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I added this book to my TBR at the beginning of the year and after some conversation on my personal thread it appeared that many of us Club Readers have interest in this book. Some have owned the book for years while some don't own it but have been interested in reading it for years. So I thought I'd create this thread for those of us who would like to finally tackle this famous tome.
And who knows, if we all end up reading and loving the book, maybe we can try tackling the entire tetralogy!
How about we start off the thread with participating members telling us how long the book has been on your TBR pile.
I was hoping to get Lonesome Dove from my library as a kindle book, but both of the online libraries I have access to have a significant wait list. I find that interesting since it's an older book and I don't find that usually those have waits at all. So the book is still popular! There are 24 holds for the 5 copies of this book at my local library!
Anyway, I've requested a print copy. I always over-commit myself with group reads, so I'm not sure I'll get to this in March, but we'll see!
I'm terrible at committing to group reads as well but this time I have the advantage of purposefully scheduling the book in March because I finally want to read the book NOW after having been recommended the book for 20 years by my mother. I feel like the book is having a resurgence lately which might explain the waiting list.
Oh wow! But if it makes you feel better, despite knowing of the book for ages, I never knew it was a tetralogy until I purchased my copy (the 25th anniversary edition) from Amazon and then Amazon placed the three other books in my recommendations tab! And I just reread the blurb on my copy and just learned that Lonesome Dove is actually the third book of the tetralogy! But considering most people only read this book I'm sure it stands just fine on its own.
When Augustus came out on the porch the blue pigs were eating a rattlesnake -- not a very big one.
Feeling satisfied at having read 5 books in February, I decided to start reading Lonesome Dove last night. I've only read maybe 10 pages since I started reading it too late before having to get to bed but after only 10 pages I feel like I've been in this world forever -- in that it is so well described that you are instantly transported. Only 10 pages and I've been loving every moment of it. This is going to be a great read.
FYI for those picking up the 25th anniversary version of the book, the 2 page preface gives away the entire story so I suggest not reading it if you don't want to be spoiled. Too late for me.
I picked my book up from the library today. Out of curiosity I looked on amazon to see how much the kindle version is since it's such a big book to cart around. I was really interested to see that it has a full 5 star rating with 1466 customers having rated the book. It's unusual to see glowing agreement from so many readers.
>16 rhian_of_oz: the only thing I appreciate in these group reads is when people give a heads up about which chapter they'll be commenting on or how far they've read before posting comments. Helps avoid spoilers!
I got the Audible audio version yesterday, and once I finish listening to Sense and Sensibility it will be the next book I listen to. I don't think the audiobook has the preface included; it has been my experience that additional content like that typically is not a part of the audio production.
Not a spoiler but for chapter 8 (page 91 in 25th anniversary edition), you can go to this site to read about the latin motto on this page.
Lonesome dove has been in my list of "ideas to be read", and I have never participated in a group read because my reading wanderings don't match a commitment to a group read. So this impromptu and one-shot group read appealed to me the second I saw it...
I tried to resist, but had to surrender on 1st of March exactly. I bought a copy of the book Friday evening and started it straight away. So I hope you will not mind me joining you for this group read...
My copy is a paperback, from the excellent Gallmeiester publisher, who are specialised on books from the US, and mainly nature writing and westerns. It is the first time I buy a paperback from them, as I read few westerns, but it is a very nice book, with a soft cover and the colours of the cover work seem to be in line with the content of the book.
My book is titled Lonesome Dove : Episode 1. There is a Lonesome Dove : Episode 2, but I can't decide if the French publisher decided to split the book into two, or if the Episode 2 is one of the other books in the series and they got lazy with translating the title. My book has 52 chapters. What about yours?
Edited to add the picture of the cover
Glad to have you join us! Now can say that joining this group read was a good idea because it took a book of your fantasy wishlist and made it reality and making dreams turn into reality is what life is about, is it not! :)
I agree with you about group reads. I have such a meandering way of choosing the next books I read so I have trouble following the schedule of group reads so as I mentioned before it's seriously to my advantage to be the creator of this impromptu read. And it's exciting to be surrounded by such like-minded individuals!
To answer your question Lonesome Dove has 102 chapters in it so it looks like you'll also need to buy Episode 2 to have the complete work in your hands.
