Reading Season

Reading Season

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Mike England

Books to help you get through spring.

Every season has downtime, but spring generally offers the most – the ski hills are closed, the trails muddy (or still covered in snow), the rivers murky with snowmelt. What to do, on those long, rainy days, waiting for the other shoe to drop? Here's an idea: crack open a book and explore the wilderness of the mind. Below are a few that have come across our desks lately. (Note direct Amazon links at the bottom.)




The Brave Ones by Michael J. MacLeod
What makes a 41-year-old husband and father sign up for the army and parachute into Afghanistan to engage in bloody combat with the Taliban? Pride, patriotism, and a sense of fleeting opportunity are the forces that drove Belgrade-based photographer and writer Michael MacLeod, whose five-year term with the fabled 82nd Airborne Division fulfilled a lifelong ambition to be a soldier. The Brave Ones (Grand Harbor Press, $17) recounts his military experience, and is equal parts memoir, biography, and expose – all told with grit, honesty, and a profound deference for his courageous comrades. An inspiring read by a great local writer; pick up a copy online or at Country Bookshelf downtown.

The Brave Ones

Stranger's Dance by Troy Kechely
Another local author blends fiction and history in Stranger's Dance (self-published, $15), an introspective novel about a depression-era rancher whose circumstances and disposition converge to put him in a difficult siutation – one that can only be improved with the help of a mutt named Stranger. Family ties, human struggle, old-time Montana, and the healing power of animals all come together in Troy Kechely's first foray into fiction, for which he somehow finds time outside of his dog-rescue operation and canine-behavior seminars. If you like this book, keep an eye out for Kechely's second novel, Lost Horse Park, due out early next year.

Stranger's Dance

Rise the Dark by Michael Koryta
For a faster pace and nonstop action, settle in with Rise the Dark (Little, Brown & Company, $26), a thriller set in and around Red Lodge. Murder, abduction, conflicted protagonists, charismatic villians, a wild and remote landscape... the ingredients are all there for a gripping mystery tale, and Koryta delivers. At 450 pages, this is a fat book; but it's an easy read, and the tightly-wound plot will keep your attention. Available online and at area bookstores.

Rise the Dark

Chasing Rumor by Cameron Chambers
Every outdoor enthusiast has a Mecca in mind: a mythical place where reality mirrors imagination and all one's dreams come true. For fly-fishing guide Cameron Chambers, this utopian ideal was Patagonia – a land lost in time, inlaid with serpentine rivers full of gigantic trout. In Chasing Rumor (Patagonia Press, $18), Chambers describes the season he spent in pursuit of adventure, insight, camaraderie, and 20-pound trout. An interesting examination of fly-fishing, friendship, and Patagonian culture, the book also explores the inevitable dilemma faced by all self-aware travelers: is our presence ruining the very paradise we seek? A tough question, and one best left to this memoir to grapple with, while the reader sits back, closes his eyes, and envisions wide-open landscapes and enormous fish. Available on Amazon.

Chasing Rumor

The Black Dogs Project by Fred Levy
In shelters across America, black dogs are often the last to be adopted and the most likely to be euthenized. Called "Black Dog Syndrome," this phenomenon may seem strange to us, as black Labs, Newfies, and other coal-colored canines abound in and around Bozeman. But it's real, and in The Black Dogs Project (RacePoint, $25), photographer Fred Levy strives to undo this inexplicable effect with heart-melting images of black dogs everywhere. Full-page photos of furry black faces and short profiles of various dog personalities have the intended outcome; after reading this book, you'll want to head straight to the Humane Society and adopt a black dog. Pick this book up online at all the usual outlets.

Black Dogs Project

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