Spreading the Love of Reading

April 23rd marked the 3rd annual World Book Night, USA where volunteer book givers go out into their communities to give away donated books to light or non-readers or to people who have limited access to books. Square Books was proud to be a host bookstore for this event, which aims to spread the love of reading. Some of the local volunteer book givers are pictured below.

Joanne Wilkinson with books for the inmates at the Lafayette County Detention Center, Oxford MS.

Connie Ramsey and her daughter hand out copies of Bridge to Terabithia at the Pontotoc Library.

Adam Brady handed out Mrs. Darcy Falls in Love at Azalea Gardens.

Thank you to all 2014 World Book Night participants. For information on World Book Night please click here.

Megan Abbott and Dave Smith Reception

Square Books is pleased to host a reception honoring Megan Abbott and Dave Smith at 6 p.m., Thursday, April 24, at Off Square Books. There will be a brief reading during the reception.

Megan Abbott is completing her year as the John and Renee Grisham Vising Writer at the University of Mississippi. She is an Edgar Award-winning author of seven novels, including Queenpin, The End of Everything, and, most recently, Dare Me, which Gillian Flynn called, "tense, dark, and beautifully written."

Dave Smith is completing his first year as Senior Writer in the University of Mississippi's writing program. A native of Virginia, he has had a distinguished teaching career at Virginia Commonwealth University, LSU, and Johns Hopkins University. He has published over a dozen volumes of poetry, as well as volumes of fiction and criticism, including Little Boats, Unsalvaged, Hawks on Wires, and The Wick of Memory: New and Selected Poems 1970 - 2000. He has received numerous awards and fellowships, including the Poetry Award from the American Academy and Institute for Arts and Letters.

The event is free and open to all.

Taking Gifts from Square Books Into the Wider World

This time of year we find ourselves asked about gifts for graduates, some of which we have been recommending successfully for years, like Eudora Welty's timeless memoir One Writer's Beginnings (Harvard University Press, $18, pb) whose three parts, "Listening," "Learning to See," and "Finding a Voice," offer wisdom for writers or anyone else embarking upon a voyage toward independence (we also have the 3 - CD version of this in her own voice, $32.00); North Toward Home (Vintage, $15.95 pb), by Willie Morris, in which the writer explains how leaving Mississippi for Texas and New York was part of becoming fully adult. (Willie's My Two Oxfords, ($20, U. Press of Miss.) also makes a nice gift on this occasion); David Foster Wallace's This Is Water ($15, Little Brown), his commencement address of "some thoughts, delivered on a significant occasion, about living a compassionate life"; and The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch (Hyperion, $21.99). 

  There are four new books just published (or about to be) that are quality suggestions, two of which seem especially good for those entering a business career -- Young Money ($27, Grand Central) by Kevin Roose, who spent three years shadowing eight post-2008 crash entry-level Wall Street recruits, an excellent account of what to expect in the financial world today, and the ever-reliable Michael Lewis on Wall Street revolt, Flash Boys ($27.95, Norton). Facebook CEO's Sheryl Sandberg has been atop the bestseller list for months now with Lean In, and she now has written a book tailor-made for a graduation gift, Lean In For Graduates ($24.95, Knopf), with new chapters by experts, including Find Your First Job, Negotiate Your Salary, and Own Who You Are.

  We expect to have in stock soon two graduation gift tomes to be published April 22 -- You Are Not Special: ...and Other Encouragements (Ecco, $21.99) by David McCullough, Jr, the schoolteacher son of the historian of the same name, and Congratulations, by the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness ($14, also as a CD, $20), a graduation address by George Saunders, one of our favorite writers. Finally, there is The Opposite of Loneliness, Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan (Scribner, $23.00, with an introduction by Anne Fadiman), the 2012 Yale Magna Cum Laude graduate who was tragically killed in a car accident just five days after commencement. Even though she was only 22, she left behind a trove of writings that address the hope, uncertainty, and possibility of her generation.

Drop in to talk with us about these and get your free gift wrapping, or give us a call or an email.  - RH


School Colors

Photo by Bruce Newman

Lafayette Elementary students dress as crayons as they parade outside the school. Lafayette Elementary and Bramlett Elementary students are reading Drew Daywalt's book "The Day the Crayons Quit." Daywalt will make an appearance at Oxford Conference for the Book, March 26-28.


On Loan to Square Books

City Grocery has its guest chef series (most recently hosting Donald Link), the University has a visiting writer in residence why not a guest bookseller? So we invited Bill Cusumano to visit us. A buyer and veteran bookseller at Nicola's Books in Ann Arbor, Michigan, Bill might hold the record for most Indie Next blurbs. Bill says that there is a rule at the ABA that if an author lives in Columbus, MS his blurb will be selected for the monthly Indie picks (Michael Farris Smith, RIVERS and Deborah Johnson THE SECRET OF MAGIC) He is a truly voracious reader and knowledgeable bookseller. Drop by in the next two weeks and see what Bill is recommending now.

2014 Book Conference Feature, Mar. 26-28

More than a murder mystery, Laura Lippman’s After I’m Gone explores what it means to be “blinded by love:” the wife whose adoring husband is unfaithful, the mistress who believes he’ll choose her, the daughters who love their father and thus ignore his crimes. Set against the backdrop of a cold case investigation, these characters are so striking that by the end, you won’t want to know which one of them is responsible. There’s no question about it: Laura Lippman is one of the best in the business. --Kaitlyn

Big Books and Authors Coming to Square Books

We have begun taking orders for signed copies of a number of books coming later this year.  Susan Minot and Lorrie Moore, both of whom have grown steadily into the status of contemporary great American writers, will be here for the Oxford Conference for the Book, March 26 - 28Susan Minot's new book, Thirty Girls, is a brilliant novel based on the true story of the abduction of girls from a Ugandan convent, and her first book in ten years. 

We have lost count of the number of times over the past few years that we have been asked, "When is Greg Iles' new book coming?"  Natchez Burning (800 pages and the first of a trilogy!) will be out April 29, and Greg Iles will be at Square Books the next day, April 30.  And we can't wait.  You can pre-order now from our site or from his -- where he has included Square Books and Lemuria among the likes of Amazon, an example we wish more authors would follow.

Many familiar characters from the stories of Ellen Gilchrist return to print in her book to be published in April by Algonquin, Acts of God, in which "the South is alive and vibrant," according to Publishers Weekly. The new book features eleven new stories by the National Book Award winner for Victory Over Japan.  Ellen Gilchrist will return to Square Books for an event April 28, two days prior to Greg Iles' visit.   

Finally, we continue to get questions about the forthcoming novel by a certain local writer.  Lisa Howorth's first novel, Flying Shoes, will be out June 17, and the book party (and a party it will be) for her at Square Books is on the same date.  The story is told by Mary Byrd Thornton, and, according to Bobbie Ann Mason, "It is a scream - also heartbreaking, saucy, sassy, poignant, and triumphant.  Mary Byrd is a bold, kooky, quirky character I won't forget."  And we agree with Ann Patchett, who said, "Those of us who have waited a long time for this book celebrate its arrival.”


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