Square Books's blog

A Proud Supporter of Renewable Energy

As a Green Power Switch program participant, in the month of March, approximately 20% of Square Books' electricity use came from renewable sources—a combination solar, wind, or biomass. In my home, this figure was closer to 40%, and, if the amount of power from hydroelectric sources is included, it approaches 50%.

Renewable sources here presently cost more than other sources, and volunteering for this program adds a bit to one's utility bill. However, as the cost of renewable energy continues to decrease, then the amount of renewable energy one purchases, for the same amount of money, will increase.

In Oxford-Lafayette County, Green Power Switch is implemented through Northeast Mississippi Power and Oxford Electric Department (662-232-2373).

Square Books is proud to support renewable energy—at no extra cost to our customers—and we thank you for your support of Square Books.

— RH

Mom's the Bomb

Happy Mother's Day! Show your mother you love her with the gift of a good book.

Circe by Madeline MillerCirce by Madeline Miller (signed)
Madeline Miller gives vibrant life to ancient Greece and its classical mythology. In a world where people created gods very much in their own image the deities are just as petty, jealous, vindictive and violent as their human worshipers. The tale of Circe and her relationship with Odysseus is viewed from a fresh perspective and puts the ancient hero in a different light. Most of all, the author lends a human touch to the mythological tale, taking it out of the realm of fantasy into one that probes the deeper meaning of existence. - BC

What Can I Bring? by Elizabeth HeiskellWhat Can I Bring? by Elizabeth Heiskell (signed)
It is usually the first question you ask after receiving an invitation to a gathering or event: "What can I bring?" Now you'll have the answer. Based on the popular monthly feature "What Can I Bring?" in Southern Living magazine, no matter what the occasion, you'll have the perfect dish.

The Woman's Hour by Elaine WeissThe Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss (signed)
The passage of the Nineteenth Amendment required decades of battle and Elaine Weiss brilliantly depicts the final efforts of suffragettes to secure ratification in 1920. She vividly illuminates the efforts of vested interests in business, society and politics to deny the vote to women and relates it to history of established groups who have consistently tried to prevent the United States from actually being a democracy. This is both important history and a cautionary tale that is relevant to today's world and efforts to limit voting. - BC

The Best Cook in the World by Rick BraggThe Best Cook in the World by Rick Bragg (signed)
From the beloved, best-selling author of All Over but the Shoutin', a delectable, rollicking food memoir, cookbook, and loving tribute to a region, a vanishing history, a family, and, especially, to his mother. Includes seventy-four mouthwatering Bragg family recipes for classic southern dishes passed down through generations.

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis SittenfeldYou Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld
This short story ensemble gets its title from the story, “The World Has Many Butterflies” in which a man and woman play a little game they’ve invented, “You Think It, I’ll Say It,” candidly sizing up their peers whenever they get bored at the tiresome parties thrown by local grown-up friends. But it is more apt as a remark Curtis Sittenfeld (PrepAmerican WifeEligible) poses to her readers, as she teases one’s imagination with the inner lives of her characters, people she understands we know, in their complicated, sweet, and often messy lives. Sittenfeld adroitly unfolds her tales to create drama that touches the reader’s experience, imagined or real, in a way that vividly answers the challenge of literature: to open that window that allows us to see and measure ourselves. Call to reserve a signed copy ahead of her reading on May 10th. - RH

The Nanny Connie Way by Connie SimpsonThe Nanny Connie Way by Connie Simpson
From the beloved nanny to stars like Jessica Biel and Justin Timberlake, Emily Blunt and John Krasinski, and Cash Warren and Jessica Alba comes a loving yet no-nonsense guide to the first four months of parenthood so you can raise a happy baby—and be happy parents. Call for signed copies before she reads on a special Thacker at the Graduate Hotel and a separate event the following night.

Dear Madam President by Jennifer PalmieriDear Madam President by Jennifer Palmieri (signed)
Redefine the expectations for women in leadership roles with this New York Times bestselling volume of inspiring advice by the former communications director for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Framed as an empowering letter from Mississippian Jennifer Palmieri to the first woman president, and by extension, to all women working to succeed in any field, Dear Madam President is filled with forward-thinking, practical advice for all women who are determined to seize control of their lives-from the boardroom to the living room.

