So wrote Tony Hillerman in his memoir Seldom Disappointed, which I recently finished, collecting a signed first addition on abe.com, to go with the collection I have of almost all his works set in my beloved New Mexico and Southwest
been dead more than 10 years now, and I'm not sure how I missed reading this, except it was prompted by two friends' recently published novels that got me out of my reading slump at the end of the year.
How many books do you read and think, "Joe (or whoever) needs to read this"?
Seldom Disappointed is that kind of book, except I know of three readers who will devour it. First section of the book, growing up in Depression Oklahoma, will captivate my father-in-law Jay Henry, who grew up not too far from Hillerman's home. The section on being an infantryman in WWII is perfect for my friend Jim Baker, retired UCO history prof and expert in WWII. Third section deals with Hillerman's life as a journalist, starting here in Oklahoma, mentioning people I know including Carter Bradley, Mary Goddard and Howard Wilson and others, lambasting higher education and more. I'm buying a copy for Ben Blackstock, and one for Baker. Jay can borrow my copy. Fourth part is about his fiction writing. As a result, I've purchased his only novel I hadn't read, Finding Moon, about Vietnam, and he lavishes praise on it as a favorite.
Back to the fiction. You only have to read Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath to know that. My Okie friends' novels, have so much reality in them they demand your attention, more than just that they're largely set in Oklahoma and you can identify so closely with the landscapes.
"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding metaphors and journalism and art, for readers in 150 countries.