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Booker season: It's complicated in Calcutta

“The Lives of Others” by Neel Mukherjee is exactly what I’d expect from a Man Booker Prize shortlistee. It’s deep, it’s complicated and it’s rather exuberant with the commas.

The book follows the internecine  lives of the 17 members of the upper-middle-class Ghosh family and a variety of their servants, acquaintances and comrades between 1966 and 1970. It’s a beautifully crafted book toggling between timelines and characters masterfully.

Tight housing in Juneau

Housing in Juneau is notoriously expensive, whether renting or buying a single-family home, but paying Juneau's high prices might be worth it when you consider the alternative — dressing as a marmot?

Booker season: For those who don't want to read

A tough choice is before you. You want to have an opinion on the Man Booker Prize nominees  (your own opinion, not mine) but you don’t want to read all six books in the next five weeks. How then do you choose the most worthy?

Below are several tried-and-true methods for picking a favorite:

Booker season: Dentistry, love and religion

It starts out well enough. Right on page  -2 (before the page numbers), the epigraph comes from an ancient tome, the Bible. From the well-respected book of Job, chapter 39, verse 25 — the King James version even.

It reads: “Ha, ha.”

Just so you’re clear on the tone of Joshua Ferris’ Man Booker Prize shortlisted novel, “To Rise Again at a Decent Hour.”

For military ship, civilian science is the mission

The U.S. Coast Guard ice breaker Healy stopped in Juneau on Thursday after four months in the Arctic, and the captain graciously gave the Empire a one-on-one tour of the ship on Friday. Here's what we learned. (And click here to see what we saw.)

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Like Shark Week for book-lovers

Yes, that’s right people — it’s Booker season.

As in the Man Booker Prize for those of you who don’t follow books like you follow Twitter. It’s a literary award. An august and popular one with about $80,000 (£50,000) in the kitty and a funny-looking trophy at stake.

Today the shortlist was released, leading to a feeding-frenzy of book reviews, a great, sharp mouthful of criticism and violent, thrashing praise.

There will be conjecture, there will be melodrama, and in five weeks, there will be a winner.

A Real Juneau Hiker

Most of the low lying trails around Juneau involve hiking out and back. We are surrounded by saltwater on one side and the Juneau Icefield on the other, with glacier carved valleys hemmed in by high mountain ridges stacked up and down the coast. I remember my first year in Juneau, when I learned the geography of the ridges and valleys along the road system: Hawthorne Peaks-Sheep Creek-Mt. Roberts-Perseverance-Mt. Juneau-Salmon Creek-Blackerby Ridge-Lemon Creek-Heintzleman Ridge/Thunder Mt.-Mendenhall Valley-McGinnis. Up, down, up, down, up, down, up.

Rainy Day Reads: I bought an ereader

I was one of those people who said they’d never get an ereader. It was like blasphemy to me. Books were the physical things you held in your hands. You turned the pages, you hefted their weight, you sniffed their used-book/new-book smell.

I’ve always hated reading things on screen. To this day, if a news story or blog post runs too long, I print it out and read it on paper. Reading on screens is just … different. And for me, difficult.

Rainy Day Reads: 'Girls of Atomic City'

They were not told where they were going. They were not allowed to talk about their jobs. They watched gauges and added numbers without knowing what they meant. They were recruited to spy on one another.

Summer Hikes: Part II

Summer Hikes, continued-

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