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message 1: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I have been looking to go on a Western/ Cowboy /Old West binge.

I found as list of "the best" western novels at http://www.westernwriters.org/

What do you think? What is missing and why?

Best 21
Best Western Novels
Shane (Schaefer)
Lonesome Dove (McMurtry)
The Big Sky (Guthrie)
The Time It Never Rained (Kelton)
The Virginian (Wister)
The Shootist (Swarthout)
Death Comes for the Archbishop (Cather)
Riders of the Purple Sage (Grey)
Monte Walsh (Schaefer)
The Ox-Bow Incident (Clark)
Hondo (L'Amour)
All the Pretty Horses (McCarthy)
Centennial (Michener)
The Sea of Grass (Conrad Richter)
Riders to Cibola (Zollinger)
The Homesman (Swarthout)
True Grit (Portis)
The Searchers (LeMay)
The Rounders (Evans)
The Day the Cowboys Quit (Kelton)
Call of the Wild (London)

I noticed that McTeague was not listed, but maybe books baout sadistic dentists don't count as westerns? If not, what constitutes the western genre?


message 2: by Martyn (new)

Martyn | 299 comments when I saw this topic header, I thought it was about Best Western hotels. Best one I ever stayed in was Albertville, in the French Alps.


message 3: by Elizabeth, bubbles (new)

Elizabeth (RedBrick) | 221 comments Mod
It is hard to imagine liking a western more than I like Lonesome Dove, Brock, but I think I'll give one of these a try. Maybe you should serve one up for a group read.

...

Ha! A Best Western in the Alps? Here I was thinking that the only Best Western on earth with great scenery is smack in the middle of Boystown here in Chicago.


message 4: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I noticed Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy was not listed--this was listed in the 100 best novels from 1923-2005.


message 5: by Kerry, flame-haired janeite (new)

Kerry Dunn (kerryanndunn) | 886 comments Mod
I've barely scratched the surface of this genre, but Lonesome Dove is easily one of the best books I've ever read. So, um, yeah, you can't go wrong with that one. In fact, I've enjoyed many of Mr. McMurtry's novels including his series that started with The Last Picture Show and went on to focus on the character of Duane Jackson.


message 6: by Ben, uneasy in a position of power; a yorkshire pudding (new)

Ben Loory | 241 comments Mod
Warlock is missing, that's my favorite besides Shane, and is just a massive, monolithic-type book of western awesomeness. also The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and Other Stories by Dorothy Johnson, but i guess that's short stories so they don't count. still pretty good, though. i think they should count.

i think the essence of the western is the frontier, the boundary-line between civilization and nature. i haven't read mcteague, but from what i remember from the movie Greed, it's not really about that...

Butcher's Crossing should also probably be on that list, but it might be a little too literary for western tastes or whatever...

i love westerns and am always looking for good ones. there are some on that list i haven't read and will look out for.


message 7: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
peter dexter's deadwood . . . and also my pal patrick dewitt's the sisters brothers . . . i would never have thought to put call of the wild in the western category, but it's one of my very favorite books!


message 8: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I watched the Deadwood series and it was some of the best tv I have seen--in the company of the Wire. I am going to have to read it.


message 9: by Jonathan, the skipper (new)

Jonathan | 609 comments Mod
. . . the series, while partly inspired by the book, is not the book, just so you know . . .


message 10: by Matt, e-monk (new)

Matt Comito | 386 comments Mod
I second Deadwood, Dexter is almost always on the beam(and the Sisters Brothers was quite good too btw)

Also I dont see Doctorow's Welcome to Hard Times which I very much liked


message 11: by Gloria (new)

Gloria (thatholmgirl) | 79 comments I might as well confess it now, I'm a Louis L'Amour junkie. I know he's not considered all "literary," but he's a damn good storyteller-- which, in that genre, is precisely what I want. Hondo is good, but it's not his "best" in my opinion.
To Tame a Land is my favorite, as well as the Sackett series.


message 12: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
Gloria wrote: "I might as well confess it now, I'm a Louis L'Amour junkie. I know he's not considered all "literary," but he's a damn good storyteller-- which, in that genre, is precisely what I want. Hondo is g..."

gloria! i have never read a louis l'amour, but i've read several of the other seminal works listed above. what would you suggest as a good starter l'amour?


message 13: by Gloria (new)

Gloria (thatholmgirl) | 79 comments Maureen,

To Tame a Land is my all-time favorite. Tucker was the first one I ever read. The Key-Lock Man is also good-- quite funny. They're all pretty quick reads. If you want a more "epic length" L'Amour, go to The Lonesome Gods.
(warning: you'll find yourself dreaming about these guys. ;) )


message 14: by Shel, ad astra per aspera (new)

Shel (shelbybower) | 946 comments Mod
STRIKE The Oxbow Incident. Because I hated it in high school. :)

10th or 11thing on Deadwood. :)


message 15: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 640 comments Mod
I read Lonesome Dove earlier this year, now its one of my favorite novels. I managed to snag the rest of the books that make up the "Lonesome Dove series" when visiting Tucson last week. I can't wait to dig in but I've got a bit of a backlog right now.

