“For one who reads, there is no limit to the number of lives that may be lived, for fiction, biography, and history offer an inexhaustible number of lives in many parts of the world, in all periods of time.” – Louis L'Amour
Born in North Dakota on this date in 1908, L’Amour became one of the great writers of Westerns and Historical Fiction, penning well over 100 books, achieving worldwide popularity, and once called “the most interesting man in the world” by actor John Wayne, who often portrayed characters L’Amour had created.
L’Amour died in 1988 but lives on through his books, most of which have achieved multiple printings. He said he became a writer by first becoming a reader early in life, something he cherished as he grew up moving around the country with his family. During his teenage and young adult years, he lived throughout the West and Southwest, trying many different jobs and meeting hundreds of people who would become “character studies” for his books.
While he “dabbled” in writing early, he didn’t approach it seriously until the 1950s, but then he became widely and wildly successful. He also was one of the pioneers in audio books, noting that he cherished the oral tradition of storytelling and wrote his books “to be read aloud.” And, he always found time to read.
“Often I hear people say they do not have time to read,” he once noted. “That's absolute nonsense. In the one year during which I kept that kind of record, I read twenty-five books while waiting for people. In offices, applying for jobs, waiting to see a dentist, waiting in a restaurant for friends, many such places. You always have time to read.”
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