Bookshelf: New Titles from UM Authors

Featuring 10 new books with UM connections. Compiled by Ginny Merriam.


Categories: Alumni , History , Research , Arts

In Search of Meadowlarks: Birds, Farms, and Food in Harmony With The Land
by John M. Marzluff. Yale University Press, 2020, 344 pages, $28.

The human population is creeping toward 9 billion. How will the planet feed all these people? How will the animals fare? Wildlife biologist John Marzluff says agriculture and wildlife can coexist. In researching his new book, he visited farms and ranches across North and Central America. He applied evolutionary history and science to what he learned to produce a pragmatic study of the possibilities for the future. Marzluff earned his wildlife science degree at UM.

 Book cover


Let’s Go Win: The Keys to Living Your Best Life
by J.M. Ryerson. DM Bass Publications, 2020, 169 pages, $14.95.

Twenty years out from earning a degree in communications and psychology at UM, J.M. Ryerson has built a career as an entrepreneur, public speaker, leadership coach and creator and builder of businesses. His work is based on the belief that every person can find fulfillment and success along with a good balance between work and life. His book focuses on 12 principles, from vulnerability to transcendence, that Ryerson has cultivated and absorbed into his own life, while helping people learn along the way.

 Book cover


Roadside Geology of Montana, Second Edition
by Donald W. Hyndman and Robert C. Thomas. Mountain Press Publishing Company, 2020, 480 pages, $30.

Nearly 50 years ago, UM geology Professors Donald Hyndman and David Ault published their “Roadside Geology of the Northern Rockies.” Its next incarnation 14 years later as a bright-yellow field guide, “Roadside Geology of Montana,” became a staple on Montana car dashboards as a must-have on road trips, and was a regional bestseller for decades. Hyndman and Robert Thomas, a geology professor at UM Western, have written a new edition for seasoned and new readers interested in Montana’s diverse geologic features.

  book cover

Everyone’s Awake
Colin Meloy and Shawn Harris. Chronicle Books, 2020, 48 pages, $17.99.

UM graduate Colin Meloy is known both as the front man for The Decemberists and as a best-selling author of children’s books. In his newest work, with Shawn Harris illustrations, Meloy offers a madcap look at a family that’s doing everything but getting ready for bed when it’s time – that’s everyone, even the dog and the cat. It’s meant to be read aloud with lots of laughter.

 book cover


The Jetsetters
Amanda Eyre Ward. Ballantine Books, 2020, 352 pages, $28.

Amanda Ward looks at the pleasures and perils of family as she tells the story of Charlotte Perkins and her three grown – and estranged – children trying to reconnect on a Mediterranean cruise. Through Athens, Rome and Barcelona, the four lost adults of the Perkins family try to recover their childhood connections and find some peace. Before becoming a best-selling novelist, Ward earned an MFA in creative writing at UM.

 book cover 

Vera Violet
by Melissa Anne Peterson. Counterpoint, 2020, 256 pages, $16.95.

Melissa Peterson studied writing and biology and earned a master’s degree at UM. Her debut novel tells the story of a group of young friends in a decaying logging town in the Pacific Northwest. She looks at violence, relentless poverty, and environmental degradation, white supremacy and dead-end futures. One reviewer called the novel “as dark and foggy as the Pacific Northwest woods in February.” Another, “gritty and jaw-droppingly lyrical.”

book cover



From Wounded Knee to the Gallows: The Life and Trials of Lakota Chief Two Sticks
by Philip S. Hall and Mary Solon Lewis. University of Oklahoma Press, 2020, 280 pages, $24.95.

On Dec. 28, 1894, Lakota Chief Two Sticks was hanged by white law enforcement authorities. He was convicted of leading a raid on a white rancher’s cattle herd, followed by a fight that led to the shootings of four white cowboys. Two Sticks always maintained that he did not commit the killings, but the atmosphere four years after the massacre at Wounded Knee, South Dakota, meant little chance for justice. This new book takes a researched look at the painful truths behind the events. UM graduate Phil Hall works as a psychologist in South Dakota.

 Wounded Knee


Eden Mine
by S.M. Hulse. Farrar Straus Giroux, 2020, 259 pages, $27.

After studying writing at UM and the University of Oregon, Sarah Hulse earned praise from critics for her
first novel, “Black River.” In her new novel, she tells the story of two siblings in the Faber family who grew
up near the two mines that were once the economic drivers of their region in northwestern Montana. The sister, Jo, is moving out of her home, which was seized to make way for a new road, when she learns of a bomb explosion in the local courthouse. Her brother is the suspect. Hulse is widely praised as a rising literary voice of the American West.


 book cover


The Blaze
by Chad Dundas. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 2020, 374 pages, $26.

Matthew Rose is back in his hometown of Missoula, Montana, recovering from a head injury during military service in Iraq. He’s doing OK, but his amnesia makes everything about his past at home foggy. He reconnects with his old girlfriend, Georgie, now a reporter for the local newspaper, and accidentally falls into witnessing a house fire that turns mysterious. The reader is in for a series of surprises as Matthew and Georgie unravel a trail of people they’ve known all their lives. Dundas earned his MFA in creative writing at UM.

 book cover


Liar: Based on a True Story
by Bernadette Botz. Granberry Books, 2019, 265 pages, $14.99.

Bernadette Botz draws on her UM English degree, her gospel-centered faith and her experience educating five children at home to create this first book, a fable about an uprising of people against the corrupt leader of their kingdom. Liar has led people to believe they are unworthy and weak. Prince works to lead people to reject the lies and join the rebellion against Liar. Botz aims to focus on people’s need for genuine friendships and connections.

 book cover


To be considered for Bookshelf, you must send a copy of the book, along with any press materials and contact information, to: Montanan, University Relations, 203 Brantly Hall, Missoula, MT 59812 or email with "Bookshelf" in the subject line. Submission of materials does not guarantee that your work will be featured. Bookshelf highlights authors that have a connection to UM only (alumni, former faculty and staff, etc.).

comments powered by Disqus