Larry McMurtry's Last Book Sale
Aside from the humdrum day job of penning Pulitzer Prize-winning novels like Lonesome Dove and Academy Award-winning screenplays like Brokeback Mountain, Larry McMurtry has long pursued his true passion—bookselling. For 41 years, McMurtry, 76, has risen, written five pages on his Hermes typewriter, and then manned his antiquarian bookstore, Booked Up, first in Washington, D.C., and now in Archer City, Texas (filming locale for The Last Picture Show). Scouting the nation for books, hand-pricing them, and stocking shelves, the reclusive author has managed to fill his hometown’s historic square with four buildings holding more than half a million books. But after a lifetime spent corralling his stock, McMurtry is now setting it free.
On August 10–11, McMurtry will sell 400,000 books from his accumulated collection at the largest book sale in Texas history. Addison & Sarova Auctioneers will preside over the sale, auctioning books in 200-title chunks as well as 100 individual titles handpicked by the author (the McMurtry 100). Never one for formality—cue his Texas-tuxedoed Oscar acceptance speech—McMurtry insists the weekend be far removed from any Sotheby’s stuffiness. To kick off the event, a BBQ and screening of The Last Picture Show will take place at the Royal Theater—its iconic marquee still intact—on Thursday, August 9, with a performance the following night by singer/songwriter/son James McMurtry. And though he’s cleaning house, McMurtry still plans to run the shop at a (for him) pared-down level of over 100,000 books. “For all the talk of e-books, people can still be excited by the physical thing,” he says. “The chance to see this many books go out in two days is thrilling.”