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Reader's Advisory: Westerns
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Reader's Advisory: Westerns


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  • 1. Westerns Giddy-up at the Library
  • 2. • “Westerns play first and last to a Wild West of the psyche” • – Jane Tompkins, West of Everything: The Inner Life of Westerns, • Oxford University Press, 1992.
  • 3. Appeal Elements Competent, self-reliant Share some similarity heroes with mystery/crime fiction Expression of emotion Endurance and limited perseverance are Physical strength as an rewarded ideal Satisfying resolution of West as a symbol of conflict freedom Nature dominates; most action outside Disclaimer: many Life or death conflicts; westerns deliberately good vs. evil subvert these “formulas”
  • 4. Classic Authors • Zane Grey • A. B. Guthrie • Bret Harte • Louis L’Amour • Jack Schaefer • Owen Wister
  • 5. Later on the Scene Don Coldsmith Loren Estleman Elmer Kelton Cormac McCarthy Larry McMurtry Glendon Swarthout Norman Zollinger
  • 6. Traditional Themes • Cattle Drives • Range Wars • Family Sagas • Singular Women • Indian Wars • Texas and Mexico • Land Rush • Trail Drives • Lawmen • Wagons West • Mines and Mining • Wild West Celebrities • Mountain Men
  • 7. Hybrids
  • 8. “Adult” Westerns Feature more explicit violence & sex Harry Combs Wesley Ellis Tabor Evans Jake Logan Charles Pike
  • 9. Christian & Inspirational Stephen Bly Al Lacy Joanna Lacy Lee Nelson Jim Walker
  • 10. Contemporary Novels of the West • Distinctive setting continues to appeal • More multicultural and less stereotypical • May show connection to the “Old West” • May involve social critique, challenging status quo • May re-examine western myths and archetypes
  • 11. Contemporary Authors • Edward Abbey • Sherman Alexie • Ivan Doig • Kent Haruf • Barbara Kingsolver • Susan Power • Wallace Stegner
  • 12. Awards ► Spur Awards (from the Western Writers of America) ► Western Heritage Awards (also known as the Wrangler, from the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum) ► Mountains and Plains Bookseller Association awards ► Willa Awards (Women Writing the West)
  • 13. Online Resources • Western Writers of America - (including Roundup magazine) • Read the West - (bookstore, book lists, etc.) • American Western Magazine - (stories and book reviews)
  • 14. Keddy’s Three Must-Reads The Homesman By Lonesome Dove Glendon Swarthout By Larry McMurtry I, Pearl Heart By Jane Candia Coleman