102 chapters!!! More than 1000 pages (French is always longer than English, I think it's 800-ish pages for you) to read! I might have committed to more than I can chew. It ought to be a good book!!!
In fact, here are a few pictures I took over the holidays. These pictures are about 30 minutes outside of Austin, Texas (a city mentioned in the book but not visited, at least, not so far) which is a lot greener and is considered the "hill country" of Texas so will be somewhat different from what our cowboys are trekking but I thought it'd be nice to post some Texas pictures so some readers here can get a general visual idea.
Also, as another idea of what our cowboys are going through, these pictures were taken on December 24th, and it was 80 degrees Farenheit that day. Our weather is a bit scatterbrained over the winter where it can go from 80 to 32 in one day and back up; and then the summers are at 100 degrees plus, easily.
>29 lilisin: Thanks for sharing your photos.
In terms of reading, I am only just at the start of chapter 10. Lately my weekends have been very light on the reading time (this past one was no exception), and my normal routine has been somewhat disrupted this week on top of it all. I find this frustrating, because I want to read more!
Caution note: minor spoilers on chapter 8.
I just finished chapter 8, and I must admit that chapters 7 and 8 are really good, I really enjoyed them and it was difficult to put the book down as I wish to know more about the characters.
On chapters 7 and 8, you are around 100 pages in the book (at least in my 1000-page edition), hence you start to have a good grip of the characters, and you can start focussing more on the interactions between them.
I loved following the Captain's thoughts when pondering over the possibility to go to Montana.
And I really enjoyed all the trouble about putting up a sign at the entrance of the ranch. McMurtry does a great job in saying a lot about the characters through this small event.
And I could not help laughing when two horseriders stop to read the signboard, the two first ones after months and Dish's comment is:
C'est sûrement des professeurs (...). En tout cas, ils aiment la lecture. (Chapitre 8, p.115 in Gallmeiester paperback edition)
What does it mean about us?
Yes I loved the bit with the two cowboys reading the sign. I can't stop mentioning how fantastic the humor is in this book.
A non spoiler but fairly along in the book in chapter 42, page 330 (25th anniversary edition) a fantastic joke came up.
The moon was high and a couple of stray goats nosed around the walls of the old Alamo, hoping to find a blade of grass. When they had first come to Texas in the Forties people had talked of nothing but Travis and his gallant losing battle, but the battle had mostly been forgotten and the building neglected.
"Well, Call, I guess they forgot us, like they forgot the Alamo," Augustus said.
As a Texan, any Texan knows that we must always "Remember the Alamo!" Even many non-Texan Americans will know this saying so I found it hilarious to find two Texans having this discussion about people having forgotten it.
I really think this book is going to be my favorite book of 2019. It might even become my favorite book of 2018 and 2020 at this point; I'm just really entranced. I think about the book all day while at work wondering when I can pick it up again next. I can only read 30 to 40 pages at a time but doing that a few times a day and I found myself crossing the half-way point easily.
I'm now currently on chapter 59 and
I've actually been managing to bring my book to work every day. It's been great to get 30 pages in during lunch, and then 50-60 pages at night before bed. It's certainly a committment to bring but it's most definitely worth it!
It reminded me this nice children's book, It's a book by Lane Smith. Is it for e-mailing? No it's a book. What is the password, No it's a book.
Sorry for this digression, we are far from Texas or Montana...
I am quite amazed at how McMurtry manages to include in his book all threads of the US own mythology. Not sure how to explain this in English, but seing the two pionners' fields, then a couple of Irish coming by made me feel that this book is kind of a history book condensed in a few pages. I love that!
For some perspective on the recently conquered Comanches (it’s long, sorry): https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.texasmonthly.com/articles/last-days-of-the-coma...
According to wikipedia, the story is set in the second half of the 1870's, I'll have to figure out what this means in terms of US history.
I am just at the start of chapter 43 at this point. I've done a little reading in my paper copy, but mostly I've been listening to the audiobook. It's fascinating to see all the different threads that are being pulled together, and the history that is woven into the whole thing. Plus the sense of time and place.
I find myself wondering if the TV mini-series that came out in 1986 can hold up to the book. I might track it down after I've finished reading, just to see.
