Blogs

Writer and Holocaust Survivor Arnost Lustig remembered

We mourn the recent loss of Czech writer Arnost Lustig, whose stories and novels that primarily deal with the experiences of children in the Holocaust earned him broad acclaim.   Lustig had been sent to Theresienstadt in 1942 when he was 15 years old, a concentration camp that he survived and, later, Auschwitz and Buchenwald.   While being transferred to Dachau in 1945, Lustig escaped from the transport train to freedom, as his mother, father, and many other family members were killed in the Holocaust.   After the war he lived in Prague, where he worked as a journalist and became associated with a group of writers that included Vaclav Havel.  Lustig managed to escape the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that overtook the reform movement with which he had been involved, and moved to the United States in 1970, where he lived the remainder of his life, writing and teaching at American University in Washington.  
 
In 1996 Northwestern University Press, one of the noblest of publishers of literature in translation, received a grant to promote some of its authors.   Square Books and the Oxford community were the grateful beneficiaries of several visits from these authors, including two Holocaust survivors, Lucien Duckstein and, later, Arnost Lustig, considered by many as the greatest Holocaust novelist, author of Children of the Holocaust and Street of Lost Brothers and winner of the Jewish Book Award and acknowledgment from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.   Duckstein came to Oxford along with the translator of the book about his Holocaust experience, Lucien's Story, and reading at Square Books and meeting with two classes at Oxford High School.   Lustig gave a memorable reading at the old Off Square Books on a cold night, November 8, 1996.   He later signed to Lisa and me a copy of his novel, The Unloved -- "with thanks, and love." RH
For more info read this article in the New York Times here.

Kate DiCamillo is coming to Square Books, Jr. on Saturday, May 14

We're excited to announce that Newberry award-winning author, Kate DiCamillo will be coming to Square Books, Jr. in May. DiCamillo is the author of some of our favorite children's books including The Magician's Elephant, The Tale of Despereaux, Because of Winn-Dixie, Great Joy, the Mercy Watson series and many, many more. You don't want to miss this event with one of today's best children's authors. 

 

Michael Oher brings a crowd to Off Square Books

Michael Oher fans began showing up at Off Square Books around 3 p.m. yesterday afternoon in hopes of being first in line to meet the former Ole Miss and current Baltimore Ravens football star. Oher returned to Oxford to sign copies of his new book, I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond. The signing began a little after 5 p.m. with a packed house eager to meet Michael and have their book signed. The steady line of people didn't let up until around 8 p.m. and Michael signed every last book for his fans patiently waiting. Action News 5 from Memphis was in attendance and you can watch the broadcast by clicking "read more."

The Southern Imaginary in American Cinema and a film festival weekend

This past weekend Oxford played host to the 2011 Oxford Film Festival, which was a huge success. Be sure to check out the film fest website here.

As a sidebar to the film festival schedule Square Books hosted four of the University of Mississippi's best scholars and professors for a panel discussion on their new book American Cinema and the Southern Imaginary (University of Georgia Press). After a brief introduction by Richard Howorth, the panelist--Katie McKee, Deborah Barker, Leigh Anne Duck and Jay Watson--signed books and discussed several topics covered in the book.

The book "examines aspects of the southern imaginary in American cinema and offers fresh insight into the evolving field of southern film studies. In their introduction, Deborah Barker and Kathryn McKee argue that the southern imaginary in film is not contained by the boundaries of geography and genre; it is not an offshoot or subgenre of mainstream American film but is integral to the history and the development of American cinema."

Be sure to check out the book and all the films shown this weekend.

Click through for photos from the event. 

Melissa & Doug take over our receiving department

Melissa & Doug, the toy manufacturers, seem like nice people, but what they really are is smart.  So smart that they can get us to totally inundate our receiving department with an entire UPS truckload (yes, one truck just for us) of their puzzles, games, art supplies, kits & toys.  Every January they make us an offer we can't refuse.  If we place an order with them in January, we won't have to pay for it until mid-December. Business is slower & so is cash flow in January, so how can I resist ordering a years supply when we won't have to pay for it until 10 months later when business is brisk.  Furthermore, when I need to reorder during the year, as a participant in this program, they will give us 90 days and free freight.  Their products are great and this program makes it so easy fto stock them.  I wish other vendors would realize that working with retailers, offering innovative & generous terms, benefits everyone. So now we just need to figure out where to put it all! -LR

Richard Ford joins the Ole Miss Creative Writing Faculty as Senior Fiction Writer

Mississippian and long-time friend of Square Books, Richard Ford, has joined the University of Mississippi's creative writing faculty as a senior fiction writer. Ford won the Pulitzer Prize in 1995 for his novel, Independence Day. He's been to Square Books on several different occasions to sign books and read to his many fans. You can read more on the story here.

Welcome to Oxford, Kristina and Richard! 

Our 2010 Bestsellers

The Square Books Top 100 sellers of 2010 are like many other years in that a preponderance of titles or their author are connected to Oxford, or elsewhere in Mississippi.  A nice reprint of William Faulkner’s New Orleans Sketches (75) made the list, as did the pictorial book with captions from Faulkner’s work along with photographs that suggest same, Yoknapatawpha Images (77).  Several local history titles, including Oxford In the Civil War (23), Jack Mayfield’s pictorial history of Oxford and Ole Miss (15), Bill Morris’s photo book, Ole Miss at Oxford (17), Gerald Walton’s history of Ole Miss (in its third year, 99), and Anne Percy’s Early History of Oxford (94).  


Other writers or books we tend to claim as “ourn” include Ace Atkins with Infamous (41), Willie Morris and My Two Oxfords (54), Wyatt Waters’ Oxford Sketchbook (34), and Quinten Whitwell’s If By Whiskey (69).  This past year’s Grisham writer-in-residence, John Brandon, got a front page New York Times book review for his splendid second novel, which we could not quit recommending, Citrus County (13), and our number five bestseller of the year is by a writer who came here years ago as a visiting writer - and never left – Tom Franklin’s great read, Crooked Letter,  Crooked Letter (5).

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