walter-benjamin-dairy-queen-reflections-on-sixty-beyond-larry-mcmurtry-paperback-cover-artActually, McMurtry’s memoir (one of them) is entitled Walter Benjamin at the Dairy Queen (1999). Benjamin was a German philosopher, social critic, and McMurtry reads Benjamin at the local Dairy Queen – the last outpost, says McMurtry, of oral narrative and storytelling in his native Texas.  It’s a criss-crossing memoir, with heavy emphasis on McMurtry’s other love (besides novel writing)- being a book seller and book scout.

McMurtry followed up the memoir with another one years later simply entitled Books (2008), concentrating on the love of running and stocking a second-hand bookstore. But it was Books that I read first- obtained, fittingly enough- by chance at a University of Toronto book sale. I finished it and moved on to Walter Benjamin… I seem to be in a Larry McMurtry/memoir kind of reading mood.

One book leads to the next. Never mind my well stocked bedside table:

The Navigator of New York by Wayne Johnston (thank you, Julie P. for lending)

Young Renny by Mazo De La Roche (a late night guilty pleasure at a local BMV store)

Stories About Storytellers By Douglas Gibson (about publishing Munro, Davies, Macleod and others- also a BMV gift to myself)

And the never to be finished (?) Van Gogh by Naifeh and Smith, clocking in at 868 pages plus appendix and index. (I’m on page 412, as of two years ago.)

I’ve also taken out the play Tamara by John Krizanc from the library. But that’s a different story…. 🙂

I could probably go back and trace the original impulse for each of these volumes, striking some chord in myself at the time I obtained them.

… which is basically the theme of McMurtry’s bookish memoirs. How books weave their way into your life- no matter when you read them, or even if you finish them.


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