Lonesome Dove.

This is a bird review. And a book review. It’s even a review of the word “review.”

Here’s how it came about…

I saw a solitary Mourning Dove in early April.

It would have been nice if this were a sign of spring, the way Robins used to be.

But a few doves don’t migrate, and are here even through the cold months.

True to its name, the bird looked mournful.

I thought, “Another cold, lonesome dove.”

That brought to mind a huge, old novel called “Lonesome Dove,” by Larry McMurtry. I read this book years ago.

It was pretty damn good. Suddenly, I wanted to read it again.

Most people would say that re-reading a book is a waste of time. I’m not so sure.

Just because you saw a Mourning Dove once, doesn’t mean you don’t look at another one. If you saw a Scarlet Tanager last May, you still want to see one again this May.

“Lonesome Dove” is a book worth reliving: Two-fisted people, wild animals, dusty trail drives, banjo music, beans, biscuits, bandits, snakes, sportin’ women, big skies, and pigs that aren’t for rent.

That’s my book review.

It ought to make you want to read “Lonesome Dove.” And if you already have read it, well, hell, do it again.

As for the word “review,” it clearly says “re-view.” Which is what I did with that cold Mourning Dove I saw.

And it’s what I might do with the book I just told you about. “Lonesome Dove” was worth a good review. And, like an interesting bird, it’s also worth a good re-view.

11 Responses to “Lonesome Dove.”

  1. Ben Griffin says:

    Best book ever written!

  2. norm schaefer says:

    ‘Lonesome Dove’ is closest to what I would imagine the ‘old west’ was really like…..

  3. Peter Shea says:

    McMurtry wrote this book , then set it aside for many years(10) , giving him time to to polish the character development… the result– Pulitizer .
    The transition to film was also excellent ,except it shud have been on the “full screen”
    -Lonesome Dove 1 and 2.
    Hollywood almost runied this Gem…wanted to have Robert Redford
    be “Gus”……would hv “poked” this success right in the a……

  4. Two-Fisted Bird Watcher says:

    Rob L, I guess you’re right about there being no banjo. Must’ve imagined it as I was reading.

  5. Rob L says:

    I didn’t find any banjo music in lonesome dove. was piano, accordian, singing, Irish and old west, and a fiddle made out of a box and some strands of rawhide, although Lippy had a hard time getting the others to call it a fiddle. there was a crowbar banged against a bell. 875 pages and no banjo music. did I miss it?

  6. Tom Smith says:

    I bet most birders who own Kingbird Highway have read it multiple times. The Big Year was worth a reread before seeing the movie and I know I’ve read Wild America a half dozen times trying to put myself in the shoes of those two iconic souls. In South Florida the return of the Chimney Swifts and Common Nighthawks help signal our move towards summer which also means the depature of our Blue-winged Teals, Coots and thankfully the “Snowbirds”

  7. Chad Skaggs says:

    At my house a month ago it was an Eastern Towhee flogging its image in the bedroom window. Male towhee, of course. I don’t think the hens are foolish enough to do that.
    And I’ve already read Lonesome Dove once, years ago. You’ve made me want to read it again. Thanks!

  8. Janet Levers says:

    I also highly recommend the made for TV serial movie. The cast is iconic–and some of the lines are good (guide)lines for life in general. i bet I’ve watched it a hundred times over the years!

  9. Marc D. says:

    Also worth re-viewing every decade or so, because the book gets better and more meaningful the older you get, is “The Brothers Karamazov,” by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Capsule review: Sinners, saints, sex; money, murder, mirth; love, lust, laughter, and even Christ Himself makes a cameo appearance. At the end: redemption and joy.

  10. Rob L says:

    Yee-hah! I’m reading it.

  11. Julia says:

    One of my favorite books and movies! I periodically re-read it or watch the movie again every few years.

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