Mrs. by Caitlin MacyMrs. by Caitlin Macy (signed)
Caitlin Macy has written a modern-day version of The House of Mirth, not for the age of railroads and steel but of hedge funds and overnight fortunes, of scorched-earth successes and abiding moral failures. A brilliant portrait of love, betrayal, fate and chance, Mrs. marries razor-sharp social critique and page-turning propulsion into a memorable tapestry of the way we live in the 21st century.

Look Alive Out There by Sloane CrosleyLook Alive Out There by Sloane Crosley (signed)
From the New York Times-bestselling author of I Was Told There'd Be Cake comes Look Alive Out There -- a brand-new collection of essays filled with her trademark hilarity, wit, and charm. The characteristic heart and punch-packing observations are back, but with a newfound coat of maturity.

What You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah StewartWhat You Don't Know About Charlie Outlaw by Leah Stewart (signed)
Stewart, author of several acclaimed novels and a longtime friend of Square Books, has written an insightful show business story full of intriguing detail, suspense and an intimate understanding of her characters: Charlie Outlaw, a newbie TV star coming undone by the pressures of success, and his recent ex-girlfriend, Josie Lamar, star of a cult TV show whose shine has tarnished over twenty years. Charlie seeks to get a grip by retreating to a remote island, while Josie plots a comeback and tries to forget Charlie, but can't. It's a great read -- a bit like sneaking a look at grocery tabloid features like Us Weekly's "Stars: They're Just Like Us!" Are Charlie and Josie? Check it out -- Stewart offers a convincing glimpse into the weird world of celebrity. - LH

Rick Bragg at Square Books on Saturday

Rick Brag

Best Cook in the World by Rick BraggRick Bragg's readers love his writing about family, and when this writer starts talking about food, and his mama's cooking, best to just get out of the way. Or his granddaddy, for that matter: "He crumbled fried cornbread into two glasses, poured in cold buttermilk, put in a dash of salt and pepper, and stuck in two blades of fresh green onion and two spoons. It was funny how such a simple thing could be so good." Rick Bragg has been coming to Square Books -- thankfully -- since All Over But the Shoutin', and we always leave his events happy and a bit awestruck. Don't miss him on this one when reads on Saturday, May 5th, or give us a call for a signed copy.

Independent Bookstore Day 2018

Celebrate Independent Bookstore Day with us on Saturday, April 28th. 

Independent Bookstore Day marks its fifth year of celebrating independent bookstores nationwide.

Square Books and Square Books, Jr. will offer giveaway items and exclusive day-of merchandise created especially for Independent Bookstore Day by major publishers and authors. Square Books, Jr. will also host a special Llama Llama storytime at 10 a.m.

We're giving all our customers free audiobooks to say thank you for supporting our bookstore. The audiobooks are available through our partner, Libro.fm. Visit the store on Saturday and we'll sign you up.

Since its inception in 2014, more than 150 authors, including Neil Gaiman, George Saunders, Roxane Gay, Lauren Groff, James Patterson, Stephen King and many others, have demonstrated their support for independent bookstores by donating work for Bookstore Day. These limited edition, unique items will be available only at participating IBD bookstores, on April 28. Not before. Not online. And not in chain stores. Visit our event page to see a list of available merchadise.

Criminal Justice and Incarceration at Square Books

Zachary Lazar in conversation with Kiese Laymon at Square Books

As one of several important threads of current national concern and conversation, it is perhaps no coincidence that four authors would appear at Square Books within a one-week period to discuss three books that pointedly reveal the issue of criminal justice and incarceration. What is remarkable, however, is how all three resonated so convincingly and deeply with their audience.

The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist by Radley Balko and Tucker CarringtonThe Cadaver King and the Country Dentist, written by Radley Balko and University of Mississippi Law School Innocence Project director Tucker Carrington, offers two eye-opening stories on the exoneration of murder convictions that meant years of wrongful imprisonment as the result of a broken and corrupt system. The book is published by the distinguished imprint of Public Affairs ($28.00), a non-profit company whose mission is dedicated to the legacy of I. F. Stone, Benjamin Bradlee, and Robert Bernstein.

An American Marriage by Tayari JonesAtlanta writer Tayari Jones came here Feb. 28 to read from and discuss new Oprah pick An American Marriage—a brilliant and important novel of a couple who, after twelve years in the penal system for a crime the husband did not commit, struggle to relocate their relationship. Published by Larry Brown's great Chapel Hill imprint, Algonquin (26.95). 

