Author Topic: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry  (Read 3803 times)

Offline Ellemeno

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,367
Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« on: July 27, 2008, 12:27:55 pm »
A thread for all things Larry McMurtry, who wrote the screenplay for the film Brokeback Mountain with Diana Ossana.



Offline Ellemeno

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,367
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2008, 12:28:53 pm »
From today's New York Times Sunday Book Review:

Shelf-Possessed

Mark Graham for The New York Times


Just browsing: Inside Booked Up, Larry McMurtry’s store in Archer City, Tex.


By JAMES CAMPBELL
Published: July 27, 2008

To a common reader, the world of book dealers revolves around a mystery: how can they bear to let their prized objects go? Larry McMurtry entered the business with serious intent around 1960 when he was offered five excellent collections of modern literature “for a little over $100 a collection.” The writers in question were Ernest Hemingway, William Faulkner, Sinclair Lewis, Edwin Arlington Robinson and John Steinbeck. The volumes lacked Hemingway’s first book, “Three Stories and Ten Poems,” published in Paris in 1923 by Contact Editions, and similarly rare items by Faulkner and Lewis, “but all the other books were there, and they were there in exceptional condition.” Scarcely had he had time to enjoy his good fortune — the collections presumably included not only “In Our Time” but also Faulkner’s sub-Joycean caper, “Mosquitoes” — than McMurtry sold the collection to Rice University for $1,000, yielding a profit of almost 70 percent, which, as he says in a related context, “was not to be sneezed at, in those days or these days either.”


'Books: A Memoir,' by Larry McMurtry: Wrote 28; Accumulated Many More (July 11, 2008)
259 pp. Simon & Schuster. $24.



The money made from book dealing went back into the business; for everyday expenses, McMurtry had his novels (he has now written 28, including several that have been made into movies) and screenwriting (among others, he co-wrote the script of “Brokeback Mountain”). Once initiated into the daily intrigues of scouting, buying and selling, however, he found that mere writing was “no longer exactly a passion.” It was not so much the prospect of making several hundred dollars in an afternoon that thrilled him as a book dealer, but something that the lay person might find hard to grasp. “To gild the lily a bit,” he writes about his handling of modern first editions, “I called myself Dust Bowl Books and issued a leaflet,” mimeographed on the copier of Rice University’s English department, where he was a graduate student. McMurtry has since reacquired and resold many of the titles from the sale, but “that leaflet is now more rare than any of the books it describes.”

By the mid-1970s, not long after the release of the film “The Last Picture Show,” based on his novel, McMurtry considered himself “essentially a bookseller.” As “Books: A Memoir” makes clear, he knows a great deal about books of all kinds, from the “double elephant folio edition” of Audubon’s “Birds of America” to fumetti noir, the erotic Italian comic magazines. Inspired by the maverick sociologist Gershon Legman, the author of “Love and Death: A Study in Censorship” (1949), McMurtry developed an interest in what the sex and violence of comics said about the society that produced them, and in erotica in general. One of the most diverting chapters of “Books” describes a visit to Legman’s house in Valbonne, in southern France, to view the owner’s library. After making his way “across the sea to Paris” then down to Nice, McMurtry was admitted, following much reluctance and evasion on Legman’s part, to the library. “Once in the room I noticed that blankets had been draped over shelves, furniture put in front of the shelves. ... I did just manage to note that Legman had a world-class collection of jest books.”

In his own way, McMurtry is no less evasive. “Books: A Memoir” reads like notes waiting to be assembled into a book. Many of its 109 chapters run to under a page, and McMurtry has a fondness for single-sentence paragraphs, a technique that carries a built-in resistance to amplitude. A typical example concerns the buying and selling of a copy of “Justine,” by the Marquis de Sade, not the “easily acquired” first edition, but a later, scarcer one that had belonged to Frederick Hankey, “a creepy Parisian collector of erotica.” McMurtry bought the book for $280 and sold it the same afternoon for $750:

“The book contained Hankey’s small circular photographic bookplate, a thing in itself pretty rare.

“The moral is the same old moral most booksellers agree on: you can’t know everything.