There's a few others mentioned in this thread that I need to pickup soon.


message 16: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I started Blood Meridien, and I have say it reminds me of a Vonnegut quote: "The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too late, how heartless and greedy they were." This is what I gather about the authentic cowboys real character by McCarthy. The cowboys of McCarthy's old west are cruel, brutish, and violent. Do you think this is a departure? We often romanticize the cowboy as a lonely hero, but maybe that is why we are astonished when we are brought up close.


message 17: by Ry (new)

Ry (downeyr) | 173 comments Brock wrote: "I started Blood Meridien, and I have say it reminds me of a Vonnegut quote: "The chief weapon of sea pirates, however, was their capacity to astonish. Nobody else could believe, until it was too la..."

Brock, you should bring up the idea of having a "Blood Meridian" discussion. I think we'd get a lot out of that.


message 18: by Brock (new)


message 19: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I was looking for criticism on Blood Meridian and found this by Harold Bloom. He says, "The violence is the book. The Judge is the book, and the Judge is, short of Moby Dick, the most monstrous apparition in all of American literature. The Judge is violence incarnate. The Judge stands for incessant warfare for its own sake."

The first place the judge appears is in a Religious Revival. The reverend is in the pulpit and ministering, when the judge walks up the aisle and tells everyone that reverend is an imposter, holds no papers of divinity, he has committed to memory a few passages from the bible for the purpose of leading fraudulent sermons. he is illiterate and wanted four states.

A man from the crowd said he would shoot the reverend where he stands.

All the while the reverend is telling the crowd, "This is him, this is him. The devil where he stands".

Meanwhile, the Judge tells the crowd, "he was run out of Fort Smith for having congress with a goat. Yes lady, that is what I said. A goat."

Later, the kid and Toadvine see him in the saloon. They ask, "when was you in Fort Smith?"
"Fort Smith?"
Where did you know him to know all that stuff on him?"
You mean the Reverend Green?
Yessir.
I was never in Fort Smith in my life. Doubt he was.
Where was it you run up on him?
I never laid eyes on that man before today. Never even heard of him.
He raised his glass and drank.
There was a strange silence in the room. The men looked like mud effigies. Finally someone began to laugh. Then another. Soon they were all laughing together. Someone bought the judge a drink.

This section was really quite amazing to me, and set the stage for my thoughts about the judge.

It would be fun to talk about this scene--page 9


message 20: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) interesting discussion on the book:

http://www.avclub.com/articles/harold...


message 21: by Dan, deadpan man (new)

Dan | 640 comments Mod
@Brock, I really need to go out to the garage and search through my books so I can find Blood Meridian. I don't remember this scene but I love what you've quoted.

I also visited and lunched with Ben on monday and thanks to him picked up Butcher's Crossing, Warlock and Shane to go along with all the other McMurtry I recently picked up. Looks like the rest of my year is going to be heavily western which is apt having just returned to the wild west.


message 22: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) @Dan, I am also monitoring the Western Channel on TV


message 23: by Gloria (new)

Gloria (thatholmgirl) | 79 comments Picking up Blood Meridian asap I think. Also, Shavetail by Thomas Cobb is brilliant. It's drawn a lot of comparisons to McCarthy and McMurty.


message 24: by Brock (new)

Brock (singslikehell) I am almost through Blood Meridian, and it gets better as the pages turn.


message 25: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (last edited Aug 30, 2011 01:44PM) (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
i keep forgetting to read a western trilogy by a canadian named guy vanderhaeghe -- the first book is called
The Englishman's Boy: A Novel, followed up by The Last Crossing and the last is called A Good Man and it comes out september 20th. :)

p.s. when I was adding the first book to my "to-read" list, i saw this list, and not sure we have everything on it, on ours: http://www.goodreads.com/list/show/98...


message 26: by Gloria (new)

Gloria (thatholmgirl) | 79 comments Maureen wrote: "i keep forgetting to read a western trilogy by a canadian named guy vanderhaeghe -- the first book is called
The Englishman's Boy: A Novel, followed up by [book:The Last Crossing|408..."


Maureen,
Sweet! New westerns always excite me. :)


message 27: by Maureen, mo-nemclature (new)

Maureen (modusa) | 683 comments Mod
Gloria wrote: "Maureen wrote: "i keep forgetting to read a western trilogy by a canadian named guy vanderhaeghe -- the first book is called
The Englishman's Boy: A Novel, followed up by [book:The L..."


gloria! hurray! happy to help! people have been telling me about guy v. for years but i just kept forgetting to add him to the list -- it's such a long list! let me know when you get round to it and i can try to time myself appropriately. :)


message 28: by Rod (last edited Aug 30, 2011 05:24PM) (new)

Rod (baron_von_rodenheimer) | 64 comments I think Blood Meridian is brilliant, but it's pretty divisive. Many love it, some hate it. The extreme, remorseless violence and lack of a sympathetic protagonist turns people off. I was repulsed at times, but I couldn't stop reading because it's so good.

I have Warlock on my to-read list because it's one of Pynchon's favorites, and, well, NYRB.


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