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Dec 16 2016

Best Wilderness Books

Some reading suggestions for winter days by the fire


With the shortest day of the year just days away and forecasts predicting below zero temperatures and snow, it may be time to curl up in front of the fire with a good book. In Missoula, our wilderness book group has selected a few nonfiction favorites to add to your winter reading list:

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams

With the centennial of the National Park Service coming to a close, take a moment to join revered environmentalist Terry Tempest Williams for a journey through our parks and her reflections on the future of these American lands. Read these beautiful essays in a single sitting, or pick it up in segments when you have a few free moments between holiday celebrations.

Indian Creek Chronicles: A Winter Alone in the Wilderness by Pete Fromm

This delightful classic is a favorite Montana coming of age story. You’ll find yourself smiling and even chuckling as you follow greenhorn Pete Fromm, who dreams of being the next Daniel Boone, into the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness. If you’ve already read this, check out his recent memoir, The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds, where Fromm again finds himself babysitting fish eggs, this time 25 years later in the Bob Marshall Wilderness.

The Wolverine Way by Doug Chadwick

This is the perfect winter companion for any armchair wildlife adventurer. Get to know these elusive, powerful creatures that epitomize the need for big, protected, wild country. Experience wolverines as close to first-hand as possible in this page-turner that won’t ever make you feel like you’re “learning.” 

The Wilderness World of John Muir by John Muir

You’d likely recognize Muir’s ubiquitous quotes, but if you haven’t taken the time to read his essays, you’ve been missing out. Editor Edwin Way Teale has selected some of Muir’s most poignant essays for this “best of” collection from the great conservationist’s personal journals.

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey

If you know The Monkey Wrench Gang but haven’t read Edward Abbey’s memoir about life in the wilderness, you’re missing out. Spend some winter evenings with Abbey as he shares unique adventures, beautiful vignettes, and modern challenges facing America’s wildlands.

Find these selections at your local bookshop or use the provided Amazon links, which will generate a small donation to support Montana Wilderness Association.

- Kassia Ranzio, MWA marketing and grants manager