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All About Oxford

On Monday, October 16th, at the Chancellor's House, John Cofield signs Oxford, Mississippi: The Cofield Collection, which is a pictorial history of Oxford featuring phographs from the Dain, Meek, Leslie, and Cofield collections, as well as many private collections. This event is at the Chancellor's House at 5pm (no on-site parking available).

Elizabeth Heiskell, the owner of Woodson Ridge Farm and The Debutante Farmer, treats us with another cookbook. What Can I Bring? is based on her monthly Southern Living magazine feature "What Can I Bring?" No matter the occasion, this cookbook will guide you in bringing the perfect dish to any sort of soirée. She signs on Tuesday, October 17th at 5pm at Off Square Books.

For a full listing of our events, visit squarebooks.com/event.

Beth Ann Fennelly reading at Square Books

Beth Ann Fennelly takes the stage at Off Square Books Tuesday evening with her new book, Heating and Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs. Some pieces are only a half-page long, none is longer than perhaps three pages, and, while this is not exactly poetry, the author, a poet, writes these mostly personal vignettes poetically, excising any narrative excess in order to get to the gist of memory and meaning, thus having the effect of poetry — very good poetry, that is — and causing the virtuosic novelist, Richard Ford, to confess, "I wish I'd written it." — RH

Fall is here

Cool air descends upon Oxford as we prepare for another month filled with events. Here's a look at the week ahead. For a complete listing, visit here.

Nathan Englader visits with his new novel Dinner at the Center of the Earth, which might be the best work yet from the Pulitzer finalist and bestselling author—a political thriller that unfolds in the highly charged territory of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and pivots on the complex relationship between a secret prisoner and his guard. Wednesday, October 4th at 5pm.

Two authors read on this week's Thacker Mountain Radio Show. Robert Olmstead reads from his latest novel Savage Country. "Robert Olmstead gets better with every book. If you know all of his previous books, you know how startling this fact is, and how startlingly good this writer is." — Tom Franklin. In Trouble Boys, Bob Mehr presents his epic biography about the notorious rock 'n' roll band The Replacements. A roaring road adventure, a heartrending family drama, and a cautionary showbiz tale, Trouble Boys has deservedly been hailed as an instant classic of rock lit. Thursday, October 5th at 6pm.

For Storytime at Square Books, Jr., Josh Funk reads from his picture book The Case of the Stinky Stench. There's a stinky stench in the fridge—and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Saturday, October 7th at 10am.

Jesmyn Ward returns to Square Books

National Book Award-winning author Jesmyn Ward returns to Square Books on Monday, September 25th, in support of her latest novel Sing, Unburied, Sing, which was longlisted for the 2017 National Book Award in Fiction. Ward, a Mississippian, was the Grisham Writer in Residence in 2010.

In her first novel since Salvage the Bones, this singular American writer brings the archetypal road novel into rural twenty-first-century America. An intimate portrait of a family and an epic tale of hope and struggle, Sing, Unburied, Sing journeys through Mississippi’s past and present, examining the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power—and limitations—of family bonds.

As former Square Books bookseller Purvis Cornish says, "Ward delivers again. Told mainly through the voices of Jojo, a teenager and pseudo-father to his younger sister, Kayla, and their estranged mother, Leonie, Sing, Unburied, Sing is a multi-generational and multi-racial family's odyssey through Mississippi, and through the legacies—ghosts—of slavery and Jim Crow, which shape this family's present."

She'll be joined in conversation with the 2017 Grisham Writer in Residence Catherine Lacey. For more information, visit the event page.

Catherine Lacey on the season premiere of Thacker Mountain Radio

Thacker Mountain Radio returns to Oxford after a summer spent on the road. This week's author is Catherine Lacey, who is the University of Mississippi's 2017 Grisham Writer in Residence. The show will feature performances by the Memphis reggae band Chinese Connection Dub Embassy and local synth-pop duo And The Echo.

Catherine Lacey is the author of Nobody Is Ever Missing, winner of a 2016 Whiting Award and a finalist for the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. She was born in Tupelo, Mississippi and is based in Chicago.

Her latest novel, The Answers, follows a struggling Mary who lives in New York City and needs a certain health treatment she can't afford. She's in serious debt and out of options when she signs up for a mysterious job advertised as "The Girlfriend Experiment," which she learns is the creation of narcissstic actor Kurt Sky. Determined to find the perfect relationship, Sky hires several women to provide different girlfriend-like functions. Mary's role is to play the "Emotional Girlfriend" and she falls into Kurt's ego-driven and messy attempts at human connection.

Dwight Garner of the New York Times wrote, "In her new novel, The Answers, she sweeps you up in the formidable current of her thought, and then she drops you down the rabbit hole. She’s the real thing, and in The Answers she takes full command of her powers."

Told in her signature spiraling prose, The Answers is full of the singular yet universal insights readers have come to expect from Lacey.

August 31st - 6pm - Off Square Books

First Amendment Sales Tax Holiday

In celebration of the vital importance of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which prohibits, among other things, "the making of any law abridging the freedom of speech" or "infringing upon the freedom of the press," Square Books will offer our customers a 7% discount on book purchases all weekend, starting on August 25th through August 27th.

The discount effectively nullifies the amount of sales tax for customers, as Square Books is still required to collect and pay that tax.

This promotion celebrates the great traditions of free expression and free press in our nation and the rich tradition of Mississippi's literature.

It occurs on the same weekend that the State Legislature grants a sales tax holiday to anyone in Mississippi purchasing guns, a Second Amendment tax holiday initiated in Governor Phil Bryant's first term.

We encourage the Mississippi legislature to one day initiate a similar holiday for the sale of books.

Order a signed copy of Camino Island

Camino Island opens with a Princeton library heist of valuable manuscripts, a charismatic bookstore owner (no, this resembles no one we know) whose sideline of antiquarian books might have a shady side, and a young woman, a struggling writer, who is hired by an insurance firm to find facts and play dumb. The recipe of interesting characters and a rollicking plot, sprinkled with literary treats, makes for Grisham at his best. Order a signed first edition of Camino Island.

Living in Mississippi: The Life and Times of Evans Harrington

Living in Mississippi: The Life and Times of Evans HarringtonA little over a year ago Robert Hamblin's excellent brief biography of William Faulkner, Myself and the World, appeared here. Recently we received another most welcome 148-page biography by Hamblin, Living in Mississippi: The Life and Times of Evans Harrington, the story of one of Mississippi's most courageous intellectuals and social activists. Harrington (1925-97) was one of the most popular professors on campus, teaching all creative writing classes (Poetry, the Short Story, and Expository Prose) and most modern literature courses (Modern American Drama, the Modern English Novel, and Modern Poetry) at a time when English departments almost universally taught the work of only dead writers. Harrington was active in important civil rights and free speech issues and cases. Upon receiving the ACLU's Civil Libertarian of the Year award, one of the writers Harrington was responsible for bringing to the University of Mississippi, Barry Hannah, said, "He is Emerson's 'American Scholar.' He is Whitman's 'man of the open road.' He is not just a supporter of of the arts, civil rights, and humanitarian enlightenment, but a great participator." We will celebrate Robert Hamblin's life of Evans Harrington at the close of this year's Faulkner Conference—of which Harrington was it's 1974 co-founder. The book is now available. -- RH

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