Easy Does It

Titles for a distracting season. 

The lazy days of summer are loaded with opportunities to kick back, relax, and leaf through a collection of essays, a book of short stories, or a gallery of images, and it just so happens we have an ideal trio for you to consider. Take a look. 

Unearthing Paradise
Much has been made of the potential mines on Yellowstone’s doorstep. From local communities to national politics, the issue has been at the forefront since two out-of-state extraction companies filed applications with the DEQ. Now southwest Montana’s wordsmiths are adding their voice to the cacophony. In Unearthing Paradise: Montana Writers in Defense of Greater Yellowstone (Elk River Books, $15), poets, essayists, and natural historians have their say in opposition to the mines, and perhaps more importantly in support of a permanent mining ban. Right now, the land in question is under a two-year mining ban, but what many locals hope, and what the authors of this volume insist, is that the ban becomes permanent. Many well-known writers lend their voices, such as Doug Peacock, Rick Bass, and Greg Keeler, with Terry Tempest Williams providing the introduction. The book is a welcome deviation from the rancor strewn about in the press and offers more insightful, and indeed emotional, justifications for protecting the crown jewel of America’s public-land system. —David Tucker 

Grand Teton Impressions
While I think Montana has the most spectacular collection of public land in the world, Grand Teton Impressions (Farcountry, $13) is making me reconsider. This photo-book from Henry H. Holdsworth and Fred Pflughoft showcases only one of Wyoming’s famous public assets, but the images are enough to make you want to load up the car and head south. From iconic frames of the Grand Teton to modest-but-beautiful wildlife portraits, the images therein remind us why we need parks like Grand Teton in the first place. While similar images are available to us daily from the productivity-stunting rectangles we keep in our pockets, nothing competes with the vibrant texture of the printed page. There’s room for panoramas to span the page, and no image is restricted to a square. Impressions is an excellent addition to any photo-lover’s library. —David Tucker

Dog Run Moon
For fiction to be good it must do two things. First, it must honestly, unapologetically depict the human condition. Second, it must evoke genuine human feeling. By those measures, Callan Wink’s debut short-story collection, Dog Run Moon (Dial Press, $26), is a resounding success. The 33-year-old Livingston resident and occasional O/B contributor has woven a motley crew of mostly Montana characters into a tapestry at once elementary and intricate, mundane and magnificent—a harmonious dichotomy that mirrors that of humanity at large. With mountains and rivers as his backdrop, and keen psychological insight as his guide, Wink paints for us the often-tragic and always-acute realities of life in the Rocky Mountain West. And he does so with plain, elegant language that buttresses each story, maintaining a steady, manageable flow, like riprap on a Montana riverbank. —Mike England