Saturday, April 5, 2014
Books From My Dad - Douglas C. Jones
He suggested I read The Shotgun Man by Frank O'Rourke. I did and remember absolutely nothing about it. On my own, many years later, I read Larry McMurty's Lonesome Dove series. As much as I love McMurty's books it didn't make me pick up any other westerns.
An author he only discovered later in life was Douglas C. Jones. My boss was going to throw away a box of books but I rescued them. I took them home, showed them to my dad, and Winding Stair by Jones caught his eye. As soon as he finished it he asked me to keep my eyes open for anything else by him. Within a year or so he had amassed a stack of Jones' books.
The Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer (which was made into a tv-movie). He was fascinated with the Arkansas-Indian Territory frontier that still existed barely a generation before he was born in 1924. Many of his books are set there or feature protagonists raised there.
When my dad got sick (cancer, terminal, miserable) he took the boxes of westerns and gave them to the used book store he had been going to for over twenty years. He figured I wouldn't read them and wanted a little less clutter in the attic for my mom to deal with after he was gone (my dad's family is about as Wasp as can be so even in the face of death there's a need to be practical). While he was talking to the owner a little old man came in and took the lot. While part of me was annoyed for giving any books away, I knew there couldn't be a better end for a bunch of books than that.
But he didn't include the Douglas C. Jones books in those boxes and I don't know why. I don't know if he read all of them, though I suspect he did. After he died the books have sat in a box in the attic for the past dozen years.
Recent posts by Howard Andrew Jones and comments by several people have turned my eyes to western fiction again. Remembering the box of Jones books I retreived them and figure I'll start where my dad did; with Winding Stair.