Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Double Book Review: Two Very Different Westerns

I'm back with the first book review for the Search for the Perfect Western reading challenge! The first book I chose to read was Shane by Jack Schaeffer, followed closely by The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel. The books each presented a different take on the western genre, were quick, fun reads, and were fresh and exciting. Given their differences, I thought that it'd be fun to do a dual post about them!

Shane by Jack Schaefer: 

With his black hat, quick reflexes, and cool personality, the townspeople soon learn that Shane is someone to be scared of. Though there's no doubt that he's a dangerous man, he soon becomes a trusted friend of the Starrett family. Tension between the homesteaders and cattle ranchers, however, soon inspires Shane to take out his gun once again.

Filled with action, strong characters, and saloon fist-fights, Shane is truly the epitome of the western genre. Using elegant (but not wordy) analogy, Jack Schaefer depicts the life of hard working men and women in a growing old west town.

A quick read great for a relaxed weekend, Shane will satisfy all hunger for a good, classic western. The book is interesting for all ages, and the content is never gory or vulgar. If your spring-time reading needs a quick kick of old-west flavor, I strongly suggest Jack Schaefer's Shane.

The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel

After suffering the death of her mother and a love affair gone awry, Olivia is banished to a small farming town to become the bride of local man after her pregnancy is discovered. Pulled away from her studies of archaeology, Olivia must find ways to thrive in this new lifestyle. She soon becomes friends with two Japanese-American women, who's love for life inspires her throughout the summer. But can Olivia ever truly love another man again? And what are her new friends hiding?

The Magic of Ordinary Days is a totally fresh, unique book. I've never read anything else with this type of WWII Home Front living. The farming life represented is charming, without being free of reality. Ray (the man Olivia marries) is a real sweet-heart. His sister and her family are very welcoming to Olivia from the start, and do their best to help her adapt to the new life. I thought that the look at how Japanese-Americans were treated during this era was very interesting and accurate, as well.

Though just a quick read, The Magic of Ordinary Days is a delightful book, perfect for toting around on those nice spring days. I believe that the book is technically an adult novel, but I'm not sure. However, I think most young teens and up could read this book without problems. Olivia does become pregnant before marriage, and there is a short *scene* but nothing very explicit. Her pregnancy before marriage is not looked favorably on or endorsed by herself or others, so I don't really think it's anything to worry about. Personally, I'd place this book at about 14 and up.

Has anybody read or is going to read either of these? What did you think of them? Also, I just updated my About page! Check it out! :)

Thanks for reading! :)

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