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Bookstore Day Staff Recommendation Safari

Over the course of the last year, it’s been hard to explore the world and connect with our communities in the same capacity that we used to. It has been inspiring to see people persist despite this and come up with creative solutions to maintain connection and curiosity. Here at Country Bookshelf, we see this everyday in people exploring different books and exploring the shelves. Even the most adventurous of us haven’t gotten to explore the boundless expanse of our store. That is why, we are going to take you on safari through the bookstore, and maybe we’ll even spot some staff picks along the way…

There are many different ways to venture through the jungle of the bookstore--some swim in the seas of our card racks when first entering the store, while others are easily distracted by the brightly colored covers of our fiction section. You can’t miss the orange cover of There There by Tommy Orange, which bookseller Cassie would recommend to anyone. “It's a very insightful and action-filled book detailing many different facets of modern American Indian experiences and lifestyles. It taught me a lot about the range of different sub-cultures and experiences across different nations,” she says.

Your eye might also be drawn to the vibrant cover of Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing. There is Jeanette, gushing over it right now! “A beautiful multigenerational story that tells a history of slavery and colonialism from the east African coast in Ghana to the US. The tales of each character are so singular and beautiful, and Gyasi has a masterful way of getting you invested in everyone's story, even if you're only getting a snapshot of their lives. Some people are just so good at writing!”

Other adventurers head straight upstairs, whether drawn to the philosophical voices, social commentary, or a record of historical events. There is Anna, restocking our vast history section! She recommends Mudlark by Lara Maiklem.

Want to read about the lives of some of your favorite writers? We do too. Our biography and memoir section is filled to the brim with voices, both well known and heard for the first time. You can see Kasey there right now! Rebecca Solnit’s Recollection of My Nonexistence is in her hands. “If you've ever felt like a person, in the world, just living your life, this book will resonate with you.”

Did you hear that sound coming from beneath the stairs? We better go investigate...

A wild Matthew appears in our humor section! He recommends Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh. “Humorous and relaxed, it's the perfect book for unwinding from the stresses of the world,” he cries. Ariana can’t help but laugh as she stands right beside him in our essay section. She’s holding one of her favorite books, Book of Delights by Ross Gay. “It's the kind of book you can pick up when you need a pick-me-up or something to ponder, and the delights range from encounters with people to the plants in his garden. This book will make you stop and notice delight every day.” We certainly know how to delight one another here!

You can never go wrong with a classic, but there are always so many new and exciting titles lining our shelves! Kaycee is by our “Hot off the Press” display, telling anyone who will listen how great Bad Muslim Discount by Syed M Masood.

Waiting for the book to come out in paperback so that it doesn’t weigh you down on your travels? We have just the shelf for you! Our “New in Paperback” section is for all the patient folks who have been waiting for the books on their list to come out in soft cover. There’s Frances, with the newly out in paperback Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn. “There is a magic in this novel that seems unexplainable to the characters and maybe even the author. But it is there with every word and every action. You are sure to feel it too,” Frances says with a twinkle in their eyes.

And no bookstore would be complete without some fantastical escapism. Head over to our SciFi/Fantasy section to find your perfect dose of alternate reality. There’s our beloved Jessica with a copy of The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune. “This book is a literal cinnamon roll of goodness, all about self-discovery and acceptance, family (and falling in love with family) and community and belonging,” she says. “It's a slow burn, not unlike the time it takes to make delicious cinnamon rolls, but worth every moment.”

We here at Country Bookshelf love books about connection. Whether it be the familial connections in The House in the Cerulean Sea, Ross Gay’s daily joyful connections to the world in Book of Delights, or the connection of artifacts to history in Mudlark. And we love connecting with our customers. 

Didn’t see a title that excites you here? Not to worry. Come on in and celebrate community, and curiosity with us. We’ll connect you with your next favorite book, and if we’re lucky, some new bookish friends too.



Books in Common NW takes off for a  "raptor-ous" evening and one of a kind adventure with author Jonathan Meiburg and his new book A Most Remarkable Creature. An enthralling account of a modern voyage of discovery to meet the clever, social birds of prey called caracaras, which puzzled Darwin, fascinate modern-day falconers, and carry secrets of our planet’s deep past in their family history. A Most Remarkable Creature is a hybrid of science writing, travelogue, and biography, as generous and accessible as it is sophisticated, and absolutely riveting.

Action Packed First Week of Spring!

We're utilizing all the sunshine and good vibes we can this first week of spring with a bouquet of great events here at the Bookshelf!

