Shane- a recap

“He rode into our valley in the summer of ’89… ‘Call me Shane,’ he said.”

As we gathered round a table in Paradise on Monday night, the general consensus of our little group was that while we don’t generally like westerns- and we probably aren’t going to start reading westerns- we liked this novel and would recommend it to our friends. Here’s what we had to say about it:

“It’s the best gun-slinging book I’ve ever read!”

“It puts me in a tombstone state of mind.”

“THE western to read. It’s not the gun-slinging, guy’s book I thought it was.”

“Gateway to the Westerns: a good book to read to get you into westerns.”

“I was surprised by the good story line. I’m not into westerns, but I recommend this one.”

“There are elements of a typical western, but the point of view & descriptions go deeper.”

I think Shane was a perfect pick for our book club. We want to challenge our perspectives and see the world through someone else’s eyes all through the reading of good literature. This little book gave us the opportunity to watch as little Bob’s family and town were rocked by the arrival of a mysterious stranger. Besides being a wonderfully entertaining story, the book gave us a good picture of life in the West, and left us all craving biscuits and a bottle of cherry soda pop.

I loved that the author, Jack Schaefer, was really descriptive at times, but he still left much to the imagination. We were full of theories on Shane’s past. Who was he really? What event haunted him as he rode from town to town? It was fun to guess, and our discussion was as hearty as Marian’s deep dish apple pie.


See, the book suited everyone’s tastes 🙂


Just like Shane, it is time now to move on. Join us next month for Cry, the Beloved Country.

“He was the man who rode into our little valley out of the heart of the great glowing West and when his work was done rode back whence he had come and he was Shane.”


Shane Discussion Questions

Sorry for a bit of a delay getting these to you. Here are a few questions to get your wheels turning for our Monday night meeting…

According to this book what is a real man? Both Joe and Shane are heros to Bob; how are they different?

What is Shane’s role in Bob’s development as a man?

How is Shane dangerous, but not dangers to Bob and his family?

Why does Shane allow Chris to make fun of him when they meet at the bar?

What prompts Chris’s change of heart at the end of the book?

How would you define the relationship between Marian and Shane?

How do you think Joe would have handled the situation with Fletcher if Shane had not come along?

As you read through the book, what are the signs that this is a Christ-type, both general and specific? For example: General would mean his helping quality and integrity. Specific would mean that he helped Joe eradicate the stump (the symbol of evil that Joe could not get rid of by himself).

Why does Shane say Miram’s pie is the best stump he’s ever tasted?

Think about the way the story is told—the viewpoint of both the adult Bob looking back on his childhood interspersed with the child’s point of view? What difference does this make to the telling of the story? Why is this a good choice of viewpoint?

How old do you think Bob was while Shane stayed with them?

How is the woman character treated in this book compared to other westerns you have read or seen on film?

How does Jack Schaefer build tension in the book?

What does the fence post Shane put in that Joe can’t move symbolize?

Where do you think Shane came from? and where is he going?

For such a small, short book Shane is packed full of great things to discuss!

Jack Schaefer


He just looks kind of cute.  A story teller.  A man ready to take you out on a tour of his ranch.  And he didn’t give a hoot if you had never been on a horse before . . . he’d gently teach you without you knowing it.


Except he didn’t own a ranch.  Maybe a cactus towards the end of his life.  Heck, I don’t know if he had ever ridden a horse – he moved west late in life.

Not that you have to live in Colorado to ride a horse or anything. 

It actually kind of looks like he and his photographer have some sort of joke going on, or there is something laughable happening in the background that we aren’t privy to.

Maybe his horse just pooped on the photographers foot. 

That would be kind of funny.

From what I can tell, he wrote 26 novels, with Shane being his first and arguably his best. 

Want to know what he wanted to write for his master’s thesis at Columbia University?  The development of motion picture.  It got denied.  Jack got angry.  He left and went to work at United Press.

Born in 1907 in Ohio to an attorney dad and a mom who was probably a mom, he wrote western novels without ever traveling west until 14 years AFTER his writing career took off.  He had four biological children that he helped create and three step-children.  He and his second wife settled in SantĂ© Fe, New Mexico.

