Books

Books

A Memoir

Book - 2008
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In a prolific life of singular literary achievement, Larry McMurtry has succeeded in a variety of genres: in coming-of-age novels likeThe Last Picture Show; in collections of essays likeIn a Narrow Grave; and in the reinvention of the Western on a grand scale in his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel,Lonesome Dove. Now, inBooks: A Memoir, McMurtry writes about his endless passion for books: as a boy growing up in a largely "bookless" world; as a young man devouring the vastness of literature with astonishing energy; as a fledgling writer and family man; and above all, as one of America's most prominent bookmen. He takes us on his journey to becoming an astute, adventurous book scout and collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible editions in Georgetown, Houston, and finally, in his previously "bookless" hometown of Archer City, Texas. In this work of extraordinary charm, grace, and good humor, McMurtry recounts his life as both a reader and a writer, how the countless books he has read worked to form his literary tastes, while giving us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare volumes.Books: A Memoiris like the best kind of diary -- full of McMurtry's wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, engaging gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and the author himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like McMurtry, erudite, life loving, and filled with excellent stories. It is a book to be savored and enjoyed again and again.
Publisher: New York, NY : S&S : 2008
ISBN: 9781416583349
Branch Call Number: 813 M229b
Characteristics: 259p

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vickiz
Jan 09, 2010

This is the 72nd of a series of titles selected by writer Yann Martel to provide to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, to encourage an appreciation of the arts and literature in particular in the PM, and to also help Harper with his stillness and thoughtfulness. Martel has regularly sent books from a wide range of literary traditions to Harper. Martel has devoted a Web site to the reading list and his kind, considered and often poignant covering letters with each volume. (All of his letters can be read at http://www.whatisstephenharperreading.ca/. They are also now in printed form, in a book entitled, not surprisingly, What is Stephen Harper Reading? )

Martel's thoughtful persistence in this quest, started in April 2007, is both heartwrenching and highly commendable. He has never received a direct acknowledgement from Harper, and only some fairly form-letter responses from Harper's staff. He has also received a response from Industry Minister Tony Clement, but it wasn't directly related to any of Martel's book selections.

As well as being a successful novelist and screenwriter, Larry McMurtry has a personal book library of close to 30,000 books, and owns several bookstores. Books: a memoir is his ode to a life in books on so many levels. You would think and hope that a book like this could capture Harper's interest on one level or another. With Parliament on hold for an overly extended period, one hopes he might have time to finally dip into some of Martel's suggestions.

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