Square Books's blog

Robert St. John & Wyatt Waters at Square Books

Robert St. John & Wyatt Waters sign A Mississippi Palate

Wednesday, November 8th at 5pm

Robert St. John and Wyatt Waters have done it again. These Mississippians are pleased to introduce their fourth collaboration. With St. John's innovative versions of traditional and contemporary Mississippi recipes, along with Waters' famed watercolors of the state's most indelible images, it's sure to be another classic from the pair that brought us A Southern PalateSouthern Seasons, and An Italian Palate.

Upcoming events with Nautilus

Nautilus Publishing Company, located in Oxford, has a few upcoming events at Square Books. 

Monday, October 30th at 5pm
Jim Carmody with The Big Nasty (by Ron Borne)
The Big Nasty depicts the life and times of one of Mississippi's most fascinating coaches, Jim Carmody. This book, the third by beloved University of Mississippi professor Ron Borne, was completed three days before his death. We miss him.

Wednesday, November 1st at 5pm
Hubert McAlexander with From the Chickasaw Cession to Yoknapatawpha: Historical Essays on North Mississippi
From the Chickasaw to Yoknapatawpha: Historical Essays on North Mississippi is a collection of essays and documents written by Mississippians over the years -- a mosaic that tells the story of the settlement and growth of North Mississippi and explores the region's literary significance.

Friday, November 3rd at 5pm
Jane Stanley with Jane: A Memoir
Long-time Oxford resident Jane Stanley (formerly Borne) has captured a most unconventional life on the pages of this candid, sometimes shocking memoir.


Friday, November 10th at 5pm
Ole Miss Business: The First 100 Years
Ole Miss Business, a 200-page illustrated history of the school, takes the reader on a century-long journey from the inaugural 1917 semester of the School of Commerce, led by James Warsaw Bell (its first dean) through the spirited leadership of Ken Cyree, the school's current (and eleventh) dean.

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.


Michelle Kuo joined Teach For America and wound up in Helena, Arkansas, where she formed a bond with her student Patrick Browning over literature. "He had a feeling of being somebody who was often observing his peers, rather than getting sucked into their world," she said in an interview with One Day Magazine. "And he also just was naturally drawn to poetry and writing. Sometimes I had to sell poetry to students by talking about how it was a lot like hip-hop, but Patrick understood that intuitively. And I loved that about him—he was very quiet, very introspective. And he flourished at reading."

Eventually, her commitment to Teach For America ended and she moved away for law school. While studying criminal law, she learned that Patrick got in a fight and killed somebody. "I was devastated and honestly just didn't believe it because Patrick had never been violent in my class or at the school," she said. "He even broke up a fight outside of our classroom because he didn't want to see people hurting each other."

This news prompted her to move back to Arkansas and reconnect with Patrick, who was forgotten in the brutal prison system of the rural South. Through reading together with Patrick, Michelle was able to continue Patrick's education and address some of her failures from when she was a teacher. Her new book Reading for Patrick—an important and moving book about education, failure, criminal justice, and redemption—is a product of this time spent with Patrick. 

Michelle Kuo read on Thacker Mountain Radio next Thursday, September 28th. We'll be donating a portion of proceeds to Teach for America.

To reserve your signed copy and learn more about the event click here

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.

Under Harvey's Eye

Hurricane Harvey has cut a path through the South, much like when Hurricane Katrina destroyed the Gulf Coast in 2005. These catastrophic storms leave behind shambles, and some of the books below do justice at describing the horror. Read on in order to grasp the long (and still unfolding) road ahead for those in Texas.

Jesmyn Ward's Salvage the Bones is a big-hearted novel about familial love and community against all odds, and a wrenching look at the lonesome, brutal, and restrictive realities of rural poverty. Winner of the 2011 National Book Award.

In The Great Deluge, bestselling author Douglas Brinkley finds the true heroes of the unparalleled Hurricane Katrina catastrophe, and lets the survivors tell their own stories, masterly allowing them to record the nightmare that was Katrina.

Five Days at Memorial uncovers the harrowing story of a hospital during the Katrina floodwaters where several health professionals faced criminal allegations that they deliberately injected numerous patients with drugs to hasten their deaths. 

Kiese Laymon's debut novel Long Division tells about YouTube sensation City Coldson, who moves away from home and is given a book that contains time traveling powers, which enables him to travel back in time and save his family from terrorism by the Ku Klux Klan.

Michael Farris Smith's devastating Rivers is a masterful tale of survival and redemption in a world where the next storm is never far behind. 

A decade later, Katrina: After the Storm traces the storm's immediate damage, the city of New Orleans's efforts to rebuild itself, and the storm's lasting effects not just on the area's geography and infrastructure--but on the psychic, racial, and social fabric of one of this nation's great cities.

America's Great Storm is the memoir from former Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour and details his experience with guiding the poorest state in the nation out of this tragedy.

The Tilted World by Tom Franklin and Beth Ann Fennelly is a fictional account about murder and love during the Mississippi Flood of 1927. An extraordinary tale told with beautiful language from two Oxford writers.

Flight Behavior is a brilliant and suspenseful novel set in present day Appalachia; a breathtaking parable of catastrophe and denial that explores how the complexities we inevitably encounter in life lead us to believe in our particular chosen truths.

Drawdown is a collection of 100 solutions to reverse global warming, based on meticulous research by leading scientists and policymakers around the world.

The Madhouse Effect portrays the intellectual pretzels into which denialists must twist logic to explain away the clear evidence that human activity has changed Earth's climate. Because climate change is fact.

Truth to Power is a book companion to Al Gore's documentary An Inconvenient Truth.

The Sixth Extinction blends intellectual and natural history and field reporting into a powerful account of the mass extinction unfolding before our eyes. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.


Please Forward is a collection of blog posts from a blogging community that was vital for rebuilding New Orleans.