Still Points North: Surviving the World's Greatest Alaskan Childhood
Leigh Newman, author of Still Points North: Surviving the World's Greatest Alaskan Childhood, spent half her youth fishing for king salmon, dressing caribou, and taking target practice with her father (a.k.a. the Great Alaskan Dad), and the other half trying to fit in at a Baltimore private school while caring for her fragile mother, a social worker with chronic money trouble. More than 4,000 miles divided her two worlds, so it's no surprise that Newman, now deputy editor at Oprah.com, grew up to be a frequent flier, allergic to commitment—as likely to be found hiking the Nepalese jungle one day as buying the clothes off a stranger's back in St. Petersburg, Russia, the next. Her training taught her to pack light, survive scares aboard her father's Cessna, elude marauding bears and rising floodwaters—perfect skills for a travel writer. But what about the lure of home? Will she ever stop gate-hopping in favor of the only thing Alaska didn't teach her to track and catch: happiness? Enter the "Tender Intelligent Man" who "skied fast [and] snored quietly," followed by a smelly rescue mutt named Leonard, and maybe Grizzly Gal finds domestic bliss. What really sets this fearless memoir apart is the heartfelt, riotously funny writing, which will have you reading passages aloud, and rooting for Newman all the way.
— Benjamin Anastas