Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What's Goin' On: Louis L'Amour's Short Stories

I have been on a short story jag since getting the Kindle. As I've mentioned, I find that format a big improvement over hulking "best of" collections for science fiction, mysteries, and fantasy. Browsing the Kindle store, I came across Louis L'Amour who I have never cottoned to much in novel-long format.

Truth to tell, I have never given him much of a chance. I had a period of reading Zane Grey when I was in junior high. I still love Gwen Bristow, several of whose books are set in the Old West. But Louis L'Amour ... maybe it was his name? I don't know ...

One of the Kindle's best features is the ability to download samples. The Louis L'Amour short story collection I sampled (the first of seven or eight I saw available) contained two stories in their entirety. It worked. I can't explain it but these simply told but human stories grabbed me, interested me in the fate of the protagonists, and had me trying to work out how the inevitable ending would come about. That was the interesting thing ... you knew how the stories would end up. It was how L'Amour got there that was riveting.

What a wonderful surprise it was to discover a new author. Even better, one who has a large library of books for me to explore. I'm still not sure about the novels, but I am sure the short stories will suck me into reading the longer format eventually.

I know that L'Amour has a huge fan base and nothing makes that more evident than the price of those Kindle collections. Not the usual $9.99 for a current book. No, these are all $14.99. Nothing testifies to popularity like a long-dead author's works holding an above-market value.

I put that collection in my wish list so I can find it later. I have several short story collections to finish up. Then, the next one I buy ... is gonna take me to the wild West.


  1. I love his books! Check out Sacketts land and Last of the Breed!

  2. I'm not much of a western fan save for John Wayne films, but I very much enjoyed WALKING DRUM and the autobiography (I forget the name of the book) cobbled together from some of Mr. L'Amour's notes after his death.

    But Pilgrim, I gotta, tell ya, Mr. L'Amour's small book of poems, SMOKE FROM THIS ALTAR, is brilliant; the man writes a mean Petrarch sonnet. His work will never be adopted for a school text by the princes and princesses at the misnamed Texas Education Agency (hey, our kids can bubble little circles with #2 pencils; the future is secure), but I use some of his poems in my high school classes (oh, stop booing, I was in Viet-Nam and was voting Republican before you were born).

  3. I also love his books. So much so that I have an entire collection. My brother and I argued over how to divide them and then we just bought a second set and split them.

    His novels (in any genre) are just as riveting as the short stories. And I do love the Sacketts. There is one duo that is a bit odd because it is obviously the same two characters and different things happen to them. Maybe he forgot he'd already written their story? Even that was interesting.

    I am sure you will enjoy the books.

  4. L'Amour was consistantly the most entertaining writer. Even when he was in a hurry to finish a story, or hike out on a camping trip in the country he wrote about he still gave us entertaining work. And it almost always included some education somewhere, even if one didn't realize it until the third or fourth time reading it.