Literary Life: A Second Memoir
By: Larry McMurtry
Simon & Schuster (May 10, 2011)
Literary Life is a gem of a book. It is, of course, the second book in Larry McMurtry’s beautiful memoir trilogy. McMurtry eulogizes his life as a writer and novelist, graciously, allowing us to look into the literary and publishing world of yesterday. This was apparently back when attending graduate school in Creative Writing was half the battle in becoming a professional writer. And when publishers frequently took a chance on new writers. How great would that be? McMurtry seems to relish looking back on the life that writing gave him. I would too.
Two of my favorite quotes:
How I came to acquire literary taste at all remains a mystery to me. My parents were indifferent to books, and, indeed, to taste itself, although my father might admire a fine saddle. But
If we exempt boy’s books, hunting books, and the occasional Mickey Spillane paperback, my real reading life may be said to have begun when I entered the Rice Institute (as it was then called) in the fall of 1954. I strolled in wonder through the stacks of Fondren Library, which then held about 600,000 books. I took freshman English under Professor Will Dowden, who had us read “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock,” which, at a stroke, blotted out all the poetry I had read in high school, except maybe Keats. I learned about Eliot, and the other modern poets soon followed.