Monday, March 22nd at 6pm - Virtual Book Club discussion of  My Ántonia by Willa Cather

Join our booksellers for our virtual book club discussion of My Ántonia by Willa Cather. Pre-registration is required. Our Book Club meets on the fourth Monday of each month at 6pm. All book clubs and events will be held virtually via Zoom for the foreseeable future. We're always happy to see new faces, and there's no month-to-month obligation. Please join us for a fun, casual discussion, and enjoy some refreshments - BYOB.  REGISTER HERE

Tuesday, March 23rd at 7:30pm - Books in Common NW: Susan Conley & Rick Bass

 Criss-cross the US in an exciting literary evening with Susan Conley and Rick Bass as they share their respective new books Landslide, and Fortunate Son: Selected Essays from the Lone Star State. Susan Conley's Landslide is an immersive look at one woman's reckoning with the disintegration of her family, her marriage and her community. Rick Bass's Fortunate Son is a literary tour of the Lone Star State by a native Texan of exceptional talent. The essays encompass a Texas that is both lost and found, past and present. They are bound together by a deep love and a keen eye for the land and its people and by an appreciation for what is given, a ruefulness for what is lost, and a commitment to save what can be saved.  REGISTER HERE

Wednesday, March 24th at 6pm - Country Bookshelf Presents: Malcolm Brooks

From the author of the national bestseller Painted Horses, Montana favorite Malcolm Brooks returns with Cloudmaker - a soaring, spirited novel set during the Age of Aviation and the summer of Amelia Earhart's final flight, in which a young tinkerer and an aspiring pilot building their own airplane unexpectedly come into possession of a rare Lindbergh flight watch owned by a bank robber whose fellow criminals want it back. Cloudmaker is a tale of American ingenuity and optimism set against the backdrop of a deepening Great Depression.  REGISTER HERE

Thursday, March 25th at 6pm - Books in Common NW: David Laskin

Books in Common NW is delighted to welcome award winning author of The Children's Blizzard, David Laskin, for a transporting evening to share his evocative new book What Sammy Knew -- a turbulent coming-of-age novel about a young man who loses his innocence and finds his soul in the ferment of New York City in 1970's.  REGISTER HERE

Support Your Neighbors

We've got a great week of local author programming coming up this week that we hope you're registered for!

Wednesday, March 10th at 6pm - Country Bookshelf Presents: A Local Author Showcase. 

Join Country Bookshelf and your neighbors for a seasonal round of speed dating with your next great read. Join Ed Power for Dragons in the Snow - A gripping, fast-paced story that blends backcountry ski and snowboard adventure with avalanche forecasting, rescue, and survival. Connie Myslik-McFadden shares her new novel The Second Bucket List - a poignant and uplifting story about the emotional and spiritual journey of a forty-nine year old woman who is diagnosed with ALS. We'll also take a (virtual) trip to Italy with Meredith Smith sharing her new book Inventing the World - An epic cultural journey that reveals how Venetian ingenuity and inventions--from sunglasses and forks to bonds and currency--shaped modernity. Celebrate some great local authors with us! 

Watch the Replay Here


Thursday, March 11th at 6pm - Country Bookshelf Presents: Kelsey Sather

Country Bookshelf is delighted to welcome local author Kelsey Sather and invites you to revel in the embodied, ecological magic of Sather's new book Birth of the Anima. A fable for the modern experience, Sather explores female agency and ecological balance in this first book of the Ancient Language of Earth series. 

Watch the Replay Here

We’ve got more events packed into this month with Books in Common, our Virtual Book Club and more great presentations from Country Bookshelf. Follow us on Eventbrite to see all we have in store.

Quarantine Fatigue Reading List

Between the incredibly cold temperatures and the social distancing, it’s easy to feel a little bit of cabin fever these days - so we have compiled a list of recommended reading for your quarantine fatigue.

Wintering by Katherine May released during the holiday rush, but it’s message of stillness and reflection resonated with several of our booksellers who enjoyed listening to the audiobook from libroFM.

Buy Yourself the F*cking Lilies is a hilarious memoir/self-help book from Tara Schuster that brings the observations of You Should Really See Someone with the biting wit of The Daily Show. Full of wholly relatable stories, and useful tips, this is a great read to find some self-love. 

Sub-zero temperatures aside, The Nature Fix by Florence Williams illuminates the fascinating neuroscience behind the seemingly universal decisions to go for long walks, take up gardening, and go bird watching that characterized early quarantine socializing. Make sure you and the dog have mittens before reading this. 

Burnout by the Nagoski Sister Emily and Amelia gives readers transformative tools for interrupting the stress cycle and resetting our nervous systems and behaviors and explains why rest, human connection, and befriending your inner critic are keys to recovering and preventing burnout.

The Listening Path from beloved author Julia Cameron takes readers on a journey to deeper, more profound attention and creativity. This is a great companion to one of our favorite early pandemic reads How to Do Nothing by Jenny O’Dell, herself an artist looking at the attention economy through a more sociological and philosophical lense. 

