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Winter: Notes from  Montana
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Winter: Notes from Montana

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  862 ratings  ·  67 reviews
This book is a classic celebration of winter in a remote Montana valley.
Paperback, 176 pages
Published January 20th 1992 by Mariner Books (first published 1991)
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In praise of, as Bass puts it, the lower, slower state: “where you’re sure to live twice as long, and see twice as many things, and be two times as happy at the end.” Where snow is more wonderful than rain, than anything.

God, I loved this book. I love anything Bass writes but here you can see the line between his fiction and not-fiction is so slim and pliable it’s sometimes barely there at all. Even Kirby and Tricia of the short stories make their real-life appearance. But really, the reason fo
Jul 09, 2012 Matt rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of journalistic nature-writing with wit
Recommended to Matt by: Joey Beatty
I really loved this, the writings of the young and idealistic Rick Bass. It's inspiring in that it makes me want to love the real winters I get to experience, to find passion in bone-chilling cold, or difficulties like cars that won't start or furnaces that have issues. I love his writing discipline, and the way he buckles down and becomes a "real man," out of true necessity. The fact that he still lives in the Yaak Valley and has made his life there really shows the love he developed for such a ...more
Julie Stout
montana is a dreamland and what literary ambrosia to read someone waxing on about its beauty. I was in heaven as I read and experienced the passion that the author has for the wilderness, trees, and people who love them. Here are 2 great quotes on logging and Mormon missionaries: p.66: There's nothing that gets you as dirty as woodcutting. I thought roughnecking was bad. Roughnecking is a tea party, ginger cakes and lemonade. Roughnecking is washing your hands and blowing your nose with a lace h ...more
This is the memoir Rick Bass wrote about the first winter in Montana with his wife. They moved there to write and paint, and actually found some time to do that when they were not cutting wood or shivering. I loved this book. I would read it and bed and listen for snow flakes hitting the window, then remember that it was May, and we would not be getting any snow in Portland for another seven months. I'm looking forward to reading his fiction. Also, good interview with him in recent Tin House.
Rebecca Foster
I had never heard of Rick Bass before I picked up this terrific little book for a quarter in a library book sale. It’s a memoir of his first winter spent in Yaak Valley, Montana, aged 30 – a less mystical Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, if you will. “This valley shakes with mystery, with beauty, with secrets — and yet it gives up no answers...I’m falling away from the human race. I don’t mean to sound churlish — but I’m liking it.” (He wasn’t alone, though; he had with him his partner, artist Elizabeth ...more
The second book I read, and one of my favorites, by Rick Bass, a writer I feel does not get the attention he deserves. Writing in the tradition of a modern day Walden, Bass recounts his journey from the city to the Yaak Valley in Montana, the most remote place he can find. Moving to a small cabin he finds out quickly just how little he knows about living in this harsh, new environment. As he adjusts he discovers a new life where only the bare essentials are needed to survive. Except for a handfu ...more
Amy Beatty
Just in love.... What can I say? I also feel I would do better in his world.
I think some people would like this book the way it is, so there is that. I could not stand the book, which is a shame because the topic interested me. The author escapes to Montana to work on his writing and try to tough out the winter, which would get him the respect of locals.

I did not want it to be this way, but it is highly romantic, cliché, and written entirely in fragmented sentence or lengthy, epic sentences. The entire book is phrased like someone trying to write poetry in their journa
Sensual writing and visceral thoughts about the cold and snow on sparsely populated land.

Jan 4
There are natural highs, and lows, in winter. You eat more. You sleep more. It is only natural to put on a little fat, but I don’t like it. I want to go into winter, have its beauty and silence, and play by my rules, but it’s hard. And I’m so tired at the end of a day; as soon as it gets dark I’m bone-weary, almost in a stupor. I t doesn’t matter whether I’ve been outside sawing logs or cross-country sk
Trop vite lu. Bien trop vite. Mais impossible de lâcher le livre que j'ai baladé dans mon sac pendant trois jours, ouvert à chaque minute disponible... dans le tram, accompagnant mes 20 minutes de marche au soleil entre chez moi et la fac, en attendant une amie... Rick Bass m'a offert un mélange de fascination pour ses descriptions de la nature et de la saison (et l'anticipation de son arrivée), de gourmandise pour quelques anecdotes sur et/ou de ses voisins, sur ses mésaventures ou celles de sa ...more
Read this in 2001 or 2002. I enjoyed it so much, I don't think I put it down, even though I was in the midst of nursing school, writing papers and work. I enjoyed their fearlessness in taking on an unknown and quite isolated place amid a MT winter. It's as close as you can get to being a modern pioneer; I think.
Charles Boogaard
This is one of the rare books I will read again. It captures something in me.
These lines from the book say it all "learn to love the cold, the winter. If you love the country, the landscape --if you really love the country-- then you may find yourself able to love it in the winter most of all."
I admit I am a sucker for a good memoir. I want to know what people think and why they do the things they do. The words and thoughts of Rick Bass drew me in and made me long for the engulfing cold and silence of winter and the life-enriching possibilities contained therein.
Chuck Denison
I loved this book, living as I do in Montana. He captures the feelings of solitude and the reshaping of the soul which can happen in a Montana winter. He moved to a rural (no electricity) valley in MT from Mississippi and learned to love it. Then he describes that love.
Poetic, simple, wonderful. I want to re-read this book and go back to hearing the snow fall in a remote Montana valley.
this is the book i first read upon moving to vermont, and it helped shape that first critical winter here. very important.
Chronicles Bass's first year up in the Yaak Valley. Fantastic and inspiring read. Made me want to go cut firewood.
This book made me a fan of Rick Bass. Yes, I read it in winter and was deeply absorbed by this man's story.
Laura Ender
I usually don't gravitate toward journal-style nonfiction, but this one was particularly well edited.
"In this celebration of winter in a remote valley of thirty inhabitants, the last valley in Montana without electricity, Rick Bass describes the wildness and freedom of the valley people, the slow-motion quality of life as if it were one hundred years ago.

