Top 100 Books of 2015
Our friends at Nautilus here in Oxford put four books on our list this year, with Al Povall’s Tapestry of Red & Blue (#16), Robert Khayat’s Education of a Lifetime (#24), Jeffrey Stayton’s novel, This Side of the River (#83), and Billy Watkins’ book on Bo Wallace (#7). As always, writers with the local connection do well for Square Books, including John Hailman and his two Guntown books (43 & 68), Ace Atkins’ The Redeemers (46), Lisa Howorth’s Flying Shoes (69), Curtis Wilkie’s Fall of the House of Zeus (31) and his Assassins, Eccentrics, Politicians (28), Alysia Burton Steele’s Delta Jewels (33), Bill Boyle’s Death Don’t Have No Mercy (79), Troutmouth by Ron Borne (51), Wright Thompson’s edition of the 2015 Best American Sports Stories (44), How To Slowly Kill Yourself and Others by Kiese Laymon (96), Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin (56), Barry Hannah’s durable Airships (95), Turn Around by Leigh Anne Tuohy (41), In the Sanctuary of Outcasts by Neil White (30), William Faulkner (3 titles, beginning at #37), Every Day by the Sun by Dean Faulkner Wells (67), Soul Food Love by Caroline Williams and Alice Randall (43), Murder in the Grove by Michael Henry (41), Bright Fields by Bruce Levingston (39), Soil by Jamie Kornegay (7), UM grads Harrison Scott Key’s The World’s Largest Man (61) and M. O. Walsh’s My Sunshine Away (71), Riot (25) by Ed Meek, and John Currence, whose Pickles, Pigs and Whiskey (5) remains strong in its third year.
Ever popular here is Rick Bragg, with My Southern Journey (9) and Jerry Lee Lewis (54) both on the list. Writers who toured here pitched in, such as Jonathan Franzen and Purity (8); Tom McGuane , Crow Fair (13); Margaret Eby, South Toward Home (94); Garth Risk Hallberg and City on Fire (14); Peter Guralnick and Sam Phillips (37); Joy Williams’ The Visiting Privilege (22); Jim Shepard with Book of Aron (15); and Lauren Groff’s Fates and Furies tied Adam Johnson’s National Book Award winning Fortune Smiles at #10. David Baldacci did his first event here with Memory Man (40), as did John Waters and Carsick (27). Jon Meacham visited with Destiny & Power (32); Haley Barbour with America’s Great Storm (34), Richard Grant with Dispatches from Pluto (11); Chris Scotton and The Secret Wisdom of the Earth (18); Among the Ten Thousand Things and Julia Pierpont (17); Patton Oswalt and The Silver Screen Fiend (28), John Renehan and The Valley (20), and Paul Theroux and Deep South (39)
More Mississippians who made our list include Maude Schuyler Clay and her beautiful Mississippi History (70); Elise Winter’s Once in a Lifetime (75); Stuart Stevens appeared with his chronicle, The Last Season (4), and John Grisham is where he always is with Rogue Lawyer (1), one of only two suspense novels the New York Times included in its top 100 books of the year. Greg Iles and The Bone Tree (3) were big, and Chainsaws and Casseroles and Marshall Ramsay (76) were well received.
Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman (2) created additional interest in her To Kill a Mockingbird (38) and Marja Mills’ Mockingbird Next Door (65). Jim Harrison will always be in the mix at Square Books, last year with The Big Seven (89), as will Eudora Welty – Delta Wedding (97). Our friends at Garden & Gun are in with three books -- The Southerner’s Handbook (35), Good Dog (34), and The Southerner’s Cookbook (64), while Alexe Van Beuren and Dixie Grimes’ BTC Cookbook was #23. Pulitzer winner All The Light We Cannot See (19) by Anthony Doerr, The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (53) Jody Hill’s 38 (22), Paula Hawkins’ The Girl on the Train (12), The Martian (41) by Andy Weir, and, who’d a thunk it, The Mindfulness Coloring Book (45) stayed hot all year long, as did The Boys in the Boat (50).
Other staples included Rebecca Solnit’s The Unfathomable City (59); Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal (74); The Fall of the House of Dixie(72) by Bruce Levine; Lily King’s Euphoria (61); Beale Street Dynasty by Preston Lauterbach (60); Cheryl Strayed’s Wild (90); I Am Malala (91) by Yousafzai Malala; Under Magnolia by Frances Mayes (80); Welcome to Braggsville by Geronimo Johnson (77); We Should All Be Feminists (86) and Americanah (98) by Adichie Chmamanda; John Prine by Eddie Huffman (100); Sapiens (99) by Harari Yuval Noah; The Wright Brothers by David McCullough (78); Redeployment (80) by Phil Klay; and Ready Player One by Ernest Kline (87). Signed copies of Pat Conroy’s The Death of Santini (82) continue to sell as does Dead Wake (85), by Erik Larson, who will visit Square Books on April 14, 2016, when that book is out in paperback.
Many, many thanks to all these writers and to their publishers, and to Square Books dear friends -- our staff and our customers -- who make it all happen. RH