Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Reading the free range
One of my favourite websites for public domain titles is Feedbooks which has an archive of 115 public domain westerns from authors such as Zane Grey, Max Brand and Edgar Rice Burroughs.
Titles are available to download in all formats - Kindle, Epub, PDF - Western fans will be delighted and find some truly genre defining works among the titles on offer - Riders of the Purple Sage for instance should be read by anyone who has even a passing interest in the genre.
"Riders of the Purple Sage is Zane Grey's best-known novel originally published in 1912. Most critics agree that it played a significant role in shaping the formula of the popular Western genre."
Another essential title is The Log of a Cowboy which offers a first hand look at what it was really like to be a working cowboy - The Log of a Cowboy is an account of a five-month drive of 3,000 cattle from Brownsville, Texas, to Montana in 1882 along the Great Western Cattle Trail. Although the book is fiction, it is firmly based on Adams's own experiences on the trail, and it is considered by many to be the best account of cowboy life in literature. Adams was disgusted by the unrealistic cowboy fiction being published in his day; The Log of a Cowboy was his response. It is still in print, and even modern reviewers consider it a compelling classic. The Chicago Herald said: "As a narrative of cowboy life, Andy Adams' book is clearly the real thing. It carries its own certificate of authentic first-hand experience on every page."
and whilst there check out the titles in other categories, particularly the mystery/thriller section which contains some great classic pulp material.