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Larry McMurtry's Book Memoirs

Dr Alex Tang

Larry McMurtry, 2008, Books: a memoir, New York: Simon & Schuster

I can never resist a hardcover with the photograph of a well stocked bookshelf on its front. My idea of interior decoration is wall to wall bookshelves. Larry McMurtry is well known to many readers as the author of the famous novel, Lonesome Dove. A prolific writer, he has published 28 novels and many more screenplays including Brokeback Mountain.

What is not so well known is that he is a book collector and a bookseller. He has a personal collection of about twenty-eight thousand books, and owns a bookstore in Archer City, Texas which stocks nearly 400,000 used, rare, and collectible books.

This memoir is more about his memories of the book trade than of his own reading. It gives glimpses of his involvement first as a book scout and later in working in various bookstores until he owns his own few. This reminds me of bookseller Percy Muir's excellent autobiography, Minding My Own Business and Leona Rostenberg and Madeleine B. Stern's Old Books in the Old World where they wrote of their book buying and selling experiences.

It offers some insight in the book trade in California and Texas in the last two decades, and about some books and their eccentric readers or owners. Unfortunately, the writing was not well structured and came across as ramblings.  

 

|posted 9 September 2008|

               

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