The Help. Many have seen the movie, some have read the book. But everybody’s talking about it. On Wednesday, September 28 at 5 p.m., we will host a “Community Conversation” about The Help at Off Square Books, open to the public.
The Help, by Mississippian Kathryn Stockett, was published in February, 2009. Initially rejected by over sixty publishers, the book has now been on the bestseller list over 100 weeks, published in 35 countries, and sold over five million copies. The book’s film adaptation grossed over $100 million within the first three weeks of its release.
The story, set in Jackson, Mississippi, involves the relationship between a young white woman and two black maids in the early 1960s period and environment of Civil Rights.
The featured guests for our event are Gene Dattel, Mississippi native and author of Cotton and Race in the Making of America: The Human Costs of Economic Power, called “a superb study” by historian Niall Ferguson, and Deidra Jackson, journalist and University of Mississippi faculty member. Dattel has given presentations on “The Help: Fact or Fiction” and Jackson has published articles about The Help.
We will have a moderator on hand to keep the conversation going and help field questions from the audience. This event is free and open to everyone with seating available on a first come first serve basis. RH
For more information and the event listing please click here.
Pulitzer Prize winning author Oscar Hijuelos stopped by Off Square Books yesterday to read and discuss his new memoir Thoughts Without Cigarettes. Hijuelos is the author of eight novels including The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love, which made him the first Hispanic to win the Pulitzer Prize and was later made into a film. During his reading, as you will hear, Hijuelos discussed the inspiration and process behind writing Mambo Kings. He even played a little guitar in between chapters. After the reading Hijuelos answered questions from the audience and played some more guitar before signing books. Signed copies of Thoughts Without Cigarettes are available here. You can listen to the entire reading below.
Oscar Hijuelos plays guitar for Lyn and Richard after his signing.
Saturday dawned gray and gloomy, but that did not deter Oxford visitors from seeing baseball, softball, Ole Miss graduation -- and Kate DiCamillo! Over one hundred-fifty of Square Books Jr.'s favorite readers and their parents gathered at Off Square Books to hear Kate DiCamillo read from and talk about her award-winning books for children.
Ms. DiCamillo, or Kate, as anyone who has met her will feel comfortable calling her, began by reading from the Josette Frank Award winner and Newbery Honor book BECAUSE OF WINN DIXIE. As fond as we are of that book and the movie made from it, hearing Kate read the first chapter was a thrill and seemed even funnier than we remember.
Taking questions from the audience, Kate paraphrased Ray Bradbury in saying that writing a novel is like "...jumping off a cliff and building your wings on the way down." She added that in writing one of her most recent books, THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT, she learned that one could also, by writing, "..build your own ladder out of the pit."
Her advice to aspiring writers? "Read, read, read." What she would say to all young people? "Read, read, read." Where she got her ideas and how she started? "Reading." She indulged her enthusiastic audience by reading from her Newbery Award winner, THE TALE OF DESPERAUX, and TIGER RISING when asked.
Kate patiently signed books for everyone who asked, and returned after lunch (she was thrilled to dine at City Grocery) to sign orders for those who could not be there and for Jr. stock. All went away happy, hoping she will return to Oxford with her next book, and, more importantly, hoping that she will keep writing her magical stories. Thank you Kate DiCamillo, and thank you Jennifer Roberts, from Candlewick, for coming, too!
After the reading, John Sayles was brief, articulate, and brilliant in talking about why he wrote the book and fielding a host of questions from the audience about the novel and about his many films. Regarding the inspiration for his film "Passion Fish," he said that Ingmar Bergman's film "Persona" combined with his time working as an orderly in a hospital both served as catalysts. He discussed the Southern setting for his film "Matewan," which seemed to be a crowd favorite, and talked about his book on the making of that film, Thinking in Pictures: The Making of the Movie Matewan. Before wrapping up the evening and signing everyone's books, Sayles discussed his method of writing versus his method of filmmaking, pointing out their distinct differences. Filmmaking, to paraphrase, is about everything that is revealed and shown to the audience while writing is everything that isn't. A Moment in the Sun is an excellent book and Publisher's Weekly says it "will stand among the finest work on [Sayles'] impressive resume." Call today for signed copies. DS
John Grisham is back with Theodore Boone: The Abduction, the follow-up to Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer. Just when it seems like life for Theo is back to the status quo, a new legal mystery comes to town--and Theo is the only one who can crack the case.
"Not since Nancy Drew has a nosy, crime-obsessed kid been so hard to resist." -The New York Times