Individual taste in books varies as much as the favorite rod or fly. With that in mind, we hope to review books and videos from the ever-growing fly fishing world, and share them with you. Books will be the best of all worlds, new and old. Many of the old books are now available in reprint, and the wisdom contained is timely today. Others can be found in second-hand book stores, or by mail order dealers. As we find videos we feel are outstanding they will be included. Be assured, reviews are based on what we have actually read or viewed, and due to that fact, may not appear weekly.
First I must admit that I am not generally a fan of generic literature, novels, and similar types of prose. I seldom have the luxury of sitting down and reading something that is not technical, and when I do I generally find that I have little interest in reading about another person’s exploits. However, when we received a copy of Ted Leeson’s latest book, Inventing Montana, I was intrigued. Montana is a subject and a place that I have more than a nodding acquaintance with, having called it my home for more than half my life.
Knowing that Ted Leeson is not a resident or a native of Montana I immediately dismissed this book as another ‘outsider’ coming in and laying claim to being an authority on Montana. I was quickly disarmed when I read the following in the preface.
‘A few weeks a year, even for two decades, does not add up to any great length of time, and I could hardly claim to know Montana beyond the tiny fraction of it I periodically inhabit. What roots I have here, if can be said to exist at all, run no deeper than those of a potted plant. And in one respect, my time here is an artificially cultivated experience that might be tempting to dismiss as a strain of self-delusive tourism, like the Wall Street hedge-fund viper who spends ten days a year in a rented slip at Marblehead, living aboard a B40 he doesn’t own and can’t sail, capering about the deck in a commodore’s hat and thinking himself quite a sailor. To fall into this category, even inadvertently, is my worst fear.”
This book is full of wry observations about tourists, guides, the landscape, and the local scene in the Madison River valley. The book is populated with a cast of interesting characters including the author’s wife and an eclectic group of fishing buddies that the author has given interesting and somewhat descriptive names.
This is more than a recounting of a series of fishing exploits, but do not expect the author to reveal any angling secrets or life-changing revelations. It’s a fun read by an accomplished author.
Dispatches from the Madison Valley
Author: Ted Leeson
Skyhorse Publishing; $24.95