McMurtry writes about his life as a boy growing up in a largely bookless world; as a young man devouring the world of literature; as a fledgling writer and family man; and as one of America's most prominent "bookmen", becoming the astute and adventurous collector who would eventually open stores of rare and collectible books in Georgetown, Houston, and his hometown of Archer, Texas.
In Books: A Memoir, McMurtry gives us a lively look at the eccentrics who collect, sell, or simply lust after rare books. Books is like the best kind of diary - full of wonderful anecdotes, amazing characters, great gossip, and shrewd observations about authors, book people, literature, and himself. At once chatty, revealing, and deeply satisfying, Books is, like its author, erudite, life-loving, and full of great stories.
©2008 Larry McMurtry; (P)2008 Tantor
"A pleasant amble in Bookland and a treat for the bookishly inclined, as well as for McMurtry buffs." (Kirkus)
A longtime fan, I expected this book to explore Lsrry McMurtry's views on literature and how he came to be a novelist. The Kirkus snippet makes it sound as if it will be, as does most of the Product Description.
No, it's much more about how McMurtry came to be a rare book collector and seller and about the people and minutae of the rare-book world. He even omits information about his stint in a Stanford program because, he says, he wrote about it elsewhere. What good does that do the reader of THIS book?
If you don't care about rare books (I don't) this book is quickly a bore.
I don't know enough about McMurtry to be a fan and I absolutely loved this book. If you love knowing about the history of books and how good booksellers find, evaluate, and place good books, listen to this. Even without know all the characters and all the places, this was engaging and fascinating.
Larry McMurtry shows readers a different side of his literary talent in "Books: A Memoir." The book's chapters discuss topics related to current American book culture, his passion for reading and books, and the characters who fill the industry. He is, perhaps, most interesting when he relates personal stories related to his adventures with books - their collection and sale.
I came to this book as an avid reader of and listener to books. I was hoping to become involved in the life of a fellow reader and bibliophile. Unfortunately, this book is really a series of anecdotes and short tales - well told for sure - but not satisfying to me. It may not be fair, but the book seemed to ramble. Those with a more narrow interest will, no doubt, find the book wonderful. Certainly, fans of McMurtry who want to learn about their favorite author will get a different picture than expected.
I thought this book would be about the books that have influenced Larry McMurtry's writing but it's essentially an account of the collecting, selling and scouting of first editions and other specialist books. There is virtually nothing about McMurtry's life or literary inspiration. If you are a book collector, you'll love this. But if you hope for insight into McMurtry's life and writing, especially his Westerns, you'll be deeply disappointed.
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