Thursday, April 4, 2013

Take 5: Great Deep South Bookstores

             There’s so many wonderful independent bookstores in the South we have to break it down by region. Here’s five of my favorites of the Deep South, with the award going to Mississippi, the state known for some of the finest American literary figures. Here’s my five but there were so many I left out!
            Square Books of Oxford, Miss., began in 1979 by Lisa and Richard Howorth, the latter a former president of the American Booksellers Association. Today, the three-in-one bookstore is a city landmark, offering booksignings by local and nationally known authors, programs, Camp Square Books for adults and the Thacker Mountain Radio. The 3,500-square-foot Square Books, Jr. is devoted to children’s selections; Off Square Books features lifestyle topics such as cooking and gardening; and the main store celebrates regional history and literature. This year, Square Books won Publisher Weekly’s Bookstore of the Year Award.
              In Jackson, there’s the oversized Lemuria Books, offering not only a fabulous selection, but a blog, first editions club and great book events. Some of the best names travel through Lemuria, but so do the little guys just starting off selling great titles as well. The staff is helpful, their email newsletters well done and professional, and did we mention the great selection? And there’s an awesome coffee shop and bistro downstairs so you can enjoy your purchase with a cup of Joe.
            Danny Plaisance runs Cottonwood Books in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, an unassuming place that’s stocked with great finds. In addition to 35,000 used and rare books are first editions, rare titles on Louisiana and the Civil War and new books by locals. Give yourself lots of time to peruse the aisles of this special place. And if you have a question or searching for a title, it's likely Danny can help.
            Mystery lovers have to sample Murder by the Book in Houston, one of the nation's oldest and largest mystery specialty bookstores. The store packs in more than 25,000 new and used books, first editions, collectibles, gift items, mystery magazines, and more, plus hosts numerous booksignings by mystery authors every year.
             Page and Palette family-owned bookstore is located in the heart of charming Fairhope, Alabama. The independent store run by the third generation features a great selection of Alabama and Gulf Coast writers and hosts regular book signings and events such as storytime, open mics and book discussions. There’s a coffee shop attached so it’s easy to enjoy a good book, a comfy chair and a hot cup of coffee. In addition, the shop offers a used book section.


  1. Oh, Chere, how I love this, love this, LOVE this:!

    I consider Eugene Walter to be one of my spiritual leaders. He once said, "I've eaten the ripened heart of life and made a luscious pickle of the rind!" Ha. Wonderful. I'm HUnter and I tweet for BPL. I also write. And one of the main reasons I do so is because I discovered book writers like Uncle Eugene. :) What a man. So glad I came across your Twitter account and your blog here. I'm a crazy big fan of Deep South Magazine (my article here and the Bayou and River Vermillion and the great state of Louisiana. Hopefully, the first book I pub will be set down there in New Awluns.

    I just wanted to give you a shout and my approval of your posts and your blog and your taste in culture and the South. I can't wait to read “Exploring Cajun Country: A Tour of Historic Acadiana.”

    All best to you!



  2. Thanks Hunter. You really made my day, so glad you like my blogs. :)

    I love Deep South magazine and the publisher is a friend and fellow Lafayette resident (and awesome!). You need to come visit!!

    Funny thing, I'm a fan of your library! I did research there years ago because my great grandfather lived in Birmingham and owned a fur and hide business there. He moved to New Orleans and left the B'ham business with his brother. I love Birmingham, wanted to work at Southern Living but it never came together. But I'm doing what I love anyway, writing about the South, so funny how things work out.

    Do come and visit. Gumbo's on me.

  3. That's a deal, Lucille! I never turn down a promise of gumbo. So cool to hear from you. I think you have great taste, Miss Ma'am (you and my buddy Erin Z. Bass). :)

    My grandparents lived in the 'Ham themselves (as well as one of my great grands). It's a neat city. So glad you're writing about the South. It's a magical place. I doubt I'll set a book outside it, if I can help it.

    Glad you're a fan of BPL too! What a coincidence. Please do stay in touch. I love that French name of yours too. Amazingly Louisianan.

    I hope you're having a brilliant summer! Take care and talk soon (and thanks for responding)!