Hop a long, Git a long, Read a long Western Reading Challenge

Have you ever read a Western? Well, I haven’t. It is just not a genre I ever really felt tempted to explore but one evening, watching TCM, a couple of years ago, I saw a made for TV movie  that really stunned me, namely Riders of the Purple Sage. It was a melancholic tale of a gunslinger looking for the guy who drove his sister to commit suicide. It showed Ed Harris, in what I would say, one of his best roles. It was such a moody and atmospheric movie. I found out later that it was based on a novel by Zane Grey, Riders of the Purple Sage. I bought it, wanted to read it and forgot all about it. When I stumbled upon this Western challenge/readalong in which you can participate reading only one book, I thought, now is the time .

My thanks go to Gavin from Page247 who presented this effortless challenge on her blog a while ago. The challenge itself is hosted by Ready When You Are, C.B.. Here is the link to the challenge that takes place in May.

It’s worth having a look at the definition of Westerns on C.B. James’s page and also at the list of possible books. People who love Willa Cather could read along as well as those who always wanted to read Jim Harrison.

For me this is a good opportunity to broaden my horizon. I wouldn’t call it get out of my comfort zone as that is a concept I don’t have. I can’t think of any genre or type of book I don’t feel comfortable with (but maybe I get the idea of comfort zone in this context wrong?).

16 thoughts on “Hop a long, Git a long, Read a long Western Reading Challenge

  1. Westerns are one of the few kinds of books (along with horror, and hardcore sci-fi) that really do not appeal. If the definition is broadened enough to include Willa Cather, I could read them – but I sort of feel that is a very generously broad definition!

    • I feel pretty much the same but seeing how broad his definition is I thought it might still appeal to some. I want to at least read one Western in my life. Riders of the Purple Sage seems to have been so important for the genre that I thought it may not be a bad choice. If I don’t like it then that’s it for me.

  2. I’m a big fan of Jim Harrison. I’ve read several of his novels. Dalva is a wonderful book and Legends of the Fall too. The film with Brad Pitt is pale compared to the short story. I’m not fan enough to read his book named “Mes aventures sur les routes du vin” though.

    I see the readalong includes Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx. It’s beautiful. The film is extraordinary and really faithful to the short-story. There’s a review of two of her non-western short stories on my blog, they were hilarious.

    There’s a review of True Grit here :
    http://theasylum.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/charles-portis-true-grit/

    • Thanks, I will read them later. I have got Dalva on my shelves and also not read yet…Another possibility for this challenge, I guess or an escape route if Zane Grey proves to be painful reading. I loved the movie Brokeback Mountain. It is beautiful. After yesterday’s discussion I can see how a book with a title “Mes aventures sur les routes du vin” cannot tempt you :).

  3. I’ve never been interested in westerns–films (the exception–Spaghetti Westerns) or books. But then a few years ago I saw Johnny Guitar, and that film helped with my prejudice.

    • I have seen a few Westerns lately that weren’t all that bad but it is certainly not a favourite genre. I haven’t seen Johnny Guitar, might try to watch if it’s good. When it comes to Western novels I have a similar reaction than with Romance. Both genres exist in the cheap magazine variety that makes me run.

  4. I think I will do this. It will be a little tough to find a western novel that is also historical, but I already have a list that includes “Bugles in the Afternoon” by Ernest Haycox, “Cheyenne Autumn” by Mari Sandoz, “From Where the Sun Now Stands” by Will Henry (which I actually read long ago), “A Distant Trumpet” by Paul Horgan,and “Professionals” by Frank O’Rourke (actually not historical fiction but I love the movie). Can your readers suggest any others?

    • I must admit I really don’t know any of those books you mention but will look them up as I am a curious person. Did you have a look at C.B. James’ list? Probably mostly not what you would call a Western but still worth looking at. Did you read True Grit? I am looking forward to Riders of the Purple Sage. I think Zane Grey has written dozens of novels and really was influential in the genre.

    • I just realized that Richard (Caravana de recuerdos) reviewed Mari Sandoz’ Crazy Horse. I haven’t read his whole review yet but it seems he liked it a lot. Cheyenne Autumn is also a movie or am I totally wrong?

  5. I have never read this genre too, unless the Gunslinger (the 1st book of the dark towers series) is considered as one. Is not that I don’t like this genre but it is more to the fact that I haven’t encountered one yet.

    Maybe I should join this challenge too so that I can experience it. Will check that blog soon, to see the definition of western

    • I think it is also due to the fact that it is a typically American genre and we do not have such a cult around it. But looking at his blog I saw a lot of books I would probably like to read. Mari Sandoz whom Kevin mentions wrote a lot about American Indians. I don’t think Gunslinger is a Western (unless he did a genre blend). The expression certainly come from the Western. I want to join exactly because I have never read anything.

    • That’s why I thought partcipating might be interesting, try something different. I read about Lonesome Dove and thought I might maybe like it but that was purely based on the praise it got. I wasn’t aware of a movie. I think it can wait. I have still such a lot of other books to read first.

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