Every year our annual best seller list is dominated by books written by Mississippians, particularly writers from Oxford, and by books whose authors visit Square Books. In 2016 this seems to be especially the case. Of our top 100 books 45 are by writers who now live or once lived in Mississippi, and, of those, all but ten have a connection to Oxford. Book signings at Square Books still rule, as 69 of our top 100 authors have done an event at Square Books.
The top five spots are filled by John Grisham's #1 The Whistler, Oxford restaurateur John Currence’s #2 Big Bad Breakfast, Jackson resident Richard Grant's #3 Dispatches from Pluto; and two books from Neil White's Nautilus Publishing, #4 The Mississippi Book of Quotations by David Crews and #5 The Statue and the Fury by Jim Dees.
Stuart Stevens came home with #36 The Last Season, as did James McCafferty and his #43 Bear Hunter, Bill Ferris with his lovely #52 The South in Color and Teresa Nicholas with her book on Willie Morris, #45 Willie, while David Sansing, Robert Khayat, and John Hailman simply drove to the Square with, respectively, #38 Governors of Mississippi, #42 The Education of a Lifetime, and #39 Return to Guntown.
Michael Black didn’t need to come here for #64 A Child’s First Book of Trump, nor did Kristen Hannah for #65 The Nightingale, or Bill O’Reilly with #59 Killing the Rising Sun, or Lars Anderson with #46 The Mannings, or J. D. Vance for #63 Hillbilly Elegy, or Elena Ferrante and #48 My Brilliant Friend, or Anthony Doerr and his imperishable #50 All the Light We Cannot See. S. C. Gwynne did not come with #67 Rebel Yell paperback edition, but he did for the hardcover last year, and Ron Chernow, of #47 Hamilton, visited Dan Jones and Ole Miss a couple of years ago.
Candace Millard’s appearance with #51 Hero of The Empire was brilliant, and David Sibley’s 2nd trip to Oxford helped boost The Sibley Guide to Birds to #49 on our list. Vivian Howard and #40 Deep Run Roots made a good impression here. Greg Iles’ forthcoming novel, Mississippi Blood, the last of his recent trilogy, made the list at #53 by virtue of pre-event sales, as he’ll be here this spring and people are ordering early.
We are grateful to Lee Annis for coming to town with his #69 Big Jim Eastland; ditto Anton DiSclafani with #66 After Party, as well as, especially, Cassandra King, for coming with #59 Lowcountry Heart and bringing us memories of her late husband, Pat Conroy. Thanks also to Sally Thomason with Jean Carter Fisher for presenting their most welcome book on Betty Pearson, #92 Delta Rainbow; likewise to Jimmy Thomas for his #76 Conversations with Barry Hannah; Bill Dunlap and #85 Short Mean Fiction; Augusten Burroughs and #79 Lust and Wonder; and #80 Redemption Road by John Hart.
(This is part one of a three part series. Read Part Two and Part Three.)