At the top of our fiction list is anything with a happy ending! Our romance section is packed with great historical, western, paranormal, and contemporary happy endings - even if it’s just happy for now. Jessica recommends Take A Hint, Dani Brown by Talia Hibbert to feed your fake dating needs after marathoning Bridgerton on Netflix. 

Do some armchair globetrotting with the pulitzer prize winning Less by Andrew Sean Greer which is great for a satirical laugh, too. 

Visit a reimagined England full of magic with CL Polk’s Witchmark - a delightful, and cozy, speculative fantasy full of mystery, romance, and bicycle chases. 

Take a long slow nature walk with Richard Powers in The Overstory - a generational saga that incorporates not just humans, but generations of trees as well. 

Break out the prosecco and solve some crime with Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions by Mario Girodano! This effervescent mystery series set in Italy will truly transport you. 

Our booksellers love the lush atmosphere of Lily King’s Euphoria - described as intense, seductive, intellectual, and exhilarating. Take your brain on a trip through time to the 1930s, and the tropical setting of New Guinea.

Jump on a spaceship and take The Long Way to A Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. This cozy science fiction warms the heart and explores a wide variety of social and anthropological questions with a great found-family cast of galactic pathmakers. 

And finally, if you’re the type to poke a bruise, check out Ariana Franklin’s Mistress of the Art of Death - a tour de force of historical fiction and crime thriller, starring a Jewish female physician and set in Medieval England. 

You can find all of these books with our digital audiobook partners - Libro.FM - and we made a playlist - Check it Out! There were a few titles that many folks picked up at the onset of the pandemic that still offer strong support for quarantine angst, so don’t be afraid to check out some of those backlist titles, or ask a bookseller for a recommendation.


Books in Common NW: Bruce Byers

Dive into the Human-Nature relationship in The View from Cascade Head with Bruce Byers and the team behind Full Ecology - Gary Ferguson and Mary Clare

Register Here

Books in Common NW explores the science of biospheres with ecologist Bruce Byers in his new book The View from Cascade Head. As laboratories for understanding how humans affect ecosystems and models for how we can heal the human-nature relationship, biosphere protection, like the reserve at Cascade Head, are part of a world-wide effort to understand changes to our natural world.

		Books in Common NW: Bruce Byers image

Cascade Head, on the Oregon Coast between Lincoln City and Neskowin, has stunning ocean views, abundant recreational opportunities, and a rich history of ecological research and conservation. Its landscape and seascape support a multitude of species, some of which are threatened, such as the Oregon silverspot butterfly, spotted owl, and coho salmon. In The View from Cascade Head, Bruce Byers tells the fascinating story of this special place and the people who have worked to protect it. Drawing from his lifelong relationship with the Oregon Coast and recent experience living and working at Cascade Head, Byers weaves together personal observations, ecological science, and the history and philosophy of nature conservation in a series of interconnected essays.

Cascade Head is Oregon's only biosphere reserve, part of the international network of biosphere reserves coordinated by UNESCO. Biosphere reserves around the world are laboratories for understanding how humans affect ecosystems and models for how we can heal the human-nature relationship.

The View from Cascade Head illustrates three main lessons: the actions and efforts of committed individuals can make a difference; ecological mysteries still abound despite decades of scientific research; and our worldviews--how we think about our place in nature--shape our individual and collective effect on the ecosystems we inhabit. Byers helps us understand how these lessons apply everywhere and can lead us toward a more sustainable relationship with our home planet.

		Books in Common NW: Bruce Byers image

Bruce A. Byers is an ecologist and consultant who advises NGOs and government agencies around the world on forest management, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services, and environmental communication.

These Days are Really

We’re in full celebration mode this weekend with Winter Crazy Days, Valentines Day, Black Literacy Day, and Presidents Day! We’ll be queueing up great deals alongside the rest of downtown Bozeman for Winter Crazy Days with an additional 25% off bargain books and fresh markdowns on great cards and gifts so we can make room for new Spring and Summer items. Of course we’ve got the best goodies for all your loved ones - including cards, books, gifts and more. We’ve been especially inspired by Kathy’s recommendation to pair one of our beautiful flower books with an essential oil for a perma-bouquet. We’ve also got some fantastic floral puzzles that make for great moments of togetherness. 

We are probably the most excited to join our indie bookstore colleagues from Chicago in celebrating Black Literacy Day! The brainchild of Chicago’s Semicolon Bookstore, Black Literacy Day aims to support literacy efforts for Black communities, recognizing that literacy is the cornerstone of individual and social growth, and that the book community isn’t just for white folks. We are celebrating by donating 20% of sales of some of the Montana Racial Equity Project’s book club selection to MTREP. So grab Four Hundred Souls by Ibram X Kendi, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, The Black Women’s History of the United States by Daina Ramey Berry, and join MTREP for their virtual book club. You can also grab titles for younger readers, like Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X Kendi, or The ABCs of Black History by Rio Cortez. Be sure to check out our website for more ways to support literacy for our local BIPOC communities. 

