Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Archive fever, vol. III

In his acceptance speech for Best Adapted Screenplay, Larry McMurtry made a nice comment about booksellers (link from Bookslut):
And finally I'm going to thank all the booksellers of the world. Remember, Brokeback Mountain was a book before it was a movie. From the humblest paperback exchange to the masters of the great bookshops of the world, all are contributors to the survival of the culture of the book. A wonderful culture, which we mustn't lose. Thank you.

McMurtry knows a little something about bookselling: he's the owner of Booked Up, a four-building bookstore in Archer City, Texas. My family visited the bookstore a few years ago (oddly enough, we drove through Archer City because we had made a detour to pick up a friend of the family from Ben Wheeler, Texas), and we ate at the Dairy Queen where McMurtry is said to spend quite a bit of time. Dairy Queen is always Dairy Queen, but the bookstore is awesome.

You could call Archer City the Hay-on-Wye of West Texas (I can guess why Paul Collins chose Wales), but I think it may be more like Nostalgia Capital of West Texas: it's the setting of McMurtry's novel The Last Picture Show (the town is called Thalia in the book), which was later turned into an amazing movie directed by Peter Bogdanovich (the town is called Anarene in the movie). The town looks pretty much the same as it did in the 1971 film; the title movie theater is now a landmark with a preserved marquee sign and an open-air memorial in what used to be the theater space.