I went back and read the preface and it turns out I had misread it and hadn't been spoiled on the plot as I had forgotten the details, except for one and that one was incorrect anyway.
However, the preface spoils the sequel so it seems I can't win. Thus, warning that if you finish this book and you're like me and now want to read the rest of the books, I still don't recommend reading the preface to the 25th anniversary edition.
The intro by Larry McMurty includes a major spoilers (although I don’t mind so much) but it’s also a great setting for the book - or at least for Gus and Call. If anyone doesn’t have it, I might post a bit (sans spoilers).
“Nobody in their right mind would want to rent a pig. What would you do with a pig once you rented it?”Augustus:
“Why, Women and children and settlers are just cannon fodder for lawyers and bankers.”
I keep finding myself noting quotes (and talking myself out of writing others down). It’s just that kind of book. But they all seem to only work in context.
I keep thinking about the Texas Ranger massacres, where these Rangers would go to border communities and kill Mexican-Americans, execution style. But I don’t know enough about the history to know when that happened, or how pervasive this activity was with the Rangers. So, I read about Gus, Call, Pea and Jake and I wonder - what did they do as Rangers? What’s in their closet and how do they feel about it? Did McMutry know? Is that part of his character makeup? (In the opening Gus talks about not shooting a snake because he’s afraid someone will go out and kill a Mexican. Is that a acknowledgement?). So... I might need to read up on Texas Rangers a bit.
I'm intrigued by Gus and Call and why they are partners because they seem such an unlikely duo.
I'm on Chapter 35. This is my main book now, so I should proceed quickly.
I know I probably shouldn't be all that surprised, but one thing that surprised me was
Reading Lonesome Dove also inspired me to find my copy of Moccasin Trail by Eloise Jarvis McGraw (it was up in my parents' attic, which is basically my personal equivalent to a public library's storage area). When I was in elementary school in particular I remember being fascinated by stories of cowboys, pioneers, and the whole westward expansion (alongside my reading staples of fantasy and fairy tales). It will be interesting to see how well some of my childhood favorites hold up.
>57 shadrach_anki: I managed to resist the temptation of clicking on the spoiler lines, but that was difficult...
>56 japaul22: Texas history is a big deal here. My kids get some of it every year and it’s a required high school class ... but I grew up in FL and missed all that. (FL history is not something the average Floridian knows exists)
The second volume cover uses the same shades of orange and yellow as the first volume (see >26 raton-liseur: for the first volume cover). While the first cover showed three people on horses, Gus, Call and Lorie, the second cover shows a small farm, with the chimney smoking, and the three same characters, plus a dark hair woman. I kind of guessed who she is as I flipped through the book and have seen some names appearing here and there, but I am not so sure.
The idea of settling down is not yet in Gus and Call’s mind, as I have just finished a trying part of the book, and we just passed the Red River, leaving Texas to enter Oklahoma. I am taking a crash course on US geography (as well as history of course)!
That’s entertaining. I still haven’t figured out where Lonesome Dove is supposed to be. Searching, I discovered a movie set and this bit: “It seems that Larry McMurtry’s original story was going to be a feature film called Palo Duro, to be produced in the late 1960s. John Wayne, James Stewart, and Henry Fonda would have played the three former Texas Rangers. The film never happened, so McMurtry later developed the screenplay into the award-winning novel.“
I guess it is necessary, although still not that sure. I have left those pages and moved across the Red River and we are back on track with the cattle, but part of me is staying behind in those 10 or so chapters full of violence.
Coincidently, I was hearing a writer talking about Amerindians culture and how fascinating it was. I could help thinking: "well, not everything."
>68 rhian_of_oz: ;-)
What are people's thoughts on Jake Spoon?
I had forgotten to post of my favorites quotes about Gus: “It was good reading light by then, so Augustus applied himself for a few minutes to the Prophets. He was not overly religious, but he did consider himself a fair prophet and liked to study the styles of his predecessors. They were mostly too long-winded, in his view, and he made no effort to read them verse for verse—he just had a look here and there, while the biscuits were browning.”
Re: Chapter 58 spoilers
I also wanted to see more of Janey but I applaud the author for taking the risk of introducing a likeable character and immediately killing them off.
