Bookshelf: New Titles from UM Authors

New titles from authors with UM connections

Compiled by Ginny Merriam


Categories: Alumni , History , Research , Arts

"Putting on the Dog: The Animal Origins of What We Wear" by Melissa Kwasny
Trinity University Press, 2019, 288 pages,$27.50

As human beings, we are the only species who make our own clothing, and we only started doing that in the last 100,000 years, Melissa Kwasny tells us. Kwasny, a poet, essayist and editor who earned MA and MFA degrees at UM, explores our relationships with the animal materials we use for clothing, from leather to pearls to silk. She takes readers from a lamb ranch in Montana to a tannery in Texas and from a down factory outside Los Angeles to a silkworm farm in Japan.

Putting on the Dog


"Sweeney on the Rocks" by Allen Morris Jones
Ig Publishing, 2019, 295 pages, $16.95

One reviewer said of Allen Jones’ new literary crime novel, “Think ‘Goodfellas’ set in the landscape of ‘A River Runs Through It.’” Jones, a former editor of Big Sky Journal and publisher of his own small book house, Bangtail Press, introduces his readers to Ted Sweeney, an apparent small-town-Montana nice guy. But Sweeney’s past takes them through the world of Italian wise guys in Brooklyn and the Russian mafia. Oh, and throw in a bag of diamonds. Jones earned a UM degree in liberal studies.

 Sweeney on the Rocks


"Charles Austin Beard" by Richard Drake
Cornell University Press, December 2018, 336 pages, $42.95

UM history Professor Richard Drake’s late-year release slipped by the Winter’s Bookshelf, and we had to circle back. Drake takes a new look in this intellectual history of Beard, the foremost American historian and political thinker in foreign policy during the era of the two world wars. Beard’s opposition to U.S. involvement in World War II cost him most of his professional reputation. Drake recasts Beard’s positions against the historical outcomes and the severe costs to American national life evident today.

Charles Austin Beard


"The Age of Disenchantments: The Epic Story of Spain's Most Notorious Literary Family and the Long Shadow of the Spanish Civil War"  by Aaron Shulman
Ecco/HarperCollins, 2019, 465 pages, $29.99

Aaron Shulman earned an MFA in creative writing at UM, but here he acts as a journalist in telling the story of the Paneros, Spain’s compelling, eccentric and influential literary family of the 20th century. Shulman’s historical family biography is intertwined with the intellectual turmoil of prewar Spain, the war years, the Francisco Franco dictatorship and the country’s emergence into democracy. Readers learn about the lives of Leopoldo Panero, Felcidad Blanc and their three sons at the intersection of Spanish art, culture and politics.

The Age of Disenchantments


"A Hawk in the Woods" by Carrie Laben
Word Horde, 2019, 258 pages, $16.99

Carrie Laben has written short fiction, essays, reviews and feature articles since earning her MFA in creative writing at UM. Her debut novel falls squarely in the genre of horror. It’s the story of twin sisters, both witches, one with a recently diagnosed terminal disease and the other recently broken out of prison by her sister. Advance reviews call the work “gripping,” “wonderfully dark and spellbinding” and “soberingly real and darkly fantastical” and Laben herself “an original, compelling new voice.”

A Hawk in the Woods


"Ragged Anthem" by Chris Dombrowski
Wayne State University Press, 2019, 67 pages, $16.99

With two collections behind him, Chris Dombrowski is an established poet, and he also earned acclaim for his nonfiction book “Body of Water.” He’s the founding director of Beargrass Writing Retreat and works as a fishing guide. In this book of poems, readers get a mature look at the world that comes with a little age. Expect to come across swallows, sheep, lakes, wood smoke, a browsing deer and drawings his daughter made. He earned his MFA in creative writing at UM.

 Ragged Anthem


"The Cassandra" by Sharma Shields
Henry Holt and Company, 2019, 281 pages, $28

Sharma Shields’ new novel takes its name from the curse of Cassandra in Greek mythology. Cassandra was blessed with the ability to foretell the future but cursed by no one believing her prophecies. Shields’ character Mildred Groves leaves home in this fable and takes a secretarial job at Hanford Research Center in the 1940s. Mildred at first feels part of something important but gradually comes to see the tragic consequences to come from the work at Hanford, where scientists developed the atomic bomb. Shields earned an MFA in creative writing at UM and lives in Spokane, Washington.

  The Cassandra


"Earth to Charlie" by Justin Olson
Simon & Schuster, 2019, 282 pages, $18.99
Butte native Justin Olson earned a master’s degree in education at UM and now works as an independent film and
television producer in Los Angeles. His first novel, written for young adults, tells the story of Charlie Dickens, an
unhappy boy growing up in a small town in Montana. He’s bullied at school. He’s sure his mother was abducted
by aliens. His alcoholic father is absent at best. His only friends are his 600-pound neighbor and a three-legged dog
named Tickles. Olson shows his readers a boy trying to find his place in the universe.


 Earth To Charlie


"Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear" by Bryce Andrews
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2019, 274 pages, $25

Bryce Andrews has more than a decade of experience running conservation-minded cattle ranching operations. He studied at Whitman College and UM and ranches today in the Mission Valley while working as field director for People and Carnivores. His new book brings science and compassion to the story of a sow grizzly in his ranching valley, lured by a cornfield while raising her cubs and trying to stay out of the way. Andrews looks to the future as humans and animals encroach ever further on each other’s comfort zones.

 Down From the Mountain


 "A Job You Mostly Won't Know How to Do" by Pete Fromm
Counterpoint LLC, 2019, 336 pages, $26

Since his book about his winter spent alone in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness as a 19-year-old new to wilderness with a job guarding 2 million planted salmon eggs, Pete Fromm has written 11 books and won the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award an unprecedented five times. A UM wildlife biology graduate, he has worked his way into the hearts of Northwest readers and national and international audiences. His new novel is a family love story about a young couple facing parenthood, a story full of resiliency and second chances.

  A Job You Mostly Won't Know How to Do


Bookshelf appears in the Spring and Winter issues of the Montanan. It features 10 new books with UM connections. We welcome review copies of books of the season. Send copies of the book, along with any press materials and contact information to: Montanan, University Relations, 203 Brantly Hall, Missoula, MT 59812. Submission of materials does not guarantee work will be featured.

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