Texas longhorns ©Author Adventures

Larry McMurtry, Bestselling Author and Indie Bookstore Owner

Known for his popular Lonesome Dove series, Larry McMurtry (1936-2021) wrote many books set in Texas and started several independent book stores in Archer City called “Booked Up” (now one store in the Texas panhandle).

Read about the store and order books from there through bookedupac.com. Its website has this explanatory note of the store’s history, written by the author: “Booked Up began its life in March 1971 on a corner in Georgetown, Washington, D.C.  We operated there for 22 years, selling a general mix of fine and scholarly books.  We opened additional stores in Houston, Dallas, and Tucson, Arizona.  Rising rents in D.C. and the surrounding areas eventually drove us away, and we took wing to Texas, where we consolidated all four stores in our main building in Archer City.  Few books are rare; we have handled only a handful in 44 years in the trade.  But many books are attractive.  Customers come to us from wherever the four winds blow.” Archer City is a small town with fewer than 1,800 residents. The bestselling author chose this location, having grown up on a nearby ranch.

Booked Up is one of only two independent bookstores in the United States that was founded, owned, and is currently operated by a major author. Besides the success of his Lonesome Dove series, his screenplay of Brokeback Mountain won an Oscar, Golden Globe Award and many others.

Born in Wichita Falls, Texas, he taught writing at several major colleges, including Rice University, American University, George Mason University, and Texas Christian University.

The only other bookstore owned by a major author is in Minnesota and belongs to Louise Erdrich. It is called Birchbark Books. Read about it here: birchbarkbooks.com.

Read more about Larry McMurtry here: britannica.com.

“You expect far too much of a first sentence. Think of it as analagous to a good country breakfast: what we want is something simple, but nourishing to the imagination. Hold the philosophy, hold the adjectives, just give us a plain subject and verb and perhaps a wholesome, nonfattening adverb or two.” — Larry McMurtry

Booked Up is the first stop on Texas Author Adventures Trail, Part I.

Patricia Smart