Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Wild Wild Westerns

Gunslingers, lawmen and outlaws, oh my! The western genre stands out as a favorite among many adventure readers today. Like fantasy novels, westerns create or re-create a world that none of us will every truly know. Unlike fantasy novels, many of the stories are based on actual historical events or people and take place in a world that did exist at one time.
The genre originated in the late 1800’s and many of the traditional authors are known to portray a more romanticized view of the wild, wild, west. This view served to perpetuate many stereotypes involving cowboys, Indians, nobles and savages. Aside from this outdated mindset, many still enjoy these stories as classic western literature.

On the other hand, many modern day western novels are characterized by presenting a more realistic and/or modern view of the days on the frontier. Some of the main differences include the treatment of women, perceptions of Native Americans, sexuality and morality overall.
Westerns also have their own literary awards presented by the Western Writers of America each year. Since 1953, the Spur Awards have been given to recognize exceptional western writing in various categories.
Check out these Spur Award winners:
Snowbound by Richard S. Wheeler – 2011 Best Western Short Novel
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool -2011 Best Western Juvenile Fiction
The Secret War in El Paso: Mexican Revolutionary Intrigue, 1906-1920 - by Charles H. Harris III and Louis R. Sadler- 2010 Best Western Nonfiction Contemporary

Shavetail:A Novel by Thomas Cobb- 2009 Best Western Long Novel

1 comment:

Carolyn Stearns said...

I see some summer reading in that line-up! Thanks for a great post. Carolyn