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April 30, 2016


Lee Ann Nelson

No Shane? I read that for a class and liked it, but my most favorite is still The Virginian. I read that as a teenager because I had a crush on James Drury...and then liked the book way better than the show.

Steve Hockensmith

I read Shane for school, too! I remember liking it, but that was, like, 1981. I'm betting I'd still like it if I revisited it because (A) the movie's a classic and (B) I really dug Monte Walsh, which is by the same author. I haven't tried The Virginian yet, but I'm going to get around to it sooner or later. I'm a little worried that Owen Wister's prose won't hold up. I tried reading Zane Grey once, and...oof.


THE HANGING TREE is among my top favorites too—not just the title novella but the whole collection. Along with L'Amour's LAST STAND AT PAPAGO WELLS and B.M. Bower's TIGER EYE (yep, it seems that my top picks in most genres are the more obscure ones!). I haven't read TRUE GRIT yet, but I've been eyeing it for a long time.

Also, not a novel, but the volume of Elmore Leonard's complete Western short stories is one I go back to time and again. Have you read any of his Westerns?

~ Elisabeth Grace Foley

Steve Hockensmith

Wow -- you do get props for an obscure pick, Elisabeth! I'm afraid I'd never heard of B.M. Bower. I'll have to add Tiger Eye to my TBR list. What is it you like about it?

I *almost* put Forty Lashes Less One and Valdez Is Coming on my honorable mentions list. I've read five or six Leonard Westerns, and those are by far my faves. I've read a few of his Western short stories, too, and they were all very good -- especially "The Tonto Woman." That one really packs a punch.

Tom Mathews

All of your choices are good but there are two that I would add: The Ob-Bow Incident, by Walter Van Tilburg Clark and The Cowboys, by William Dale Jennings. Both were great movies adn even greter books.


Bower was an early woman writer of Westerns, based in Montana—in fact she's my personal favorite Western writer. Here's my review of TIGER EYE (unfortunately out of print, as are all her books that haven't fallen into the public domain) from a few years ago: http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/247153246

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks for the recommendations, Tom! I was familiar with the book The Ox-Bow Incident (though I haven't read it yet) but I didn't know The Cowboys was based on a novel. I'll have to check 'em both out. You're right: great movies!

I'll definitely check out Bower one of these days, Elisabeth. What would you recommend for a cheapskate like me who's likely to go hunting for Project Guttenberg-style freebies?


That's me too...it's wonderful how many good books you can read for exactly $0. :) CHIP OF THE FLYING U, Bower's first novel, is a nice introduction—it's a bit lighter fare, centered around ranch life and a love interest. SKYRIDER and RIM O' THE WORLD are some other good early ones.

(Actually, though TIGER EYE isn't public domain in the U.S., it is on the Project Gutenberg Canada site, along with some other favorites of mine, HAY-WIRE and POINTS WEST.)

~ Elisabeth Grace Foley

Steve Hockensmith

Thanks, Elisabeth -- my TBR list has been updated accordingly!

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