Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Reading Westerns

Considering my love of the western genre you’d think that I would also have read a number of western novels. Sadly, for whatever reason, I never got around to reading more than a few and even those were books which were assigned to me while in high school. I’ll not count various short stories by Jack London or Mark Twain which took place in the west or frontier Alaska. I don’t really consider those ‘westerns’ in the usual fashion, if you follow my logic.

Two of those I did read, SHANE by Jack Schaefer and THE OX BOW INCIDENT by Walter Van Tilburg Clark, were read after my English class had been shown the film adaptations of the works. We then had to write essays discussing the differences between movie and novel. Personally, I consider both of these films among the best American westerns you’re likely to see.

The only other western novel (more a novella, I suppose) I recall reading is Bret Harte’s THE OUTCASTS OF POKER FLATS. This was also something that was assigned in a class on American literature which I took in my senior year.

Given that this blog is dedicated to my love of Westerns, it seems that I should try my hand at reading (and probably reviewing) a few ‘classic’ and contemporary books of that genre. I may actually go back and take a fresh look at the three books I’ve already read, just to see how I view them as an adult without a teacher’s deadline. There are also a few well-known authors and books which I’d like to sample. To be fair to myself, I’m not going to set any type of deadline and will get around to these books as I have the time.

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