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  • Lines in the sand

    The essays in Gary Paul Nabhan’s Arab/American celebrate the landscape, culture and cuisine of two great deserts: The Middle Eastern lands from which his ancestors came and the Sonoran Desert he now lives in.

  • A life of words and wilderness

    Rick Bass’ memoir, Why I Came West, describes how his 20-year struggle to save Montana’s Yaak Valley held him hostage, preventing him from concentrating on writing the short fiction that he loves.

  • Thinking like a fish

    The essays in Chad Hanson’s collection Swimming with Trout celebrate the wonder of water and its mysterious inhabitants.

  • Reasons to stay

    In Charlotte Bacon’s novel, Split Estate, a damaged New York family seeks refuge and renewal on a Wyoming ranch.

  • Remembering Rrrrrip City!

    The essays in Matt Love’s anthology Red Hot and Rollin’ take a lively and nostalgic look at Oregon in 1977, the year the Portland Trailblazers won their one and only NBA championship.

  • Men, machines, memories

    In Five Skies, novelist Ron Carlson tells the terse and occasionally poetic stories of three emotionally damaged men working in Idaho for the summer.

  • Die with me

    Three new books about the West’s Indian wars – Ned Blackhawk’s Violence Over the Land, Kingsley Bray’s Crazy Horse: A Lakota Life, and Robert W. Larson’s Gall: Lakota War Chief – seem to romanticize a violent past.

  • Madame Merian and her passion for metamorphosis

    In Chrysalis: Maria Sibylla Merian and the Secrets of Metamorphosis, Kim Todd uncovers the life and legacy of a pioneering 17th century woman

  • New West, Next West

    In the short stories in Last Call, Colorado writer Blair Oliver looks at the desperate suburban lives of modern-day Western men.

  • The power of music, the power of obsession

    Sarah Bird’s well-written novel The Flamenco Academy weaves the history of this dramatic dance form into a obsessed young woman’s search for identity.

  • How a restaurant changed the world

    A famous French natural-foods restaurant in Berkeley, Calif., is the subject of Thomas McNamee’s book, Alice Waters and Chez Panisse: The Romantic, Impractical, Often Eccentric, Ultimately Brilliant Making of a Food Revolution.

  • Bloodied but unbowed

    The Western novel is not entirely dead; it has simply changed a great deal since the glory days of Zane Grey.

  • Wet words

    Brian Doyle recommends the best reads about the Pacific Northwest, with particular emphasis on his home state, Oregon.

  • Another near-death experience for environmentalism

    Environmental contrarians Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger jump back into the fray with a new book, Break Through: From the Death of Environmentalism to the Politics of Possibility.

  • Looking forward, looking back

    William Kittredge brings together new and selected essays about life in the West in The Next Rodeo.

  • Mystery in Montana

    Deirdre McNamer’s new novel, Red Rover, beautifully captures the unromantic realism of Montana’s small towns.

  • Thomas McGuane’s lonely freaks

    The powerful short stories in Thomas McGuane’s Gallatin Canyon prove him to be the New West’s answer to Flannery O’Connor.

  • Somewhere up the crazy river

    In Upstream: Sons, Fathers, and Rivers, Robin Carey recounts a kayak journey up the Klamath River that he made with his son, Dev, and on the way explores the Careys’ troubled family history

  • Crafting the everyday

    Janet Finn and Ellen Crain tell the history of Butte, Mont., from the viewpoint of its women in Motherlode: Legacies of Women’s Lives and Labors in Butte, Montana.

  • An encyclopedia of rivers

    The huge, copiously illustrated Rivers of North America is the first comprehensive effort to detail the current state of the continent’s rivers

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