The joys of travel, part II

The last time I posted, we had been in Alaska only a day and had yet to discover all of its delightful quirks. After a couple days in Seward, I had nearly finished the book I brought along to read and was ready for something new. We couldn’t find a bookstore in Seward, but we noticed that the grocery store had a books section. The first two or three books I saw were under the western category. No good.

I scanned the other labels: romance, mystery, action, best sellers. Ooh, best sellers, I figured I could find something there. But when I started looking at the best sellers, none of them looked familiar. They had titles such as “Crimes of Passion” and “A Family Affair.” Every book seemed to have a half-naked woman on the cover and some beefcake in the background. As Greg and I perused, we saw that, with the exception of the two westerns, all the books were romance. I guess for this particular grocery store all the best sellers had to be romance novels because none of the other genres were given a chance.

The books were even stranger given that the people we met in Alaska were some of the toughest we’ve seen. They all hike and camp and carry guns in case of bear attack. The women eschew make-up and dresses in favor of fleece and cargo pants — and for good reason. These people are reading romance novels?

I didn’t end up buying a book, but Greg and I speculated for a while about the selection. We decided that with Alaska being such a cold place, the people must need something to keep them warm during the winters. I guess somewhere under all that ruggedness, the Alaskans have a soft spot.