Square Books' New Book Chat Series

Beginning next Tuesday, September 28th at 10 am, we will initiate our weekly book chat series, when a Square Books bookseller will present brand new books and the latest news in the book world in twenty minutes or less. All are welcome, the coffee's on the house (and donuts), and you can drop in on any Tuesday. Lyn will be the hostess of this first klatsch -- Off Square Books at 10 am.

Richard said he might even give a book away, and he's never done that. So be there AND be Square! 

Square Books Podcast: Alejandro Escovedo & Eugene Marten (September 14, 2010)

Singer/Songwriter and Oxford favorite, Alejandro Escovedo, stopped by Off Square Books Tuesday afternoon, September 14, to play some songs and talk about his friend Larry Brown before playing later that night at Proud Larry's. Off Square Books was packed with fans and friends of Alejandro to enjoy this rare, candid performance.  He and Larry were close friends drawn together by their love of music and writing and the processes of creating both. Alejandro's latest record, Street Songs of Love (which we have at Off Square Books), pays homage to Larry's home in Tula, Mississippi with his song aptly titled "Tula" along with other great songs featuring Bruce Springsteen, among others, as guest musician. You can listen to Alejandro's full performance by clicking below.

Eugene Marten, following Alejandro's performance, read from his latest novel published by Tyrant Books, Firework. Michael said of Firework in the latest Dear Reader that, "Marten masters a world of blue-collar minutiae with spare, striking prose and meticulous detail, a breakout achievement that also tackles issues of gender, class, race, identity and family." Eugene's reading can be heard by clicking below. 

Alejandro Escovedo

Eugene Marten

Sandra Beasley Broadside Now Available

Sandra Beasley made a big impression during her stint as poet in residence at Ole Miss this summer.  She befriended many of us in her short time here, and, with her stunning book of poems, I Was The Jukebox (Norton, 24.95, signed firsts available here) having been recently published, we discovered her work at the same time we got to know her.  Her visit culminated in a reading at Off Square where she was introduced by Beth Ann Fennelly to a room crowded with students, faculty, and townspeople, and, at the close of the event, was presented with a beautiful broadside made by Jan Murray.  The broadside has been produced in a 100-copy limited edition, numbered and signed by the poet and the artist, and is now available from Square Books for $20.

Click read more to view photos of the broadside. 

Man's Best Friend (In books and on the screen)

One might believe, with the current popularity of Marley and Me, that man-and-dog memoir is a new genre.  However, there is a great deal of wonderful writing that preceded Marley about canine companionship.  One such was My Dog Skip, the moving tribute by Willie Morris, which went on to achieve even greater fame once it was adapted into a movie.  Willie Morris himself,  gave his book that title in homage to a book published in the mid-1960s called My Dog Tulip.  In it, the distinguished British author and editor J.R. Ackerley recounts his relationship with Tulip, an Alsatian (what I believe  we would call a German Shepherd).  Mr. Ackerley, already a middle-aged bachelor when he came into possession of Tulip,  lovingly and humorously recalls his sixteen years with her in what remains, more than forty years later, one of the finest examples of  canine-man literature. 

Wylie World Deflates

  From news reports around the world today it is now known that Random House and literary agent Andrew Wylie have reached an agreement over the control of digital publishing rights of authors represented by the Wylie agency and published in the U. S. by Random House.  Apparently Random House controls those rights.

But whether this agreement occurred as a result of legal authority or through Random House's threat not to do business with Wylie's clients we do not know.  Wylie's overnight enterprise, Odyssey Editions, still apparently has digital rights to the works of Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, William Burroughs, and Oliver Sacks.

The day we heard at Square Books that Wylie had created an exlusive arrangement with Amazon to publish e-book editions, we immediately created a window display of Wylie authors' books, all tagged with a "This book NOT for sale" bookmark, as a way of demonstrating the harmful potential that such a monopoly held for readers.

In Celebration of James Dickey

    Dwight Garner has an interesting article in today's New York Times--a piece written about James Dickey on the occasion of  the 40th anniversary of Deliverance.  It reminded us of the visits that this writer, who had a sort of deliberately constructed larger-than-life personna, literary and otherwise, made to Oxford and to Square Books.  Lisa and I first met Dickey in 1977 when we were booksellers in Washington, D. C., and attended a public reading by all the then-former poetry consultants to the Library of Congress.   

Square Books is teaming up with the Southern Foodways Alliance

This fall the SFA will be releasing a new cookbook simply titled The Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook (University of Georgia Press, 24.95). Editors Sara Roahen and John T. Edge picked over 170 recipes for the collection with a foreword by "Good Eats" host Alton Brown. The recipes span over 12 chapters and cover a wide range of the best of southern cooking. Sections like Gravy, Garden Goods, Roots, Greens, Rice, Grist, Yardbird, Pig, The Hook, The Hunt are all here. You’ll find recipes for chicken and dumplings, macaroni and cheese, chess pie, and many more.

Junior Parties Like Rock Stars

Square Books JrStyling themselves after the A Team, the "Square Books Jr Team" hosted a Back-To-School Bash at Off Square Books last night, from 7 - 10 p.m.  Sixty to seventy "adults, kids, and teens," according to one observer, grooved to the "progressive rock" sound of The Tape Ghosts -- Jas Sandlin, Brayden Berry, and, on drums, Jr. bookseller Marterrious McClain.

The event was the brainchild of longtime Jr. staffer Paul Fyke and his cohort Sami Thomason, both of whom are officers of the Yoknapatawpha Youth Literacy Council, which co-sponsored the evening with coordination from Jr's Ramona Wanlass, a director on the "big" Literacy Council.  Ramona said that the greatest enjoyment came from "dancing to the band, and also making paper airplanes.  The planes," she added, "were based on Flying Lessons by Gilbert Ford, who visited Jr this past April.