Thursday, August 05, 2021

On Reading Plans and How They Can Change in an Instant

I feel myself all of a sudden going off on a new reading tangent. The trip out West we just completed saw me coming home with five new books that I picked up in a couple of the bookstores I visited in Wyoming and South Dakota. Not too surprisingly, the books that caught my eye all have a western twist to them, and I even spent the afternoon in the library today picking out a few other similar books. 

Only two of the books I bought are novels, but they fit well with the nonfiction titles I picked up on the trip and at the library:

I've read a couple of the Leaphorn and Chee novels, but I've not read one written by Anne Hillerman since she took over the series. I'm hoping that this series, especially if I go back and pretty much start over at the beginning, will take up some of the slack I feel while I'm waiting for the next Longmire novel from Craig Johnson to be published. The settings are similar enough to make that happen, and I'm hoping that Anne's writing comes close to measuring up to Tony Hillerman's.


I'm only vaguely familiar with C.J. Box's work, but I've recognized the name for a long time, which only makes it even stranger that I've never read one of the man's novels. There are over twenty Game Warden Joe Pickett novels now, and this one from 2015 is pretty far down the list. Depending on my reaction to Endangered, this may well end up being a series I will spend more time reading from in the future. Its Wyoming setting is certainly a big plus for me.


Now for the nonfiction I bought:

I've been fascinated by Buffalo Bill Cody for years, especially with his showmanship and the way he managed to bring such a complicated wild west show all over the country - and the world - the way he did. I've often wondered what his personal relationship with the Native Americans in the show was like...and what they felt about being killed off in every show they appeared in. Our day in the Buffalo Bill Center in Cody, Wy, only reinforced my curiosity. I hope that Deanne Stillman's Blood Brothers has some of the answers I want.

I'm a big fan of Tom Clavin's nonfiction, so when I saw his name on the cover of this Chief Red Cloud biography, I jumped on it. Red Cloud is officially the "only American Indian in history to defeat the United States Army in a war." The government actually ended up suing for peace almost entirely on Red Cloud's terms, and for a few years he and his people were allowed to live in peace with very little interference from the army and the settlers wanting fresh starts in the West. 


Those old-time outlaws like the James Gang, the Daltons, Billy the Kid, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, etc. have intrigued me since I was a kid growing up on black & white westerns on television and in the movies. Butch Cassidy spent a lot of time hiding out in a couple of the states we just visited (if all the road signs are to be believed, anyway), and this biography promises to be "The True Story of an American Outlaw" that I want to know more about. It should be fun.


In addition, this afternoon I came home from the library with these:

  • Blood and Thunder: An Epic of the American West by Hampton Sides that is billed as "A Magnificent History of How the West Was Really Won - A Sweeping Tale of Shame and Glory."
  • A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn: The Last Great Battle of the American West by James Donovan - self-explanatory
  • The Comanche by T. Jensen Lacey - this is one book in a 14-book YA series in which each book concentrates on one of fourteen "major Native American tribes."
  • The Real West (companion book to the Legends and Lies television series) by David Fisher - this one separates myth from fact in the lives of many of the key figures of the day
  • Robert E. Lee and Me: A Southerner's Reckoning with the Myth of the Lost Cause by Ty Seidule - After initially avoiding this title when it was first published (and even before that), I think I'm finally ready to read this one.



This is not my reading plan for August, but I hope to get at least two or three of these read along with the other books I've already chosen for the month. I love being sidetracked a couple of times a year, and this looks like one of those times.

18 comments:

  1. I love it when a trip changes the direction of my reading!

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    1. I do too, Cathy. It's kind of exciting (in a book nerdy kind of way) when it happens. You just never know...and that's fun.

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  2. Oh I love a new reading enthusiasm! And I've been through a few, LOL! This I one sounds like a good'un, Sam, and I look forward to seeing where it takes you. I think I might have read something by C.J. Box but am not sure. The name rings a bell. Have fun!

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    1. It almost seems like a fresh start sometimes comes along when my reading is starting to feel a little stale to me, Cath. The timing on this new twist was just about perfect.

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  3. I'm interested in several of these titles. I don't make reading plans, but I do get lost in inadvertent reading itineraries when one topic leads me to other books that further explore the time period or event.

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    1. Every time I've spent some time in the West, I come home feeling just how ignorant I still am about that region's history, Jen. This time I decided to try to do something about that...now to see where it leads me.

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  4. Getting sidetracked by new books happens to me all the time, but that's where you find some of your most serendipitous reads. C.J. Box has been on my radar for awhile, so I'll be interested to see what you think of that one. Happy reading! :D

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    1. C.J. Box does seem to be quite popular in the book blogging world but reading about a game warden just never appealed to me that much. Maybe this will be the book that changes that.

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  5. My husband and I like listening to C.J Box on road trips. It's something he (not much of a reader tends to enjoy as well as other thrillers or Harold Robbins oldies).

    Every month, I pick 10 books I hope to read and, it seems I don't even get out of the first week of the new month without that changing somewhat. Enjoy your new picks.

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    1. That's the truth, Diane. I usually pick out 8 target books, knowing that I will read five or six of them at most and will end up reading another five or six that weren't even on the list.

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  6. I've read all the Tony Hillerman Chee/Leaphorn books but none of his daughter's. I'll be interested to see what you think of them. I have read several of the C.J. Box books as well but I've sort of gone off him now. I predict, though, that you will like his books.

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    1. I decided to start an audiobook version of Anne's first contribution to the story, one called "Spider Woman's Daughter." I'm really enjoying it (about 20% of the way through) but that may be as much because the book's narrator is wonderful. Anne tells a good story, and I've heard she gets better and better doing that as the series goes on, so I'm very hopeful that she will turn out to be someone I want to read more of.

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  7. This has happened to me! I'll make a pile from my own shelves or the library on a certain topic- and then sometimes find my interest switches halfway through.Looks like you found some good books.

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    1. I really did, I think. I've not yet got very deeply into any of them because I'm still trying to catch up on the reviews that I need to write while the books are fresh in my memory. But, I'm looking forward to diving in soon.

      BTW, I have one to be picked up at the library on Monday that I wonder if you've read since it seems to be something you are very interested in. It's by Carl Safina, and it's called "Beyond Words: What Animals Think and Feel." I saw it mentioned somewhere and it was too intriguing to pass up.

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    2. No, I haven't read that one yet, but it's been on my TBR since 2016! Another one I really ought to get to someday, and yes, it's very much within my interests.

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    3. I'm picking up that one this morning. Not sure when I'll get to it, but I can only keep it for six weeks, so the clock is already ticking.

      BTW, I'm having difficulty leaving comments on your blog again...probably something on my end.

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  8. I love how visiting a certain place can inspire a desire to read more about it and the people who lived there. After visiting Atlanta a number of years ago and going to the Margaret Mitchell museum, I came home and re-read GONE WITH THE WIND. It changed the experience a little bit!

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    1. I think that's the difference between readers and non-readers, Susan. Our natural tendency to turn to books for both entertainment and educational purposes will lead us down some unexpected paths if we allow ourselves to follow our nose.

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