Tuesday, February 9, 2016

TWOsday ~ two books about Montana

Nothing to Tell: Extraordinary Stories of Montana Ranch Women ~ by Donna Gray, 2012, history (Montana)
Sitting at the kitchen tables of twelve women in their eighties who were born in or immigrated to Montana in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century, oral historian Donna Gray conducted interviews between 1982 and 1988 that reveal a rich heritage.  In retelling their life stories, Gray steps aside and allows theses women with supposedly “nothing to tell” to speak for themselves.  Pride, nostalgia, and triumph fill a dozen hearts as they realize how remarkable their lives have been and wonder how they did it all.  Some of these women grew up in Montana in one-bedroom houses; others traveled in covered wagons before finding a home and falling in love with Montana.  These raw accounts bring to life the childhood memories and adulthood experiences of ranch wives who were not afraid to milk a cow or bake in a wooden stove.  From raising poultry to raising a family, these women knew the meaning of hard work.  Several faced the hardships of family illness, poverty, and early widowhood.  Through it all, they were known for their good sense of humor and strong sense of self.
The Mine ~ by John A. Heldt, 2012, fiction (Montana)
In May 2000, Joel Smith is a cocky, adventurous young man who sees the world as his playground.  But when the college senior, days from graduation, enters an abandoned Montana mine, he discovers the price of reckless curiosity.  He emerges in May 1941 with a cell phone he can't use, money he can't spend, and little but his wits to guide his way.  Stuck in the age of swing dancing and a peacetime draft, Joel begins a new life as the nation drifts toward war.  With the help of his 21-year-old trailblazing grandmother and her friends, he finds his place in a world he knew only from movies and books.  But when an opportunity comes to return to the present, Joel must decide whether to leave his new love in the past or choose a course that will alter their lives forever.  The book follows a humbled man through a critical time in history as he adjusts to new surroundings and wrestles with the knowledge of things to come.
I bought the book about the Montana Ranch Women to learn more about Montana because that's where my friend Joan is from.  But when I got The Mine (which is currently free for Kindle), I didn't realize it was the first of five books in the Northwest Passage series.  I don't usually read series books, but this one sounded good and I like the idea of time travel.  I've read far enough to discover this interesting assessment of Joel, the main character.
"He had an encyclopedic mind, the curiosity of an inventor, and the judgment and discipline of a three-year-old."

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