Lists, Miscellanea, Reviews

{Like This, Read That} Deadwood

Deadwood may be one of the finest television shows ever written. In my opinion – for whatever that’s worth – it certainly had the best dialogue of any show ever aired. It’s early cancellation was criminal (right behind Firefly). Ian McShane’s acting is sublime and Timothy Olyphant is not bad by any stretch of the imagination (though nowhere near as great as he is in Justified). The excessive violence, foul language fluency, and glorious Shakespearean-Western banter made this a show worth watching, but are there any books out there that capture Deadwood feel? Yes, I think there are. The Sisters Brothers comes the closest in overall feel, but Lonesome Dove captures the true Western nature.

Deadwood Recommendations

The Winter Family // Clifford Jackman. If Quentin Tarantino was a western….

The Son // Philip Meyer. Violent, but oh so good.

The Sisters Brothers // Patrick DeWitt. Witty, entertaining, and one of my favorites.

Three-Ten to Yuma and Other Stories // Elmore Leonard. 

Blood Meridian // Cormac McCarthy. An emotionally exhausting novel, but worth it.

The Good Lord Bird // James McBride. While a historical novel rather than a western, the dialogue (sometimes) captures a similar sense of humor.

Lonesome Dove // Larry McMurtry. I feel like the is the obvious option, I couldn’t not include it.

I know there must be other Deadwood fans out there. Would you read a book reminiscent of the show? I know the western genre doesn’t appeal to everyone, but these ones are good, I promise. If you haven’t seen it, get on that! You won’t regret it. 

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  • Cathy746books

    I’ve seen some of Deadwood and like that whole vibe. Out of your list, I have Lonesome Dove and The Sisters Brothers. Must try and get to them soon!

    • Rory O’Connor

      You should! (Not that I’m biased or anything…)

  • Susan W

    Loved Deadwood, and have read about half of those on your list (Sisters Brothers, Blood Meridian – one of my all time faves, The Son, and Good Lord Bird). I think you just made Lonesome Dove my next read. I keep hearing how great it is, but never get around to it. Your mention of it is the final straw.
    It funny you say some people don’t enjoy the western genre, and I would be quick to say that is me and yet… some of my favourites looking back would be classified as just that. I think westerns get a bad rap, or are at least the most misunderstood or misrepresented in our collective thoughts.

    • Rory O’Connor

      Lonesome Dove is just…long. Which isn’t a bad thing, it’s just such a commitment when you start (worth it, of course).

      I’m the same way with the western genre and I think it’s because when I think of westerns, I often think of Zane Grey and the like, which I don’t enjoy. A good literary story set in the west can be a very good thing.

  • Sarah (Sarah’s Book Shelves)

    I actually really liked Lonesome Dove…at least I did when I read it years and years ago! And, I’ve heard great things about The Son as well.

    • Rory O’Connor

      It’s brutal, but absolutely worth reading!

  • Bonnie

    Deadwood was so fantastic. I never actually watched all of them though. Need to be lazy and pull up HBO Go one weekend. I’ve only read Blood Meridian and while it was a doozy, it was worth the read. Already on my TBR is The Winter Family, Lonesome Dove and The Sisters Brothers (yes, still). I had NO idea Leonard wrote Three-Ten to Yuma.. how did I not know this? haha

    • Rory O’Connor

      It really was. It was such a shame that it was cancelled, but worth it if it means that Timothy Olyphant moved on to Justified.

  • The Great Catsby

    Man I loved half the books on this list, in particularly The Sisters Brothers. Never seen deadwood though, will have to check it out. Love your blog BTW.

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