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Welcome Home Richard Flanagan

     Grove Atlantic Publishing sent Richard Flanagan to Mississippi for the Oxford Conference for the Book in 2000 on his U.S. tour for The Sound of One Hand Clapping. Those were heady times.  Larry Brown, William Gay ("Willie" to Richard)  and Barry Hannah were all still with us.  We found his writing powerful, affecting, and empathetic, while we found Richard to be humble, affectionate and simpatico.  Since then, Richard has returned to Oxford for all but one of his six novels; each time building a larger reading audience and making more friends. It has been seven years since we had an event for The Unknown Terrorist, and we were anxious to welcome him back to his spiritual home in the United States.  

     To make it official, Mayor Pat Patterson issued a proclamation declaring Richard Flanagan an honorary citizen of Oxford and he was given a bag of the best tchotchkes our Tourism Office has to offer. Flanagan went on to speak eloquently about Oxford, about The Narrow Road to the Deep North and his father.  The audience was visibly moved and many expressed thanks for the best reading they had ever attended.  We are happy to be able to share videos taken during the event here and here.  And we were thrilled -- but not surprised -- to find out on September 9th that The Narrow Road to the Deep North is named to the short list for the Man Booker Prize (see the finalists here).  We are placing all bets on him.

Fall 2014 Dear Reader




The Fall 2014
Dear Reader is available for online viewing and is packed full of debuts from authors who are going to be visiting us soon such as Malcom Brooks with PAINTED HORSES, John Darnielle with WOLF IN WHITE VAN and Katy Simpson Smith with THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA. Plus, new books from favorite authors Curtis Wilkie, John Hailman, John Grisham, and Richard Flanagan, Richard Ford, Darcey Steinke, Frederick Barthelme, and -- for the first time here -- children's authors Chris Van Allsburg & Jon Scieszka.

Ace Atkins Shelf Awareness Interview

Bookselling Newsletter, Shelf Awareness, talks with Ace Aktins about Quin Colson TV, his writing process and music from Spencer's jazz to Quinn's classic country. (Click photo for more)

Some nonfiction writers say they have a hard time writing fiction because they'd have to make everything up from scratch, while some fiction writers say they struggle with writing nonfiction because they have to stick to the facts and can't shape the story to their liking. You've done both. Which form do you find easier?

I don't think I really came into my own as a writer until I started to blend the two for my novels. My first four books were somewhat surreal, and it wasn't until I started using my background as a reporter in my fiction that my stories took on an added dimension. My fifth novel, White Shadow, really changed everything for me in my writing style and approach to novels. I work much in the same way now with my Quinn Colson books.

Why did you decide to write about the plight of the American soldier returning home after being at war?

My longtime editor at G.P. Putnam asked me to consider developing a series character in contemporary times. Coming off four novels based on true stories set long ago, I was searching for someone specific to the South, where I live, and who offered an exciting story to play out in future books...


Flying Shoes by Lisa Howorth

ON SALE NOW
Signed Copies Available

The past determines and haunts the present and future and Lisa Howorth presents a lyrical and powerful exposition of this fact in Flying Shoes. Mary Byrd Thornton is forced to once again confront a thirty-year-old crime that has traumatized her life and family while also dealing with a society that continues to struggle with cataclysmic change from its traditional values. Mary Byrd’s voice is distinctive, acute and perceptive in its observations and joins those who have created such a rich literature about the Mississippi experience. Somewhere, the ghosts of those writers are welcoming a new member to the ranks of the artists who have done so much to inform and bear witness to such a complex culture and landscape. BC

Michael Pollan comes to Oxford


In partnership with the Southern Foodways Alliance, Square Books is pleased to announce an evening with Michael Pollan on May 21 beginning at 6:30 p.m. in Nutt Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus. On tour for the paperback release of Cooked (Penguin, $17.00), tickets are free with the purchase of this title at Square Books. A limited number of student tickets are available through the Southern Foodways Alliance at info@southernfoodways.org.

