Thursday, September 30, 2010

43. Three-Ten to Yuma and other stories by Elmore Leonard

If you want a good read with a strong moral backbone that will give you some feeling of righteous satisfaction, pick up any Elmore Leonard western. I snagged a bunch of his westerns last year and this sat on my on-deck shelf for a while before I finally took it with me on my trip to Amsterdam, thinking it would make for great plane reading. I had held off mainly because it was short stories and I tend not to like reading one after the other when I am at home. I was right about this being a great travel book, because I devoured it and even convinced my wife to read one of the stories (Jugged, in which a young kid gets thrown into a cell with a serious criminal), which she quite enjoyed.

Each of these stories was a little snippet of life in Elmore Leonard's wild west, where scary violent men are everywhere but someone with a bit of grit and courage and the will to do what they think is the right thing can sometimes just win out. Skills and training are also important here, almost to a heroic level, where one man can size up another and know he is an expert by how still he is. Really good stuff.

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