Singer/Songwriter and Oxford favorite, Alejandro Escovedo, stopped by Off Square Books Tuesday afternoon, September 14, to play some songs and talk about his friend Larry Brown before playing later that night at Proud Larry's. Off Square Books was packed with fans and friends of Alejandro to enjoy this rare, candid performance. He and Larry were close friends drawn together by their love of music and writing and the processes of creating both. Alejandro's latest record, Street Songs of Love (which we have at Off Square Books), pays homage to Larry's home in Tula, Mississippi with his song aptly titled "Tula" along with other great songs featuring Bruce Springsteen, among others, as guest musician. You can listen to Alejandro's full performance by clicking below.
Eugene Marten, following Alejandro's performance, read from his latest novel published by Tyrant Books, Firework. Michael said of Firework in the latest Dear Reader that, "Marten masters a world of blue-collar minutiae with spare, striking prose and meticulous detail, a breakout achievement that also tackles issues of gender, class, race, identity and family." Eugene's reading can be heard by clicking below.
Sandra Beasley made a big impression during her stint as poet in residence at Ole Miss this summer. She befriended many of us in her short time here, and, with her stunning book of poems, I Was The Jukebox (Norton, 24.95, signed firsts available here) having been recently published, we discovered her work at the same time we got to know her. Her visit culminated in a reading at Off Square where she was introduced by Beth Ann Fennelly to a room crowded with students, faculty, and townspeople, and, at the close of the event, was presented with a beautiful broadside made by Jan Murray. The broadside has been produced in a 100-copy limited edition, numbered and signed by the poet and the artist, and is now available from Square Books for $20.
Click read more to view photos of the broadside.
One might believe, with the current popularity of Marley and Me, that man-and-dog memoir is a new genre. However, there is a great deal of wonderful writing that preceded Marley about canine companionship. One such was My Dog Skip, the moving tribute by Willie Morris, which went on to achieve even greater fame once it was adapted into a movie. Willie Morris himself, gave his book that title in homage to a book published in the mid-1960s called My Dog Tulip. In it, the distinguished British author and editor J.R. Ackerley recounts his relationship with Tulip, an Alsatian (what I believe we would call a German Shepherd). Mr. Ackerley, already a middle-aged bachelor when he came into possession of Tulip, lovingly and humorously recalls his sixteen years with her in what remains, more than forty years later, one of the finest examples of canine-man literature.
But whether this agreement occurred as a result of legal authority or through Random House's threat not to do business with Wylie's clients we do not know. Wylie's overnight enterprise, Odyssey Editions, still apparently has digital rights to the works of Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, William Burroughs, and Oliver Sacks.
The day we heard at Square Books that Wylie had created an exlusive arrangement with Amazon to publish e-book editions, we immediately created a window display of Wylie authors' books, all tagged with a "This book NOT for sale" bookmark, as a way of demonstrating the harmful potential that such a monopoly held for readers.
Dwight Garner has an interesting article in today's New York Times--a piece written about James Dickey on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Deliverance. It reminded us of the visits that this writer, who had a sort of deliberately constructed larger-than-life personna, literary and otherwise, made to Oxford and to Square Books. Lisa and I first met Dickey in 1977 when we were booksellers in Washington, D. C., and attended a public reading by all the then-former poetry consultants to the Library of Congress.
This fall the SFA will be releasing a new cookbook simply titled The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook (University of Georgia Press, 24.95). Editors Sara Roahen and John T. Edge picked over 170 recipes for the collection with a foreword by "Good Eats" host Alton Brown. The recipes span over 12 chapters and cover a wide range of the best of southern cooking. Sections like Gravy, Garden Goods, Roots, Greens, Rice, Grist, Yardbird, Pig, The Hook, The Hunt are all here. You’ll find recipes for chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, chess pie, and many more.
Styling themselves after the A Team, the "Square Books Jr Team" hosted a Back-To-School Bash at Off Square Books last night, from 7 - 10 p.m. Sixty to seventy "adults, kids, and teens," according to one observer, grooved to the "progressive rock" sound of The Tape Ghosts -- Jas Sandlin, Brayden Berry, and, on drums, Jr. bookseller Marterrious McClain.
The event was the brainchild of longtime Jr. staffer Paul Fyke and his cohort Sami Thomason, both of whom are officers of the Yoknapatawpha Youth Literacy Council, which co-sponsored the evening with coordination from Jr's Ramona Wanlass, a director on the "big" Literacy Council. Ramona said that the greatest enjoyment came from "dancing to the band, and also making paper airplanes. The planes," she added, "were based on Flying Lessons by Gilbert Ford, who visited Jr this past April.
It is logical that the amount of books published about the environment continues to increase in relation to the environment's worsening. Finding the proper category in our bookstore for these books has proved difficult. Many are closely related to nature, and have been shelved in our NATURE section, but a book on, say, solar power more aptly belongs in SCIENCE. A lot of the new books on the "slow" and "go local" movements are in some way related to environmental studies, but many of those have been categorized in GARDENING or HOME LIVING. As our inventory on these sorts of books has grown they have spread throughout various sections of the bookstore.