Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hump Day Hamburger Heaven

What, so soon? More goulash? Hang on. I'm just going to cover a few topics going on around the blog world.

I HAVE to tell you about two great blogs. If you're a native Californian, or even if you aren't, and you love book reviews and especially reviews on obscure books and authors you rarely see anymore, check out Reading California Fiction. They mainly review books that are centered in the Golden State, many are paperbacks from the 1950s with titles like THE ALCOHOLICS and SPIDERWEB. You gotta love it. Lately they've covered authors such as Jim Thompson and Robert Bloch, and the reviews are quick but thorough and honest. Now I'm not going to guarantee that they will like your favorite author, but then what good is a book review if it can't be the honest opinions of the reviewer.

The other is Hollywood Dreamland, which brings us essays on the classic movies of Hollywood. Lately they've covered topics such as Rita Hayworth as a blonde (remember the Lady from Shanghai?) and William Powell's final interview. The writing is good and the photos are spectacular.

Every Wednesday The Tainted Archive takes a tour around the best blogs with Western related themes. Check it out if you want to see what's the latest and greatest.

Even more important, though, when you're there, is to sign the petition to urge publishers and booksellers to start carrying more Westerns in their stores. We all know that every time we go into a bookstore, of how little inventory there is. Now with the economy the way it is, I'd bet a dollar that the first genre to really suffer would be the Western. So get over to The Tainted Archive and sign that petition - it's going out the first Monday in November so it's important to get it full of signatures NOW.

There is so much great writing going on in the blog-o-sphere. How did we manage before? Reading books, of course

And on that note, Wild West Monday is fast approaching - it's the first Monday in November. This will be the fourth Wild West Monday when all lovers of the Western genre are asked to go out and urge their local bookstores to carry more Westerns. It's real simple: just go into your favorite store and ask them where they carry their Westerns. When they point you to that section (IF they have one), give the clerk a blank look and go, "that section? That's all you have? Well, I'm going to so-and-so down the street if you don't start carrying more." Anyway, that would be my bulldozer-Laurie approach. I never claimed to have the gift for the soft pedal style. Go to The Tainted Archive for more information on Wild West Monday.

I came to appreciate the Western late in life. Up until a few years ago, I thought Westerns was "beneath" me - just a crass genre that was really long in the tooth. When I finally got around to reading a few, beginning with my own grandfather's DOC DILLAHAY (Macmillan, 1949) and some of the greats like LONESOME DOVE, I thought, "Oh my God, this is what I've been missing." I'm sure some of you out there have some stories as to how you came to love reading Westerns. Why don't you tell us in the comments?

And finally, The story with no name, Part 12, can be seen over at Charlie's Tokyo West Blog. To catch up, you can read parts 1-10 at Ian Parnham's The Culbin Trail and Part 11 can be seen at The Open Range.


Charles Gramlich said...

The alcoholics definitely sounds worth checking out. I don't really have any abiding interest in Hollywood, though. Different strokes for different folks.


I enjoy Hollywood Dreamland and have done for a few months now. And thanks for the wild west monday plug - gotta keep pushing. Cheers me mucker

Laurie Powers said...

Thanks for your comments, you two. I was hoping you boys would post something as to how you got interested in westerns, or at least the first westerns that you read. Maybe that question in my post was too buried. any event, it might make for a good post later on, on its own.

Melissa Marsh said...

Ok, confession. I have never read a western (ducking). But you have inspired me to go to the library this afternoon and pick one up - I'm going to check and see if they have your grandfather's books, too!

I do love old westerns, though. Rio Bravo is one of my absolute favorite movies of all time.

Laurie Powers said...

THAT'S what I'm talking about, Melissa! I recommend Elmer Kelton off the top of my head, but maybe others here can recommend other writers too.

Walker Martin said...

Elmer Kelton is an excellent award winning western writer. But I would have to recommend Lonesome Dove as the greatest western novel I've ever read. The two or three sequels are very good and the TV mini-series with Robert Duvall was outstanding.

As far as pulp western writers I like Ernest Haycox and WC Tuttle alot. I never cared for H. Bedford-Jones westerns but he did write one series of 15 novelets and short novels for Ace High in the 1920's. They star a drunken, corrupt sheriff named Pinky Jenkins and are very funny and over the top comedies.