Vengeance by Zachary LazarVengeance is the title of Zachary Lazar's novel—based on prisoners' stories gathered from the author's experience behind the walls of Angola prison. The author read from the book and then entertained questions from host Kiese Laymon and the audience. Published as a paperback original by the relatively new independent press, Catapult (16.95), who also published the recent novel by Simeon Marsalis, who visited us in November, and Cries for Help, by Padgett Powell, last here in 2015.

All three books, as Kiese Laymon said of Vengeance, make "...the reader reckon with the questions of what's real, what's imagined, and why these questions matter more in 2018 than at any other time in our nation." The authors of these books devoted years of their lives to helping us understand these stories and their implications today. We at Square Books and the Oxford audiences astonished by these three events and their respective books, feel fortunate—blessed—for the opportunity to receive them, meet them, and thank them.

Signed first edition copies at list price available upon request.

Tayari Jones reading at Square BooksZachary Lazar in conversation with Kiese Laymon at Square Books

The Oxford Conference for the Book Celebrates Milestone Year

25th Annual Oxford Conference for the Book

TThe Rub of Time by Martin Amishis year’s Oxford Conference for the Book represents a milestone year for the Center for the Study of Southern Culture and Square Books. On March 21–23, poets, novelists, journalists, scholars, and readers will flock to Oxford and the University of Mississippi campus from far and wide to celebrate the Twenty-Fifth Oxford Conference for the Book. The three-day event, which is always free and open to the public, includes readings, panel discussions, and lectures by notable writers, first-time novelists, and celebrated academics.The Accomplished Guest by Ann Beattie

Events will take place across the UM campus and at various sites across Oxford. This year, the conference will begin with a pre-conference reading and book signing by Mississippi novelist Michael Farris Smith.The Fighter by Michael Farris Smith His newest book, The Fighter, will launch on the evening before the conference begins, and conferees are encouraged to attend this event at Off Square Books on Tuesday, March 20.

Other events at Off Square Books include Jonathan Miles on March 21st for his latest novel Anatomy of a Miracle. Thacker Mountain Radio on March 22nd features Martin Amis reading his newest book The Rub of Time: Anatomy of a Miracle by Jonathan MilesBellow, Nabokov, Hitchen, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1994-2017.

In addition to novelists and library historians, this year’s participants include political historians, US historians, sociologists and anthropologists, literary critics and cultural studies scholars, poets, essayists and memoirists, literature scholars, Country Dark by Chris Offutteditors and publishers, and a wildlife biologist. Conference panels, sessions, and readings will explore a wide range of topics, such as political history, the Latino experience in the South, the Bohemian South, the fight in Tennessee to ratify the constitutional amendment that granted women the right to vote, radical foodways, and Affrilachian poets and their legacy, among others. Each afternoon we will host book signings for that day’s authors at Off Square Books.The Woman's Hour by Elaine Weiss

On Wednesday evening is the Book Conference Authors Party, held at the historic Barksdale-Isom House and cohosted this year by the Friends of the J. D. Williams Library. This much-loved opening dinner reception is a lively fundraiser with wonderful food, drinks, music, and conversation between fellow conference attendees and guest writers. A portion of the $50 ticket proceeds is tax deductible. Love by Matt de la PenaAll reservations can be made online on the conference website or by calling 662-915-3374.

The 2018 Children’s Book Festival, held in conjunction with the Oxford Conference for the Book, will be held again at the Ford Center for Performing Arts on Thursday, March 22, with more than 1,200 first and fifth graders from the schools of Lafayette County and Oxford in attendance.Delta Epiphany by Ellen Meacham Matt De La Peña will talk to the first graders about his book Last Stop on Market Street at 9:00 a.m., and he will talk to the fifth graders about his book A Nation’s Hope: The Story of Boxing Legend Joe Louis at 10:30. The Lafayette County Literacy Council sponsors the first-grade program and the Junior Auxiliary of Oxford sponsors tHippie Food by Jonathan Kauffmanhe fifth-grade program. All 1,200 children will receive their own copy of each book. He will be at Square Books, Jr. at 3pm that afternoon for a signing.

To learn more about the guest authors, please visit the conference’s website and the conference’s Facebook page. You can register for special events on the conference website or by contacting conference director James G. Thomas, Jr. at 662-915-3374 or by e-mail at jgthomas [at] olemiss [dot] edu.