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Zane Grey November - Group Reads

2013 Category Challenge

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Oct 29, 2013, 5:57pm Top

Pearl Zane Grey, 1872 - 1938

During the grey dreary month of November, we plan on picking up some adventure stories that will surely lighten the mood and carry us off to a different place.

Whichever Zane Grey title you are thinking of, this is the place to plan, list and discuss your choice.

Here are few examples of his exciting titles:

Edited: Oct 29, 2013, 6:20pm Top

Judy, thanks for setting this up!!

I'm hoping to read at least Riders of the Purple Sage. Maybe his collection of baseball stories as well.

I tend confuse him with Louis L'Amour.

Oct 29, 2013, 6:01pm Top

I'm looking forward to reading a couple of Zane Grey's this month. I am planning on Riders of the Purple Sage and The Fighting Caravans.

Oct 29, 2013, 6:06pm Top

I'm hoping to listen to Riders of the Purple Sage.

Oct 29, 2013, 6:23pm Top

Joining the wagon train for Riders of the Purple Sage, and I also have Rangers of the Lone Star in my TBR pile.

Oct 29, 2013, 7:15pm Top

I have a couple of his works on my ereader... So far it seems most people will be reading Riders of the Purple Sage, so I'll probably be joining in with that one :)

Edited: Oct 29, 2013, 10:15pm Top

Didn't Riders of the Purple Sage have a sequel?

Oct 30, 2013, 7:00am Top

Yes, there is a sequel to Riders it is Rainbow Trail. I started RotPS this morning and I can't help seeing Clint Eastwood as the first Rider we meet.

Oct 31, 2013, 11:15pm Top

Zane Grey looks like Randolph Scott to me.

Nov 1, 2013, 2:30pm Top

I also see Randolph Scott when I think of Zane Grey.

Nov 1, 2013, 2:44pm Top

I need to google Randolph Scott.

Nov 1, 2013, 4:41pm Top

Carmenere, I googled Randolph Scott to see the picture you would come across. Whoa! There seems to be a politician with that name, and that is not the one I'm referring to. I'm referring to Randolph Scott who acted in old-time westerns I grew up on. I put in Google (Randolph Scott, Actor). That's him.

Nov 1, 2013, 5:04pm Top

Thanks, I found him OldDan. He was a nice looking cowboy. Not the rough rider I had imagined.

Nov 1, 2013, 8:47pm Top

Ha! Well, put on some dusty scruffy clothes, whiskers, beat up cowboy hat and picture him out on the range herding cattle and he could look pretty rough. Still, may not be what you had in mind. Anyway, it looks like many are reading Riders of the Purple Sage so I picked up a copy from my library yesterday. See you out in the purple sage!

Nov 1, 2013, 9:04pm Top

I practically grew up with Lassister, and The Maverick Queen, Rainbow Trail, and the Betty Zane trilogy. These books were ones that I could discuss with my dad and my uncles and aunts. They loved those books!

Nov 3, 2013, 8:49pm Top

Finished the Riders of the Purple Sage and on to The Rainbow Trail. I'm planning on going to the library tomorrow to pick up a couple more Zane Grey.

Nov 7, 2013, 9:43pm Top

I'm reading Riders of the Purple Sage and, while I love his descriptions of the area, there's not much plot. Just plodding through this one.

Nov 7, 2013, 9:47pm Top

I think I'm enjoying the audio of Riders of the Purple Sage more than those of you who are reading the book are enjoying it. The narrator must add something to the experience.

Nov 7, 2013, 10:05pm Top

I haven't started quite yet but I'll probably get to it this weekend.

Nov 8, 2013, 8:24am Top

At first it was pretty uninteresting and the free ebook I have has some minor formatting problems. Then things picked up a bit and I'm reading a little most days. Still, I don't think Zane Grey will become a favorite author.

Nov 8, 2013, 2:15pm Top

On my way out to appointments the other day I grabbed Fighting Caravans to stick in my purse to go with me. I am now hooked on this story of a wagon train crossing the plains told through the eyes of a twelve year old boy.

