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WINTER 2014 NEWSLETTER



A generous selection of the proven, prevailing and promising literary offerings available at your favorite local bookstore, provided by its dedicated staff.

A Dozen Re(a)d Roses for Valentines from Square Books

Posted here are a dozen gift ideas from Square Books for Valentines's Day

Click here for a dozen gift ideas from Off Square Books
Click here for a dozen gift ideas from Square Books, Jr. 

Signed Copies Available



In 1946, a young female attorney from New York City attempts the impossible: attaining justice for a black man in the Deep South.

Regina Robichard works for Thurgood Marshall, who receives an unusual letter asking the NAACP to investigate the murder of a returning black war hero. It is signed by M. P. Calhoun, the most reclusive author in the country.
As a child, Regina was captivated by Calhoun’s The Secret of Magic, a novel in which white and black children played together in a magical forest.

Once down in Mississippi, Regina finds that nothing in the South is as it seems. She must navigate the muddy waters of racism, relationships, and her own tragic past. The Secret of Magic brilliantly explores the power of stories and those who tell them.  

About the Author


Deborah Johnson is the author of The Air Between Us, which received the Mississippi Library Association Award for fiction. She now lives in Columbus, Mississippi, and is working on her next novel. 


A Quick Look at a Very Good Year for Square Books – Part 3

At Square Books Jr., the classic GOODNIGHT GORILLA (#6) is as likely to show up on its bestseller list as the latest picture book from Michael Kaplan, BETTY BUNNY DIDN’T DO IT (#16), and there are always surprises. The number 1 spot, which one would expect to be occupied by John Grisham’s fourth Theodore Boone novel, THE ACTIVIST (#2) was WHERE DO THEY GO ON GAME DAY? (a.k.a. the squirrel book) by newcomer Laurie Fisher. In fairness, we have to point out that the third installment of the Theodore Boone series was at #14. FANCY NANCY THE FANCIEST DOLL IN THE UNIVERSE (#3) was boosted by a visit from the illustrator, Robin Preiss Glasser. Others who visited were Ree Drummond, CHARLIE GOES TO SCHOOL (#12), John Marciano Bemelmans, MADELINE AND THE OLD HOUSE IN PARIS (#25), Loren Long, AN OTIS CHRISTMAS (#18). 

Teens and adults alike took home John Green’s THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (#10) and interest in the forthcoming movie spurred sales for DIVERGENT (#21). Middle graders were glad to see the release of the 8th in the DIARY OF A WIMPY KID series (#5), and Dan Gutman’s new series THE GENUIS FILES (#7), while the intrigue factor for THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET (#17) remains. But picture books ruled, with Leita’s pick LITTLE BEAR’S LITTLE BOAT (#8), Sarah Frances Hardy’s PUZZLED BY PINK (#25) and Manning fan favorite FAMILY HUDDLE (#11). For another year PETE THE CAT: I LOVE MY WHITE SHOES (#9) showed, with other Pete books holding places at #s13,15,19. A huge new favorite is THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT (#4), which all find clever, meaningful, and funny. The significance of a bestseller list for Square Books Jr. is a bit different than it is at what we call "the big store," as the staff at Jr. hand sells the books they love. That passion is as timeless and unregulated as are the interests and enthusiasms of the children who visit Square Books Jr. They know better than the rest of us that Square Books Jr. is a world unto themselves.

A Quick Look at a Very Good Year for Square Books – Part 2

Old friends returned to Square Books with new books in 2013, and many made our year-end top 100 list – Jonny Miles and his brilliant novel, Want Not (23); Bob Shacochis (91); Jill McCorkle (19); Nell Dickerson and Porch Dogs (62); Lisa Patton (70); Clyde Edgerton (79); Molly Crosby (97); Jeff Shaara (35); Ann Patchett and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage (26); Jayne Anne Phillips and Quiet Dell (28); Daniel Woodrell with The Maid’s Version (20); and Philipp Meyer with his Western epic, The Son (16).

 

Staff picks often find their way up the list, like Rules of Civility (55), Mary Hamilton’s Trials of the Earth (60), Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn (61), Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card (73) and William Maxwell’s So Long, See You Tomorrow (54). Humor has its appeal, in Julia Reed’s But Mama Always Put Vodka in Her Sangria (29); How Not to be a Dick (50); Roll Me Up and Smoke Me When I Die by Willie Nelson (46); Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Little Golden Book (32); and I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar (65).

 

Congratulations to John Hailman, whose From Midnight to Guntown continues to find readers (6) and to Robert Khayat, who, upon retiring as University of Mississippi Chancellor, sat right down and wrote his memoir, The Education of a Lifetime, our number 1 book of the year – and to Neil White, his publisher at Nautilus.

 

New to Square Books this year were some huge favorites – The Constellation of Vital Phenomena by Anthony Marra (67); Jamie Quatro and I Want to Show You More (25); Kristopher Jansma and The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards (30); Damien Echols, off death row with his memoir, Life After Death (58); Ree Drummond, whose The Pioneer Woman Cooks: A Year of Holidays (67) + 2 other books, made our list; a memorable visit from Gail Godwin with Flora (22); Bill Cheng and Southern Cross the Dog (17), and Anton DiSclafani and The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls (15).

 

Our heartfelt thanks go to these authors, the many publishers who helped them make it here, and to Square Books friends from near and far – for giving us our best year ever.

 

For a report on top titles at Square Books Jr, check this blog Tuesday.

A Quick Look at a Very Good Year for Square Books – Part 1

2013 was a banner year for Square Books, due largely to the many books by writers connected to Oxford. Our top ten bestselling authors all signed books for us, only three of whom are not connected to Oxford – Pat Conroy and The Death of Santini (10), George Saunders’ Tenth of December (7), and David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (8) – although all three of those writers have appeared here in past years, too.  


Cookbooks and other lifestyle categories were hot: perennial seller Square Table (11); Are You Ready? (13) from Ole Miss Department of Nutrition & Hospitality Management; Treme: the Cookbook (64); An Italian Palate, by Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters (14); Garden & Gun’s Southerner’s Handbook (12); Southern Living’s Tailgating Handbook (18); and at #2, John Currence hit a home run in his first at bat in a big, bad way with Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey.


Other Oxford and Mississippi writers dominated our list, some with more than one book: Ace Atkins (42, 90); William Faulkner, of course, Selected Short Stories (31, + 3 other titles); the King twins (52 + 71); John Grisham, with Sycamore Row at #3 (+ 5 and 99); Julie Cantrell (66 + 95); Jesmyn Ward (74 + 83); Curtis Wilkie (27); Donna Tartt (24); Michael Henry (77); Ann Fisher Wirth (98); Sam Haskell (9); William Winter’s biography (45); Michael Farris Smith’s debut, Rivers (63); Steve Yarbrough (64); Neil White (34); and Bill Ferris (40). Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter Crooked Letter (33) was bested by his collaborative novel with Beth Ann Fennelly, The Tilted World (5).

 

For more top 100 Square Books titles, check this blog Monday