Colbert vs. Amazon

Stephen Colbert smacks down Amazon with help from guest Sherman Alexie. This clip speaks for itself, and us too.

Michael Pollan comes to Oxford

In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Square Books is pleased to announce an evening with Michael Pollan on May 21 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus. On tour for the paperback release of Cooked (Penguin, $17.00), tickets are free with the purchase of this title at Square Books. A limited number of student tickets are available through the Southern Foodways Alliance at

For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author of  Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (available in paperback April 29) and of New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.” A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards. In addition to publishing regularly in The New York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in Harper’s Magazine (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden and Gardens Illustrated, among others. In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire as well as in the documentary, "Food Inc.," which received an Academy Award nomination.

- Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Event begins at 6:30 p.m.
- This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with a purchase of the paperback edition of COOKED from Square Books (limit two per individual).
- Michael Pollan will sign immediately following the event at Nutt Auditorium. Books will not be sold at Nutt Auditorium.

We Have Hachette

By now many of you know of Amazon’s latest bullying incident, delaying shipment of certain titles published by Hachette by as much as three weeks or longer, some say in order to force Hachette to concede more profit to Amazon. Hachette, the French company that bought the Time Warner Book Group in 2006, includes a number of American imprints, including Little Brown and Hyperion, and authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Kate Atkinson, James Patterson, and George Pelecanos.

Amazon is larger than the next dozen largest online businesses combined, controls well over a third of the American book trade, and has flexed its monopoly muscle in similar ways numerous times. By creating obstacles to buying books from certain “uncooperative” publishers, Amazon also prompts customers – and this may be the ulterior motive here -- toward the option in which they are vastly more dominant, the e-book format.   


If you’re in a hurry for your Hachette title, try Square Books, or any other independent bookseller. We don’t have robots snoop around to create your “profile” based on what you read or buy. If we do not have it in stock, most titles we can get in two days, and we will special order immediately any book from any publisher for anyone, any time. -- R.H.

Music of the Swamp Reissued

Lewis Nordan
1939 - 2012

Our friends at Algonquin did the book world a favor last year by returning to print Lewis Nordan’s classic novel based on the murder of Emmett Till, Wolf Whistle (paperback, 13.95), which Randall Kenan once compared to Zora Neale Hurston, Calderon, Shakespeare, and Eudora Welty. Now they have done one better, reissuing Nordan’s breakout classic, the novel-in-stories Music of the Swamp (paperback, 14.95). In its first few pages you are introduced to singing mice, a bare-breasted mermaid (perhaps), the voice of Elvis Presley that boyhood-hero Sugar Mecklin is hearing for the first time on the family’s Philco radio, and finding that, “Today was a Sunday, this was a whole summer, in fact, in which magic might prove once and for all to be true.”  

Lewis Nordan lived in Pennsylvania, where he taught at the University of Pittsburgh, but he was born and raised in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Buddy, as he was known, visited here a number of times, each one memorable but none more than his first visit to Square Books with Music of the Swamp. This new edition includes an essay by the author, “The Invention of Sugar: An Essay about Life in Fiction – or Vice Versa.” Whenever I am asked for the best books by Mississippi writers, the remarkable Music of the Swamp is among the first few I clutch.  R.H.

Children's Book Week

We are thrilled to participate in the 95th celebration of Children’s Book Week this year (May 12th-18th).

Children's Book Week is the annual celebration of books for young people and the joy of reading.

Established in 1919, Children's Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes -- wherever young readers and books connect!



Children's Book Week is a truly national celebration, with events taking place from coast to coast.

Square Books Jr. will participate by hosting:

Sarah Frances Hardy, with her new book Paint Me May 10 at 10 a.m.
Laurie Fisher with Where Do the Go on Game Day? May 14 at 10 a.m.
Indie's First Storytime with Curious George and Ace Atkins May 17 at 10 a.m.
Live mannequin readings in the Square Books Jr. window all day Saturday May 17.
Volunteer mannequins can sign up in the store for twenty minute shifts.

Special Books for Special Moms

ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE (Scribner, $27.00) Anthony Doerr is masterful writer and this latest novel is as enthralling as the legendary diamond at the center of the story. We have signed copies.

THE LITTLE BOOK OF MARY (Chronicle, $19.95) Stories of the Virgin Mary with pictures from prayer cards and missals, this is a lovely gift for any mother with a special devotion to Mary.

THE GIRLS OF ATOMIC CITY (Simon & Schuster, hd. $27.00, pb. $16.00) Denise Kiernan has brought to light a remarkable forgotten chapter of American history of the thousands of women who worked in Oak Ridge, Tennessee during WWII.

UNDER MAGNOLIA: A MEMOIR (Crown, $26.00) Frances Mayes, who brought us UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN, has revisited her childhood growing up in the South with a chaotic, loving family and the importance of place.

THE B.T.C. OLD-FASHIONED GROCERY COOKBOOK (Potter, $29.99) With text and recipes from Alexe Van Beuren and Dixie Grimes, this is a celebration of food and community with lots of love from right down the road in Water Valley.

HOW TO TIE A SCARF (Potter, $12.95) Scarves are de rigueur for women of a certain age these days. This elegant little book has 33 styles. 

COOKED (Penguin, $17.00) Get Michael Pollan's latest, now in paperback, and you'll receive two free tickets to see him speak on May 21st. One for you, one for Mother.

EVERYTHING I NEED TO KNOW I LEARNED FROM A LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK (Golden, $9.99) I know your mother knows everything. This is where she learned it.

(Knock Knock, $9.99) A directed book for kids to show how their mom is the coolest.

(Morrow, $27.99) After five years, Greg Iles' latest Penn Cage novel is finally here. Stephen King says "fiendishly suspenseful." Signed copies available.