By Judy Shafter
Montana authors supplied bookshelves with many worthy reads in 2014. A few that stood out for me were two engrossing novels, Fourth of July Creek by Smith Henderson, the story of social worker Pete Snow, who finds himself involved in a dangerous relationship with a bizarre reclusive family; and Craig Lancaster’s The Fallow Season of Hugo Hunter, about two men, entwined through sport of boxing, and each looking for fulfillment and redemption in their lives.
To highlight both of Montana’s national parks, two very worthwhile reads are Rough Trip Through Yellowstone, The Epic 1894 Winter Expedition of Emerson Hough, F. Jay Haynes and Billy Hofer, a compilation of articles written by Hough, and edited by Scott Herring; and The Era of the Chalets, 1914-2014 by photographer Bret Bouda. As a young journalist, writing for the magazine, Forest and Stream, Hough was sent to Yellowstone to attempt to document the number of buffalo remaining within the park boundaries. The adventure turned into “the journey of a lifetime,” wrote Hough.
The Era of the Chalets, takes a fond look at the Glacier National Park’s two remaining operating back-country chalets and their colorful histories. In addition to his own images and historic black and white photos, Bouda includes detailed directions, pointing out the names of lakes, peaks and other natural features along the way.
Life on the Rocks, A Portrait of the American Mountain Goat by wildlife biologist, Bruce L. Smith gives readers a close-up and personal look at “perhaps the most extraordinary mountaineer to ever live …”
Missoula chef and cookbook author Greg Patent produced an elegant gem with publication of The French Cook, Souffles. Recipes for both hot and cold, and sweet and savory souffles are included, with clear instructions and kitchen equipment required. The photographs are beautifully staged and shot to inspire readers.
Livingston chef and caterer Carole Sullivan gave us Gatherings, Recipes from Montana’s Mustang Kitchen to salivate over. The book is a compilation of recipes she uses for “gatherings” from her successful catering business, and includes customer favorites from the kitchen of her popular restaurant. Try the Turkey Chile Verde she prepares for actor Michael Keaton’s Fourth of July picnics, or the pancetta-sage boneless turkey that finds its way to the holiday table of Jeff and Susan Bridges. And, don’t forget dessert!
If you’re looking for an excuse for a road trip and like handcrafted microbrews, pick up a copy of Ryan Newhouse’s Montana Beer, A Guide to Breweries in Big Sky Country. He divides the state into six regions and takes readers on the road to meet the brew masters, discover the origins of their establishments, learn the names of their beers and find out what their tap rooms and restaurants have to offer.
Tuck a copy in with the road map and the bird book and head out for a thirst-quenching and interesting journey.
When she’s not gathering information and ads, Judy Shafter reads and writes about books for Lively Times and State of the Arts.