31 January 2018 Susannah

Zane Grey – American novelist, born on 31 January 1872

Zane Grey quote by Susannah Fullerton

HAPPY BIRTHDAY – Zane Grey, born 31 January 1872

“I love my work, but do not know how I write it.”

Zane Grey

Zane Grey

It seems extraordinary that a man whose first name was Pearl should have ended up writing Westerns and making his name as a ‘tough guy’ of literature – big game fisherman, baseball player, dentist, womaniser and adventurer. However, the name of ‘Pearl’ was soon dropped and he became famous around the world as ‘Zane Grey’ after publishing Riders of the Purple Sage in 1912.

I’m not a fan of Westerns. Are many women? I’d be interested in feedback, as I know no women who read Westerns. In fact, I do wonder how many men read Westerns today, or is it just something our fathers and grandfathers did when they were little? Certainly Zane Grey had many readers, as he became one of the first millionaire authors.

Many of his books were filmed, which added to his popularity, and today his former home is a museum and various parks and buildings have been named in his honour. But I do wonder how many people will have heard of Zane Grey in another 50 years.

Zane Grey died on 23 October 1939, aged 67.

Do you read Westerns? Tell me your thoughts in the comment area below.

   Riders of the Purple Sage by Zane Grey

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Body image credit- Zane Grey, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=5656661

Comments (4)

  1. Mark Robinson

    I’ve read many of Zane Grey’s books over the years. My local public library actually has a nice selection of his works that I’ve been slowly working through, along with others, over the past several years. Sadly, a lot of his books are no longer in print. You can find the works that have fallen into the public domain fairly easily: Riders of the Purple Sage, Betty Zane, The Heritage of the Desert, etc. Forge Books has republished several of his works in 2-for-1 omnibus paperbacks over the past couple of years. I don’t know who’s buying them, but I suspect his readership is older rather than younger. I have some of the films made from his books on DVD, but they’re mostly older films. I can’t recall any recently made movies from one of his books.

    So to answer the question, yes, I do read westerns. They’re not my primary books of choice, but I do enjoy a good western, whether a Zane Grey classic, or something newly written (Johnny D. Boggs, for one).

    • Susannah Fullerton

      He does seem to be a writer who has dropped out of fashion, but it is interesting that your library still has his books. Are Westerns a purely male thing?? I do not know any women who read them. I guess I should try a Zane Grey, just to see what they are like. Can you recommend one?

      • Mark Robinson

        I wouldn’t say that westerns are strictly a male thing, but the readership, at least those I encounter, are predominantly male. I belong to a couple of groups on Facebook devoted to western literature, and some women do belong to the groups, but I’d say at least 80% of the posts come from the male members. I think it might be due to the stigma that westerns are primarily about outlaws, gunfights and range wars. While many primarily cater to those themes, others are more balanced in their story telling, but they get lost in the shuffle.

        As far as recommendations for a Zane Grey novel to start with, you can’t go wrong with Riders of the Purple Sage. While there is violence, it doesn’t overwhelm the reader, as the book is more character and event driven, at least to me.

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