This is a post in my 50 Nifty series, in which I’m reading through 50 books that embody each of the 50 United States. Find out why I’m doing this and which books I’m reading when (so you can read along) by checking out my first 50Nifty post, or else browse all 50Nifty posts by clicking here!
Lonesome Dove, Larry McMurtry
It’s been a little over a year since I’ve moved from Texas, and I read this book a few weeks ago in the midst of a nostalgic period. It’s the story of an epic journey of two ex-Texas Rangers working a cattle drive north from Texas. It’s filled with colorful characters, endearing events, heartbreak, and adventure. Maybe I was driven to read it quickly because I wanted to finish before our “anniversary of moving” celebration (in which we ate bbq for the first time since leaving Texas, made banana pudding, drank Texas beer, and went to church at a denomination we went to while living in Texas), but I tore through this book. It’s not the kind of book that ends each chapter on cliffhangers, but it is compelling enough not to want to put it down for long (or at least I think that because I lived in Texas for six years and am biased).
I will say that it’s not perfect, lest you think I’m completely blinded by my love of the state, but it didn’t win the Pulitzer Prize for nothing, I suppose! Reading it also brought back such good memories for me because one of our best friend couples in Texas love the (multiple Emmy-Award-winning) miniseries based on this book, so a few years ago we had a few fun evenings watching it together.
As for the 50Nifty list, it’s a great selection, not only because so much of the book takes place there and so much of the geography of the state plays an important role in the storyline, but because Larry McMurtry is also from Texas and there’s a sense of state pride in that. A friend and I once took a day trip to visit his home in tiny Archer City and spent the day thumbing through books in his (at that time) used bookstore and eating at the only place (seemingly) nearby: the Wildcat Cafe.