Best Horse Book For Teenager 2022: A Lesson Of Love For Animal Lovers

You could say that Molly Gloss’s The Hearts of Horses is a powerful coming-of-age story because it follows 19-year-old Martha Lessen as she escapes a troubled home and rises to become a respected horse trainer among the ranchers and homesteaders of Oregon during World War I. The story takes place in Oregon. You could say that it is an epic Western because of its brutality, sweeping beauty, and honest attention to detail. You could also summarize it in the same way that Jane Kirkpatrick did and say that it is “truly one of the best books you’ll ever read.

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Best Horse Book

Fantastic book!!! – Hands down one of the best books You have ever read! This book made you laugh, cry, and just over all feel good. This needs to be made into a movie. Will most definitely re read this one!

You could say all of that, and you’d be right, but even if you did, you’d still be missing the single most important reason why you should read this book. The Hearts of Horses is a story about love that is at once uplifting and heartbreaking, comforting and emotionally taxing. The love of horses, the love of one’s family, and the love of one’s country all go hand in hand. A love so powerful that it can endure the suffering and difficulties of life, and even emerges from those experiences stronger than before. Love that endures even after the person or thing that you love the most has been taken away permanently. The Heart of Horses is the kind of book – and Molly Gloss is the kind of writer – that, as one of her characters says, “[her] hand, when it touched my shoulder just [went] right down into my heart to shake it awake.” This is the kind of book that The Heart of Horses truly is.

In this interview, Molly Gloss discusses how she came up with the idea for the book The Hearts of Horses, what she hopes readers will take away from the book, and the advice she gives to people who want to become writers.

A Conversation about The Hearts of Horses with Molly Gloss

Why did you choose to write the book titled “The Hearts of Horses”? How much longer did it take you to finish it?

Since I first heard about girls and young women who were breaking horses in the early decades of the twentieth century, I’ve had this book in mind for approximately fifteen years. However, the idea was just a few sentences in a notebook until I happened to read a description of a “circle ride,” which some old-time horse breakers used to finish their horses. Since then, the idea has grown into a full-fledged book. The circle is such a perfect device for use in storytelling, and I immediately saw how it would knit together Martha’s story with the stories of the farmers and ranchers for whom she breaks horses. From that point on, the actual writing process took approximately four years.

When you started writing “The Hearts of Horses,” did you have any specific objectives in mind that you wanted to accomplish?

My husband passed away right around the time that my most recent book, Wild Life, was released, and as a result, I was unable to do much, if any, writing for the next three years. When I first started working on The Hearts of Horses, my intention was to write a book that would be an homage to him. Sometimes I wanted to do this in a way that would be obvious to anyone who knew me or Ed, and other times I wanted to do it in a way that no one else would ever guess or know. In addition to that, I wanted to write a story that I was positive he would enjoy reading. That objective kept me going through the first few challenging months of writing, when I was still having trouble getting back into the swing of things, so to speak.

Throughout the course of your novel, The Hearts of Horses, your main character, Martha Lessen, as well as a number of other characters read works by contemporary authors. These works range from Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and Zane Grey’s Lone Star Ranger to the essays of Michel de Montaigne and Walt Whitman. I’m curious as to why each of your characters has their very own book to read.

This is something that can be found in the majority of my books’ plots. I frequently have more than one reason for doing whatever it is that I’m doing. The most straightforward reason is that I want all of my characters to be readers, just like I used to be. And I’m writing about a time when the majority of people were readers (there was no TV! there was no internet!) – a time when even people with a relatively low level of education were at least reading dime novels and the newspaper. And the things that people read can provide insight into facets of their personalities. Tom Kandel, for example, is a reflective and even philosophical man; in his writing, he cites works by Walt Whitman and Michel de Montaigne. Walter Irwin is a college man from the east coast who is reading a history of the French monarchy. He is not particularly interested in philosophy or the humanities; instead, he is reading about the French monarchy. Louise Bliss is an intelligent woman who, in a previous life, may have attended college and worked as a teacher, a librarian, or a writer. Because of her voracious reading habits, she is able to get her hands on just about anything. Naturally, Martha Lessen enjoys reading westerns as well as any other kind of book that is related to horses. It’s really impossible to disentangle the western myth from the actual history of the west because the two are too tightly bound with one another. In her case, I also wanted to make an indirect comment about how the novels of Zane Grey and other western writers had created such a powerful cowboy mythology that even people living in the West and living a ranching life were influenced by those myths, and tried to live up to them.