“Hal Webber eventually sold the book for — I believe — $8,000.”

The booksellers’ “moral” is hard to contradict — non-booksellers might believe it to be true of life in general. The same must be said of many of the insights here. As for the editing of books, there probably exists a cracker-barrel maxim to the effect that you ought not to allow authors to say things like “for — I believe — $8,000,” but to encourage them to confirm the information. “Books: A Memoir” has an engagingly conversational style in places, but after a time it comes to seem like mumbling: “As I may have mentioned in an earlier book, ‘Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen,’ the only books I can remember buying at Joe Petty’s bookshop, on my first pass at least, were by the Frenchman Romain Rolland. Why him? Didn’t he win the Nobel Prize? If so, why?” Does he mean: if he did win it, why? Or: if he didn’t win it, why? Hard to say (he did win it).

McMurtry has long since jettisoned his Rollands, which may or may not have been the only books he bought at Joe Petty’s, but he “may still have a volume or two of the attractive edition of Proust published in the ’30s by Albert and Charles Boni.” How about looking on the shelf to find out? On the way to Cannes with Legman, “we passed one of Picasso’s homes — or perhaps it was one of Charlie Chaplin’s.” Someone else grew up in “a castle on the Rhine — or was it the Danube?” We never learn. After a good deal of this, with some folksy lit crit thrown in — “Flaubert ... could not always locate the mot juste either. Try ‘Salammbô’ or ‘La Tentation de Saint Antoine’ sometime” — the hard-pressed book buyer (“Books: A Memoir” costs $24, which is not be sneezed at) might start to dwell on McMurtry’s meditation on modern reading habits: “The complex truth is that many activities last for centuries, and then simply (or unsimply) stop.”

There is a good book in “Books,” struggling to get past all the “I’m not sures” and “I don’t knows” and the truisms (“choice is a mystery”) that McMurtry’s editors should have saved him from. There are comments about a recent depression, during which he read and reread James Lees-Milne’s diaries, and which appears to have created “a distance” between the collector and his “carefully selected 28,000-volume library.” McMurtry, who has turned Archer City, Tex., where he grew up, into a “book town” and helped give it a public library, is a genuine bookman — a reader as much as a collector — but the character of the books he loves is absent from his memoir. The detail that sticks in my mind does not concern a lovely copy of “The Sun Also Rises” or a “one-of-100 ‘Ulysses’”; it is the information that while McMurtry used to get up early “and dash off five pages of narrative,” nowadays he has increased his output to 10.

James Campbell’s new book is “Syncopations: Beats, New Yorkers, and Writers in the Dark,” a collection of essays.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/books/review/Campbell-t.html?em&ex=1217131200&en=1193f9a121896548&ei=5087%0A


Offline Meryl

  • BetterMost Supporter
  • Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 12,205
  • There's no reins on this one....
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #2 on: July 27, 2008, 02:40:49 pm »
Great article, Elle.  Thanks for posting, and for the new thread.  8)
Ich bin ein Brokie...

Offline Front-Ranger

  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 30,455
  • Brokeback got us good.
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #3 on: July 27, 2008, 03:51:24 pm »
Great article, Elle.  Thanks for posting, and for the new thread.  8)

I second that!
"chewing gum and duct tape"

Offline Brown Eyes

  • BetterMost Supporter!
  • BetterMost Moderator
  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • *****
  • Posts: 10,377
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2008, 07:57:59 pm »
the world was asleep to our latent fuss - bowie

Offline Ellemeno

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,367
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #5 on: July 30, 2008, 08:13:35 am »
Larry's bookstore in Archer, Texas



Offline Ellemeno

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 15,367
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #6 on: August 03, 2008, 12:36:07 pm »
Films, books keep Larry McMurtry going
BY CANDACE CARLISLE
[email protected]



Larry McMurtry’s Hermes 3000 typewriter is lonely.  It sits on the wooden table next to a ream of blank paper and a chair with a bed pillow placed on the seat, but something is missing.