Wishing you safe and warm celebrations this holiday weekend, curled up with a good book.

Let's Read Aloud!

Grab a book, find an audience, and read aloud! We’re excited to celebrate World Read Aloud day on Wednesday, February 3rd, and everyday. We love stories, big and small, but more than that we love sharing them. Reading aloud has many wonderful benefits for developing minds and lifelong readers, but it’s also a fun activity for the whole family, pets included. Here are some fun tips for reading aloud, whether that's to a child, a friend, or your dog!

  • Prepare a Comfy and Roomy Read-Aloud Area. It's important that your area is large enough that everyone can sit and see comfortably. Plus, who doesn’t love a blanket fort?!

  • Give It All You've Got! Dramatic and fun sound effects, hand motions, facial expressions, and changes in tone invite listeners to become a part of the story with you.

  • Help the Listener "See" the Story. Listeners who are attentive to the visual details of a book learn how to use visual clues to get meaning from everything on the page. Point out details in illustrations, layout, and characterizations to help listeners become keen observers, and discuss what they notice.

  • Invite Listeners to Use Their Senses. Help listeners imagine not only the sights in a story but the sounds, smells, tastes, physical sensations, and emotions, as well. 

  • Develop Ways to Respond to Questions. Folks love to ask questions while you are reading. Some questions are important and need to be answered right away, other questions will be answered in the story itself. Find an easy balance so you don’t stop the flow of the story.

  • Take Time for Discussion. This is the best part! Listeners love to talk about a book they’ve just read or listened to. What did you love? What did you hate? What did you learn? 

Happy Reading!


Booksellers Favorites of 2020

Curious what our booksellers were up to in 2020? Like many folks, Ariana’s reading came in stages last year. “I had ‘before the pandemic reading’ and was keeping track and had a plan, and then the pandemic hit and all I could read was poetry. As the year wore on I found some great narratives and historical fiction that captivated me and really informed my experience of 2020.”

Cassie says, “I stepped out of my comfort zone with this year’s reading. I learned a lot about indigenous cultures with the help of Tommy Orange, Zitkála-Šá, and Leslie Marmon Silko.” 

Jeanette had a similar experience: “Nearly all of my favorite books from last year were written by BIPOC authors, but two that particularly stood out to me were written by indigenous authors: Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer and Elatsoe by Darcie Little Badger. Their storytelling is so beautiful and effective and I treasure how much I enjoyed and learned from these books.” 

Kaycee’s reads this year were definitely indicative of some trends we saw for 2020. “I read exclusively Horror this year. Novels like Down Days, Mexican Gothic, and Devolution were comfortable literary escapes. I jumped around from dystopian pandemics to page-turning thrillers, and I don’t regret a single page!” 

A lot of Nora’s reading was for school, “But I have loved everything my English teachers have assigned so far. Other than that, I read light books with fun and easy stories.” 

Comfort was also on Jessica’s mind. “I read so many light and cozy reads this year, with lots of laughs and kissing. I was very grateful for some contemplative reads at the beginning of the pandemic that attuned my attention and observation -- they made for great listening while walking the dog around the neighborhood.” 

Kasey also chose a new reading path. “Typically I read a lot of non-fiction, specifically memoirs and essays, but this year I found myself reading almost exclusively fiction. With social distancing I instead made my social connections through the highly developed characters in Writers & Lovers, Conversations with Friends, and Before the Coffee Gets Cold, among many others.” 

Anna’s favorite books included Wow, No Thank You -- a snarky, raw, and hysterically funny read. “It was a perfect read for the beginning of quarantine.” She also liked Shuggie Bain, and found World of Wonders to be “a great end of the year soul-purging read, a reminder to delight in the natural world.”

Matt says his reading list was “as chaotic as 2020! Which is why the standout for me was the humorous and mindful Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosch.”

Kathy enjoyed tightly plotted fiction with high stakes, the many poets sharing essays, as well as a broad range of non-fiction that included some fascinating nature reading, and true crime. “ In The Magical Language of Others by E.J. Koh - Koh translates letters written to her by her mother – and is mindful of every word chosen.  Using her mastery of language to guide us through four generations of family history, Koh blends feelings of love and longing for her culture and the relationship with her mother. Beautifully written.”

There were many beloved titles from last year, and we hope you can find something from our booksellers to treasure as we did last year. Be sure to check out our 2020 Bestsellers list too.