Skip to content

17 Best Books Set in Alaska

Alaska books offer readers not only a glimpse into the northernmost state in the U.S., but they are an excellent way to learn more about the culture and history of the area you travel through. If you loved Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child and James Michener’s Alaska, pick up these books about the 49th state before your visit to get excited!

1. Strong Man: a Tlingit Story by Ishmael Hope

This graphic novel tells the story of the Tlingit hero Dukt’ootl and a modern day teen in parallel stories. The author told Daily Sitka Sentinel, “”I was trying to find a way of providing traditional Tlingit knowledge to modern life and with integrity.” Read more about how Hope developed the story and then pick up a copy for yourself!

2. The Yiddish Policeman’s Union by Michael Chabon

Imagine a world where the Holocaust led to a unique solution — a Jewish settlement in Sitka, Alaska. Michael Chabon’s speculative history takes us on a journey through this alternate reality where a murder mystery plot adds an extra layer of suspense.

3. Flight of the Goose by Lesley Thomas

The first book by Lesley Thomas is a captivating novel that weaves together themes of ecology, Inupiat tradition and war. Set in the Alaska wilderness outside of Nome, the book tells the story of the classic old world meeting the new — confronting the legacy of her peoples’ history. Ultimately, the story is a powerful exploration of the strong connections between humans and the natural world and the resilience of indigenous communities in the face of difficult times.

4. The Fugitive Wife by Peter C. Brown

The captivating novel dives into the little-known perspective of women during the gold rush era in Alaska. Peter C. Brown transports readers to a time when women were often marginalized and faced with numerous challenges in pursuit of their dreams. The story beautifully weaves together history and storytelling to immerse readers. This book is sure to leave a lasting impact on you, no matter what your favorite genre is.

5. Two Old Women: An Alaska Legend of Betrayal, Courage and Survival by Velma Wallis

This touching and powerful novel by Velma Wallis tells the tale of famine, resilience and survival. The novel follows two elderly women who are abandoned by their tribe, but they still refuse to give up. The women’s determination and grit help them not only survive but thrive in the harsh Alaska wilderness, giving testament to their enduring strength and the human spirit.

6. 30 Days of Night: Beyond Barrow by Steve Niles and Bill Sienkiewicz

If you have the thriller kick when it comes to reading, it’s hard to beat this graphic novel about the undead. This novel is sure to keep readers on the edge of their seats until the very end and is not for the faint of heart! For those who love a good heart-pounding read that will leave you wanting more, this is the pick for you.

7. The Woman Who Married a Bear by John Straley

Author John Straley is a criminal investigator who writes a mysterious story set in Alaska that revolves around a young woman name Sur O’Hara. O’Hara is involved with a man who is rumored to have transformed into a bear and it gets more complicated and dangerous as the story progresses. This novel is a great blend of mystery and romance.

8. The Man Who Swam with Beavers by Nancy Lord

Nancy Lord’s book is about a man named Mike who develops a deep connection with beavers and their natural habitat. Through his experiences, the book explores the complex relationship between humans and nature. This book is for those who love a fascinating and thought-provoking read.

9. The Great Alone by Kristen Hannah

The gripping tale of love, loss and survival in the harsh Alaska wilderness. Set in the 1970’s, this novel follows the story of a family trying to start fresh in the unforgiving and isolated terrain. Hannah includes stunning imagery and incorporates complex characters. If you love a good adventure, this story is a powerful portrayal of the human condition.

10. The Cloud Atlas by Liam Callanan

This enchanting novel written by Liam Callanan takes readers on a journey through time and space. Set in Alaska and exploring the role of the state in World War II, the story follows the adventures of a young pilot named Joe who is tasked with delivering a top-secret package to a remote village. As the story progresses, Joe’s past begins to weigh on him while he encounters a diverse slew of characters and navigates the treacherous terrain of Alaska.

11. Winterdance: The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen

Author Gary Paulsen has competed in the Iditarod two times. His thrilling and humorous memoir follows the journey of training and running the intense race in the bitter cold winter in Alaska. Paulsen takes readers on a wild ride of the stunning wilderness, fierce dogs and the physical and emotional challenges of the Iditarod. Through his triumphs and failures, this is a must-read book for those who love adventure, nature and the bond between humans and animals.

12. Into the Wild by Christopher McCandless

This cautionary tale follows Christopher McCandless’s journey into the Alaska Wilderness in search of adventure and self-discovery. McCandless, who was a recent college graduate, leaves behind his privileged life and sets out on a solo expedition to live off the land. During his exploration, he is faced with numerous challenges and meets a variety of characters who shape his perspective on life.

13. This is Chance! by Jon Mooallem

This story follows one woman named Chance who becomes the voice of her community in Anchorage, Alaska, after a devastating earthquake in 1964. Through her role as a part-time radio reporter, her tireless efforts help bring a fractured city together through hope during a time of great uncertainty. The writing is both informative and emotionally resonant, making it a must-read for those who are interested in the power of community and the human spirit.

14. Braving It: A Father, A Daughter and an Unforgettable Journey by James Campbell

Get ready to go on an unforgettable journey through Alaska. In the book, Campbell and his daughter Aidan embark on a daring adventure to explore the rugged terrain and confront their fears. As the pair navigates through the treacherous landscape, they encounter wild animals, harsh weather and unexpected challenges. Through their adventure, they discover the beauty and resilience of nature, as well as the strength of their father-daughter bond. The story is a testament to the power of courage and determination.

15. 58 Degrees North: The Mysterious Sinking of the Arctic Rose by Huge Kugiya

If you’re a fan of “The Deadliest Catch,” you might like this gripping true story written by Huge Kugiya. It is about the mysterious sinking of the Arctic Rose and is a must-read. Kugiya takes readers on a gripping journey to the cold and unforgiving waters of the Bering Sea where the lives of crew members aboard a doomed vessel are tragically lost. This book sheds light on the dangers of commercial fishing and the bravery of those who bring us the seafood we love and enjoy.

16. The Best of Robert Service by Robert Service

This literary treasure trove is filled with the works of the legendary poet Robert Service. His gift for vivid storytelling can take readers on epic journeys. Exploring the north and capturing the spirit of the land and its people, every word on the pages is inspiring and delightful.

17. Cartography of Water by Mike Burwell

This is a beautiful collection of poems that explores the depth and mysteries of the ocean with vivid imagery and lyrical language. From the gentle lapping of waves against the shores to the violent storms that range across the open sea, these poems remind readers that nature is in control

Bring Alaska stories to life

Alaska is a wonderland of unique experiences and breathtaking landscapes waiting to be explored. So, whether you’re a nature lover, a history fanatic or just seeking adventure, Gray Line Alaska offers a variety of options to suit all interests! From sightseeing excursions to witnessing the northern lights or even getting to view the iconic Denali, Gray Line Alaska can help you write your own Alaska stories. Why wait? Book any adventure with Gray Line Alaska so you can experience the magic of this state for yourself.


Posted in: About Alaska

Back to Blog