Last July, there were two stacks of paper, one blank and one branded with keystrokes.  Those keystrokes later became part of his book released in July titled Books: A Memoir, in which McMurtry shared his life as a bookman.

The author recently invited a group of writers from the University of North Texas for a summer writer’s boot camp to tour the 28,000 books in his Archer City home.  Each book is marked with the family cattle brand, a stirrup, which, McMurtry says, has probably been used by now on more books than cattle.

Here’s some of what he had to say on some favorite subjects:

On the future of reading: "Young kids still love to read, but when they hit 10 or 11 years old, they get hit by a tsunami of iPods and laptops and iPhones. I think they stop at that point. You have to concentrate on getting them books when they are younger."

On his used-book empire in Archer City: "Booked Up is one of the last browse-able bookstores anywhere. I mean, there are only three or four like us left now . . . I think it is important that there be large browseable bookshelves. You don’t want to just discard something that has been around 500 years. Books travel throughout the world. "

On screenwriting: "I’ve been very lucky. Part of my luck was that my first novel, Horseman, Pass By, was made into a successful movie, a movie called HUD — it was very successful. Because of that . . . almost everything that comes along Western, I get offered. By and large, I finance my book business by writing screenplays."

On Brokeback Mountain: "[Writing partner Dianna Ossana and I] both recognized Brokeback Mountain as a great story and asked that day if we could option it. There was a flood of people wanting to read it, but we got it first. My partner’s very tenacious and through thick and thin, she hung onto it. We waited until Heath Ledger got big enough we could cast him. It was a lot of luck and a lot of patience. You have to hang in there for a long time sometimes.

"Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t work. I’ve been waiting five or six years for Tom Hanks to make my little novel Boone’s Lick that has been published and ready to go. It has been pushed back and pushed back. So we’ll see. Five or six years is a long time. It doesn’t always work."

On his next project: "My struggle is with fiction. It is a habit I need to break, and it is not working for me anymore. I don’t want to write inferior fiction.

"Most aging novelists unconsciously repeat themselves; they unconsciously do what they have done before, only with less force and less intelligence usually. It is not an infinite gift, it is a finite gift. Almost none of them wrote a good book past 60 or 65. You tap into it, you empty it and you stop.

"Somehow the brain works better when you aren’t fictionalizing. I’ve written a lot of novels and have run out. So whatever I write next will be nonfiction. And it could be a biography, I would like to write a biography on Mackenzie, the adversary of the Comanches or essays, and I don’t think I’ll write any more memoirs.

"I don’t want to stop writing. I have other parts of my life, I have screenwriting and I have bookshops."

http://www.star-telegram.com/books/story/799670.html

Offline CellarDweller

  • The BetterMost 10,000 Post Club
  • ********
  • Posts: 38,663
  • A city boy's mentality, with a cowboy's soul.
Re: Larry Larry Larry McMurtry
« Reply #7 on: August 06, 2023, 08:48:57 pm »
A Page of the Past

Traces of real-life Texans ride through McMurtry?s ?Lonesome Dove?

BY W.F. STRONG AUGUST 2023



Millions of copies of Larry McMurtry?s Lonesome Dove have sold since the novel was published in 1985. The miniseries that followed in 1989 was likewise immensely popular. McMurtry himself called it the Gone With the Wind of the West, but he never loved the book as much as his fans. ?You know most writers come to dislike their most popular books,? he once told journalist John Spong. ?Henry James hated Daisy Miller, which is what he is known by. He?s probably written 35 other books. I feel a little that way about Lonesome Dove.?

McMurtry said he never saw the miniseries. Maybe if he had, he would have better understood how endearingly Robert Duvall, Tommy Lee Jones and Diane Lane brought their characters to life. I can?t help but wonder if those characters were modeled after real-life Texans.

But McMurtry said that that wasn?t his aim. Though Woodrow Call has some attributes of Charles Goodnight, and Gus McCrae has some attributes of Oliver Loving, the novel?s main characters were not modeled after actual historical figures. McMurtry said the book is not meant to be a faithful history of the era but rather one that has echoes of those times.

https://texascooppower.com/a-page-of-the-past/


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!