2013 was a banner year for Square Books, due largely to the many books by writers connected to Oxford. Our top ten bestselling authors all signed books for us, only three of whom are not connected to Oxford – Pat Conroy and The Death of Santini (10), George Saunders’ Tenth of December (7), and David Sedaris’ Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls (8) – although all three of those writers have appeared here in past years, too.
Cookbooks and other lifestyle categories were hot: perennial seller Square Table (11); Are You Ready? (13) from Ole Miss Department of Nutrition & Hospitality Management; Treme: the Cookbook (64); An Italian Palate, by Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters (14); Garden & Gun’s Southerner’s Handbook (12); Southern Living’s Tailgating Handbook (18); and at #2, John Currence hit a home run in his first at bat in a big, bad way with Pickles, Pigs & Whiskey.
Other Oxford and Mississippi writers dominated our list, some with more than one book: Ace Atkins (42, 90); William Faulkner, of course, Selected Short Stories (31, + 3 other titles); the King twins (52 + 71); John Grisham, with Sycamore Row at #3 (+ 5 and 99); Julie Cantrell (66 + 95); Jesmyn Ward (74 + 83); Curtis Wilkie (27); Donna Tartt (24); Michael Henry (77); Ann Fisher Wirth (98); Sam Haskell (9); William Winter’s biography (45); Michael Farris Smith’s debut, Rivers (63); Steve Yarbrough (64); Neil White (34); and Bill Ferris (40). Tom Franklin’s Crooked Letter Crooked Letter (33) was bested by his collaborative novel with Beth Ann Fennelly, The Tilted World (5).
For more top 100 Square Books titles, check this blog Monday
Bruce Cameron, author of the bestselling books, A Dog's Journey and A Dog's Purpose, teamed up with Square Books this year when his new book, The Dogs of Christmas, was published. The author and the bookstore agreed to dedicate $2 each for every copy sold -- a total of $4 for every book, 25% of the $15.99 hardcover gift book. With animal lovers in Oxford having now purchased 263 copies since Bruce Cameron's October 15th appearance on Thacker Mountain radio at Off Square Books, that makes $1,052 total that will go to OLCHS. Square Books still has a few signed copies in stock.
Square Books prepares to close out a record year of author events as we approach Thanksgiving and the holidays. Mississippian Snowden Wright is here Wednesday, November 20, with Play Pretty Blues (Engine Books, 14.95); Jayne Anne Phillips returns to Square Books on Thacker Mountain Thursday, November 21 to read from her brilliant new novel, Quiet Dell (Scribner, 28.00); and on Friday, November 22, Wright Thompson (who has just appeared in Best American Sports Stories 2013 for an unprecedented eighth consecutive years) will interview Nicholas Dawidoff, sportswriter nonpareil, with his just-released Collision Low Crossers (Little Brown, 28.00), an inside look at the NFL that readers already are comparing to Paper Lion, and saying that it is the best book ever written on professional football.
We will finish November celebrating Small Business Saturday and featuring four guest authors -- who will be booksellers! Sarah Frances Hardy at Jr, and Beth Ann Fennelly, Deborah Johnson, and Ace Atkins will be helping us help you -- and they might sign a book or two of their own. While we always tell publishers we do not do events in December, we will break our rule for Ann Patchett, Joshilyn Jackson, Melissa Townsend, Ken Wooten, and -- how could we resist -- The Grinch. More on that in a later post. -- R.H.