We’ve been chatting a lot about our “first favorites” for the Great American Read and Great Berryville Read. Those are the first books on the list of 100 books that jump out at you as automatic favorites.
I had 3 instant picks, and the one I have been leaning toward the most is Larry McMurtry’s modern classic Western Lonesome Dove. I’ve discussed my love of Westerns before, but I really don’t think you can get much better than this one. (As far as Westerns go, the only thing that I think ties with it is possibly Ron Hansen’s The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, another personal favorite. But it didn’t make the list!)
Trying to summarize the plot doesn’t do this novel, which is rich in characters and themes, justice. But at its heart, it’s the story of two former Texas Rangers, bored and burnt out with retired life, setting off on a cattle drive from South Texas to Montana. Along the way, they encounter psychopathic killers, stampedes, storms, snakes, sorrow, and more.
Continue reading “Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove”
Call me what you will but I LOVE historical fiction. It’s one of my favorite genres.
However, I am one of the first to admit that a lot of historical fiction novelists are much better at writing either the historical aspect or the fictional aspect, but not both. So when I find a work that manages to integrate history and fiction seamlessly and handles both effectively, I consider it a gem. Michael Shaara’s classic The Killer Angels about the Battle of Gettysburg is just such a gem (and the winner of a Pulitzer Prize – maybe I should be a judge?)
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George Armstrong Custer is one of the most controversial figures in American history.
Don’t believe me?
Pick up any book about him or the American West or the American Civil War and see what the authors have to say about him. Some will praise him as a brave but misunderstood genius, some will denigrate him as an egotistical moron, and some will eulogize him as a tragic figure.
I’ve personally always found Custer a fascinating but relatively unsympathetic historical figure, but reading T.J. Stiles’s excellent, Pulitzer-Prize winning Custer’s Trials forced me to re-evaluate some of my assumptions about him.
Continue reading “T.J. Stiles’s Custer’s Trials: A Life on the Frontier of a New America”
Let’s be real. For many, the Pulitzer Prize is not a reading turn-on.
And I understand why. If contemporary literary fiction isn’t your thing, ploughing through some of the past winners may seem like real work.
But I like literary fiction and think many prize-winning books make for a good read, even if you aren’t living in an ivory tower. If nothing else, they always give you plenty to think about!
Don’t forget that Pulitzers are also awarded for nonfiction, history, and biography.
Ready to take the plunge? Here’s a few prize winners that may just draw you in…
Continue reading “2016 Library Challenge: A Pulitzer Prize Winner”