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Literary Losses

by Adult Services Manager Whitney

Two literary legends, Larry McMurtry and Beverly Cleary, died last Thursday, March 25. Both were prolific and influential, and driven to write books that better reflected their lives than the stories they grew up reading. 

Cleary wrote many books about kids and their adventures, but is most famous for her books about Ramona Quimby and her family. She wrote books that realistically portrayed middle class kids, rather than the books she’d grown up with, which tended to be about rich, British children. “I wanted to read funny stories about the sort of children I knew, and I decided that someday when I grew up I would write them.” (New York Times, 3/26/21). Cleary’s books about the Quimbys and other characters from Klickitat Street are available on Libby and Hoopla, including some Spanish translations

Beverly Cleary signs books at the Monterey Bay Book Festival in Monterey, Calif., on April 19, 1998. (Vern Fisher / The Monterey County Herald via Associated Press)

McMurtry was known for writing “anti-westerns;” his stories were more realistic and based on his experience growing up in Texas, rather than romanticizing the American West. He described himself as “a critic of the myth of the cowboy.” While he may be best known for Lonesome Dove, his Pulitzer Prize winning book and popular mini-series, he wrote more than 30 novels, and many memoirs, essays, nonfiction books, and screenplays. He won an Academy Award for his screenplay of Brokeback Mountain (based on a Annie Proulx short story), and several of his books became movies, including Horseman, Pass By (Hud), The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment.

The author Larry McMurtry in 1978 at home. In a career that spanned more than five decades, he wrote more than 60 novels and screenplays. mage via Diana Walker/The LIFE Images Collection via Getty Images

If you’re curious about McMurtry, we’re lucky that his prolific catalog is available through BPL not only in print, but on Libby and Hoopla. In fact, Lonesome Dove: The Complete Miniseries, is available on demand through Hoopla. Be sure to check out these titles, available in either print or digital format:

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