Part 2: Remembering 2016's Top 100 and Then Some

While hardcover editions of new books comprise more than two-thirds of the 2016 Square Books bestseller list, 32 paperback titles appeared, including Larry Brown's #93 Facing the Music, William Faulkner's Selected Stories and Light in August, Lisa Howorth's #70 Flying Shoes; Eudora Welty's #83 Delta Wedding; How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others by Kiese Laymon; Tom Franklin’s #61 Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter and Laura Lane McNeal's #88 Dollbaby; national bestsellers and our #30 A Man Called Ove by Frederik Backman as well as Jojo Moyes’ #24 Me Before You; Adichie Chimamanda’s #99 We Should All Be Feminists; Curtis Wilkie's enduring #23 The Fall of the House of Zeus; # 27 In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White; and several by those who made an author appearance here, including Sally Mann with #84 Hold Still and Erik Larson with #44 Dead Wake ; many of the contributors to #29 Mississippi Noir; Julie Cantrell and #35 Feathered Bone; Michael Henry and #21 Murder in the Grove; T. J. Ray and #60 Side by Side; Pulitzer Prize winner #78 The Sympathizer by Viet Nguyen Thanh; and Preston Lauderbach for #82 Beale Street Dynasty.

More books by writers known to many folks around here included #13 The Innocents by Ace Atkins; #12 Confessions of an Undercover Agent by Charlie Spillers; #19 The Land of Rowan Oak by Ed Croom; #8 For a Little While by Rick Bass; #14 Free Men by Jackson's Katy Simpson Smith; Meridian native Brad Watson's National Book Award Finalist, #9 Miss Jane; #81 Riot, by Ed Meek; Julia Reed and #20 Julia Reed’s South; the pair by Al Povall, #s 22 & 32, A Time Remembered and Tapestry of Red and Blue, respectively; #33, Crisis Point by Trent Lott with his liberal pal Tom Daschle; another pair from Jack Pendarvis, #s 58 & 68, Movie Stars and The Cigarette Lighter; contributions from the pair, Chris Offutt and Melissa Ginsburg, #s 33 & 56, My Father the Pornographer and Sunset CityMary Hamilton’s #28 Trials of the Earth, with help from Kerry Hamilton and Shelilah Hamilton Pantin; and the nicely done brief biography of Faulkner, #32 Myself and the World, by Robert Hamblin, whose book on Evans Harrington in 2017 we eagerly anticipate.

Leading books by writers-from-afar visiting us this year was Nathan Hill and his remarkable first novel, #6 The Nix, accompanied by the likes of #17 Bright, Precious Days by Jay McInerney; #15 Here I Am by Jonathan Safran Foer, who made a memorable initial visit to Oxford; Jaqueline Woodson's #16 Another Brooklyn, also her first time in Oxford; #89 El Paso by Winston Groom; Richard Russo's #11 Everybody's Fool; #26 The African Svelte, which was specially signed and shipped from New York by both author Daniel Menaker and illustrator Roz Chast; and, due in part to his forthcoming engagement here, February 20, 2017, Amor Towles and #91 A Gentleman in Moscow.

Other guests at Square Books included C. E. Morgan and her brilliant #10 Sport of Kings; #96 Perfume River and Robert Olen Butler; Jonathan Rabb and #94 Among the Living; John Gregory Brown and A Thousand Miles from Nowhere; #18 The Last Painting of Sara De Vos by Dominic Smith; #90 Ten Restaurants That Changed the World by Paul Freedman; #61 The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie; Taylor Brown's Fallen Land; #53 The Dream Life of Astronauts by Patrick Ryan, introduced here by Ann Patchett, who later slipped into town to sign copies of #7 Commonwealth

(This is part two of a three part series. Read Part One and Part Three.)

Part 1: Remembering 2016's Top 100 and Then Some

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.)

The gift of a Signed First subscription is for a year, but lasts a lifetime.

If you had ordered on a regular basis signed books from Square Books since 1979, you would now have a library which includes some of the most entertaining, interesting, and important books by American writers over the past twenty years.

Square Books offers by subscription each month one signed, first edition title selected from the scores of events we host. You pay only the list price, plus postage, and at the end of the year you will receive a bonus book at no charge. 

This month we are offering a free Square Books tote bag when you sign up for a subscription either for yourself or as a gift for someone else.

If you'd like to join or you have any questions about the Signed Firsts Club, call 662-236-2262 or send an email to Thank you for your interest and support.

Upcoming Events with Nautilus Publishing

 The Nautlius Publishing Company

THE WHISTLER by John Grisham now available for purchase

Signed, first edition copies are now available for purchase.

"John Grisham has now written 29 legal thrillers and fought harder for truth, justice and the American way than anyone this side of Superman. His values don’t change, and neither do his tactics, but the Grisham formula hasn’t gotten old. Or older. When he’s on his game, as he is with his latest, The Whistler, it really works." - The New York Times

Upcoming Author Events for Nautilus Publishing

Nautilus Publishing, the publishing company located in Oxford, is releasing four books this autumn for which we're hosting events.

  • Thacker Mountain Radio Show's favorite host, Jim Dees, is releasing The Statue and the Fury. In 1997, Oxford, Mississippi sought to build a statue to honor the 100th birthday of Oxford native William Faulkner. In this funny and heartfelt memoir, Dees chronicles the year-long civic contretemps that erupted over a magnolia tree that was cut down to make room for the sculpture. The same year, Oxford became embroiled in a “trees versus development” dispute that saw citizens arrested for blocking bulldozers. Meanwhile, the University of Mississippi pursued plans to discourage use of the Confederate flag, the song “Dixie” and the Col. Rebel mascot setting off protests and death threats. Dees brings his signature wit and insight to these pivotal events and includes interviews with James Meredith, Shelby Foote, Willie Morris, Mrylie Evers and… Willie Nelson. Jim Dees will be at Off Square Books for a book signing on Tuesday, October 18th at 5pm.
  • The other book is a compilation of notable quotes by Mississippians called The Mississippi Book of Quotations by David Crews. One Square Books bookseller describes the volume as being "honest and sharing what's beautiful about the state as well as what is wretched about it." It's sure to become a classic reference book for all quotes regarding Mississippi, bringing together the artistry and cadences of the world’s greatest storytellers. It blends powerful insights on love, truth, lies, race, women, war, humor, failure, fear, humility, evil, politics, religion, law, the Blues, violence, drinking, death, endurance, and sacrifice—the wide breadth of themes and emotions that make up life well-lived and poorly-lived. David Crews will be at Off Square Books for a book signing on Tuesday, October 25th at 5pm.
  • Al Povall follows up his popular Ole Miss sports oral history book with an inside look at the culture and social mores of the day in A Time Remebered, Ole Miss 1945-1970. Over 100 contributors tell us a wider story of Ole Miss during the same period, an era roughly embracing the tenures at Ole Miss of football coach John Howard Vaught and Chancellor J. D. Williams. Rebels and non-Rebels alike will not want to miss these stirring accounts of that time period. Al Povall will be at Off Square Books for a book signing on Wednesday, November 9th at 5pm.
  • During its two hundred year history, Mississippi has been governed by fifty-three men who have held the state’s highest office, and whose authority and tenure were defined by the state’s four constitutions of 1817, 1832, 1868, and 1890. Noted Mississippi historian David Sansing brings each governor to life in these illustrated, never-before-published biographical sketches in his new book, Mississippi Governors. David Sansing will be at Off Square Books for a book signing on Thursday, December 1st at 5pm.


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