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John Shelton Reed signs DIXIE BOHEMIA


TALK AT 5:30

In the years following World War I, the New Orleans French Quarter attracted artists and writers with low rent, a faded charm, and colorful street life. By the 1920s Jackson Square became the center of a vibrant but short-lived bohemia. A young William Faulkner and his roommate William Spratling, an artist who taught at Tulane, were among the "artful and crafty ones of the French Quarter," In Dixie Bohemia John Shelton Reed introduces Faulkner's circle of friends ranging from the distinguished Sherwood Anderson to a gender-bending Mardi Gras costume designer and brings to life the people and places of New Orleans in the jazz age. Reed begins with Faulkner and Spratling's self-published homage to their fellow bohemians, Sherwood Anderson and Other Famous Creoles. . A charming and insightful glimpse into an era, Dixie Bohemia describes the writers, artists, poseurs, and hangers-on of the New Orleans art scene in the 1920s and illuminates how this dazzling world faded as quickly as it began.




In September 1962, James Meredith became the first African American admitted to the University of Mississippi. A milestone in the civil rights movement, his admission triggered a riot spurred by a mob of three thousand whites from across the South and all but officially stoked by the state's segregationist authorities.

James Meredith and the Ole Miss Riot
is the memoir of one of the participants, a young army second lieutenant named Henry Gallagher, born and raised in Minnesota. His military police battalion from New Jersey deployed, without the benefit of riot-control practice or advance briefing, into a deadly civil rights confrontation. He was thereafter assigned as the officer-in-charge of Meredith's security detail at a time when he faced very real threats to his life.

Gallagher's first-person account considers the performance of his fellow soldiers before and after the riot. He writes of the behavior of the white students, some of them defiant, others perceiving a Communist-inspired Kennedy conspiracy in Meredith's entry into Mississippi's "flagship" university. The author depicts the student, Meredith, a man who at times seemed disconnected with the violent reality that swirled around him, and who even aspired to be freed of his protectors so that he could just be another Ole Miss student.




Mike Stewart sits with his world famous pups. Deke, the cover dog, sits on the right.


Mike Stewart and his pack stopped by last week to sign copies of his new book SPORTING DOG AND RETRIEVER TRAINING THE WILDROSE WAY: RAISING A GENTLEMAN'S GUNDOG FOR HOME AND FIELD (Rizzoli, hd. 45.00). Stewart has been training dogs since he was a child, and this book outlines his unique, low-force, positive training method that has made Wildrose Kennels of Oxford, Mississippi one of the top dog training facilities in the United States, if not the world. With tons of illustrations, diagrams and beautiful photographs, SPORTING DOG AND RETRIEVER TRAINING is part training guide mixed with part coffee table book. This is going to be a great buy for the holiday season for anyone interested in hunting, dogs or just teaching some new tricks to an old friend.  AB




A Second Helping from James Meredith at Square Books


James and Judy Meredith with Richard Howorth

Following the success of his recent appearance on August 30, 2012, when James Meredith spoke to the press and an overflow crowd at Off Square Books, then signed copies of his new book, A Mission from God: A Memoir and Challenge for America (Simon & Schuster, 25.00) and had his picture taken countless times, for a total of nearly four hours, the famous Mississippian returned to Oxford on Saturday, September 15, and signed many more books (now available at Square Books).

Mr. Meredith again spoke to us passionately of his ambitions for Mississippi, explicated in his book -- the necessity and hope for a better education for Mississippi's children, the independence from government, the role of church and family in our culture, and his belief that "Mississippi shall one day be -- not on the bottom, but on top." But he had additional reasons to return to Oxford -- the Ole Miss - Texas football game. So he donned his red shirt and Rebel baseball cap and joined a distinguished group of alums in the Chancellor's box, where ESPN cameras found him,  naturally, rooting for the home team. "Right now, I just want to be ahead at half-time," he said at one point.

