Friday, January 20, 2017

Book: Education of Wondering Man by Louis L'Amour

After posting 'Some quotes about reading', where I noted some choice quotes from the famous author of Western novels, Louis L'Amour, I figured would go ahead and give 'Education of a Wondering Man' a try. It is an excellent autobiography that focuses on the author's 'yondering' years, when Louis took on all variety of occupations and travelled the world over, all the while managing to read finding pockets of time to read an infinite number of books. His experiences and learnings over these years served as the foundation for his future career as a writer.

Here's a little background of the author, taken from the "About" section:
"Spurred by an eager curiosity and desire to broaden his horizons, Mr. L'Amour left home at the age of fifteen and enjoyed a wide variety of jobs, including seaman, lumberjack, elephant handler, skinner of dead cattle, miner, and as an officer in the transportation corps during World War II. During his "yondering" days, he also circled the world on a freighter, sailed a dhow on the Red Sea, was shipwrecked in the West Indies and stranded in the Mojave desert. He won fifty-one of fifty-nine fights as a professional boxer and worked as a journalist and lecturer. He was a voracious reader and a collector of rare books. His personal library contained 17,000 volumes."
Impressive chap, eh.

L'Amour also had an astounding memory, which made his voracious reading all the more valuable and enriching. In contrast, I read far fewer books, and can recall fewer still. In fact, on a handful of occasions, I have found myself a quarter the way through a book only to realise it's a road I've been down before!

L'Amour's genuine interest in the world around him, and his love of the writing process (a large part of which is background research), comes through strongly and by the end of the book I truly felt that here was a man who had found his calling, stuck to it and revelled in it. Take this quote for example:

"Often, ambitious young men or women write, wanting to work for me or assist me in my research. What they do not understand is that it is a labour of love, and I would relinquish no part of it at any price. I do not need help. I need time.'

At the end of the book, Louis also provides a list of books and plays read from 1930 to 1935 (and 1937). The tally is testament to the author's appetite for the written word:

1930 - 115
1931 - 120
1932 - 120
1933 - 105
1934 - 114
1935 - 73
1936  - 84

The lists include many books worth looking into, and I'm sure many will be added to my reading list.
I'll post my favourite quotes in separate entry because there's quite a few to jot down.


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