Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Literary Life: A Second Memoir Hardcover – Deckle Edge, December 8, 2009
|New from||Used from|
"Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002)" by David Sedaris
In one of the most anticipated books of 2017, David Sedaris tells a story that is, literally, a lifetime in the making. Pre-order today
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
From Publishers Weekly
In this, the second of three planned memoirs, McMurtry takes a laconic look back over a life in letters that now includes some 40 books and an equal number of screenplays. Best known for the popular movies made from his novels, including Terms of Endearment and The Last Picture Show, McMurtry also co-wrote the screenplay for Brokeback Mountain and served two terms as the president of American PEN. This makes for a lot of literary living, and McMurtry reminisces about interactions with such luminaries as Norman Mailer, Susan Sontag, and John Updike, as well as lesser-known figures like Michael Korda and Grover Lewis. Throughout his career, McMurtry has mostly written about his native Texas and the American West, and the early chapters provide a fascinating look into the artistic development of smalltown boy into writer during the 1950s and 1960s. Further on, the book declines into a series of hit-and-miss literary anecdotes, with McMurtry's side business as a bookseller providing many of the highlights. McMurtry's understated style is charming and deceptively sophisticated, although at times it is so laconic as to lack a pulse. Still, the old master proves entertaining. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
McMurtry is best known as a Pulitzer Prize–winning novelist, but he is also a fine memoirist. Here, in his follow-up to the acclaimed Books (2008), McMurtry continues to chronicle his lifelong love affair with the printed word, which includes his own disappointments and triumphs as a writer. He grew up on a ranch outside Archer City, Texas, where he learned to love reading but showed no particular skill or interest in writing as a career. He stumbled badly as an undergraduate at Rice but seemed to find himself and his writing voice as he earned a BA from North Texas State and then returned to Rice to earn an MA. McMurtry offers wonderful and often surprising insights into the process of creative writing; for example, he asserts that writing a novel is far easier than writing a short story. Once McMurtry entered the fray as a professional writer, his reactions to his advancement and praise may seem bizarre, even to him. He also provides interesting views concerning the work of fellow writers, including Jack Kerouac and Ken Kesey. This is an enjoyable and revealing look at the thoughts and career of a great writer. --Jay Freeman
You may have noticed that some of our books are identified as "deckle edge" in the title. Deckle edge books are bound with pages that are made to resemble handmade paper by applying a frayed texture to the edges. Deckle edge is an ornamental feature designed to set certain titles apart from books with machine-cut pages. See a larger image.
If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support?
Top Customer Reviews
Larry McMurtry's second memoir titled Literary Life is a personal chronicle of his development as a writer, including mention of many of his books, his writing career, his struggles, and his successes. In the first installment, which he claims will total three books although I suspect and hope four will occur, McMurtry discusses his life as a book collector and book scout, culminating in a vast personal collection as well as the mecca of used book stores in Archer City, Texas called Booked Up. Literary Life, without excluding the world of book scouting, provides a glimpse into the personal angst and joys of a professional and immensely successful writer.
A career that has included screenplays, essays, historical research, western fiction, modern fiction, an Oscar, and a Pulitzer prize is examined in a type of autobiographical account that is at various times touching, relaxing, daunting, entertaining, informative, and always honest. A heart-felt balance between humility and hints of pride shine forth throughout the pages as McMurtry carefully presents his life as a writer. Acknowledging some great fortune in his career but also mentioning his failings and insecurity in various sectors (a nice piece on his time as President of PEN American Center), and without even a hint of imperiousness, Literary Life explores the amazing career of one our most successful living American authors.
The classic prose of Larry McMurtry with its smooth yet non-rhetorical language finds fruition in personal opinions and facts on other writers and books. Obviously uncomfortable talking about himself, he continually moves forward in wanting to discuss writers, books, essays, magazines, and reviews. This makes for a charming and vastly informative book that leaves the reader enlightened, refreshed, and curious about books. Early in the book, McMurtry claims not to be a scholar, yet I know many "scholars" who are not anywhere near the level of scholarship of Larry McMurtry.
Rarely can a writer achieve excellence in the fields of fiction and non-fiction, but in Larry McMurtry's case, he has done just that. While I tend to enjoy his non-fiction a little bit more due to its authentic and capsulized honesty, it is in his fiction where his creativity finds its biggest outlet. This is a highly recommended book and fans of McMurtry will again be satisfied. We are anticipating the next installment of Memoirs which promises to be about Hollywood.
I loved the book to the point that I have read all of his other bios now and almost everything he's written...buy this book and enjoy the social history part of it--American mid-century and onwards towards the millenium...
He has created many wonderful novels, a good number of which have been turned into great movies including, Last Picture Show, Hud, Terms of Endearment and Lonesome Dove.
Lately he has turned his attention to nonfiction, primarily memoirs about the book-collecting business.
His latest, "Literary Life," is a moving but sad reminder that book collectors and book readers seem destined to follow the cowboy into history and legend.