Once upon a time a girl from a concrete town in the North of England discovered inspiration in a book, planned a trip and found home. A place to breathe, to marvel and to dream. Now living closer to that dream, our family's heart travels the last few miles almost every day as we talk about our Last Best Place and tell each other "Love you more than Montana".
I bought this book in September 2000 from The Country Bookshelf in Bozeman, Montana. Or rather, that is where I bought my first copy. I have read many, many books inspired by Montana, a love of the West, landscape, sky and family; to this day this remains my favorite book. Perhaps because on first reading, I was falling in love with the story and the land; but this book left me with an indelible mark. The writing is inspired. I find it amazing that in his preface Doig explains that when his manuscript returned from the first edit, only the smallest changes were recommended. When you read this book, when you share his life, you get that; it is written from the heart in such a pure and true way. This book moves you; to tears, to joy, to longing, to love, to appreciation, to treasure, to remember, to honor.
I decided last week, to re-read this book again. I wondered if the second read would live up to my first impressions; it is better, sweeter. Now, I read with a different perspective, not that first love for the land and the people, but with a deeper understanding of the landscape, the towns, the culture. I had the privilege of hearing Doig speak during a book tour; it was quite wonderful to listen first hand to his stories.
My second through fifth copies of this book were purchased on return from my inaugural trip to Montana and shared with my family. I wanted them to understand how I felt about the place, but also to understand how I felt about them.
I would be delighted to gift this book to someone, so you can discover this treasure for yourself. Leave me a comment/tweet/follow/heart, etc. and I’ll pick one person at random.
This giveaway will end on February 28th, 2012 at which point one of my children will randomly select one winner. To enter, please retweet/like/reblog or comment before that deadline.
Literary Map of Britain: This is cool. Now when people ask where in Britain I am from, I can navigate geographically by author. Sometimes it is easy to overlook the literary heritage of a country the same size as Oregon. This map would form a beautiful reading list.