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Monday, February 2, 2009

Westerns???


Yup that's right! For those who don't know my personal reading tastes, I prefer mysteries, YA or High School fiction, non-fiction that reads like fiction, and cookbooks. For all of the above, I prefer them to be funny.

That's why I jumped at a chance to do a reading project with my friend Jeanne. Jeanne used to work here (you can still read some of her book reviews on our Staff Picks page) but has moved on to another library. She's done some pretty ambitious reading projects in the past. For 2008 she read all 14 Charles Dickens novels! Extremely impressive. So when she was entertaining the idea of reading westerns, I was totally up for it. I had never (well, that I can remember) read a western in my life. Now I could get a chance to discover a new genre!

So together we're reading a different western each month. Jeanne has selected the titles which include:
January's pick was Appaloosa by Robert B. Parker. I loved it. It's the story of two men- Virgil Cole and Everett Hitch- who are hired by the town of Appaloosa to stop Randall Bragg. Bragg has no regard for the law, and killed the previous marshal who tried to take him in. The story went in a direction I didn't expect, and the ending surprised me as well.

Why don't you start a reading project of your own? You don't have to read all of Dickens, or even reading 12 books in a year. Try reading 3 different books then you would normally choose. It could be westerns or romance. Thrillers or historical fiction. Since it's the start of a new year try getting out of your comfort zone and experiencing something new. You just might surprise yourself and discover a new favorite!

3 comments:

Bob said...

Hi Cheryl ... I read Lonesome Dove and thoroughly enjoyed it. Riders of the Purple Sage also is on my ever-growing list of books to read. Right now I'm off the beaten path and am reading an historical romance by Kat Martin -- Heart of Fire. It's interesting, but not quite my cup of tea. However, I'll read it to the end, because the characters and the plot are compelling. Good luck with blazing your new trail. Giddy-up!

Anonymous said...

Love the idea of a reading project and have never thought about reading westerns. Wondering what makes a western a western. Just location?

Cheryl said...

I just read an excellent sentence in one of our reference books on the 3rd floor that I think sums up a western well:

"The appeal of the novel appears to be based on a dream of freedom set in a world of unspoiled nature offering an opportunity for conquest."

And yes, what also makes a western is the location: the great west of the United States, mainly in the time period from after the civil war to the beginning of the 20th century.

If you want to learn more, or get examples of classic western writers, just go to our website. Then click on Reference, then go to subject guides. Click then on Books and Literature, then go to NoveList Plus. In the search field type in "Getting up to speed in westerns" and it'll take you to a page that has great information!

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