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Books: A Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, July 8, 2008
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Amazon Best of the Month, July 2008: It wasn't enough for Pulitzer Prize-winning author Larry McMurtry to become one of the most prolific, bestselling, and beloved of American writers. Besides writing nearly forty books, including the Pultizer Prize-winning novel Lonesome Dove, he has emerged as one this nation's greatest bookmen. In Books: A Memoir, McMurtry shares with readers his lifelong passion and dogged pursuit of books. In short, gem-like chapters, he paints a fascinating picture of the landscape of American book culture and book selling over a 50-year period. The story is as dusty, musty and crusty as any of McMurtry's fictionalized Westerns, and filled with characters who seem like they stepped out of central casting. Whether you love McMurtry, books, bookstores or a combination thereof, you'll find something to love in Books: A Memoir. Settle in with a cuppa coffee and let McMurtry kindle your passion for physical books. --Lauren Nemroff
From Bookmarks Magazine
Despite McMurtry’s well-deserved reputation as a writer, including a Pulitzer Prize and more than a handful of best sellers, critics are unsure about his latest effort. They cite it as an uneven volume that glosses over some important characters and anecdotes (or, conversely, delves a bit too much into the details of book collecting) and doesn’t advance its purported mission of offering a “memoir” of the reticent author’s life in books. Some of the vignettes seem to have been dashed off almost as an afterthought, though McMurtry’s style can be an acquired taste. Still, even if Books doesn’t transcend its limited subject matter and won’t win over many readers not already familiar with McMurtry’s story, devotees will enjoy digging alongside the bookman, thrilling to the next great discovery.
Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.
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Fans of McMurtry will likely enjoy his voice and stories, but unless you're a book buyer/book seller/fine books collector, there's little here to interest. I wearied a bit of the (unimpressive, as I'm apparently not in tune with fine book collecting) name-dropping. Lists of stock, blocks of purchase, books, bookstores purchased from were dull.
There were a few mentions and gems among the essays here, and the second half gets a little better than the first as he begins to talk about more general books, rather than collector's interests (such as inscriptions, etc. that make books more or less valuable). But this is easily skipable. I'm glad it only took me a few hours to complete, because it would not have been worth any more time.
I give it 4 stars only because of its formatting. McMurtry has a habit of rambling that can sometimes be taxing to follow. However, this is somewhat remedied by his short chapters, which are convinient for the reader on the go. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Mr. McMurtry and myself have shared a lot of the same stomping grounds...as I spent much of my life in Ft. Worth (and 6 yrs in Lubbock), in Texas terms, a hop skip and jump from his hometown and bookcity of Archer City. Also I spent a couple of years in Alexandria, VA at the same time Larry was starting his bookshop in Georgetown, MD...again just a few miles from where I was at the same time. As a lover of books, collector of books and long time student of books, I completely enjoyed this writing.
Thanks Mr. McMurtry...thanks a LOT! I absorbed it all and will place the book on a special spot in my shelves, beside books by John Graves, A.C. Greene, J. Frank Dobie, and Ben K. Green.
Most recent customer reviews
Larry McMurtry tells us in this first volume of his trilogy of memoirs, “Writing is my vocation. Book scouting is my passion.Read more