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Randi Spray

Booker season: It's complicated in Calcutta

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

“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.

Melissa Griffiths

Tight housing in Juneau

By: Melissa Griffiths | Blog:

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?

Randi Spray

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

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

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:

Randi Spray

Booker season: Dentistry, love and religion

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

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.”

Emily Russo Miller

For military ship, civilian science is the mission

By: Emily Russo Miller | Blog:

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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Randi Spray

Like Shark Week for book-lovers

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

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.

Randi Spray

Rainy Day Reads: I bought an ereader

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

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.

Randi Spray

Rainy Day Reads: 'Girls of Atomic City'

By: Randi Spray | Blog:

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.

Melissa Griffiths

Avian rescue at the Empire

By: Melissa Griffiths | Blog:

On sunny days in the Empire newsroom we often open the doors to let in a cool breeze — but this afternoon we got a little more than fresh air — we got a live bird.

We often have crows perched along the railings of the two balconies with access to the newsroom. To my knowledge, today was the first day one of the birds decided he was too good for the balcony and ventured indoors.

Melissa Griffiths

A mod revue

By: Melissa Griffiths | Blog:

Mod Carousel founder The Luminous Pariah, aka Seneca Harper, has returned to Juneau once again with his troupe of "boylesque" performers to entertain and enchant his favorite audience — his hometown. 

Weekend one of Mod Carousel was a "Best of" blend from performances past, including an homage to Alaska living that features a couple stuffed salmon with a surprise in their bellies. It's vastly preferable to find a pair of sequined heels in our sealife than the typical bits of discarded plastic. 

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