Friday, October 17, 2008

Living the dream

I've always considered Larry McMurtry to be a prolific writer of Texan stories. I had no idea he is a former book scout and a bookstore owner. His Books: A Memoir is a peculiar but entertaining book that bibliophiles will enjoy. The book tells about McMurtry's experiences with books starting as a boy where a cousin off to war dropped off a box of books that began a literary career. Each very short (1-3 page) chapter tells another anecodote or development involving the book trade, types of books, and bookstores.

The bookstore section was particularly poignant for me. He mentioned the 70s as a great die-off period for bookstores and Holmes Books of Oakland as the last of a generation. I was living in Oakland at the time and was just getting to know the store when it closed. I'm spoiled in Portland with Powells and a few other good secondhand shops, but it is sad to think of the second shop as a dinosaur. The internet is all well and good, but there is nothing like spending an hour or two looking for a treasure

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