Nov 9, 2013, 4:22pm Top

I got started on Riders of the Purple Sage last night. So far, it's only reminding me why I don't typically read many westerns.

Nov 9, 2013, 7:29pm Top

The character of Jane Withersteen drove me nuts! Did any one else have a negative reaction to Jane or was it just me she rubbed the wrong way?

Nov 9, 2013, 8:02pm Top

A few times I've wanted to shake some sense into her!

Nov 10, 2013, 6:45am Top

I'm afraid I hate the whole book/plot. I guess westerns aren't my thing. I never liked them on TV either. I'm around 65% through on the Kindle. Trying to hang in there and hating every minute.

Nov 10, 2013, 8:11am Top

I'm about 15 percent through and not liking it much. Not sure how much further I'll go.

Nov 10, 2013, 11:25am Top

I haven't started on my November choice Riders of the Purple Sage and will try to do so this week. I have such good memories of Zane Grey's work. My grandparents house had few books, but the ones they did have were by Zane Grey and Jack London . They were all purchased in the 40's and 50's and were what my father and his siblings grew up reading. When I grew up enough to be able to read them the adventures of the Zane family, Lew Wetzel, Lassiter, and The Maverick Queen were common ground for forming attachments to all of them. My reading might be somewhat sentimental because of that and I can say that I hope that rereading them will live up to that expectation.

I will also say that I harbor no illusions about Grey's work. I read The Virginian as a way to celebrate the 100th publication of that first Western Novel and thought it late 19th century schlock (the same opinion I hold about Dickens) even though I realized that for the time in which it was published it was groundbreaking.

Edited: Nov 11, 2013, 3:21pm Top

I have finished my first Zane Grey for the month. Fighting Caravans was pure escapist fun, but I did have to overlook a number of things. Originally published in 1929, the language is quite dated but I find it blends well with the period in time that is being written about so it didn't bother me. There were however, a number of cringe-worthy comments about Indians, but I know from previous Zane Grey's that I have read that he actually was very fair-minded in this regard. I choose to believe the prejudices that were shown in this book are more a reflection of the historical time period than of the author's own personal feelings. I love his descriptions of the western plains, he is able in a very few words to paint the most beautiful pictures.

I still intend to read Riders of the Purple Sage but will probably not start it until next week.

Nov 11, 2013, 7:53am Top

Can't wait to see what you think of Purple Sage, Judy!

Nov 12, 2013, 3:45pm Top

He probably should be sympathetic as he had a good deal of Native American blood. He is a descendant of Isaac Zane and Isaac Zane married a Wyandotte woman.

Zane Grey comes from a very interesting family.

Nov 13, 2013, 2:43pm Top

Just finished Riders of the Purple Sage. Although the last half of the story was more interesting than the first half and I rather liked the chapters that followed Venters, I don't think I'll read any more of Zane Grey for a while.

Nov 13, 2013, 5:35pm Top

#30 - I didn't know about his Native American blood, Benita. (Or if I did, I had forgotten). I was impressed when I read Vanishing American with it's strong pro-Navaho stance. I also read that he argued, and won, with his publishers over including the romance and marriage of a white woman and a Native American in the story.

Nov 14, 2013, 7:24pm Top

Just realized that I finished Riders of the Purple Sage earlier in the week and haven't written a review of it. I think I'm dreading writing that as much as I hated reading the book.

Nov 15, 2013, 6:05am Top

I'm still enjoying the audiobook version of Riders of the Purple Sage, which is surprising since I'm not a big fan of Westerns. I think the narrator adds a lot to the experience.

Edited: Nov 16, 2013, 4:26pm Top

Hopping onto the bandwagon a little late, but I'm glad I had already downloaded Riders of the Purple Sage before reading this thread : ) cbl_tn, who is the narrator for your edition? I'm hoping I have the same edition, Donald Buka narrating, since it sounds like that is making your experience better.

Nov 16, 2013, 5:40pm Top

Mark Bramhall is the narrator for the edition I have. I've listened to a couple of other books he's narrated and he always seems to do a good job.

