Filmmaker and Author John Sayles comes to Square Books

Filmmaker and author John Sayles read from and discussed his new book, A Moment in the Sun, published by McSweeney's, yesterday at Off Square Books.  The crowd, eager to discuss Sayles' resume of both films and books, listened to the author read two chapters from his new epic novel about the turn-of-the-century, American way of life.  The two chapters Sayles read were just a glimpse into the world he's created in A Moment in the Sun by borrowing from history and extensive amounts of research, which he claimed is what he likes most when writing historical fiction.

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
 

Tom Franklin Brings Big Book Prize Home

    Tom Franklin’s excellent novel and Square Books bestseller, Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, got in the running for two major book awards this spring when it was announced as one of six finalists for the Edgar Award and one of five finalists for a prestigious L A Times Book Prize as the best mystery novel of 2010.   Franklin, who lives in Oxford and teaches in the MFA program at Ole Miss, attended the Edgar ceremony April 27, this past Thursday night, then hopped on a plane the following morning in order to attend the LA Times event Friday night.   Beth Ann Fennelly, the poet and Franklin’s wife, was in the store the other day and said to us, of the awards, “I told him not to come home without at least one of them.”  
    To home Tom Franklin triumphantly comes, then, with the L A Times Prize, presented by Attica Locke, who visited us in the summer of 2009 with her award winning first novel, Black Water Rising.   Another winner at the Los Angeles ceremony, for the 2010 Innovator’s Award, are our friends at Powell’s Books, for “cutting edge work to bring books, publishing, and storytelling into the future.”
    Hooray for Tom Franklin and Powell’s Books!

Use the bathroom, Help the Oxford BOYS & GIRLS CLUB

Many of you seasoned Double Deckerites know that on festival Saturday at Square Books, all day long, there is a line outside our bathrooms.   Even though there is availability outside at the porta-pottys, some folks just don't want to go there.   But, in the festival spirit, we have always allowed free use of our heads, and every hour or so and clean up after people.

  We thought about charging people for bathroom use, but that seems like making people who are thirsty pay for a glass of water, which is contrary to our fundamental beliefs.  So we had a bright idea for 2011 Double Decker: charge $1 for use of our bathrooms, and all the money goes to the Oxford Boys and Girls Club.

 On Saturday we will be working with Boys and Girls Club members who will be getting paid to help us monitor bathroom use.   So we encourage you to visit us when you have the urge, at either Square Books or Off Square Books, enjoy our clean facilities, and donate a dollar, all the proceeds of which will go to a great organization, the Boys and Girls Club.   (Jr. bathrooms will not be available for public use.)

  And don't forget to get something to read before you go, because it's through the SALE OF BOOKS that we pay the water and sewer bill.

 Happy Double Decker!

Why Fifty is NOT the New Thirty: Tracey Jackson is coming to Square Books

Don't miss Tracey Jackson this Thursday on Thacker Mountain Radio to kick off the Double Decker Arts Festival Weekend. Her book, Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Why Fifty is Not the New Thirty, is out now at Square Books.

Not since Nora Ephron's Crazy Salad (Dear Readers of a certain age will no doubt recall her insane essay "Dealing With the Er, Problem." Or maybe you won't.) can I remember a funnier, more out-front collection that rounds up and explores the universal changes that age and the new age are bringing us all. Jackson writes about motherhood, marriage, careers, bodies, medical procedures, sex, and how these things change not only in the course of our own lives but generationally, and supplies many wacky personal anecdotes; my favorite being her fantasy about Doing It with Jon Stewart, related in a discussion of masturbation after fifty. This is not one of those books that explains how to sunnily navigate menopause and other natural disasters and pretend that it's all good; Jackson tells us what we all know anyway: getting old sucks, but we might as well laugh our saggy asses off about it. Good choice for book groups. LH

Check out an interview with Meredith Vieira here and another with Kathie Lee and Hoda here

Sara Foster and Martha Foose bring good food to Square Books

Spring is truly here and with it our palates are awakened and ready for fresh tastes.  The doors are open at Square Books and the savory smells waft in from our great restaurants on the square, making me ready to go home and get busy in the kitchen.  With two new beautiful cookbooks out, Sara Foster's Southern Kitchen, and Martha Foose's A Southerly Course, I have extra inspiration.   

Sara Foster, the owner of Foster's Market, the acclaimed gourmet stores for pick-up or eat-in in North Carolina, came to Square Books a week ago to promote her fourth (and I think best) cookbook.  Sara wanted to have samples of her recipes and graciously offered to prepare them if I could find a kitchen for her.  That is how I ended up cooking alongside a famous chef.  As Sara's pound cake from her first book has become our family standard,  I thought I'd try her  Buttermilk Pound Cake with Tangy Buttermilk Glaze (p 316), while Sara and her sister effortlessly whipped up Deviled Ham Salad (p 11), Carmelized Red Onion Tarts (p 14) and Rosemary Cheese Crackers (p 8).  We brought all these tasty treats to the store for the event that afternoon and enjoyed them with an Edward Sellers' Paso Robles Rhone.  All was delicious and  quickly gone.  The Rosemary Cheese Crackers were great plain or with a little brie and a dab of pepper jelly.  I wish Sara & Judy were still in my kitchen, but will think of them as I prepare Roasted Asparagus with Country Ham, Red-Eye Gravy and Poached Eggs (p 84) for Easter brunch.  

A few days later, Martha Foose was in town for her follow-up to the James Beard Award winner, Screen Doors and Sweet Tea, A Southerly Course.  Martha was to be on Thacker Mountain Radio with fellow Yazoo City homie, Teresa Nicholas (Buryin' Daddy).  Sadly, Martha did not have time to cook for me, but we got in a good visit, and Martha can tell some stories.  Besides being an amazing collection of everything Delta from Dandelion Cracklings, Kibbe, Burgundy Duck, Pickled Crawfish Tails, Grilled Co-Cola Drumsticks, and Satsuma Tart, A Southerly Course is as much fun to read as to cook from.  Read about Eudora Welty while waiting for that Peach Shortcake to come out of the oven. CFR
(from left: Sara Foster, Lyn Roberts, and Sara's sister, Judy) 

National Poetry Month is APRIL

April is National Poetry Month and every day in April we will be posting a new poem in the front window of the store. We kicked off the month with a poem by Billy Collins from his new book Horoscopes for the Dead. You can see the new poem in the window each day by following us on twitter or just passing by the store. Be sure to come in and check out our poetry section too.