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It’s festival season in Montana, with lots of music under the Big Sky, but you may want to read a book or two first to get you in the mood.

Three titles that feature Montana festivals, include:

‘This is What I Want'

by Craig Lancaster

In the sweltering heat of a Montana July, the small town of Grandview readies for its annual Jamboree. The event is meant to celebrate community, but this year tensions boil over, threatening to tear the town, and a family, apart. A New York Times reporter is in town to cover how the community is adapting to change. One of the first things that happens is a building explosion, caused by a still that is housed in the basement. Can the Kelvig family protect Grandview from the influx of oil money and their own changing opinions of their family roles?

‘Treble at the Jam Fest (A Food Lovers' Village Mystery)’

by Leslie Budewitz

Erin Murphy, manager of Murphy’s Mercantile (aka the Merc), is tuning up for Jewel Bay’s annual Jazz Festival. Between keeping the Merc’s shelves stocked with Montana’s tastiest local fare and hosting the festival’s kick-off concert, Erin has her hands full.

Discord erupts when jazz guitarist Gerry Martin is found dead on the rocks above the Jewel River. The one-time international sensation had fallen out of sync with festival organizers, students and performers. Was his death an accident — or did someone even the score?

This is the third in The Food Lover’s Village Mystery series, all set during a festival in Jewel Bay, Montana. All include delicious recipes along with the murder and mayhem.

‘Dancing at the Rascal Fair’

by Ivan Doig

The central volume in Ivan Doig's acclaimed Montana trilogy, “Dancing at the Rascal Fair” is an authentic saga of the American experience at the turn of this century and a passionate, portrayal of the immigrants who dared to try new lives in the imposing Rocky Mountains.

This tale of land seekers unfolds into a fateful contest of the heart between Anna Ramsay and Angus McCaskill, walled apart by their obligations as they and their families try to tame the brutal, beautiful Two Medicine country. Here is the tale of the uncertainties of friendship and love; here are sheep-shearing contests and raucous dances in one-room schoolhouses; here are brutal winters and the rascal fair, a carnival of traveling musicians and gay Highlanders, a time for dancing.


One of the many groups coming to Missoula this summer includes The Decemberists. You may want to check out several books by the lead singer and songwriter, Colin Meloy and his wife Carson Ellis.

The husband-wife team worked together on the bestselling children’s book series “The Wildwood Chronicles.”

Prue McKeel’s life is ordinary. At least until her brother is abducted by a murder of crows and taken to the Impassable Wilderness, a dense, tangled forest on the edge of Portland. No one’s ever gone in — or at least returned to tell of it. So begins an adventure that will take Prue and her friend Curtis deep into the Impassable Wilderness. There they uncover a secret world in the midst of violent upheaval — a world full of warring creatures, peaceable mystics, and powerful figures with the darkest intentions. And what begins as a rescue mission becomes something much greater as the two friends find themselves entwined in a struggle for the very freedom of this wilderness. A wilderness the locals call Wildwood.

Another book is scheduled for October — a middle grade novel about an American who falls in love with a group of pickpockets in 1960s France called “Whiz Mob and the Grenadine Kid.”

Ellis recently won a Caldecott Honor award for her 2016 book “Du Iz Tak?”

An imaginative look at the natural world, with gorgeous art and a playful invented language. Du iz tak? What is that? As a tiny shoot unfurls, two damselflies peer at it in wonder. When the plant grows taller and sprouts leaves, some young beetles arrive to gander, and soon — with the help of a pill bug named Icky — they wrangle a ladder and build a tree fort. But this is the wild world, after all, and something horrible is waiting to swoop down — booby voobeck! — only to be carried off in turn. Su!

She previously published another picture book called “Home,” a whimsical tribute to the many possibilities of home.

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