As an avid reader from childhood (thanks Dad!), when a friend asked me to join her book club a couple of years ago, I jumped at the chance. It was during a particularly challenging period in my life, and the opportunity to have regularly scheduled adult time for me was pretty appealing. Sure we joke about it being more of a drinking club for literate ladies, but at the end of the day, we are still reading and discussing books so it can’t be all bad!
When I was younger, I had to rely on others to tip me off to a new horse book or movie. Our family was friends with the local video rental store owner, who always called when he got a new horse movie in. For reading, I was usually limited to what I could scavenge from the school library or “Book Bus” that visited from the local public library. Imagine my disgust to find (as a kid) that every book with a horse on the cover was not always a horse book. Damn you Harlequin Romance!
What’s great about “horse fiction” as it’s now searchably known, is that more often than not, the books work well for most ages of readers. Thanks to website like www.goodreads.com, it’s easy to find lists of titles to placate your horse fiction tooth.
You can view a great list here to see what you’ve read and what you need to add to your waiting list: https://www.goodreads.com/shelf/show/horse-fiction
Here are a few that I’ve crossed off that list…
Riders, by Jilly Cooper
Jilly has actually authored a few books in the horse fiction genre about different disciplines. They’re the perfect combination of good horse writing, and “smut” as Grandma used to call it. A view into the dirty underbelly of the different horse circuits and what’s really going on behind closed trailer doors.
The Horse Whisperer, by Nicholas Evans
Novel loosely-based on the actual “Horse Whisperer,” Buck Brannaman and stories of his experiences. It was adapted for film in 1998 by Robert Redford who played the character “Tom Booker.” As in most film adaptations, I usually feel it disappoints a little, but (*spoiler alert for the last few people who haven’t read or watched) the accident scene is heart-stopping. I suspect the human mind protects itself a bit when reading so you can’t fully imagine what it might have looked like, until you see it in the movie. You’ll fast forward past that scene if you watch it again.
Horse Play, by Judy Renee Singer
Cheeky and fun. This was a light, easy read. Not the best book I’ve ever picked up, but not a total waste of time. Find a cheap, used copy and kill a couple of hours on a rainy day.
The Mystery of Pony Hollow, by Lynn Hall
Admittedly this is one from memory, somewhere in later Elementary school I believe, but still an enjoyable story. More supernatural than mystery, and a little emotional if you connect with characters like I do. I’d forgotten about it until I started my search, then found a whole chat thread of others like me who would read it again as an adult.
Riding Lessons and Flying Changes, by Sara Gruen
The author of Water for Elephants was reaching a bit to carry the story in these. It’s rare for me to just give up on a book, so I compelled myself to get through these, but it wasn’t without it’s challenges. The characters, for me, were too much. Whiny, self-victimizing, making little to no effort to improve their situations. I don’t have time for that. Put on your big girl breeches and get on with your life already!
I’m always looking for recommendations, what have you read that you connected with, or surprised you by how good it was?