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."
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, 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
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!
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).
2011 is a year that will begin "memoirably," at least here at Square Books. In the New Year's first quarter we will see at Square Books four excellent memoirs -- and, on various book-signing dates, the people who have written them. In lieu of the sort of discussion here that mere mention of the memoir genre always invites, I recommend for those who wish to ruminate on this subject the excellent January 25, 2010, New Yorker article, "But Enough About Me," by Daniel Mendelsohn, who recognizes that "memoir, for much of its modern history, has been the black sheep of the literary family," and that "confessional memoirs have been irresistible to both writers and readers for a very long time, and, pretty much from the beginning, people have been complaining about the shallowness, the opportunism, the lying, the betrayals, the narcissim." For now, just leave it that memoirs may be -- as is the case in the hard-earned, shocking, and illuminating truths of these four books -- legitimate and very welcome literary accomplishments. Here they are, in order of publication date:
We're really excited about all the buzz for Barry Hannah's new collection of stories, Long, Last, Happy. Grove Press has put together a great trailer for the book featuring some of our favorite writers and friends of Square Books. Watch it below. You can also read some great reviews of the collection at The New York Observer, The Wallstreet Journal, and the new issue of Bookforum.