Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Leif Enger's New Book

Leif Enger, the author of the New York Times best seller, Peace Like A River, has written a second novel. So Brave, Young, and Handsome is a lively picaresque tale that begins in the Midwest and migrates across the West to a California orange grove.

In the opening scene, Monte Becket, a Minnesota writer, sits on his front porch slogging away at his seventh unfinished novel in five years. Then he spies "Glendon Hale rowing upstream through the ropy mists of the Cannon River." Naturally, Becket's life becomes instantly more interesting. And it soon becomes downright thrilling as he and Hale travel toward Mexico by train, car, horse, and foot power to find Blue, the wife Hale deserted more than thirty years ago.

True to the form, adventures, bad guys, heroes, and horses populate this book. The self-deprecating and stoic narrator, a writer in way over his head, delivers the tale with confidence.

Enger's prose is crisp and clean, sprinkled with just the right amount of delight:
"She could squeeze a conversation to its rind..."
" upstart wind whipped the grasses into confusion."
...his face was chaos"
"she gave the old cloud an insouciant sneer"
"the wallpaper slumped" has awarded So Brave, Young, and Handsome 4.5 stars, based on thirty-eight customer reviews.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mary Clearman Blew at Fact & Fiction

Mary Clearman Blew will read from her new book, Jackalope Dreams, at Fact & Fiction Bookstore in downtown Missoula on Thursday, April 24, at 7 p.m.

Here's a synopsis of Jackalope Dreams from the Fact & Fiction Web site:
"The departed men in her life still have plenty to say to Corey. Her father, a legendary rodeo cowboy who punctuated his lifelong pronouncements with a bullet to his head, may be the loudest. But in this story of Montana--a story in which the old West meets the new and tradition has its way with just about everyone--it is Corey's voice we listen to. In this tour-de-force of voices big and small, sure and faltering, hers comes across resonant and clear, directing us to the heart of the matter. Played out against the mythology of the Old West -- a powerful amalgam of ranching history, Marlboro Men, and train robbery reenactments -- the story of the newly orphaned, spinsterish Corey is a sometimes comical, sometimes poignant tale of coming-of-age a little late. As she tries to recapture an old dream of becoming a painter -- of preserving some modicum of true art amid the virtual reality of modern Montana -- Corey finds herself figuring in other dramas as well, other, younger lives already at least as lost as her own."

Meet Mary Clearman Blew and get your book signed at Fact & Fiction at 7 p.m.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Greg Patent's Book Nominated For A James Beard Award

A Baker’s Odyssey (John Wiley & Sons, 2007; hardback), Greg Patent's newest book, has been nominated for a James Beard Award.

A Baker's Odyssey is a celebration of America’s rich immigrant heritage. It is about preserving heritage and tradition through cooking and baking. Patent worked with women (and a few men) from thirty-two different nationalities in their home kitchens to learn their special techniques and to gather the recipes in this collection. The book comes with a companion DVD. Color inserts illustrate more than three dozen recipes.

"Deemed 'the Oscars of the food world,' by Time magazine, The James Beard Foundation Awards are the country’s most coveted honor for chefs; food and beverage professionals; broadcast media, journalists, and authors working on food; and restaurant architects and designers." (quote from

Baking in America (Houghton Mifflin, 2002; hardback) was a finalist in the 2003 International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP) Cookbook Awards. It won the 2003 James Beard Foundation Award for best baking book of the year and the World Gourmand Cookbook Awards for best baking book in the English language.

Read more about Greg Patent, find recipes, and get information about his books and articles at