Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Surprise Deepens

After dinner in Decatur, we continued on our way to our final destination: Archer City, TX. Why would we be heading to a typical small Texas town (population 1800) with a typical main square around a typical courthouse? The reason is Archer City's very atypical used bookstore(s). Cody knows I love browsing great used book stores and he knew Archer City is famous for Booked Up.

Booked Up No. 1 was founded by Archer City's famous native son Larry McMurtry in 1988. It has since grown to a total of 4 large separate buildings spread around the main square. Only one building is staffed, so there's a bit of an "honor system" regarding taking books to the cash register eventually to pay. Each building is stuffed floor to ceiling with books of every kind. Old, rare, first edition, modern, foreign language, oversized, ordinary, every genre imaginable. There is barely any organization to's like a treasure hunt!

I spent over 2 hours Saturday morning scanning titles and marveling over the enormous hodgepodge of books. It was so much fun. In the end, I only chose 4 books to buy, but each of them is so exciting and special to me. They do feel like treasures I found.

Rumor has it, folks see Larry McMurtry from time to time since he still owns a house in Archer City and visits there fairly often. He was born and raised in Archer City and several of his novels are set in a fictional town based on Archer City. The Last Picture Show (a movie starring Cybill Shepherd and based on his novel of the same name) was even filmed in Archer City. I took a photo of the famous Royal Theater sign still visible on the square today.

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