Librarians and curators from Boise Public Library, Coeur d’Alene Public Library, Idaho Potato Museum, Twin Falls County Historical Museum and Twin Falls Public Library helped compile a list of recent Idaho books by Idaho authors, specifically those with farm, ranch and rural themes. Books can be found on Amazon or Barnes & Noble.
My Summer with T-bone by Gus Brackett, illustrator Belle Brackett (2022)
Follow Max Hackberry as he teaches a ranch steer how to be a better show steer in the county fair, and as a show steer teaches Max to be a better boy. Brackett authors four books in the Badger Thurston series, Nettie McCorkle and the Horse Race and co-authored A History of Three Creek, Idaho.
Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind by Grace Olmstead (2021)
In Uprooted, author Grace Olmstead of Emmett examines the heartbreaking consequences of uprooting – from Emmett to Washington, D.C. Part memoir, part journalistic investigation, she looks at the stark realities of farming life today, identifying the government policies and big agriculture practices that make it almost impossible for such towns to survive. And Olmstead explores the ranks of Emmett’s newcomers and what growth means for the area’s farming tradition. This book received favorable professional reviews.
Sky Ranch: Living on a Remote Ranch in Idaho by Bobbi Phelps (2020)
Sky Ranch tells of city girl Bobbi Phelps’ Idaho ranch experiences, sharing frightening tales of rescuing her horse in dangerous whiteouts during Rocky Mountain blizzards, driving through harsh winter storms and a terrifying flooded road crossing in pitch black, a near drowning while fishing Henrys Lake and losing her young son among huge harvesting machines. It is a memoir about a woman who struggled to navigate an industrial farm and its commercial cattle enterprise.
Under the Barnyard Light by Carla Crane Osborne, illustrated by Brandon Dorman (2020)
Based out of Meridian, all of Osborne’s books are about her life growing up on a farm. Osborne writes to bring awareness of the importance and the magic growing up on a farm can bring. A children’s book, even in the dark of the winter, the animals need to be fed. She encourages: Beneath the barnyard light, feed warm milk to the calves, catch snowflakes on your tongue, and give a kiss to Dandy the horse.
Who Moved My Goat Cheese? A Farm-to-Fork Mystery by Lynn Cahoon (2018)
A fiction mystery series by an Idaho author set on a fictional Idaho farm. Angie Turner hopes her new farm-to-table restaurant can be a fresh start in her old hometown in rural Idaho. But when a goat dairy farmer is murdered, Angie must turn the tables on a bleating black sheep.
The 71: A century of “bettering conditions on the range” by Gus Brackett and Kimberly Williams-Brackett (2017)
This history of the 71 Livestock Association is the history of the individuals that lived and worked the 71 area (Three Creek, Idaho) over the past 100 years.
Sucker Flat: A Small Capsule of History by Duane Ramseyer (2016)
The book talks about history, farming, life and community in an area north of Filer. Copies are available at the Twin Falls County Historical Museum.
Packin' Spuds: The History of the Idaho Potato by Dr. Carol Graham (2015)
A children's book, Packin' Spuds is an illustrated story of the history of the Idaho Potato, told through the lesson of Mrs. Russet, as she educates about diseases that still are a concern for potato farmers everywhere. This fun-filled potato character is "packin'" (a set of pistols) to fight back against the devastation of diseases takin' potatoes down.
Ranch Tales: Stories of Dogs, Cats & Other Crazy Critters and Horse Tales: True Stories from an Idaho Ranch by Heather Smith Thomas (2015 and 2014)
This author has 20 books and thousands of articles on horse or cattle healthcare, breeding or handling for kids and adults, but there are a couple other memoirs mixed in her writing. Heather Smith Thomas grew up on a ranch near Salmon.
A Dog for All Seasons: A Memoir by Patti Sherlock (2010)
Her working relationship with her border collie, Duncan, got her through the difficulties of 16 years on a sheep farm in Idaho. Sherlock's life on the farm reflects beginnings and endings, and the cycle of seasons in all our lives.
Life Among the Lava Beds by Leonard Stephenson (2008)
This book details memories of growing up in rural Idaho in the 1950s. (Stephenson grew up in Lava Hot Springs.) The stories in his book are recollections of growing up in the "pre-video game" days of rural America, where you had to be creative to make a toboggan out of old tin siding, or break an unruly colt, just for fun.
P is for Potato: An Idaho Alphabet by Stan and Joy Steiner, illustrator Jocelyn Slack (2005)
Kids of all ages will love the A-to-Z rhymes boasting about all the riches found within Idaho's borders – from the Appaloosa steed to the zinc mines to Mount Borah to the potato. Every page expands on the rhyme and introduces the readers to more interesting facts, places and people that have helped make Idaho the unique treasure it is.
Love and Country by Christina Adam (2003)
A collection of stories, Adam pens a lyrically written first novel of love and rodeo set in a ranching town on the scrubby sage flats of Idaho. Her portrayal of Idaho ranch country ("the dark red cattle in the snow looked like a crooked line of stitches in a blanket") and her strong supporting cast of hardscrabble cowboys and local eccentrics gives depth and texture to her tale.
On All Sides Nowhere: Building a Life in Rural Idaho by William Gruber (2002)
When Gruber left Philadelphia for graduate school in Idaho, he and his wife decided to experience rural living in an abandoned log cabin and 40 acres in Alder Creek. Farm living was far from what he expected: He now had to rise with the sun to finish strenuous chores, cope with the lack of modern conveniences and shed his urban pretensions to become a real local.
Bitterbrush Country: Living on the Edge of the Land by Diane Josephy Peavey (2001)
This is a collection of short essays
which reveal the heart of Western rural culture, rodeos, county fairs and sheep shearing, as well as the struggle of family farms to survive unpredictable weather, unfavorable U.S. farm policy, encroaching development and globalization. Her writing evokes the smell of sagebrush, the sweltering heat of a cattle drive on a 100ºF day and the pleasant melancholy of a winter landscape.