Blood, hookers and pantsuits: Festival of the Book recommendations



Here are six things we're interested in during the festival's last two days. For a full schedule, click here.

Let Me Tell You A Little Something About Myself - Memoir
Friday, 2:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Ballroom D

Panel: Phyllis Baller, Mary Clearman Blew, Mary Jane Nealon, and Louise Wagenknecht
Moderator: John Clayton

Why: High Country News recently profiled Blew, a UM graduate and current creative writing professor at the University of Idaho whose new memoir looks back at what it's like being a woman in male-dominated academia. In the interview we learn she was the first woman "to wear a pantsuit to classes" at Northern Montana College. Huh.

Reading with Jenny Shank, Robin Troy, and Neil McMahon
Friday, 2:30 p.m., Holiday Inn Yellowstone Glacier Room

Why: A great trio. We already wrote about Troy, whose new Missoula-inspired novel is wonderful. We've always been a fan of McMahon's work, like last year's Blood Double. And Shank used to cover all things literary at

Hand Raised: The Barns of Montana Presentation
Friday, 2:30 p.m., Missoula Public Library

Panel: Christine Brown, Tom Ferris, and Chere Jiusto

Why: This book, published by the Montana Historical Society and featuring Ferris' photography, is gorgeous.

FREE Screening of the Coen brothers' Blood Simple
Friday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., the Wilma

A panel discussion titled "The Coen brothers in the West" follows the first screening.

Why: Roger Ebert called the brothers' debut film "violent, unrelenting, absurd, and fiendishly clever." The Coenesque fan site explains, "A minimal budget of $1.5 million has ensured that Blood Simple is superbly streamlined, stripped to its essential characters. On the other hand, its stunning, evocative visuals belong in a film costing twice as much." It may be the most brilliant work of their career.

Horses, Hookers & Hellions—Montana Stories
Saturday, 11 a.m., Holiday Inn Ballroom D

Reading: Lael Morgan, Wanda Rosseland, and Ed Kemmick

Why: Aside from the title? We're fans of Kemmick, the Billings Gazette columnist who wrote The Big Sky, By and By, a collection of his best work.

The Gala Reading
Saturday, 7:30 p.m., the Wilma

Reading: Bonnie Jo Campbell, Sheryl Noethe, and Mary Clearman Blew

Why: Always a nice way to cap the weekend.

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