McMurtry speaks here of the Fondren Library at Rice, but I remember the Texas Tech Library the same way.
See, I read a bit as a youngster too.
I read Hardy Boys, a bit of John Grisham, and everything else that my high school AP english classes required.
But it wasn’t until college that I developed a love for the written word and my life as a reader truly began.
They say the Texas Tech Library, by last count, houses around 1.7 million volumes.
I was drawn to study in the library – to simply be near books like that.
To this day I remember wandering the stacks on some silent afternoon. I would pull half a dozen books off the shelf as their title caught my eye and and carry them over to a soft chair at the end of the row.
What pleasure one can get from silence and books and time…
If you are unsure about books, the best advice, I think, is this: Read what you love, until you love to read.
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.
-Larry McMurtry, Literary Life