Friday, October 23, 2015

The Wild West of Louis L'Amour by Tim Champlin

An Illustrated Companion to the Frontier Fiction of an American Icon

3.5 stars
copy received for review

Confession: I've never read a Louis L'Amour book.  Actually... I'm not sure I've ever read a Western period.

I know, I know.  Travesty.

But, my grandpa LOVES Louis L'Amour and this looked really interesting, so I went for it.

And it was really interesting.  In fact, I wanted to give it 5 stars.  It's a gorgeous book, packed with amazing photos and tons of information.

So why didn't it get 5 stars?

Two things: awkward/screwy layout issues and ridiculously bad photo captions.

Layout: The division into chapters and what was in those chapters was just really odd in some cases.  Some parts were interesting and yet felt totally out of place.... like no one wanted to cut them but no one knew what to do with them either, so they were just stuck in somewhere.  (This was actually the less annoying... it probably only lost 1/2 a star here.)

Captions: Oh my gosh, the captions.  I don't know what people were thinking there.  Most of the captions are lifted right out of the text, first of all, which is really annoying because then you end up reading it twice.  Maybe it's just me and my OCD need to read all of the captions as well as the text, but oh this bugged me.  (Actually, it's not just me, because my very non-OCD husband also thought it was extremely annoying.)

The other problem with the captions-- half the time they didn't even tell you ANYTHING ABOUT THE PICTURE.  For example, one picture, I assume it was actually of Louis L'Amour, just said something about him.  Didn't refer to the picture at all.  Didn't say "seen here at age...." or anything.  Just a random fact about him.  Another picture had a few sentences about the Pony Express, which is really interesting except that it had nothing to do with the text OR THE PICTURE.  The caption ends by explaining that the picture is of a place nowhere near where the Pony Express would have ridden.  It's like they said "well, gee, this bit about the Pony Express doesn't actually belong anywhere, but it's too interesting to take out, so we'll just stick it with a random photo."


I know, I know, I'm probably being too nitpicky, but it drove me NUTS. 

NUTS, I tell you.

Anyway, it is honestly a really cool book, especially if you aren't bothered by weird captioning.  :) I'm going to give it to my grandpa. :)

And I'm going to read a Louis L'Amour.  I checked out Comstock Lode from the library. :)

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