'Books and things' turns into a store

James Rogan, owner of Alaskana Raven, "Books and Things," stands next to a wall of Alaska non-fiction books in his store on 2nd Avenue in Fairbanks, Alaska. (AP Photo/Fairbanks Daily News-Miner, Weston Morrow)

FAIRBANKS — Alaskana Raven “Books and Things” may not have been open for very long, but it has a lot of history. The small book store is located at the end of a hallway in the Co-op Market on Second Avenue in Fairbanks.

James Rogan opened the store with his wife, Molly Leahy, in June to expand their love of the 49th state to anyone in Fairbanks. The store is no bigger than a living room but contains myriad texts on the farthest-north state in the union.

Books and things is a fitting theme for the store, as nearly everything inside is for sale. In addition to the books Rogan sells, the store’s walls are covered in paintings and photographs depicting the unique style of life in Alaska.

Rogan and Leahy were inspired to open the store in June to combat the growing collection of Alaskan things they possessed. Rogan had been collecting and reading books on Alaska since he was a child.

“I consider myself a lifetime Alaska resident,” Rogan said. “I’ve been collecting Alaska books for years and years and years. We had talked on and off about opening a book store for years, and everything just sort of came together.”

The store specializes in Alaska-related books. Nearly everything in the store was written by an author who lives in Alaska or is written about an adventure or topic from Alaska. Most of the books are nonfiction, Rogan said, owing mostly in part to the extent of real adventures that have taken place in the state during the past 150 years.

The stock at Alaskana Raven covers all things Alaska, though much of the books relate to the unique aviation in the largest state in the union. Rogan said much of that stock comes from his own fascination with the Bush planes that travel throughout the state.

The stock at Alaskana Raven isn’t massive. They don’t have a back room with additional copies of books, but when someone comes in looking for a particular book the store might not have in stock, Rogan will work with them to show the customer where they can find the Alaska book they’re looking for.

Alaskana Raven operates its own First Friday event each month. The store brings in Alaska authors to discuss and sign their books. On Friday, the store had a signing by Kristina Ahlnos. Next month, it is planning to hold a signing by Daniel Osborne, an engineer who wrote a book on the defunct Tanana railroad.

The store’s name comes in part from Rogan and Leahy’s dog, Raven.

“She won’t appreciate any of our books, though,” Rogan said.

Rogan was born in Beaver. Both his parents were school teachers. As a child, he lived in Akiachak, Napaskiak and Kipnuk.

Now, almost a year into the business’s operation, Rogan said customer numbers have only been growing. Each month, the number of customers coming to the store has increased, he said. The store is open Monday through Friday from 3-5:30 p.m. and on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. When summer hits, they plan to extend their Saturday hours to Monday through Friday.

To reach Alaskana Raven, call 378-2853.

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Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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