in North America. Saber Tooth Tigers were nine times bigger then tigers of today. There were once Lions in Alaska. A Mastodon becomes one of his main characters in chapter two and we follow her and her herd through there daily lives. In chapter three we see how Alaska was settled by the Asians. Later chapters talk about the Russians and how they settled Alaska. All of this is done through storytelling. Much of it is done through characters and you will feel what it was like to live back then. If you like Jean Auel, you will love this. There are some great stories about the Gold Rush. The book continues up to the 1980's. The last stories feature a teacher who goes to teach at Desolation Point. There is mountain climbing, dog sledding, WWII invasion of the islands, etc.
I HOPE THE MINISTER THAT MARRIED YOU TIED A TIGHT KNOT.
I love Larry McKeever for these books. I would not want him to do a fast paced Zombie book or some high adventure, but he is perfect for Michener. I will have to admit I could be prejudice. You know how firsts are, perhaps your first girlfriend was a red head or had bucked teeth or both and now you have a special place in your heart for red headed bucked teeth women. McKeever was one of the first narrators with Guidal, and I listened to several Michener and Asimov books he read, while traveling down the lonely highway, back in the cassette days. Some might think he is too slow, but I think he is just right.
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Where does Alaska rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?
As an Alaskan I love this story. The narrator is a bit slow, and not a dramatic reader, but for the material lends itself well for his style which sounds more like a lecture from a history prof. It works well, although I must admit I had to set the speed to 1.25 (sacrilege to some I know, but it is kinda slow otherwise). As the grandson of pioneers up here in Alaska, my kids are 4th generation born on the grands homestead, I can say I identify with so many aspects of this story it is hard to know where to start.
Who was your favorite character and why?
Hard to say. Probably Missy, she reminds me of many sourdough ladies I know in real life. But there are so many who i could almost identify as people I've known. The Flatches are like many families I've known in the interior backwoods outside of Fairbanks. The Vims are much like many outsiders that see Alaska as only profits lining their pockets.
Which scene was your favorite?
The Nome gold discoveries. Always wish I'd been around back then. Also the interractions between Big Ears and the Vims family
Any additional comments?
It was obviously a remaster of the original cassette or cd version, and there were plenty of remnants of that original, original intros a la "Disk-4", repeated lines from original when the new disk was inserted, etc. Also there were a good amount of seriously mispronounced words, both Alaskan words and several location names that were actual American names. Otherwise, I felt like I was immersed in my own culture in a deep learning sort of way. Loved it.
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