Once half-time began, just before the 1962 undefeated Ole Miss team was honored on the field, Chancellor Dan Jones quickly gathered a crowd inside and spoke: "Everyone here is special. But tonight we honor someone who changed our University, our state, and our nation, and made them, and all of us, better...." James Meredith didn't quite get his wish for the football game, nor has he got his wish for Mississippi's achievement. But he remains determinedly hopeful for the prospects of both the team and Mississippi. As he should, warrior that he is.  RH

Thacker Mountain Radio Rocks September

 Crespino, Herring, Morris

Thacker Mountain Radio on Thursday, September 20th at 6 p.m. features a double reading from two fine writers. Mississippian and Emory University historian Joe Crespino reads and signs copies of STROM THURMOND'S AMERICA (Hill & Wang, hd., 30.00). In his new book, Crespino adjusts the image of the late South Carolina senator Strom Thurmond (1902-2003), and reveals how he helped foster modern conservatism and altered the course of the nation. Crespino's wife, the lovely Caroline Herring, who just so happens to be a founding member of Thacker, is the featured musical guest.    

We also have Michael Morris. A graduate of Auburn, Morris also holds a MFA from Spalding University, and has written a new book MAN IN THE BLUE MOON (Tyndale, pb. 13.99), a drama of love, loyalty, betrayal and redemption set in Florida at the turn of the century. Ella Wallace is raising three sons alone and struggling to hold on to the land that's been in her family for generations. A mysterious man convinces her that he can help her, but it's soon apparent that he is as haunted by his past as Ella is terrified for her future.

September 27th Thacker welcomes Lawrence Norfolk.

Lawrence Norfolk
, author of Lempriere's Dictionary and The Pope's Rhinoceros, has written a new novel that will be among the biggest fiction books of the fall. A young boy growing up in a 17th Century English village, John Saturnall is cast into the forest when the villagers believe his mother to be a witch. She is ill and starving, and without the knowledge John has gained from her of how to prepare food from the wild, he would surely die, too. He is taken on as a kitchen boy at a nearby manor, where his culinary skills serve to advance his position in the kitchen and his status in the household, and soon he has caught the eye of Lady Lucretia. Under threat from dogmatic Christians and looming Civil War, whether John Saturnall's skills, cunning and chance can meet the great challenges of time create the tension of John Saturnall's Feast (Grove Press, hd. 25.00), a novel that will appeal to readers who enjoy history, cooking, romance, and drama, brilliantly written.  RH

What Barack Obama is Reading

The following comes from the September 10 Special Convention Issue of Time magazine:


“His laptop lies open, alone on the polished desk, across from a tray where an aide has placed the two novels he is reading at the moment, HOME by Toni Morrison and SALVAGE THE BONES by Jesmyn Ward. Both authors are award-winning women who focus on the same subject, the hardship and heroism of poor Americans…”


Jesmyn Ward is a Mississippi native, former Grisham Writer in Residence at the University of Mississippi and 2011 National Book Award Winner. She visited us last year to sign copies of SALVAGE THE BONES. Available is the hardcover ($24) paperback ($15) Google eBook ($11.99) and signed first edition ($125). 

Toni Morrison's HOME is available in hardcover ($24) Google eBook ($11.99) and signed first edition ($100).

You Saw Them At Square Books First

Square Books has served as a springboard for a number of auspicious literary beginnings. Authors whose first bookstore signings were held here include John Grisham (A Time To Kill), Larry Brown (Facing the Music), Charles Frazier (Cold Mountain), and (in the U.S.) Australian Richard Flanagan (The Sound of One Hand Clapping) and Canadian Yann Martel (The Life of Pi). We have learned recently that the authors of two of the most highly anticipated first novels to be published this fall -- worthy of comparison to those writers mentioned already -- will do inaugural events here -- Lance Weller on September 4, and Kevin Powers, September 10.

Wilderness has received frequent early comparisons, coincidentally, to Charles Frazier's first novel. Set in Washington State thirty years after the Civil War's Battle of Wilderness, in which Abel Truman had fought, the aged veteran undertakes a final quest in which he rediscovers violence and brutality. Abel also finds a generous, kind spirit of humanity in this place, the account of which Annie Dillard said "the landscapes are huge" and "Abel's story...both simple and rich, the novel unforgettable."

In 2004 and 2005 Kevin Powers was a machine gunner in Mosul and Tal Afar, the combat setting of The Yellow Birds in chapters that alternate with the story's stateside events. This short novel is written with great intensity and artistry. Described by Colm Toibin as "compelling" and Ann Patchett as "inexplicably beautiful," Tom Wolfe has hailed The Yellow Birds as "The All Quiet on the Western Front of America's Arab Wars."

Please join us to help Oxford welcome two promising writers into the world of readers. RH