What kinds of historical research did you conduct in order to accurately ground the book in its time period?

It was mostly a matter of brushing up on what I already knew because I had done quite a bit of research and writing about the homesteading movement that occurred in the twentieth century and its effect on the landscape of the western United States several years ago. Reading novels published around 1917 and memoirs about ranching in the West during the First World War was the beginning of my serious investigation into the topic for the book. I’ve found that novels, in particular, are a good source of period details, and the fact that they’re written in the syntax and vernacular of the times helps me along with my narrative voice. Novels can be found online or in libraries. And of course, I also did a lot of research on the horse-breaking methods of the time, as well as the effects of World War I, particularly on horses; the social conditions in the small towns and on the ranches of the Western United States during the war; and the cancer treatments available in the 1910s.

I also spent a couple of weeks on a large working cattle ranch in Idaho called the Harris family ranch. It was there that I got reacquainted with horses after a twenty-year hiatus, and it was there that I was able to soak up a lot of information and stories about ranching and horse breaking, some of which made it into the novel. I got reacquainted with horses because I had a twenty-year hiatus from horseback riding. After that, I went to a couple of mustang adoptions held by the BLM (Bureau of Land Management) and watched Lesley Neuman give demonstrations on how to “start” a wild horse.

Within an hour, Lesley is able to get a horse that is as untamable as a deer and is literally climbing the corral rails to accept a first touch. After that, she is able to halter the horse, lead it, and even get it to lift its feet all through the use of body language. Later, with Lesley guiding me from the corral rails, I was able to have this incredible experience on my own, which was something I wanted not only for the purposes of research but also for my own sense of pure personal satisfaction.

How challenging was it to avoid romanticizing the bygone era while still evoking it in your writing?

I, like Martha in my book, am a sucker for the cowboy myth and its romantic images, such as riding across unfenced prairies, camping under the Milky Way, waking up to find deer grazing with your horses, and so on. In fact, people everywhere in the world are sucker for the cowboy myth and its romantic images. And I spent my childhood reading books by Zane Grey and the rest of that crowd, which were about lone heroes who tried to give up their guns but ultimately realized that violence was the only way to save the town from the bad guys. A significant portion of my life has been devoted to investigating that mythology and the ways in which it has molded and influenced American culture. This investigation has required me to give careful consideration to the contradictions and ambivalences that are inherent in the western movement and to investigate the shadowy aspects of the myth. In all of my work, I make it a point to constantly strive to retell that story, to find a central place in it for women, to retell it as a narrative of community, and to shape it around the realities of the historical West, realities that are occasionally darker but always more complicated and, as a result, more interesting—and more human—than the stories that we typically hear. I don’t know if I’m always successful, but I make sure to give it my best shot every time.

If you decided to include issues that have contemporary echoes and implications in The Hearts of Horses, did you make that decision at the beginning of the writing process, or did those issues become a part of the story organically?

When I write about the West, I’m always trying to find a central place for women — women who own their own lives and their own livelihoods — and at the same time, and surely not at odds, I’m always returning again and again to the question of loneliness, of what it is to be loved, or unloved, or to feel so, and the questions of marriage and children, their place and meaning in a woman’s life. This is something that I do when I write about the West. When writing about women, whether it be women living today or women living a hundred years ago, these questions always seem to come up naturally, at least in my opinion.

