Library has many Westerns, including one by a local—December 4, 2009
The library compass points Western this week, the direction for dozens of historical fiction novels recently added to the library’s collection.
Western fiction remains a steady favorite among HPL readers and the library’s collection of cowboy stories, is expanding – new titles are frequently being added, along with reissues of popular favorites, both in regular and large print. Many stories also are pardnering up – that is two titles in one book.
Among the library’s inventory of more than 1900 Westerns, are nearly 100 titles added just in the last year – including works from such prolific Western writers as Larry McMurtry, Peter Dawson, Max Brand, T.T. Flynn and Lewis B. Patten.
If you like historical fiction, take a look at “Lucky Billy,” John Vernon’s myth-busting novel about one of America’s most infamous and beloved outlaws, Billy the Kid. With truth more remarkable than the legend, Vernon brings a fresh perspective to this outlaw’s life while delighting Wild West fans with plenty of gunfights, jailbreaks and bawdy behavior.
Five Star Publishing debuted in 1995 with four original Western titles published in hardcover format. Since then, Five Star has restored and published hundreds of first edition Western favorites, garnering rave reviews in a variety of well-respected library journals. The Western Writers of America also honored multiple Five Star Western titles with their Spur Awards for superior quality.
The library has a growing collection of Five Star Westerns containing dual titles. Among them is Flynn‘s “Shafter Range” and the additional short story, “What Color is Heaven,?” which first appeared in 1942 under the title, “Those Fighting Gringo Devils.”
Flynn, whose descriptions of the land are always colorfully detailed, is favored most for his stories that combine mystery with suspense and action.
Another Western duo, “Shadow Riders,” paired with the 1946 short story, “Trail of the Lonely Gun,” were authored by the late Les Savage, Jr. who was well-known in the 1950s for his historical accuracy. He often was censored for writing about marriages between his protagonists and women of different races – common on the real frontier but not so much in Western fiction in that decade.
“Shadow Riders” first appeared in a 1950 edition of Zane Grey’s Western Magazine. “Gunsmoke Masquerade,” also a Five Star publication, first appeared in 1942 as a seven-part serial, “A Western Story” by Peter Dawson.
In his career as a Western writer, Dawson published 16 novels and more than 120 short novels and stories for magazines. His novels are noted for their masterful plotting, interesting and well-developed characters and well-researched historical background.
Make yourself at home on the range with a Western from Hastings Public Library.