Nov 20, 2013, 1:06pm Top

I have finished Riders of the Purple Sage and I was very disappointed. I found this more an exercise in Mormon bashing and cheesy romance than the classic western I was expecting. Unfortunately, this story did not hold up well at all and I shudder to think this is the book that is often used as an example of Zane Grey's work.

The best parts of this book was his colorful descritions of the country. I have travelled in Southern Utah and can testify that the scenery is outstanding. I have posted a couple of pictures taken around the St. George area to give an example.

Nov 20, 2013, 1:45pm Top

Judy, after 15-20 percent, I put it aside but I'd agree. The parts I liked best were those involving the description of the countryside.

Unfortunately, the plot turned me off so much that I read no further.

I have a collection of Zane Grey's baseball stories and, at some point, I might give those a try.

Nov 20, 2013, 2:47pm Top

It was a tough read for sure, Linda, I had to force myself to finish it, if not for the group read I would have definitely tossed it aside. I still have a couple more Zane Grey`s on my TBR but it will be awhile before I mosey into his territory again.

Nov 20, 2013, 5:23pm Top

Wow, the second picture in particular is gorgeous!

I'm still working on Riders, but it's the sort of book I have to read at home for extended periods. Not good for the bus.

Nov 21, 2013, 4:05pm Top

I wouldn't say I'm enjoying Riders of the Purple Sage (many groans and eye rolls), but reading it isn't a chore either. I will persevere through the end because I want to see what happens. I will definitely agree with Deltaqueen that I was expecting a western more in the vane of Louis L'amore. Does anyone know if Riders is indicative of Grey's writing?

Nov 21, 2013, 8:51pm Top

My aunt had read all of Zane Grey books. I have always been under the impression that Zane Grey was the granddaddy of all westerns; which may be true. But, to me, other authors have made the western more enjoyable. In my opinion, Louis L'Amour is a great story teller. I have so far read Riders of the Purple Sage, The Rainbow Trail, The Heritage of the Desert, and currently reading Tonto Basin. To me, they are all basically the same. The reading does not flow, I have to work at it, and I wonder where are the heroes? The supposed heroes make me mad and I want to punch him. (Oh dear, the punching must have come from the Starbucks I just drank!)

Nov 21, 2013, 10:46pm Top

Maybe I should give Louis L'Amour a try then? Any suggestions?

Nov 22, 2013, 10:48am Top

Well, I grew up on westerns, so I like westerns. If one doesn't like westerns, then you probably won't change your mind. One that I really liked is not really a western, Last of the Breed. It is about an Air Force Pilot shot down over what was then the Soviet Union and having to survive in the wilds and being chased by the soviets. Picking up any one of the westerns, you are good to go; such as: Borden Chantry, Bowdrie, Comstock Lode, Hondo, Kilkenny, Riding for the Brand, etc. I have a list of all of his books in alphabetical order so I tried to space out the books here so they weren't all of one letter. If you pick one up, I hope you like it. If not, well, there will be other books that I'm sure we both will enjoy. Good reading!

Nov 22, 2013, 1:26pm Top

Flint is a particular favorite of mine. I also liked Hondo too.

I can't remember the name of the novel but it was set in the Texas and Oklahoma panhandle country around Rabbit Ears and Kapulean Mountain area of New Mexico in the mesa country. It stayed with me so long that I eventually went to Amarillo to see the Palo Duro Canyon and then went to Rabbit Ears and Kauplean Mountain. Beautiful country. Louis L'Amour and Zane Grey brought a huge swath of the country to life and presented its beauty to millions of readers. I think that Zane Grey seems sappy to us today, but given the time in which they were written they weren't bad.

I few years ago I read The Virginian because it centennial was in 2004 and it seemed to drag on and on. (But then so does Dickens.) Part of the reason it dragged was because the dialog was corny and the plot was so familiar it was boring. I read Jane Eyre with Mark a few years ago and it too dragged along. It took me months to read that book. The reason the plot was so familiar was that the story has been done so many times in so many ways that there isn't much of a surprise to the reader. I'll bet in 1904, when The Virginian was written it was a surprise and it was fresh and exciting. Now it has been done to death and we want more action and so on, but for their time, those works were groundbreaking and I believe that they should be read as such.