My ignorance led me to believe that the war would not be such a significant factor in the affairs of the modern world. The year 1917 was chosen as the setting for the novel because I was aware of the fact that many ranch jobs had been taken over by women after the young men had been sent off to fight in Europe; it was primarily a pragmatic consideration. And I anticipated that it would serve as an intriguing backdrop to the activities that were taking place on the ranches. But when I dug deeper into the research, I was shocked to find so many specific contemporary echoes, such as people referring to sauerkraut as “liberty cabbage” and treating anyone who spoke German or had a German surname with suspicion; labeling antiwar protesters as unpatriotic; and enacting espionage laws that eroded civil rights during those years. I was stunned to find so many specific contemporary echoes. I can’t say that I’m pleased with all of the parallels, but I can say that they add a layer of relevance to the novel that I hadn’t anticipated.

What do you think is the single most important piece of advice that you can give to people who want to become writers?

Continue to write. Write on a daily basis. Although there is no real way to teach someone how to write well, it is something that can be learned, and the primary way in which it is learned is through the practice of writing on a daily basis. There are a lot of things that can prevent us from writing, including our responsibilities to our families and our finances, as well as all of the daily distractions that we face. When you first start submitting your work to publishing houses, you will almost certainly face discouragement and rejection, which can go on for a very long time. Therefore, you need to find a way to incorporate writing into your life, and then you need to discover the perseverance, the heart, and the will to continue doing so. In my experience, the most promising writers I’ve encountered in workshops are not always the ones who go on to publish their work. Those who have kept writing are the ones who have succeeded.

What do you hope the people who read The Hearts of Horses will be thinking and feeling when they have finished the book?

I have high hopes that after reading the final lines, they will ponder what Martha meant to convey with those words, and that they will continue to do so even after the book has been put away. I have high hopes that they will be filled with joy at the prospect of saying goodbye to the people they have now come to know and even love, but also with regret at the thought of having to leave them behind. However, isn’t it true that this is one of the things that makes reading a novel so enjoyable? You can always open the book back up to the first page and find those people waiting for you right there on the first page.

Molly Gloss, who currently resides in Portland, is an Oregon native of the fourth generation. In addition to being a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award, her novel “The Jump-Off Creek” was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for American Fiction. This award recognizes excellence in American fiction. Both the New York Times Notable Book list and the PEN Center West Fiction Prize were bestowed upon The Dazzle of Day for its outstanding literary merit. Wild Life was selected as the book for “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” in 2002, in addition to being the recipient of the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Molly was one of the lucky recipients of a Whiting Writers Award in the year 1996.

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✅ Best Novel The Jump-Off Creek By Molly Gloss

Jump-Off Creek by Molly Gloss – This is a story of a middle-aged woman who comes alone to the secluded mountain area of northern Oregon near Snake River in 1890’s, alone with a deed for a piece of property and house.. Through stalwart determination she goes about making a life, starting with improving the shack she bought. She meets Tim Whiteaker who becomes a friend, helpful and caring. Other main characters are an Indian named Blue Odell, Tim’s partner; and also gets acquainted with two men who kill wolves and cause trouble, Danny Turnbow and Harley Osgood. Slowly she gets to know the mountain people around her, and makes a woman friend. But she always remains reserved, almost formal in her relationships. The book describes shoot-outs and thievery, horse sense and dog loyalty, acts of hospitality, and generosity—giving the reader a real sense of this hard life in a frontier area.

Molly Gloss, who currently resides in Portland, is an Oregon native of the fourth generation. In addition to being a winner of the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Award and the Oregon Book Award, her novel “The Jump-Off Creek” was also a finalist for the PEN/Faulkner Award for American Fiction. This award recognizes excellence in American fiction. Both the New York Times Notable Book list and the PEN Center West Fiction Prize were bestowed upon The Dazzle of Day for its outstanding literary merit. Wild Life was selected as the book for “If All Seattle Read the Same Book” in 2002, in addition to being the recipient of the James Tiptree Jr. Award. Molly was one of the lucky recipients of a Whiting Writers Award in the year 1996.

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