For the past twenty-five years, Michael Pollan has been writing books and articles about the places where nature and culture intersect: on our plates, in our farms and gardens, and in the built environment. He is the author of  Cooked: A Natural History of Transformation (available in paperback April 29) and of New York Times bestsellers: Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual (2010); In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (2008); The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals (2006) and The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World (2001). The Omnivore’s Dilemma was named one of the ten best books of 2006 by both the New York Times and the Washington Post. It also won the California Book Award, the Northern California Book Award, the James Beard Award, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.

Pollan was named to the 2010 TIME 100, the magazine’s annual list of the world’s 100 most influential people. In 2009 he was named by Newsweek as one of the top 10 “New Thought Leaders.” A contributing writer to The New York Times Magazine since 1987, his writing has received numerous awards. In addition to publishing regularly in The New York Times Magazine, his articles have appeared in Harper’s Magazine (where he served as executive editor from 1984 to 1994), National Geographic, Mother Jones, The Nation, The New York Review of Books, Vogue, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet, House & Garden and Gardens Illustrated, among others. In 2009, he appeared in a two-hour PBS special based on The Botany of Desire as well as in the documentary, "Food Inc.," which received an Academy Award nomination.

*EVENT GUIDELINES*
- Doors open at 6:00 p.m. Event begins at 6:30 p.m.
- This is a ticketed event. Tickets are free with a purchase of the paperback edition of COOKED from Square Books (limit two per individual).
- Michael Pollan will sign immediately following the event at Nutt Auditorium. Books will not be sold at Nutt Auditorium.

We Have Hachette


By now many of you know of Amazon’s latest bullying incident, delaying shipment of certain titles published by Hachette by as much as three weeks or longer, some say in order to force Hachette to concede more profit to Amazon. Hachette, the French company that bought the Time Warner Book Group in 2006, includes a number of American imprints, including Little Brown and Hyperion, and authors such as Malcolm Gladwell, Kate Atkinson, James Patterson, and George Pelecanos.


Amazon is larger than the next dozen largest online businesses combined, controls well over a third of the American book trade, and has flexed its monopoly muscle in similar ways numerous times. By creating obstacles to buying books from certain “uncooperative” publishers, Amazon also prompts customers – and this may be the ulterior motive here -- toward the option in which they are vastly more dominant, the e-book format.   

 

If you’re in a hurry for your Hachette title, try Square Books, or any other independent bookseller. We don’t have robots snoop around to create your “profile” based on what you read or buy. If we do not have it in stock, most titles we can get in two days, and we will special order immediately any book from any publisher for anyone, any time. -- R.H.

Music of the Swamp Reissued

Lewis Nordan
1939 - 2012

Our friends at Algonquin did the book world a favor last year by returning to print Lewis Nordan’s classic novel based on the murder of Emmett Till, Wolf Whistle (paperback, 13.95), which Randall Kenan once compared to Zora Neale Hurston, Calderon, Shakespeare, and Eudora Welty. Now they have done one better, reissuing Nordan’s breakout classic, the novel-in-stories Music of the Swamp (paperback, 14.95). In its first few pages you are introduced to singing mice, a bare-breasted mermaid (perhaps), the voice of Elvis Presley that boyhood-hero Sugar Mecklin is hearing for the first time on the family’s Philco radio, and finding that, “Today was a Sunday, this was a whole summer, in fact, in which magic might prove once and for all to be true.”  

Lewis Nordan lived in Pennsylvania, where he taught at the University of Pittsburgh, but he was born and raised in Itta Bena, Mississippi. Buddy, as he was known, visited here a number of times, each one memorable but none more than his first visit to Square Books with Music of the Swamp. This new edition includes an essay by the author, “The Invention of Sugar: An Essay about Life in Fiction – or Vice Versa.” Whenever I am asked for the best books by Mississippi writers, the remarkable Music of the Swamp is among the first few I clutch.  R.H.



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