Books of 2015: The Year of the Western

I read 32 books this year, which happens to be the same number as last year. There were some really, really good books, and some stinkers. Some were re-reads for school, but most were first-timers. And the majority of the reading I did on my own seemed to be novels set in the Old West. So let’s look back, shall we?

The Lonesome Dove Saga, by Larry McMurtry — This was a giant undertaking. Okay, not A Song of Ice and Fire giant, but still, pretty big at four brick-sized books. Mostly it was worthwhile, too. I’d read Lonesome Dove before, but this time I read the whole series in chronological order. I really enjoyed the books about Gus and Woodrow when they were younger. I pretty much hated The Streets of Laredo, the last book in the saga, though the second written. Too much exposition, too many characters I didn’t care about, just too much of everything. The overall series, though, I highly recommend.

Josey Wales series by B.F. Carter — If you think Tombstone is the best Western movie ever made, you haven’t really watched The Outlaw Josey Wales. I love the movie, so I finally read the book(s). Gone to Texas was a very fun read. The sequel, The Vengeance Trail of Josey Wales, was good, but not nearly as good as the first one.

Post-Apocalyptic Reads — I took a dip into 1950s/60s paranoia over atomic war with Nevile Shute’s On the Beach and Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon. At the time, I enjoyed Frank’s book much more, but images of Shute’s story have stayed in my mind better. Probably has to do with a difference in the books’ endings, because I found Shute’s writing to be very stiff and his dialogue was pretty unbelievable.

The End of the Affair by Colin Firth — Another book I read because of the movie. I enjoyed both. It’s not a read that will improve your mood, but it is beautifully told and engaging.

Non-Fiction — I read two non-fiction books (three if you count re-reading The Way to Rainy Mountain, which I guess would count). Simon Callow’s biography of Charles Dickens was fun, but the focus on Dickens and the theater wasn’t my favorite angle. Mike McIntyre’s The Kindness of Strangers was fascinating to me, but penniless road trips, hobo culture, and such has always interested me. I recommend both of these.

The Stinkers — The worst was Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, which I finally gave up on. Booorrrrring! Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s Herland wasn’t any better, but I’d assigned it for school, so I had to read it (and apologize to my AP Lit class). The most disappointing book of 2015 goes to Harper Lee for that boring step-child Go Set a Watchman.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky — One of the best new reads of 2015 for me. I just reviewed this one a week or so back, so I won’t belabor the point. It’s an important book in the YA genre. And the student who recommended it, Jess, is NOT a nag as I previously joked. (Yes, she nagged me about calling her that. haha)

Obviously, this is not 32 books. If you want to see what the others were and what I thought of them, scroll back through my posts and you’ll find my reviews. It’s not like I posted all that much in 2015. Gotta work on that.

One response to “Books of 2015: The Year of the Western”

  1. You should check out the author Kendall Hanson! He has a western series he just started putting out about a kid named Farr Gunn. They’re just short stories but great reads if you’re looking for any new authors to check out!

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