In 1981, there was a center column article in the Wall Street Journal about an author who wrote about the Old West — Louis L’Amour. Having spent some formative time out West when I was young, I read the article with considerable interest. A few weeks later, while walking near my house with my 5 year old daughter, we happened on a garage sale and went in. In rummaging through the books, I found a battered paperback copy of Shalako by Louis L’Amour. Hmmmm . . . . . Louis L’Amour. For one thin dime, I bought the book. And read it. And was hooked.
In the ensuing years, I read all 105 or so of his novels. I think I still have them all – in a box – in the attic. Some I’ve read twice. What drew me to Louis L’Amour (1908-1988) was more than the tales of the Old West. It was his inimitable style. The good guys were good. Good men. Tough yet compassionate. The women were always good. Nurturing. And sweet. But mess with them and they’d carve you up one side and down the other. . . . And the bad guys were very very bad. And I relished when the bad guys got their just reward. Which they usually did. Whiskey for my men and beer for my horses. . . .
Some of L’Amour’s books have become movies. Ironically, Shalako – my first read – had been a 1968 movie starring Sean Connery, Brigitte Bardot and Honor Blackman. I’ve never seen the movie. It’s still on my list. If you’re looking for a light – meaningful – read, give Louis a try. You won’t be disappointed.