What I’ll Be Reading: Westward Ho!

I know, I know – I have not even finished my last reading project yet. But with only one book left to go (although Poul Anderson’s The Broken Sword fell into my blogging slump, so I’m  not sure whether there will be a post on it) and Leander nudging me about  my plans for the new year, I did some ruminating, some looking over my shelves of unread books, followed by some more ruminating… and finally came up with Westerns as my theme for this year’s reading project. (Does that mean I’m going to have something relating to the South and the East in 2015 and 2016? well, follow this blog to find out…).

Part of the reason that I decided on Westerns is because I just recently read Angle of Repose, so already had one book done, and also because I noticed how – quite contrary to what one might expect – very varied the treatment of this genre has become during the last 50 years or so. The following list contains a (rather wild) mixture of literary fiction and pulp, classic and contemporary writers, some Fantasy, some Romance:

Clifton Adams: The Desperado
Emma Bull: Territory
Megan Chance: Fall from Grace

Pete Dexter: Deadwood
William Eastlake: Lyric of the Circle Heart
Edward M. Erdelac: Merkabah Rider
Felix Gilman: Half-Made World / Rise of Ransom City
Zane Grey: Riders of the Purple Sage
Oakley Hall: Warlock
Michael Hemmingson: Judas Payne
Louis L’Amour: Hondo
Joe R. Lansdale: Deadman’s Road
Elmore Leonard: Valdez is Coming
David Markson: The Ballad of Dingus Magee
Cormac McCarthy: Blood Meridian
Larry McMurtry: Lonesome Dove
Charles Portis: True Grit
Ishmael Reed: Yellow Back Radio Broke Down
Wallace Stegner: Angle of Repose (post)
Walter Van Tilburg Clark: The Ox-Bow Incident
John Williams: Butcher’s Crossing
Patrick deWitt: The Sisters Brothers

Now, that’s obviously a lot more than I have any realistic chance of reading in one year, but I want to do things a bit differently this time. The idea is to use this as a pool, from which I’m going to pick the books I want to read. Or else make this a really long-term project… We’ll see.

And talking about long-term: WordPress tells me that this blog has been around for six years today. Time surely flies.



  1. Nudging? Me? *Looks innocent*

    It’s actually highly hypocritical of me to be nagging you about your projects when I have none of my own, but never mind. I enjoy motivating people. 🙂 And what a project! Wow. I can say hand on heart that this is not a genre I know *at all* so I’m going to find it very interesting finding out more about these books through your posts. (I haven’t read a single one of them, but I have seen the film of “True Grit”.)

    *Thinks for a moment* I have no deliberate plan for this year, but from the way things are looking at the moment, the Vikings will be featuring again (there’s a surprise), with a bit of early medieval Europe thrown in alongside some classical history. I might even get round to that long-planned Mary Renault reread.

    *Heads off, humming the theme to “Rawhide”*

  2. Hehe, I’m not complaining, I do not a good kick in the posterior from time to time to keep me going. 😉 I haven’t really read much in the way of Westerns either (well, almost nothing, actually), but I had noticed that various writers seem to have done a lot of different things with the genre, and it seemed worthwhile to explore that. And of course I’ve seen a lot of Western movies over the years…

    I’m sure you’re going to come up with lots of interesting stuff again in 2014, deliberate or not. If I may voice a preference, though, I’d be very much in favour of that Mary Renault re-read as I’ve been wanting to read something by her myself, and that just might be the push (or rather kick, see above 😛 ) that I need…

  3. Well, I think we could make that our joint project…

    And I’ve just realised that I had unforgivably forgotten to say HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY in my first comment. Six years!!! That’s impressive dedication.

  4. Thank you! Six years is indeed quite long – would be even more impressive if I had actually been blogging during all that time. But there have been maybe thirty genuine blog posts (as opposed to videos and silly polls) during the first four years of this blog, and the thing only really took off (in post count at least) when I went all-out book blogging two years or so ago – and when I really should have started a new blog instead of being lazy and just using the old one. 😛 But I guess I didn’t really expect that I’d have the stamina to go through with it or that book blogging would be so much fun. 😉

    And needless to say, I’d love to do more joint readings with you, I enjoyed the two we did last years lots. 🙂

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