Friday, September 25, 2009

Book review: Lonesome Dove and The Reader

There is no disappointment to voice with these two books! Both were excellent, and I'd recommend them to anyone.
First, "Lonesome Dove." I must say, I definitely would not have picked this book up if I had not read so many good things about it. I was admittedly skeptical about reading a western. This is also a loooong book, which didn't intimidate me, but it did take me a while to read. It didn't feel like it, though. At the end, I wanted more. I wanted to keep reading about these characters ... or at least the ones who survived. I don't want to spoil it too much, but there is a lot of death in this book. Maybe not as bad as "Hamlet," but close. "Lonesome Dove" is truly an epic novel. It follows Augustus McCrae and Captain Woodrow Call as they lead a cattle drive from Texas to Montana. It is at times heartbreaking and exhilarating as the men encounter dust storms, thunderstorms, Indians, horse thieves, and all manner of interesting characters. It is rough and a bit shocking at times, but those details made me feel like I understood what it was like to be there right along with them. It wasn't pretty, but it was life as they knew it. "Lonesome Dove" is beautifully written and, in my opinion, a masterpiece.
I didn't like "The Reader" quite as well as "Lonesome Dove," but it was still well worth reading. It tells the story of a 15-year-old boy who begins a relationship with an older woman. When they next meet, she is on trial as a former Nazi prison camp guard. This was a quick read, but even so I thought it dragged a bit during the trial. I still enjoyed it overall, though.

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