Nov 22, 2013, 1:43pm Top

benitastrnad, I agree with you. I know my aunt would have loved Zane Grey's description of the country. My mother loved Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter because of the detailed description of nature. My mom was born in 1904 and the family didn't have many books in their home so this was valuable to her.

Nov 22, 2013, 6:58pm Top

I've read a few Zane Grey's as well and I would have to say I struggled the most with Riders of the Purple Sage. Earlier this month, I read The Fighting Caravans and found it a much better read. I have also enjoyed his Ohio Trilogy which is set during the 1700's and is based on his own ancestor's adventures. I do find his writing quite dated but usually it fits the story, Riders was really difficult for me to get through.

Louis L'Amour's writing style is very different from Zane Grey. He is much less wordy and uses a straight-forward style. A year or so ago I read Down The Long Hills about two children who survive a wagon-train massacre and then must survive in the wilderness until their uncle can find them. I thought it was very good. I am also slowly working my way through the Sackett series. Hondo is also a favorite of mine.

Nov 22, 2013, 7:00pm Top

#46 - I have long wanted to read Girl of the Limberlost simply because my Mother has refered to it so many times over the years. I believe it was one of her favorite books when she was young. I probably would be disappointed with it though because I suspect the language would be quite dated.

Nov 23, 2013, 11:43am Top

I've started The Vanishing American on audio and struggled to stay with it for the first couple of discs. It's getting better, or I'm getting used to the writing style. I chose this based on Judy's recommendation when she read it a couple of years ago. I can see that Grey was pro-Indian and that this book must have been somewhat controversial with the mixed-race romance. But, still. Comments about what a handsome (or strong, or intelligent - pick your adjective) Indian he was - not a "man", an "Indian" - are still making me cringe. And the Indians themselves are talking that way!

I read Riders of the Purple Sage several years ago and remember liking it very much. But what I remember most are the descriptions of the landscape. I'd forgotten the anti-Mormonism.

I've checked a couple more ZG books out of the library that I might try if there's time: Up the U P Trail and Captives of the Desert - any comments on either of those?

Nov 23, 2013, 1:05pm Top

I saw a made for TV movie of Girl of the Limberlost years ago that I enjoyed. I don't think I enjoyed it as much as some others like Anne of Green Gables or Pollyanna, but I did like it. I think I read the book after seeing the movie and liked the movie better. It's been years so I'm not sure.

Nov 23, 2013, 3:25pm Top

I like Freckles better than A Girl of the Limberlost. That's where I'd recommend starting.

Nov 23, 2013, 6:14pm Top

#50 & 51 - I see I can download both Freckles and Girl of the Limberlost for free from Amazon. I restained myself today, but I think I will eventually give them a try.

Edited: Dec 3, 2013, 2:48pm Top

The December ER batch has a book about Zane Grey, if you're interested.

Zane Grey's Wild West by Victor Friesen

Dec 3, 2013, 4:22pm Top

Linda> Believe me, I had NO INTEREST after reading the Zane Grey last month.

Dec 3, 2013, 10:03pm Top

Zane Grey's life might be more interesting than his books. Sort of like Teddy Roosevelt. He wrote books, but today nobody thinks of him as an author. He is famous for his life.

Dec 4, 2013, 8:08am Top

I think I'll pass on that one, there are a couple of others I like and I wouldn't want to narrow my chances :0)

Dec 5, 2013, 6:33pm Top

Yesterday, I finally finished The Vanishing American. I'm sure it was better when it was new than it is now. I gave it 3 stars.

But, actually a book ABOUT ZG and his novels could be pretty interesting. Are you requesting it, Linda?

Dec 5, 2013, 6:40pm Top

Haha. No, I am not. Not a lot of interest for me this month.

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