Mark your calendars for our event-filled month of May.
ONLY IN MISSISSIPPI
May 2 – Charles Eagles, author of the award-winning The Price of Defiance, talks about his new book, Civil Rights, Culture Wars (University of North Carolina Press, $34.95), in which the Mississippi school textbook banning of Mississippi: Conflict and Change and the subsequent federal lawsuit provide a landscape for this historian to delineate the fissures of Mississippi politics and culture.
May 11 – Yvette Johnson, born and raised in California, is the granddaughter of Booker Wright, who once was a waiter at Lusco’s, the famous Greenwood, Mississippi restaurant. When an NBC documentary film crew came through town in 1966 and asked him what it was like to live in Mississippi, his life changed at the moment he told them the truth. This loving memoir, The Song and the Silence (Simon & Schuster, $26.00), is the result of Johnson’s determined search for who her grandfather was, what happened, and why.
May 20 – Many here remember “The Encycloparty” of 1989, when we celebrated the publication of The Encyclopedia of Southern Culture. Now we will celebrate The Mississippi Encyclopedia (UP Mississippi, 1,481 pp., $70), with the Center for the Study of Southern Culture’s editors, James Thomas, Ann Abadie, Charles Wilson and Ted Ownby and as many of the over 700 contributors who are here. “Speed lectures” begin at 3 p.m. in the upstairs courtroom of City Hall; reception and Monster Book Signing begin at 5 p.m. at Off Square Books.
STRONG NEW VOICES
May 3 – Many of you now know Bill Cusamano here, who says that Brain Van Reet (a former Marine and recipient of a James Michener fellowship) has written a first book, Spoils (Lee Boudreaux, $26.00), that will be to the second Gulf War what Going After Cacciato was to Vietnam, and that this “…high octane novel immediately hits high gear and never stops accelerating straight through to its conclusion.”
May 15 – Edan Lepucki, contributing editor at The Millions and author of first novel sensation California, makes her first visit to Square Books with Woman No. 17 (Hogarth, $26). A single mom takes on a young nanny to help out with her not-that-much-younger son and the toddler daughter, and things get tense, comical and complicated in this “family noir.”
May 18 – With perhaps the most talked-about first novel of 2017, Omar El Akkad will make a first visit to Oxford, bringing his American War along. The story occurs 60–80 years from now, the Mississippi River is the Mississippi Sea, and the state of Mississippi, along with Alabama and Georgia (“the Mag”) have seceded. Lisa Howorth, who ain’t scared of nuthin, calls it “scary and compelling.”
TRUTH BE TOLD
May 8 – “To write a memoir, and to consider the importance of another human being is to try to credit what otherwise might go unremarked–partly by acknowledging that mysteries lie within us all, and by identifying within those mysteries, virtues.” So writes Richard Ford in his artful effort to bring to life his mother, father, and a young Richard, in Between Them: Remembering My Parents (Harper, $25.99). Generous in his appearances at Square Books over his career, Richard Ford has, every time, given a splendid, memorable reading.
May 10 – Two days following Richard Ford’s visit, his old friend Curtis Wilkie will be here with his old friend and longtime partner in ink at the Boston Globe, Tom Oliphant. Together they have written a fascinating account of a five-year period in American history, from 1955 to 1960, showing exactly how a presidential campaign and its young candidate, John F. Kennedy, fashioned themselves and flourished to “the squeaker” of a victory, in The Road to Camelot (Simon & Schuster, $28.00).
May 17 – John T. Edge arrived in Oxford as a curious and enterprising student a couple of decades ago or so, and, through eager curiosity, industrious scholarship and several books, a case may be made that he now is the preeminent authority on just about anything having to do with food in the American South. That case is now closed with The Potlikker Papers: A Food History of the American South (Penguin, $28).
May 4 – You might guess that, with a title like Your Killin’ Heart (St. Martin’s, $25.99), the book might deal with country music and be set in Nashville. And you’d be right about Peggy (Peden) O’Neal’s first novel, a Minotaur mystery with a slice of humor and winner of the Malice Domestic Best First Mystery competition.
May 16 – Some of our best events feature books about the natural world, and we can’t wait for Lynn Frierson Faust to come to Oxford to talk about summertime favorites in her book, Fireflies, Glow-worms, and Lightning Bugs (Univ. of Georgia Press, $32.95). Yikes -- “Predatory Photuris versicolor complex females often mimic the flashes of other fireflies.”
May 23 – With a movie out and now on the Indie Bestseller list, A Dog’s Purpose reminds us of Bruce Cameron’s visit here when that novel first appeared. He returns to Oxford, where he has many dog-loving readers, with A Dog’s Way Home (Forge, 24.99), another great story based on dog-and-human relationships from the dog’s point of view.
Note: All events are at Off Square Books beginning at 5 p.m. Visit our event page for a full listing of May's events.