After his last western novel, Mavericks, he turned to nature and became a conversationalist. 

And then he died of a heart failure in 1991.

P.S. If you haven’t read the book . . . it really is good.  But wouldn’t you agree there is something underneath  the relationship between Shane and Mariane?

Tracking Down Shane

My father-in-law has always been a huge fan of Westerns, especially Western novels. Every time we stay at my in-laws’ house, I am amazed by the large bookcase that houses his collection of Westerns (along with his J.R.R. Tolkien novels). Most of his books are by Louis L’Amour, but there are a few other authors in the mix as well, so I was hoping I might be able to borrow a copy of Shane by Jack Shaefer for our next book club meeting.

His response when I asked about it, “No, I don’t have a copy of Shane. Why don’t I have a copy of Shane?” He had the movie, but not of the book. So we left from that trip without being able to borrow a copy, but we had an idea for his Father’s Day present.

My father-in-law considers Shane to be the greatest Western movie ever made (and he knows his Westerns), and in many circles, Shane is also regarded as the greatest Western novel ever written.

“He rode into our valley in the summer of ’89, a slim man, dressed in black. ‘Call me Shane,’ he said. He never told us more.”

When he opened his Father’s Day present and saw the copy of Shane, my father-in-law was ecstatic and repeated his exclamations about how the movie is the greatest Western ever made. Seeing his joy made me even more excited to read this month’s book.

I’m still trying to track down my copy. Looks like I might have to place an Amazon order. Borders only had one copy when we checked, and that book was designated to become a much appreciated Father’s Day gift.

Have you gotten your copy of Shane yet? Have you started reading it? What are your impressions of it so far?

Anne of Green Gables

I don’t know about you, but Matthew Cuthbert might be my favorite character of this book. Without having all the parental responsibilities he gets to be a friend and like a grandparent to Anne! What a fun relationship to have with this imaginative red haired girl! I love her tendency to give new dramatic names to everything. Such a great warm-weather book to read outside!

We are meeting to talk more about Anne and her adventures Monday May 17th. We will be back at Paradise Bakery and Cafe (at the Hamilton Town Center Mall) at 7:00pm.

If you want to be ahead of the game our June book is The Sunny Side: Short Stories and Poems by Proper Grown-Ups by AA Milne. Check out Amazon… they are anywhere from $5 to a few cents in the new/used section!

June: The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne / Monday June 21st @ 7:00pm

July: Shane by Jack Schaefer/ Monday July 19th @ 7:00pm

April recap. May revealed.

April recap.

good discussion.

tea for everyone.

2 new book clubbers.

May revealed. Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

door prize. happy winner!

good times had by all!

Because I was not able to make it to this meeting I would LOVE to hear from everyone what you thought of A Tale of Two Cities! Leave a comment and let me know how the discussion went… and if you weren’t able to make it like me leave a comment with what you thought too!

________future info________

: Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery / Monday May 17th @ 7:00pm

June: The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne / Monday June 21st

July: Shane by Jack Schaefer / Monday July 19th

April 17th

Our April meeting is just around the corner and is going to be a fun one!

First of all, it’s at Tea’s Me Cafe!
Second of all, we’ll be revealing May’s book!
Third of all, someone in attendance will win a copy of May’s book!

Tea’s Me has a great lunch menu (so come hungry!) and a HUGE selection of tea…. even if you think you don’t like tea, I’m betting they can find something you do like!

Please email me if you’ll be joining us on April 17th. Tea’s Me is not a big place and with the size of our group we’ll need to make a reservation. ([email protected])

Also, when you email me let me know if you’d like to carpool. Janet will be heading up that arrangement since I will not be able to attend. (*sniff*) I’ll pass that info on to her and she’ll contact everyone and figure out the details of all that.

_____the facts_____

When: Saturday April 17th @11:00
Where: Tea’s Me Cafe
What book: A Tale of Two Cities
Why: lunch, tea, discussion.

_____future info_____

: a surprise to be revealed at April’s meeting / Monday May 17th

June: The Sunny Side by A.A. Milne / Monday June 21st

July: Shane by Jack Schaefer / Monday July 19th