Re: Jake Spoon part 2 ending spoilers
Thoughts on the Indian:
I quite liked the adventure aspect as it allowed me to really enjoy the landscape and setting. Also it allows for the setup that I mention in my first spoiler tag above which you can see once you get further along in the book. What a great quote that really captures Gus so perfectly well.
A recent line, Gus to Call:
“If I had wanted civilization I’d have stayed in Tennessee and wrote poetry for a living,” Augustus said. “Me and you done our work too well. We killed off most of the people that made this country interesting to begin with.”
My thoughts on Jake:
Having said that, I'm feeling surprisingly sad about his ending. But it couldn't really have gone any other way - Gus and Call's actions were absolutely consistent with the men we've come to know.
>75 japaul22: can you elaborate on this at all? I think I can see what some objections might be, but it also seems to be rather par for the course of the novel in terms of tone and such.
I'd be happy to discuss more once we don't have to use spoilers so I can elaborate a little more!
I try not to read the spoilers in the above posts, but it’s difficult. A few days and I shall be able to read all of your comments.
I'm very happy that my TBR was able to inspire us into reading what turned out to be a unanimously beloved book. Although it feels like it's been ages now since I read the book, the characters are still as fresh in my mind as if I had finished the book yesterday. Thanks everyone for contributing to the thread.
Any additional thoughts? Anyone going to watch the tv series?
Love this comment, L.
>70 shadrach_anki:, >72 lilisin:, >74 rhian_of_oz: on Jake - I couldn't feel bad for Jake. He stumbled into a lot of preventable tragedies. I did wonder, did Gus and Call find the $800?
>75 japaul22:, >80 japaul22: - I've been thinking about this last line since I finished. Why end on that note? I wasn't comfortable with the implication that Lorena was the center of it all...but then maybe he means women or love were at the center of these men - love miss-applied in whorehouses or other games, love that undermines what they like to think of themselves, or that avoiding love fills the same role. LM did a good job of not letting characters say everything or understand everything. This book doesn't work as well if Call is able to breakdown his facade enough to acknowledge Newt. And while maybe Gus knew something, in general none of this crew knew what drove them. But, it's also sexist. They were all as good or bad as she was.
Was Gus courting death?
Was I wrong to be impressed with Pea-Eye's naked stagger to safety?
Was Charles Goodnight a good near-finishing touch?
Would Dish ever going to give up on Lorena?
Could July really be that dumb?
Why did Gus make that final request? Was it another game? Was there something constructive behind it?
Could the book have ended in Montana, or did it really need Call to circle back to the beginning?
I have more.
I can't remember in which thread I had read a short discussion over Lonesome Dove being mythmaking material. I agree with this appreciation, and disagree at the same time. My opinion might be influenced by the fact that I read this from a non-US reader perspective, but I found the characters so human, and far more nuanced than the usual myth heroes, that I've had the feeling of reading much more than a western, and maybe having the opportunity of glancing at some of the more realistic sides of what it meant to conquer the west at that time.
This was a really good read, and a great reading experience. So thanks to all the fellow readers who took the time to share on this thread. It has made my reading richer, and even more enjoyable.
However, I agree that I use a very narrow (and inaccurate) definition of mythology here. Greek heroes were also very human and contrasted (contrasted, is this a word?).
I feel that playing with genre rules and expectations is quite in fashion at the moment on the book scene. I am thinking about The Sister Brothers, for the western genre as well, that I happened to read last year. It does the same in taking this mythology material and making something completely different and unexpected out of it. Blending toothpaste and western, that was an unexpected and interesting angle!
While reading Lonesome Dove, I had to keep reminding myself that it was a book published more than 30 years ago, so it has nothing to do with this trend.
Thinking about it now, he was not really following genre rules, so maybe not exactly breaking them. He’s more playing on the legend of the Texas Ranger, the dirty hero. And he’s playing with tracing the landscape, recreating it in some accuracy in both place and distance - filling all that in with many little stories. He’s quoted somewhere as intending to recreate Don Quixote - American Western version.
He’s playing on the legend of the Texas Ranger, the dirty hero. And he’s playing with tracing the landscape, recreating it in some accuracy in both place and distance - filling all that in with many little stories.That's a sweet and short description of the book, I love it.