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THE BIBLIO FILE is one of the world's leading podcasts about "the book" and an inquiry into the wider world of book culture. Hosted by Nigel Beale it features wide ranging conversations with authors, poets, book publishers, booksellers, book editors, book collectors, book makers, book scholars, book critics, book designers, book publicists, literary agents and other certified bibliophiles.

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Feb 24, 2008

Novelist, screenwriter and essayist Larry McMurtry is best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1985 novel Lonesome Dove, a sweeping historical epic that follows ex-Texas Rangers as they drive cattle from the Rio Grande to Montana.

He grew up on a ranch outside of Archer City, Texas, which is the model for his fictional town of Thalia. A book collector, McMurtry purchased a rare book store in Washington, D.C.’s  Georgetown neighbourhood in 1970 and named it Booked Up. In 1988 he opened a second Booked Up in Archer City, establishing the town as a "Book City." This store is arguably the largest single used bookstore in the United States, carrying somewhere between 400,000 and 450,000 titles.

McMurtry is well-known for the film adaptations of his work, especially Hud (from the novel Horseman, Pass By), The Last Picture Show; James L. Brooks’s Terms of Endearment, and Lonesome Dove, which became an enormously popular television mini-series. In 2006, he was co-winner (with Diana Ossana) of both the Best Screenplay Golden Globe and the Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for Brokeback Mountain.

I interviewed him as part of a project I’m doing for the Canadian Booksellers Association. We talk about his latest, Books: A Memoir, his life as a book rancher, having the right books, junk, the fun of the hunt, book-scouting, catalogues, bookstores and cultural vitality, keeping stock fresh, burning out on fiction and movies, the declining number of used book stores, and optimism for the future.