Reading Recommendations: The Real Elizabeth, an Intimate Portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, Andrew Marr. From The Real Elizabeth -
"Queen Elizabeth II is a kind of anti-celebrity, a woman happiest in scarf, old coat, and rubber boots, out with her dogs or horses. She is one of the wealthiest women on the planet but eats frugally, keeps her breakfast cereal in plastic boxes and switches off unnecessary lights as she passes through rooms. Though she has a wonderful smile when she chooses to use it, her face falls naturally into a rubbery solemnity that she herself has likened to Miss Piggy. Her formal power is very small, and she has never played to the cameras. To a remarkable degree, then, the Queen is about as out of step from modern life as it's possible to be.
What few people understand is that the Queen believes, quite literally, that she has a vocation, that her function is a religious calling that cannot be denied or shrugged off. When she was anointed with a secret recipe of oils at her coronation in 1953, she took on a lifelong position that can more easily be compared to religious service than to modern politics. She is, in fact, a shy person who can still get a little shaky with nerves before making a speech: consider what that means for a woman who spends most of her life meeting strangers and making speeches. Her outspoken husband has said it is a job that "nobody in their right mind would chose."
And, The Far Canyon, Elmer Kelton, Afterword by Mike Kearby
The Far Canyon, the sequel to Slaughter, was published in 1944 and won Elmer Kelton his sixth esteemed Spur Award from the western writers of America. By 2002, Kelton had not only earned his seventh Spur Award with Way of the Coyote, but had also won three Western Heritage Awards. The National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum honored Kelton for The Time It Never Rained in 1974, The Good Old Boys in 1979, and The Man Who Rode Midnight in 1988. With such accomplishments, it is easy to understand why, in 1995, the Western Writers of America voted Elmer Kelton the greatest western writer of all time.
In The Far Canyon, Kelton masterfully unveils for his reader the finality of the buffalo's demise, the beginning of a time when cattle would replace the American bison on the southern plains and ultimately end the Plains' Indian culture. The novel reveals the history of the period, not in a general grand swoop of the pen, but rather up close and personal, so his readership can judge the impact of the period upon his characters.
The novel's first chapter introduces the stimulus for the thematic problem of Comanche warrior, Crow Feather, and is a common recurring theme in all Kelton's works -- change. Kelton treats protagonist, Jeff Layne, with the very same dramatic problem, the devastating threat to one's self concept, once again - change. Layne, the hide hunter from Slaughter is weary of killing and death. He decides to return to South Texas, determined to earn his living with the newest resource on the plains, cattle.
Once Kelton presents the thematic problem and each character's goal, he then hands the reins over to his readers and nudges them down a hard trail. Do they reach that far canyon or simply perish under the cultural dictate of that historical time?
See you at Rylander!