Books: A Documentary
This past August over 300,000 antiquarian books from Larry McMurtry's Booked Up were sold at auction: This is the story of those Books.
"First I buy books, then I eat." - Erasmus
In August 2012, Larry McMurtry’s Booked Up Inc. auctioned over 300,000 antiquarian books shelved within the bookstore's four large buildings in the small oil patch town of Archer City, Texas. This vast collection of American bookshops past, personally curated by Mr. McMurtry over more than forty years, held the acquisition of some twenty-six bookshops and more than two hundred personal libraries.
Despite the sweltering Texas heat, dealers, collectors, teachers, working-class citizens, lookers-on and local folks queued up outside Building Four with the hopes of being part of “The Last Book Sale”. As attendees stepped through the doors for the pre-auction viewing, they were overwhelmed by the sheer volume of books that greeted them: "Where do I even start?" they asked themselves.
"I'd like for the American antiquarian book trade to stay vital and to stay energetic and pouring some books into it is a good way to help, it seems to me." - Larry McMurtry
Larry began his love affair with the book trade by attending an auction similar to “The Last Book Sale” more than forty-one years ago in Washington, D.C. He grew up in southeast Archer County, Texas on the southernmost rim of the Great Plains. His family brand is a stirrup, and while no cattle are at present branded, some 28,000 books in his personal library bear the stirrup bookplate.
“Historically the highest compliment one bookseller can pay another is to say that he or she has interesting books; this implies, of course, that there can be uninteresting books. Having interesting books has been the raison d'etre of Booked Up these forty years.” - Larry McMurtry
Although he is best known for his novels, including the Pulitzer Prize winning Lonesome Dove, Mr. McMurtry has said that he became a novelist in order to support his book collecting habit. Several of McMurtry’s novels were adapted for the large and small screen, ushering in the acting careers of Paul Newman, Jeff Bridges, Cybil Shepherd, Tommy Lee Jones, Debra Winger, Diane Lane, in such films as, Hud, The Last Picture Show, Terms of Endearment and the Lonesome Dove television miniseries. In 2006, he won an Academy Award with his longtime writing partner Diana Ossana for their screenplay adaptation of Annie Proulx’s Brokeback Mountain.
With a rich, timeless legacy of 32 novels and 14 non-fiction books to his credit, it is his avocation as a rare book scout, dealer and connoisseur that “Books: A Documentary” reveals. By recounting Mr. McMurtry’s self-proclaimed love affair with books, beginning over forty years ago when he opened the first Booked Up storefront in Washington, D.C., we tell the compelling story of the American antiquarian book trade: its past, present and future.
LARRY McMURTRY'S PERSONAL TYPEWRITER FOR A PLEDGE OF $25,000 - While we are unable to determine which works Mr. McMurtry has specifically written on this machine, we can guarantee that he has used this specific typewriter to write numerous novels, screenplays, reviews and personal letters on. Mr. McMurtry will also autograph the typewriter, and using the typewriter, write and sign a personalized letter to the awarded backer.
*please note this reward is for a pledge of $25,000, a pledged amount of less than $25,000 will not be considered and default to no-reward.
About the filmmakers...
Mathew and Sara met in 2004, working on the set of Brokeback Mountain and have been together ever since. Mathew has worked in the film industry over the past 15 years across Canada and the United States. Sara graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in 2005 and started Studio Seven7 Films, a dynamic reality, scripted television, documentary and film production company based in Rhode Island with Mathew in 2011. Mathew and Sara welcomed their first child, Sofia in 2011.
"There's no froufrou with McMurtry. He's blunt. He doesn't waste time. But there's something very noble behind the impatience." - James L. Brooks via Schilling Interview - Entertainment Weekly
Risks and challenges
Our wish is to hold a screening of the final film for Larry in the last remaining building of the Archer City Booked-Up bookshop.
Film production provides a series of day-to-day, minute-by-minute hurdles a crew must overcome, charge through or even pick up and carry, to complete a film. The real trick is to make a good film, where you not only enjoy the process but also the final product.
To finish the film we will be undertaking a huge coordination challenge. We still have to send out our camera crew to film the remaining interviews, follow up stories and follow the books from the auction to bookstores all across America. Efficiency will play a huge role in making this remaining stage of shooting a success.
A successful film is a lot like a Gateau Marjolaine, a series of delicate layers that when put together in the right combination, create something to marvel at. Now we are not trying to say that we are the next Robert J. Flaherty; our goal is to make a really good film that you, the world and Larry will enjoy.
- Mathew & SaraLearn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)