Old Reads That Are Good: Grisham’s Ode to Southern Football

by gbcpl on August 19, 2014

All The Pretty Horses (1992) has been on the reading lists of high schools and colleges for some time so you hardly need your friendly neighborhood librarian to tell you it’s a good book. The U.S. National Book Award? Won it. National Book Critics Circle Award? Won it.

So, thumb yep, good book. all-the-pretty-horses

The thing about Cormac McCarthy is he can be a struggle. And, admittedly, he’s not for everyone. He has a tendency to fall in love with description. He is stylistically similar to Ernest Hemingway, but with clipped, short sentences sandwiched between long passages of landscape. He abhors quotation marks, meaning you really have to follow along with who’s saying what. Oh, and there’s no translation for the Spanish sentences, so if you don’t speak the language you might need a handy-dandy reference sheet, like the one here.

Violence plays a big part in his work (you practically have to wade through the slaughter in his seminal masterpiece Blood Meridian), and All The Pretty Horses is no different. What starts out as a simple border crossing from Texas into Mexico in 1949 by 16-year-old John Grady Cole and his friend Lacey Rawlins becomes a nightmarish ordeal as the two cowboys encounter bullets, blood and bad men.

And beneath all that is a love story.

If you’re looking for a Western story that’s a bit more literary than a William Johnstone or Louis L’Amour paperback, pick up McCarthy.

Just don’t look for many happy endings. (Download the eBook or Reserve it in Your Library)

Other Books By This Author: No Country for Old Men (2005), Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West (1985), The Road (2006), The Crossing (1994).
I really don’t know how much work John Grisham puts into his novels, buy information pills but his writing style is effortless and simply seductive. You start reading a few pages, about it thinking, seek “eh, could be an OK book,” and 100 pages later you’re gripped by the characters, the plot, the sheer marvelous story crafted by the Mississippi-lawyer-turned-brand-name-author.

Such is Bleachers (2004).Bleachers_(novel)

I am by no means a devourer of Grisham. Those who anxiously await his latest book release, read it, and wait again. I believe I picked up Bleachers because someone mentioned it was about football in the south and it was by an author not known – at the time – for writing on the subject. Grisham, of course, made his name in legal thrillers that go on to be made into movies starring Matthew McConaughey (A Time to Kill), Tom Cruise (The Firm), and Matt Damon, (The Rainmaker). Bleachers, then, is a rare departure.

Bleachers is the story of Neely Crenshaw, former star quarterback for Messina High School, who returns home 15 years after the end of his high school career to bury his old coach, Eddie Rake. Rake, who was 418-62 as a head coach with 13 state titles, casts a long shadow across the lives of his former players, both as a tyrant and father-figure. Neely and the men who gather for the funeral must come to terms with their own past relationship with Coach Rake, a man who they loved and hated.

What better way to prepare for football season? At just 242-pages, you can have Bleachers read before the first game kicks off.

Reserve our physical copy or on eBook.

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