Many stories herein are subject to the faulty, and sometimes creative, memory of the blog owner and should not be taken as factual, although the names and events are real! Kind of.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Three Books about the West

Or "How the West was Won" but I think that title was already taken!

My Spring Break reading had a Western theme.  Not intentionally, but you know how one thing leads to another!

I peruse the Free Kindle titles list regularly and I did long before I had the actual Kindle.  In case you don't know, Kindle (and other e-reader's such as Barnes and Noble's Nook and Sony and Kobo) has apps for your phone, iPad, Mac and PC in case you want to read a book online.  The advantage of the handheld e-reader is that it is very reader friendly--e-ink is really easy on the eyes!  So anyway, I had quite a list of books before I had even decided to buy a Kindle.

 Letters of a Woman Homesteader by Elinore Pruitt Stewart is the story of a woman who came to Denver, Colorado with her small daughter after her husband was killed.  She eventually finds work as a housekeeper to a Scottish cattle rancher in Wyoming.  Stewart files on her own homestead claim to prove that a woman can win free land on her own.  This woman is a wonderful storyteller and her letter's apparently appeared in the Atlantic Monthly magazine.  You can read an excerpt of a book about her here in Google books.  I found her story fascinating.  Mrs. Stewart is an excellent storyteller and although she has lived a difficult life of poverty and hardship before she moved to Wyoming and hard work after she moved there, she looks on the bright side of everything.  She also does what she can to help out her fellow pioneer.  

When I was growing up, we lived about 25 miles from any town.  That wasn't that far, but I spent a lot of time alone in the summers and that is what I give credit for my love of reading anything.  I mean, just about anything!  One of the books I discovered in our bookshelf of Western novels was the story of Betty Zane by Zane Grey.  This is a fictionalized account of the last battle of the Revolutionary War.  Betty Zane, the young heroine of the book and of the actual battle, ran the gauntlet of fire from Indians and British Soldiers to get more gunpowder for the cannon in Fort Henry saving the Fort and countless lives with her daring.  This story is full of non-political correct references to Negroes and Indians alike but it is certainly a product of it's time of writing.  The author, Zane Grey, does however spend as much time writing about the noble savage as he does the Murderous Injuns.  This was Grey's first novel based on the diary of his ancestors and was turned down numerous times before it was finally printed.  Romance, Danger, Battle and Drama--I loved this novel as much this week as I did when I was about twelve!

Now for the one I wasn't so crazy about--the one I paid money for--the one I saw in an airport bookshop a few years ago and wanted to buy.  That is always so disappointing to me--to want a book and be willing to pay for it and be disappointed in it.  That is what happened with the book A Buffalo in the House  by R. D. Rosen.

This is the story of Charlie, an orphaned buffalo who is taken on as a bottle calf by Veryl Goodnight and Roger Brooks.  Veryl is a sculptor and wants to make a memorial to her grandmother, the wife of pioneer cattle driver, Charles Goodnight, who bottlefed six buffalo calves to start a herd in the Palo Duro Canyon area near Amarillo, TX.  Veryl and Roger put out requests for orphaned calves to use as living models to owners of buffalo herds and eventually they wind up with Charlie.  All of the information in the book is intriguing.  Charlie is a delightful but spoiled pet who doesn't know he's a buffalo.  Roger and Veryl are thoughtful wild-animal owners who try their best to return Charlie to his natural place within the herd and that is where the trouble begins.  Charlie is afraid of the other buffalo and runs headlong into a fence, injuring his neck.  There is heroic veterinarian and chiropractic assistance to restore Charlie to health.  I really liked Charlies story.  But to flesh out the book, the author added information about the importance of buffalo to the Indians, the environment, etc.  that eventually was boring.  Don't get me wrong--these parts in a magazine article would have been enjoyable.  In a novel-length book, not so much.  I found myself skimming these parts.  I'm afraid I was disappointed in the one book I read that I paid for!

Take a trip to the West--read one of these books!


Freckled Hen said...

I love western books, and like you I will read anything. The Zane Gray book looks interesting, I've read a few of his. There is something wonderful about finding a long unread book on the shelf and living within its pages.

Delyn said...

You did a lot of reading! My spring break reading (mostly in the car from here to Colorado and back) was 'A Million Miles in a Thousand Years' by Donald Miller. LOVED IT! I had started it before, and didn't really get into it - this time, I couldn't put it down - all in the timing, I guess... Also reading Jane Jayroe's devotional book - you would enjoy it, I think!

Crazy Sister said...

I'm liking the name 'Veryl'.

One Last Thought.......

Pleasant words are a honeycomb;
sweet to the soul and healing to the body.
Proverbs 16: