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We lost a good one

Robert B. Parker, a master of the modern private detective story, died last week. At age 77. Sitting at his desk. Still writing. Going out the way all serious writers want, I suppose. Certainly the way Parker wanted. We know him best for his Spenser novels – 37 of them. The first, The Godwulf Manuscript, [...]

Ed Gein, the musical

Hard to believe that anyone would write a musical about serial killer Ed Gein, let alone film it and show it in movie theaters, but someone has. Ed Gein: The Musical premiered earlier this month at the University of Wisconsin-Fox Valley Communication Arts Center in Menasha, Wisconsin. Gein lived on the farm near Plainfield, Wisconsin, [...]

Little House on the Prairie, the musical

Marge and I and daughter Beckie trouped up to the Overture Center in Madison last week to see the musical version of Little House on the Prairie. Hey, we’re all fans of the books and the old television series. And Melissa Gilbert was starring as Ma Ingalls. That was an attraction. Back when the series [...]

Writer Larry McMurtry, the bookseller

One of the largest bookstores in the world is in Archer City, Texas, population 1,832 people. And Booked Up, owned by bestselling author and resident Larry McMurtry, may indeed be the largest when measured by book titles in inventory. It has more than half a million. The emphasis is on fine, rare, and scholarly books. [...]

Three things you may not have known about Lonesome Dove

– How the book got its title. Titles come to writers at the oddest times and in the most unexpected places. For this book, it came to McMurtry when he was having lunch in an Oklahoma restaurant. He looked outside and there in the parking lot was a van owned by the Lonesome Dove Baptist [...]

A difficult time for bloggers

With Port-au-Prince and other Haitian cities in ruins as a consequence of last week’s earthquake, with tens of thousands of Haitians dead – the bodies being scooped up by endloaders and hauled to mass graves gouged out by bulldozers – with the suffering of the survivors that won’t end today, tomorrow, next week, next month [...]

McMurtry and the movies (and television, too)

Actors love Larry McMurtry. “I create characters they want to play,” McMurtry said in a recent interview. To make the point, he told the story of Hud. “I hadn’t even finished the novel (Horseman, Pass By) and Paul Newman was asking to play Hud in the movie,” he said. Look at McMurtry’s record. – Horseman, [...]

The changing face of the western

For Larry McMurtry, it started with Horseman, Pass By, his first novel – 1961. Perhaps you know the story more from the film Hud than from the book. Paul Newman read McMurtry’s manuscript before he had typed the last period, and Newman then told every film producer he could find that he wanted to play [...]

The Lonesome Dove trilogy

It’s hard to believe that Larry McMurtry, with 42 books to his credit, ever had a dry period. But he did. Nine years. It all began to go dead for him, he says, while he was writing Terms of Endearment. That was in 1975. McMurtry finished the book. And it was a good one. Made [...]

Larry McMurtry writes about himself

It’s now out, Literary Life, the second volume of Larry McMurtry’s three-volume memoir. If his name doesn’t ring bells for you, perhaps the Lonesome Dove television mini-series will. It grew out of McMurtry’s novel of the same name, a novel of the Old West that earned him a Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1985. Some [...]