Pat Conroy died on Friday, March 4, leaving behind many thousands of readers who revered the passionate writing of the stories of his life, his family, and the places he knew, cheiefly coastal South Carolina and the Citadel, where he went to school. Pat visited Oxford and Square Books a number of times in conjuction with the publication of several of his books and those by his wife, Cassandra King Conroy, when he would drive her around and do his best to hold his gregarious and exuberant personality in check so as not to outshine Cassandra.
Our friends at Nautilus here in Oxford put four books on our list this year, with Al Povall’s Tapestry of Red & Blue (#16), Robert Khayat’s Education of a Lifetime (#24), Jeffrey Stayton’s novel, This Side of the River (#83), and Billy Watkins’ book on Bo Wallace (#7). As always, writers with the local connection do well for Square Books, including John Hailman and his two Guntown books (43 & 68), Ace Atkins’ The Redeemers (46), Lisa Howorth’s Flying Shoes (69), Curtis Wilkie’s Fall of the House of Zeus (31) and his Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians (28), Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels (33), Bill Boyle’s Death Don’t Have No Mercy (79), Troutmouth by Ron Borne (51), Wright Thompson’s edition of the 2015 Best American Sports Stories (44), How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others by Kiese Laymon (96), Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (56), Barry Hannah’s durable Airships (95), Turn Around by Leigh Anne Tuohy (41), In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (30), William Faulkner (3 titles, beginning at #37), Every Day by the Sun by Dean Faulkner Wells (67), Soul Food Love by Caroline Williams and Alice Randall (43), Murder in the Grove by Michael Henry (41), Bright Fields by Bruce Levingston (39), Soil by Jamie Kornegay (7), UM grads Harrison Scott Key’s The World’s Largest Man (61) and M. O. Walsh’s My Sunshine Away (71), Riot (25) by Ed Meek, and John Currence, whose Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey (5) remains strong in its third year.
".. for really good writers, sports offer an opportunity to express all the pleasure and passion of life." -Nicholas Dawidoff
Mamacita, longtime store cat at Off Square Books, died peacefully earlier this week. She was born c. 2001, and spent her early life at the Oxford-Lafayette Humane Society, coming to Off Square in 2003, where she charmed many visitors and Oxonians, young and old. (One of Mamacita's more unusual feline traits was her remarkable tolerance for the "affection" of very young children, including pinching, tickling, and tail-grabbing). She may be best known for sleeping on the sales counter, where she enjoyed washing Slade Lewis' head, strolling through author readings (she once leapt up on the podium during a reading and reclined on the author's open book) and Thacker Mountain Radio, and attacking dogs who thoughtlessly entered her domain without permission. She loved people and spent a great deal of time napping with friends at Mitchell McNutt Law Office, visiting at Neilson's Department Store (once locked in overnight) , and, in her youth, cruising the Square late-night. In recent years she retired to the country estate of Beckett Howorth IV, where she was livin' the dream. Mamacita was preceded in death by two daughters, Pickle and Alma. She leaves behind two good dog friends, Joe and Rivers, and many fans and admirers who have followed her on Facebook and corresponded with her. She was an excellent cat who will be greatly missed. Memorials in honor of Mamacita may be made to the OLC Humane Society, 413 McElroy Dr., or to www.9livescatrescue.com.