Thursday, December 30, 2010

Texas, Chapter XI, The Frontier

This chapter was so rich, where do I start?  The thing about reading this book is you learn so much!  I loved learning about the Longhorn cattle, how barbed wire tamed the range, and the Range Wars.  I've seen some  Longhorn while exploring the Manzano foothills, and they are formidable.  It is never a breed I've wanted to own, due to the fact that they look like they would be hard to fence, the horns look deadly, and I'm happy with our fat beef breeds, but now I'm thinking it would be cool just to have one to show to my friends.

I love the way Michener weaves these interesting characters and stories in with the history.  For example, Emma and Earnshaw Rusk's misguided gunslinger wannabee son Floyd's misadventures really take you away into the period.  Michener doesn't hesitate to throw in murder, mutilations or tragedies into characters that you get to care about due to his excellent character development, so you never can predict where the story was going to lead.  I found Floyd's outcome surprising.

So, Readers, I give these last two chapters, The Fort and The Frontier, many many thumbs up!  Happy reading.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Our next book, Texas by James Michener

Hi there friends!  I've been faithfully reading a chapter each week to finish this book by the time we meet next month.  I'm now on the chapter titled "The Fort".  I've been working on this book now (lets see, I'll count the chapters read so far...) for 10 weeks.  It has helped me grow as a reader of fat books, and the history is so cool!  Every one of my friends at work, and my family is learning historical trivia as I become excited over new facts.

For example, why were the black soldiers called Buffalo soldiers (hint, it is in the hair)?
And, I tell any listener who looks the least bit interested, did you know Texans were first Texicans to rhyme with Mexicans, then Texians, then Texans?

It is really an awesome book.  Right now I'm reading about Rattlesnake Peavine and Comanche Chief Matark.  What bastards.  Anyone who thinks life isn't fair should read a bit of history.  Yes, it isn't fair that your insurance company denies your claim, or that you are the only one in the family washing dishes, but how about having your ears burned off a little bit at a time by Comanche?  Or, how about being hung by Texas Rangers because you happened to be Mexican?