Friday, November 18, 2016

Arctic Nights

Color frontispiece of sketch of "Gus" Masik in his cabin in Alaska. He is playing an accordian wearing hih boots with a big smile on his face. The cabin has a wood pile and a stove and Masik's modest belongng.The nights are getting really long as we approach winter. One of the nice things about having a huge polar research collection, is that whenever our northern climate starts to wear on you, there are plenty of harrowing stories in the collection about places much colder and much darker through the winter. Today we stumbled on a northern version of A Thousand and One Nights. But in the polar regions, one month-long night will do the job for a pretty long story.

Arctic Nights' Entertainments (London: Blackie and Sons, 1935) recounts the life and adventures of August Masik as told by him to Isobel Hutchinson over 25 days of darkness. Born in Estonia, "Gus" took to the seas as a young man. His travels took him into the arctic regions where he decided to stay, but he never settled. His life is full of harrowing journeys across the ice. A colorful storyteller, it is tough to judge when he is dead serious and when he is exaggerating for effect. But, if the Hanover winter gets to you, come into Rauner: Masik's tales will warm you up.

You can see the book by asking for Stefansson Alcove F 909 .M38.

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