The Bookworm: Gain wisdom from these true-life experiences

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“Pilgrim’s Wilderness: A True Story of Faith and Madness on the Alaska Frontier”

By Tom Kizzia

c.2013, Crown

$25/$28 Canada

313 pages

Some days, you just want to chuck it all.

If you could, you’d throw your alarm clock out the window and let birds be your wake-up call. You’d perform morning ablutions creekside, with the sun to dry your back. No more rat race, commute, or crowds.

Some days, you’d be perfectly happy in the mountains, living off the land. And in “Pilgrim’s Wilderness” by Tom Kizzia, you’ll read about a man who took his family to do just that — and ran afoul of the law.

Nestled in the Wrangell Mountains, tiny McCarthy, Alaska, is little more than a “ghost town.” Yes, a few stalwart folks call it home year-round, but a stranger is an unusual sight in the middle of January — so in 2002, when a man with a long, unkempt beard showed up in town with his 15-member family, he created quite a stir.

Calling himself Papa Pilgrim, he said that God had sent them to Alaska to set up a homestead. There, they’d live like frontiersman of old, with no electricity, no plumbing, and with whatever food they could grow or hunt. Like McCarthy, Pilgrim’s camp was inside a National Park which, in Alaska, was legal.

The road he bulldozed through the park, though, was not. Within months, Pilgrim butted heads with Park Service rangers, resulting in a war of words and a flurry of lawyers — something of which Pilgrim had a long history.

His real name was Bobby Hale, and he hailed from Texas where his first teenage wife died under suspicious circumstances. He married again and moved to New Mexico, and children came along about every other year. They were raised by stealing and poaching. None of them went to school. But though many supported Pilgrim and his anti-government stance, and though he could be eloquent, there was darkness behind the charming facade he displayed.

The light-fingered ways Pilgrim employed in New Mexico followed him to Alaska, says Kizzia, as did the poaching. Despite several warnings from the NPS, Pilgrim resolutely did whatever he wanted to do on federal land.

That bothered many people. But what was worse, some said, was the eerie way that Pilgrim’s children behaved

I don’t think I’ve ever read a book that started out with a more exciting prologue and ended with a bigger slam-bang-dunk than this one. Yep, “Pilgrim’s Wilderness” is that good.

With a reporter’s eye for detail, author Tom Kizzia gives readers a sense of horror mixed with rugged beauty and nature’s harshness found in the mountains in which this story occurred. There’s Hollywood and JFK here, a definite feel of The Wild West, plenty of individualism, and a pioneering spirit that really starts to break apart about mid-tale. That’s when we get a genuine whiff of something sinister.

That’s when you’ll be glued to this book.

This is a true-crime fan’s delight, an outdoorsman’s treat, a book you just can’t miss. When you see “Pilgrim’s Wilderness” on the shelf, you won’t be sorry if you chuck it in your cart.

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“This is How to Get Your Next Job”

By Andrea Kay

c.2013, Amacom

$16/$18.95 Canada

244 pages

By now, you should be used to hearing “no.”

No, we’re not accepting applications at this time. No, we don’t have any openings. No, we’re not hiring. There’s no chance we’ll be expanding this year. No, we looked over your resume and no, we can’t offer you a job now.

You’ve filled out hundreds of applications. You’ve done your best on interviews and you still don’t have the job you want. Now, with the new book “This is How to Get Your Next Job” by Andrea Kay, you’ll be able to determine your next step.

When her husband, a small-business owner, said that he had given up hope in finding the qualified employee he’d been looking for, Andrea Kay knew there was trouble.

Some of his interviewees seemed unprofessional. Others just didn’t seem like a right fit which is Kay’s first important point: when job-hunting, you may be passed over because of how employers “feel about you” or because of how you “seemed,” based upon how you acted when applying or interviewing.

The good news is, that’s something you can fix.

Before you get that far, though, remember that there are jobs out there. Yes, there may be a thousand people applying for the position you want, but standing out is “not that hard. It’s a matter of not doing what everybody else is doing.”

Next, ask yourself how you want to seem to a prospective employer. What are your strengths for this job? How will you fit? How will you show those strengths and convey that meaning clearly, without merely using words? Those are some of the questions you “must, must, must” ask yourself before you go to your next interview, while you’re there, and after it’s over.

Be mindful of how people will remember you when you’re not around. Remember that your words aren’t all that’s on display during the interview; your demeanor, dress, and manners are being noticed, too. Know what you should never do, say, discuss, or wear while looking for a job, and read about “15 Things You Should Never Do Once You Get a Job or in Your Career — Ever.”

Then memorize them. Your new job may depend on it.

So you think nobody’s hiring? Author Andrea Kay says you’re wrong, and in this helpful book, she shows you what to do to put yourself front-and-center in an employer’s mind and his resume pile.

But that’s not all that’s inside “This is How to Get Your Next Job.” Because it’s filled with dozens of illustrative anecdotes from employers willing to share their experiences, this book is really quite entertaining. I spent lots of time being amazed that people really do the kinds of things Kay mentions, and laughing. These cautionary tales fit well in this book, and nicely prove her “tell and show” advice.

This book is great for new grads, the newly unemployed, new career searchers, and anybody who needs a job soon. If that’s you, then “This is How to Get Your Next Job” will help, no doubt.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. She has been reading since she was 3 years old and never goes anywhere without a book. Terri lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 11,000 books.

© 2013 marconews.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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