Within this book, you would find a really stellar reading list of American fiction and nonfiction, something I might put together and add later. This would make this already a worthwhile book. One of my favorite articles from the last few years is a list of lists (of books, to read) pulled from within novels and memoirs not ostensibly about reading books. This includes things like Rabih Alameddine’s An Unnecessary Woman and Jo Walton’s Among Others, both of which list dozens of books read by the narrators (and both are lovely novels). This book has the same thing.
Ostensibly this is a travel book in which Larry McMurtry decides to go back over the US major highway by major highway and talk about his impressions of each part of the country, his experiences there, his feelings while revisiting, and the books he knows supplied some of the feelings about these parts. He begins in Minnesota, loops south, then west, the east, then west, and south again, in a way I can’t quite recognize, but since it’s nonfiction, and not a novel, it doesn’t have to make sense. From his three memoirs, I know that he spent long periods of his life in Texas, Washington DC, and California, and you’re right to expect a lot from those sections. The rest is still interesting, if in some goofy limited ways, but the reward is the list of books.