Jul 24, 201211:16 AMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
Western Words: July 24, 2012
America has produced no shortage of urban legends and historical mysteries, from Amelia Earhart to D.B. Cooper.
Less publicized but no less intriguing is the tale of artist and Western explorer Everett Ruess, who disappeared in the Utah desert in November of 1934. At age 20, Ruess was already familiar with solo treks through the wilderness areas of the Southwest, and left behind thousands of pages of journals and letters, as well as watercolors and engravings of the sights he witnessed. “I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the street car and the star sprinkled sky to a roof,” he wrote.
After he vanished, Ruess’s parents shared his story with the world – how he learned to speak Navajo, and became friends with such famed photographers as Edward Weston and Ansel Adams. In 1998, journalist David Roberts revisited the Ruess mystery, interviewing those who knew him and retracing his steps. Now out in paperback, Finding Everett Ruess contains the results of his in-depth investigation, and the enigma that persists to this day.
Big Sky Mountain, by Linda Lael Miller
Harlequin Romances became something of a fad in the 1970s and ’80s, and turned a male model named Fabio into a national celebrity. The company has been going strong for more than 70 years, and still releases hundreds of new books every year. Author Linda Lael Miller is one of Harlequin’s most successful Western romance authors, having placed three books simultaneously on the New York Times best-seller list. Her latest, Big Sky Mountain, is a classic story of a hell-raising cowboy and a divorced heiress set in Parable, Montana. It’s exactly what you’d expect, but as Miller is the daughter of a town marshal, she gets the Western details right.
Richard Misrach: Golden Gate, by Richard Misrach
San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge celebrated its 75th birthday this year, and is one of the most distinctive landmarks in the world. Photographer Richard Misrach thought so too, as he spent three years capturing the view of the bridge he had from his front porch. Daytime, nighttime, different seasons, clear skies, fog – he took more than three thousand photos in all, the best of which are featured in this unique photo essay.
Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, by Kimberly M. Blaeser
For serious students of Native American literature and mythology, Gerald Vizenor is celebrated as one of the most prolific and insightful authorities. His books attempt to blend oral tradition and the written word, a challenging exercise that sometimes reads like a new language all its own. Scholars have even coined the term “Vizenorese” to describe his method of characterizing people and ideas.
In Gerald Vizenor: Writing in the Oral Tradition, Kimberly Blaeser provides a primer for understanding Vizenor’s remarkable literary output, from his explanations of the Native American trickster figure to his haiku poetry. It’s a challenging work but one that serves as an outstanding introduction to its subject.
Whispers in the Wind, by Lauraine Snelling
When you feel like a good horse story, pick up some Lauraine Snelling. She gets why we love them, and introduces us to characters that feel the same way. In Valley of Dreams, the first book in her Wild West Wind series, Snelling introduces readers to trick rider Cassie Lockwood, who leaves her Wild West show hoping to find a hidden valley where her late father dreamed of setting down roots. Whispers in the Wind continues Cassie’s journey, resolving one mystery but leaving our heroine still striving to achieve her goal of raising horses on a picturesque piece of land that hides more than a few secrets.
For more recent book releases, check out last week's Western Words post.