Henry Gilbey
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Henry Gilbey blog

No Fishing Today - this is turning out to be one of the most awesome books I have ever read……..

I always remember somebody asking me some years ago now how on earth I managed to work from home and not give into watching television all day long! I don’t know about you lot, but there is never any daytime TV in our household and wanting to watch the box during the day never comes into it - save for vital rugby and cricket matches of course. Nope, my problem has never been wanting to watch TV, but it could so easily be ignoring my work and settling down to read a good book all day long. I could so easily shut this computer down, light the stove as the rain comes down outside, and lose myself in a book - ever since I could read I have devoured books……….

And I am not going to try and pretend that I spend my reading time consuming highbrow literary masterpieces that the newspapers I might read seem to review all the time but the actual books are so rarely in the Top Ten selling book lists etc. I have read all the Jack Reacher books for example - and yes, I want to be him - and I used to scare the hell out of myself when I was a lot younger by reading all those classic earlier Stephen King books (I first read IT when I was about 13 or 14, and I last read it about five years ago - it’s fascinating how this book comes across depending how old you are). Give me a good serial killer book or a fast moving thriller and I can easily lose myself for hours on end, and yes, I have read plenty of the best Wilbur Smith books multiple times. My wife is an avid reader as well, and I am really glad that our two girls have inherited our passion for books - with a lot of credit due here to J.K. Rowling and what I imagine must be a legion of children she has helped to fall in love with reading.

Anyway, as much as daytime TV is a complete no-no in our household, I am passionate about good films and TV series, and recently I started watching that rather outstanding Netflix series “Godless”. Wow. Talk about wrapping you up in the world of the western era, and it got me thinking about how I am pretty damn sure that I have never actually read a novel set in the American West. I love a good western film or TV series but I can’t recall reading a novel from that era - so I went looking for one. I didn’t particularly want  a simple cowboys and Indians and bows and arrows as much as the kind of “involved” feeling that the TV series Godless is giving me.

As with looking for fishing gear, good old Google was how I went looking for a good book set in the American West, and pretty quickly there was one book that kept on topping most of the lists - so I got it for my Kindle, and I am now fighting the urge to stop any work that needs doing and keep on reading it. It’s that good. I don’t know if you are into reading yourself, but if you want to have a go at the most gloriously evocative, sprawling epic of a book that creeps into your conscience and places you right in the middle of every single page then I urge you to buy “Lonesome Dove” by the American author Larry McMurtry. I am finding myself going to bed that bit earlier because I want to spend as much time with this book as I can. I fell asleep reading it last night, then woke up and read some more.

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“Lonesome Dove” is a serious epic and I reckon I am about half way in - this is a big book! I read very fast and this book is so damn good it’s impossible to put down, but every time I turn a virtual page on my Kindle I am dreading this book ending. Here’s the blurb about this book from the Amazon page (you can read a sample here): “It begins in the office of The Hat Creek Cattle Company of the Rio Grande. It ends as a journey into the heart of every adventurer who ever lived. From the author of The Last Picture Show and Texasville - here is Larry McMurtry's Pulitzer Prize winning masterpiece. A powerful, triumphant portrayal of the American West as it really was. More than a love story, more than an adventure, Lonesome Dove is an epic: a monumental novel which embraces the spirit of the last defiant wilderness of America. Legend and fact, heroes and outlaws, whores and ladies, Indians and settlers - Lonesome Dove is the central, enduring American experience dramatically recreated in a magnificent story of heroism and love; of honour, loyalty and betrayal.”

I love a good book as I said, but this thing is way beyond that - it’s a true epic. It’s the sort of book that you start reading and can’t help but initially wonder a little what all the fuss is about, but a little later and you can’t put it down because it’s got you so hard. There are a few other books by the same author that are part of a Lonesome Dove series, but Larry McMurtry wrote the actual “Lonesome Dove” first, and every book based website I have come across says to read it first and then dig the other ones out afterwards if one is so inclined. Sorry for the lack of fishing today, but I am feeling so utterly consumed by this book “Lonesome Dove” that I am struggling to think of much else at the moment………...