Verdant Volumes

Book reviews for spring. 

For some Bozemanites, spring means multi-sport. For others, it means mud. If the ficklest of seasons has you indoors, here are some books to consider.

Montana’s Hot Springs
After a long day afield, I enjoy a hot-springs soak as much as anyone. However, like most, I lack the time and cash to soak as much as I’d like. Luckily, I’ve found a new way to indulge in Montana’s warm waters. Jeff Birkby’s new book, Montana’s Hot Springs (Arcadia Publishing, $22), offers a historical account of the relaxing waters of Montana through intriguing photographs and captions. This well-documented account focuses on the transformation, starting in the 1800s, of simple springs into recreational areas—which will make you think a bit more about the spring you’re soaking in. —LUKE EBELING 

Gittin’ Western
Since the West was born, it has lured folks from across the world to experience its ruggedness. In the modern-age pioneer story, Gittin’ Western (iUniverse Star, $15), Duane Wiltse gives readers an intimate look at the life of a father, husband, and midwesterner-turned-cowboy as he provides for his family in the “grab ’em and growl” culture of the northern Wyoming. Told simply, honestly, and not without the gruff humor expected of any self-respecting pard [WHAT?], Gittin’ Western’s adventurous stories evoke that gritty, rough-and-tumble feel of the West. Whether you’re an old cowpoke or a millennial city slicker, this book will transport you to the wild mountains of Wyoming and if you aren’t careful, you may find yourself following in the footsteps of Wiltse. —TAYLOR BURLAGE 

In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement
Following the release of five books and a successful career in film, John Heminway now delivers the story of Dr. Anne Spoerry in the biography In Full Flight: A Story of Africa and Atonement (Penguin Random House, $27). In Full Flight chases the secret past of a remarkable civil servant of the Flying Doctors Service in Kenya; turns out, she worked as a female doctor for the Nazis during her time as a prisoner in the German women’s internment camp of Ravensbrük. The book tightly follows Dr. Spoerry’s past, with a style reminiscent of John Krakauer, moving in time and place to engage the reader throughout. In Full Flight is an enthralling story of hidden pasts that explores questions of life, death, purpose, and redemption. —LUKE EBELING 

The Weight of An Infinite Sky
Are you a fan of classic literature? Did you grow up in a small town? Do you have complex family relationships? If you answered yes to one or more, pick up a copy of Carrie La Seur’s The Weight of An Infinite Sky (HarperCollins, $27). In this western novel, Anthony, his father’s only son, is torn between the pressure to fill the boots of family tradition and a desire to pursue his dreams. After the death of his father, Anthony’s return to the West and his hometown of Billings is quickly complicated in this novel laid over the bones of William Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Infinite Sky is La Seur’s second book and has already received a number of positive reviews. The novel seems to hold a theme for each of us as it explores land, love, and loss as Anthony struggles against small town life, alcoholism, and responsibility. —LUKE EBELING