Montana Required Reading, Part IV

Fall edition.

I find television very educating. Every time somebody turns on the set, I go into the other room and read a book. ―Groucho Marx

If ever there was a season for reading, it’s autumn. Nights are crisp, requiring retreat to comfortable couches warmed by flickering fireplaces. Days are shorter, meaning the kids are back in school, engaged in studies of their own. And the snows are yet to fall in earnest, giving you time to envelop yourself in the written word before ski season turns you into a powder-addicted fiend. This fall, reacquaint yourself with some classics, born from Montana’s landscapes and outdoor heritage. This is Required Reading, fall edition.

Legends of the Fall, by Jim Harrison
It’s a shame that several of Montana’s more iconic literary works conjure images of a pony-tailed Brad Pitt, but that doesn’t discount their importance as seminal pieces in the Treasure State’s canon, and you can be sure Jim Harrison didn’t have Pitt in mind when writing Legends of the Fall. Known by most as a Hollywood blockbuster starring Pitt and Anthony Hopkins, the story is in fact part of a trilogy, and depicts the Montana of our dreams, before strip malls and housing developments.

Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting, by Jim Posewitz
Readers will be surprised that so controversial an activity can have its ethics outlined in so simple a text, but that is the genius of Beyond Fair Chase: The Ethic and Tradition of Hunting. It distills a seemingly complicated topic into clear, straightforward language, making this a requirement for hunters and non-hunters alike.

The Sound of the Mountain Stream, by Wallace Stegner
By 1969, the year The Sound of the Mountain Stream was published, the West was developing at a remarkable rate. Populations were booming, industries were changing, and the culture was shifting. Now, more than 45 years later, the West is still in a state of flux. Small cowtowns are no longer small, and cows have taken a back seat to condos. The Sound of the Mountain Stream is a collection of essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches that illustrate the history of the West and the conflicts facing its future.