Here it is August – can you believe it? Time for a new Challenge. This month our film inspiration is Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, that iconic Western starring Paul Newman and Robert Redford.
[Please note: a lot of Western fiction has themes of racism, genocide, sexism and slavery to some degree. Unfortunately, it’s part of what makes up this genre. Please choose carefully and read with caution.]
There is no shortage of great books set in the American West from classic Western authors (Louis L’Amour, Zane Grey) to classic American novels (such as Willa Cather’s My Antonia) to modern favorites (like Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry or News of the World by Paulette Jiles, both of which I highly recommend)
There is also all kinds of great non-fiction such as Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee by Dee Brown, The Pioneers by David McCullough and Dreams of El Dorado: a History of the American West by H. W. Brands.
Interested in reading about some of the bad boys of the West? Try Dodge City: Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and the Wickedest Town in the American West by Thomas Clavin. Or would you like to delve into the gritty world of the cowboy? Then check out Cattle Kingdom: the Hidden History of the Cowboy West by Christopher Knowlton.
Do you like mysteries? If so, I highly recommend C.J. Box’s series about Joe Pickett, a game warden in modern day Wyoming.
And, for extra credit (not that anyone is counting!), the Figge Art Museum has a exhibit currently running that should be of interest: “Magnetic West: the Enduring Allure of the American West” which will run through September 20. Please note: the Figge is open again but due to COVID-19 they are limiting the number of people that can be in the building and requiring the purchase of a timed ticket which you can do online. Totally worth the extra step!
As for myself, I plan to read Undaunted Courage by Stephen Ambrose about the Lewis and Clark’s journey. OK, I admit, I’m cheating here a bit – I had started reading this a few months ago and had to set it aside before finishing. I do want to finish it though, and figure this would be the perfect time!
So, there are a smattering ideas for you – what do you plan to read? Remember, all three of our buildings are open again (limited to 30 minute visits), and curbside pick-up is available at Main and Eastern as is the drive-up window at Fairmount.
Have a great reading month!