As I said a few posts back, I’ve got my reading groove back and I’m reading more this year then I have in many a year. Probably more than I’ve read since I was back in High School when all I did was read.
In High School, I loved reading. Love the discovery of new books, new authors. I was a voracious reader and sampled pretty much everything, fantasy, sci-fi, suspense, mystery, adventure… but there was one genre I never read (besides romance). And that genre was “Westerns.”
Why did I never read Westerns? I can’t really explain it. As a child and into my teens, westerns were my favorite entertainment as far as television and movies were concerned. I’ve mentioned that my favorite television show of any genre was “Have Gun, Will Travel” many times. I was also a huge John Wayne fan, and saw many of his later movies in the theater, including “True Grit,” “Big Jake,” “The Cowboys,” “Rooster Cogburn,” and “The Shootist.”
But for whatever reason, I always looked down on the Western novel. I had a negative view of it, that somehow it just wasn’t as intelligent as other genres. I have no idea where I got that notion.
Lately, I’ve been watching old episodes of “Have Gun, Will Travel,” and “Cheyenne.” I rewatched “Rio Bravo” with John Wayne. And I got to thinking, why not?
Why not read a Western? Why not, indeed. So I found “True Grit” by Charles Portis. And I devoured it. Next I read “Shane,” by Jack Schaefer and read that in record time. Both novels were made into Hollywood classics and both novels deserve to be read on their own. Not just great Westerns, but darned good stories, too boot.
And now I regret not having read Westerns all these years, because now it’s catch-up time.
It’s a long dusty trail ahead.