Heather Lende

Oct 21, 2020

Of Bears and Ballots

An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics

Algonquin Books 2020

purchase at bookshop.org Heather Lende was one of the thousands of women inspired to take a more active role in politics during the past few years. Though her entire campaign for assembly member in Haines, Alaska, cost less than $1,000, she won! But tiny, breathtakingly beautiful Haines—a place accessible from the nearest city, Juneau, only by boat or plane—isn’t the sleepy town that it appears to be: from a bitter debate about the expansion of the fishing boat harbor to the matter of how to stop bears from rifling through garbage on Main Street to the recall campaign that targeted three assembly members, including Lende, we witness the nitty-gritty of passing legislation, the lofty ideals of our republic, and how the polarizing national politics of our era play out in one small town. With an entertaining cast of offbeat but relatable characters, Of Bears and Ballots: An Alaskan Adventure in Small-Town Politics (Algonquin Books, 2020) is an inspirational tale about what living in a community really means, and what we owe one another. Heather Lende has contributed essays and commentary to NPR, the New York Times, and National Geographic Traveler, among other newspapers and magazines, and is a former contributing editor at Woman’s Day. A columnist for the Alaska Dispatch News, she is the obituary writer for the Chilkat Valley News in Haines and the recipient of the Suzan Nightingale McKay Best Columnist Award from the Alaska Press Club. Her previous bestselling books are Find the Good, Take Good Care of the Garden and the Dogs, and If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name. Lende was voted Citizen of the Year, Haines Chamber of Commerce, in 2004. Her website is heatherlende.com.
Dr. Christina Gessler’s background is in American women’s history, and literature. She specializes in the diaries written by rural women in 19th-century New England. In seeking the extraordinary in the ordinary, Gessler also writes poems about small relatable moments, and takes many, many photos in nature.

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Christina Gessler

Dr. Christina Gessler, a historian of women, gender, and sexuality. She reinterprets the historical narrative in both traditional and creative forms. She supports her work-life balance with long walks and her love of photography, which you can find here.

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