We have received our gigantic Melissa & Doug shipment and we have in stock all the old favorites---Doorbell House, Pasture Pals, Whittle World School Bus. Plus, we got in some great new items including Hope Bear, Design Your Own Bracelets & Sprayza No Fuss Airbrush

(John and Deg loves Melissa & Doug)

We are immensely pleased to celebrate the publication of this excellent book when we host Rose Styron in conversation with Blakeslee Gilpin at Off Square Books at 5 pm on February 11th.

An unsurprising but happy discovery among the many riches to be found in William Styron’s letters is his correspondence with Willie Morris, his fellow Southern expatriate and dear friend for decades. Styron also had a connection to Oxford, where for Life magazine he covered Faulkner’s funeral, eloquently; later came to visit Willie here and speak on campus -- making an inspiring impression on a young law student named John Grisham; had a book signing at Square Books with Sophie’s Choice, the first time anyone stood in line to buy a book in Oxford, Mississippi; and appeared at the first Oxford Conference for the Book, when, with George Plimpton, he stood behind the counter at the bookstore in a champagne toast to the Paris Review’s 40th birthday before setting out for Plimpton’s fireworks show in, no lie, Paris, Mississippi. The letters begin with those as a college student and novice fiction writer to his father and cover his years in Europe, where he met and married Rose Burgunder; the lives of his books -- the controversial Pulitzer winner, Confessions of Nat Turner and best selling Darkness Visible; his many later friendships -- the Kennedys, Mailer, Miller, Warren, Woodward, and Roth, among others; and, all the while, the art and toil of the writing that formed one of the most important literary figures of our time.  RH    

(Oxonians in line for Sophie’s Choice, in 1980 at the original Square Books location upstairs over what is now Square Books, Jr.)

Penguin has just released the first six volumes in their Drop Caps series. These hard cover, well-designed volumes of classics have a beautifully rendered initial on the cover of each, e.g. "A" for Austen, and painted edges. Stunning individually, but as a collection they will make dramatic display on your bookself and would be a lovely gift for a young reader beginning his own library.
Only $20-22 each and if you agree to buy 11 as they are released we'll send your 12th free. Keep collecting through the alphabet and we will send you the 24th.  
Now available:
A is for Austen, PRIDE & PREJUDICE
B is for Bronte, JANE EYRE
C is for Cather, MY ANTONIA
E is for Eliot, MIDDLEMARCH
F is for Flaubert, MADAME BOVARY
When CivilWarLand In Bad Decline was published in 1996, few had heard of its author or were familiar with his stories, and we worked pretty hard here at Square Books to urge folks to come to his reading on the evening of March 16. We were wild about this first book by George Saunders, and the curious Oxford crowd made a strong showing. He read "Offloading For Mrs. Schwartz," and has enjoyed a very loyal following here ever since. He has returned a few times over the years, with some of his subsequent books and to appear at Ole Miss, and now we are as excited as we were back in 1996 because his new book, Tenth of December, his first book of stories in seven years, remains so fresh, wild, and entertaining. But we're not his only fans. He received a MacArthur "genius grant," and the new book and its author are the subject of a recent essay by Joel Lovell in the New York Times, entitled "The Best Book You'll Read This Year."         
Again we urge you to join us -- on January 24, 2013 -- to meet and hear George Saunders, who leads an exciting group of writers who will be coming here early this year, and about whom we'll be blogging later, including Susan Puckett (Eat, Drink, Delta), Jan. 22; Dan Gutman (Genuis Files: You Only Die Twice) at Square Books Jr Jan. 27 (and in local schools the following day); Molly Crosby (The Great Pearl Heist) Jan. 30; and Cory Doctorow (Homeland) February 18.  RH

*Purchase your book in advance and up to 2 seats will be reserved for you at the event.


Apply by January 23 for Square Books' 2nd annual World Book Night. An independent panel of librarians and booksellers select 30 books to choose a single title. The authors of the books waive their royalties and the publishers agree to pay the costs of producing the specially-printed WBN U.S. editions. In the week before WBN you receive 20 copies of your selected title at no charge to be handed out to those who rarely read and/or people who don't have access to printed books on April 23, 2013, Shakespeare's birthday.

Take advantage of this great opportunity to put books in hands and thoughts in minds.

Pulitzer Prize-winner Jon Meacham (American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House) claims that previous Jefferson scholars have not grasped the authentic Jefferson. In Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, Meacham unmasks a power-hungry, masterful, pragmatic leader who was not above being manipulative to achieve his goal: an enduring, democratic republic defined by him. A brilliant philosopher whose lofty principles were sometimes sidelined for more realistic goals, Meacham's Jefferson, neither idol nor rogue, is a complex mortal with serious flaws and contradictions. Despite his dedication to human liberty, he would not impose practical measures to end slavery. Here, Jefferson's political instincts trumped his moral and philosophical beliefs, and he lived uncomfortably with that contradiction, believing that slavery would eventually end but unable to create a balance between human freedom and political unity. Meacham believes that what some recent writers have viewed as hypocrisy was actually genius. Failing to solve the conundrum of slavery, Jefferson creatively and successfully applied power, flexibility, and compromise in an imperfect world. General and academic readers will find a balanced, engaging, and realistic treatment of the forces motivatingthe third President, the subject of unending fascination and debate.

Tony La Russa, the number-three all-time winningest manager in major league baseball history (he retired in 2011 only thirty-five wins behind John McGraw; the no. 1 is safely held by Connie Mack), came to Square Books November 29 to sign copies of his new book, One Last Strike, published by our friends at Morrow. He sat down at 6:45 p.m. in the back of the main store, pulled out of his pocket and plopped down on the table three enormous rings -- one for each of his World Series titles, one with the Oakland A's and two with the St. Louis Cardinals -- and began signing books for the four hundred-plus fans who greeted him enthusiastically. Many were in Cardinals' jerseys, caps, and jackets; some were moms or wives getting Christmas gifts; lots of coaches, all kinds of coaches, came through, including former Ole Miss and Chicago Cub great Donnie Kessinger, who knew La Russa back in the day; and many in the crowd were Ole Miss students, including the four freshmen pictured below, who got themselves a book and a memorable college first-year experience:

from left to right: John Beykirch, Katie Raimondo, La Russa, Mercedes Klein and Chase Markham

Mr La Russa -- who, whenever addressed that way, immediately corrected, "Tony -- Mr. La Russa is my dad" -- alternately sat and stood while he, Tony, as we now know him, signed books, without a break, until 10:30 p.m.  There were lots of stories, lots of pictures, lots of questions, lots of requests to include "11 in '11" with the signature. He finally finished up and got out with us for some pizza and a beer, when eventually Slade said, "You know, what's the deal with all the signs for steals, bunts, hit and run -- how on earth do you guys do that, and do you ever get confused?" Tony rose from his chair and began, "I probably shouldn't tell you some of this -- trade secrets..." and patiently proceeded with a 15 minute dissertation and demonstration, touching his nose, his ear, rubbing his arms -- at which point those who hadn't figured out which man in the bar was the famous baseball manager were probably able to guess, if they weren't trying to steal third.

We had filled up the front window with about 80 copies of One Last Strike that did not get signed; so, when we walked back by the store after dinner, Tony cheerfully closed the game by signing those remaining copies. Tony La Russa -- winner, champion, and one of our favorite authors, ever.  RH

Go here to find out about Tony's animal rescue foundation, ARF