"Impressions abound: trees popping like firecrackers in the dead of winter; white rabbits as large as cats; bull elk eating hay alongside cows; the Dirty Shame Saloon, where the people gamble, drink beer, gossip, and watch football on TV. Rick
Rick Bass est un écrivain américain exerçant également la profession de géologue. Il est l'auteur d'une vingtaine de livres parmi lesquels on trouve, presque à part égale, des romans et des essais.
Dans Winter, qui est un journal, il raconte son expérience de vie lorsqu'il décide de quitter la ville, en compagnie de sa femme, pour partir habiter à Yaak dans le Montana. Pour le coup, le dépaysement est total, Yaak est un tout petit village dans lequel on trouve uniquement un magasin général et un
David Ward
Winter: Notes From Montana by Rick Bass (Houghton Miflin / Seymour Lawrence 1991) (978.6) is a journal of the author's experiences during a six-month winter stay under primitive conditions in a secluded Montana valley with a girlfriend and two dogs for company. I love Rick Bass, but I much prefer the writing of the older more seasoned Rick Bass. This book clearly shows a younger stage in his development as a writer. In this volume, he's thirty years old, he's obviously very talented, and he's cl ...more
Jean Dind
In turns lyrical and raw, this ode to winter is for me a most enchanting reminder. Having moved from Switzerland to Australia, I have come to miss winters immensely. "Winter: Notes from Montana" reminds me of the magnificent autumn days, when entire mountainsides turn orange from Larch needles succumbing to the advance of the cold, and the retreat of light; of having to rely on yourself to cut and split wood for heating and cooking; of the joy of snow falling surreptitiously overnight, and of fi ...more
Sep 13, 2012 Emily rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emily by: Book club
This was a book club pick. It was not something I would have picked off the shelf so I like that book club introduces (*okay..forces) me to read books outside my comfort zone. That being said, I didn't really like this. It is a journal style (some reviewers have said it reads like a blog) about a winter spent in Montana. The author picks up and moves with his girlfriend to live off the grid in the freezing cold Montana winter. Did I mention they had never seen snow? Yep. Rude awakening. Most of ...more
It's been a while since I read this, but I remember thinking just how cold it was there with temperatures so low it is hard to imagine, living way back off the grid and what a tenuous hold they had on life in such a remote setting. And spending the entire summer cutting and stacking firewood because your life literally depends on it! It was beautiful to read about and I love Montana in the summer but I'll stay in the South for my winters if its all the same!
I love this little book. This book perfectly captured my love of Montana and my love of winter and spoke to my introverted tendencies. Rick Bass seems like a swell guy and he's certainly a fantastic writer. I'll be reading more by him.
This book inspired envy, even though it would be impractical, almost impossible for me to ever live the life it described....
Boring, not plot or direction, just seemingly random journal entries
Bill Ohlsen
Love this book, what a wonderful story about living in the wilds of Montana.
This is a re-read. The leaves are beginning to change. The morning and evening air is beginning to feel crisp. Vegetables are no longer replenishing themselves in my garden. The night is arriving earlier and earlier. The summer is almost over and winter will soon settle into this mountain valley. Every year at this time of year, I wish for a prolonged summer. Bass' book is a welcome embrace of winter in a harsh land. I'm re-reading it to help me also welcome and embrace winter.
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Rick Bass was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and grew up in Houston, the son of a geologist. He studied petroleum geology at Utah State University and while working as a petroleum geologist in Jackson, Mississippi, began writing short stories on his lunch breaks. In 1987, he moved with his wife, the artist Elizabeth Hughes Bass, to Montana’s remote Yaak Valley and became an active environmentalist, wo ...more
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The Watch The Ninemile Wolves The Sky, the Stars, the Wilderness The Hermit's Story: Stories The Book of Yaak

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