It is always entertaining to listen to the authors who appear on Thacker Mountain Radio each Thursday here at Off Square Books, but sometimes we lose sight of the fact that author appearances are also intended to be educational. In furtherance of this educational mission we were lucky last night to have David Rees, "the number one #2 pencil sharpener" and author of HOW TO SHARPEN PENCILS (Melville House, $19.95) give us a demonstration straight from Chapter 14 on "Sharpening Pencils for Children." It was a fun learning experience for all and Mr. Rees made it look so easy, but remember, he is a professional and has spent years honing his craft, so it would be advisable to purchase a copy of his book (which we now have copies signed by David Rees with a pencil he sharpened himself!)
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Richard Howorth, the owner of Square Books in Oxford, John Evans of Lemuria in Jackson, Jamie Kornegay of TurnRow Book Company in Greenwood and Emily Gatlin of Gum Tree Book Store in Tupelo make up a panel that will discuss the state of the book selling trade and the ongoing national war between the big box stores and the independents. They will share their survival secrets at 11 a.m. Tuesday, March 20th at the Overby Center for Southern Journalism and Politics.
Howorth, a former Oxford mayor and a frequent host to some of the nation’s best-known authors, operates three book stores within a short stroll of each other on the town square. His Off-Square Books annex hosts the town’s popular Thacker Mountain Radio show.
Evans started Lemuria in a small converted apartment in 1975 saw it grow into a much larger store just off I-55 in Jackson. It has since expanded, with LemuriaBooks.com occupying an adjacent warehouse-like space where authors can speak and customers sip beer.
Before opening TurnRow and its popular sandwich shop in downtown Greenwood, Kornegay got his start writing for the Oxford Eagle. He got the book bug, started writing fiction and took a job at Square Books. He also found time to produce Thacker Mountain Radio.
Emily Gatlin’s frequent book reviews and her “bookseller Barbie” blogs on the book trade have become well known to aficionados. Her book events at Gum Tree have helped the store, housed in Tupelo’s legendary Reed’s department store, become a regular on the author circuit.
Overby Fellow Bill Rose will moderate the panel, which is free and open to the public.
For more information please visit www.overbycenter.org
Square Books' owner, Richard Howorth, relives his time as the Man in the Yellow Hat and speaks about the upcoming exhibition at the Mississippi Museum of Art and the phenomenon of Curious George!
Square Books’ 2012 event schedule got off to a nice start last night (January 17) with Mac Gordon, at Off Square, talking about his Hometown: A Remembrance – how a small town newspaper and ordinary citizens joined together in the 1960s to end racial violence in McComb, Mississippi.
January 23 will bring a crowd to meet historian John Barry (author of Rising Tide), who will talk about his new work – Roger Williams and the Creation of the American Soul: Church, State, and the Birth of Liberty (Viking, 35.00).
January 26 – Novelist Adam Johnson will be here to read from his brilliant new novel that several of us are wild about, The Orphan Master’s Son (Random House 26.00). The fastidious Michiko Kakutani wrote in the New York Times that “Mr. Johnson has written a daring and remarkable novel, a novel that not only opens a frightening window on the mysterious kingdom of North Korea, but one that also excavates the very meaning of love and sacrifice."
January 27 – The Neelys will be here!
January 30 – Joshilyn Jackson (Gods in Alabama) will be back with A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty (Grand Central, 25.99), which Sara Gruen said “feels a lot like falling in love: giddy and enthralling and a little bit dangerous,” suggesting “book clubs take note.”
Sam Haskell was interviewed on CBS this morning (Dec. 28, 2011) about his successful career and his book, Promises I Made My Mother, which has been and continues to be one of Square Books' top bestsellers since its publication in April, 2009. A popular fixture on the speaker circuit, Sam and his wife Mary manage very busy careers but have settled comfortably into the moderately paced life of Oxford since moving here in recent years. Signed copies of Promises I Made My Mother (Random House, $24) are available from Square Books.