Monday, October 23, 2006

Where I Spent My Weekend

Friday night was homecoming night at the high school (our team won - kind of a prerequisite with homecoming games, isn't it?) and on Saturday we went to the North State Swim Meet at Delta State University. More on that another time, as I came home with some Fighting Okra decals to throw in with the occasional gifties that I plan to come up with for the Chunkster Challenge and possibly for No Reason Whatsoever!!

But, you don't care about all that, right? You want to hear about books. Piles of books, books flowing like the mighty Mississippi River while a bookstore cat watches you from a table loaded with colorfully covered stories and people shuffle around quietly, paging through - what else? - books!!! Well, I'm willing to oblige. Check out the photo, above, of the interior of Square Books in Oxford. Just a small corner, but could it be much cooler?

Wait! We're not there, yet. After the swim meet, we drove to Batesville, MS, which has little to recommend it other than an outlet mall that's losing its discount bookstore. Sigh. So sad. We were too tired to do anything but eat, play on the internet (hubby), watch cartoons (the kid) and read (me). But on Sunday we headed to Oxford to visit with the eldest kiddo. While there, we ate at the Bottletree Bakery, walked around the town square and visited Square Books. Yes! Finally, the crowd breathes a sigh of relief. She's made it to the bookstore!!

We milled around because it's a place worth milling around in, ya know. They have books! They have mugs with quotes! They sell coffee! There are photos of authors all over the place! It smells like paper, old wood and coffee. Ambience galore, people.

We had walked past Off-Square books after the bakery but it was not yet open. Of course, as soon as we were done savoring the atmosphere in Square Books (and, yes, the pocketbook took a small hit), off we went to Off-Square Books, the remaindered- and used-book twin of Square Books. The best part about a visit to Off-Square Books (besides the obvious) is a chat with the store cat. This time, I found out her name and snapped a few photos of her. So, here we have . . . tada! . . . Mamasita getting a nice little neck rub from my eldest. She is a sweet, friendly kitty with a tag that says "Return to Off-Square Books" on the front. I've never seen her stray beyond the occasional outside table, but I have a feeling that she's well known, even should her tag be eaten by a monster, and would be quickly returned. Many people stopped to chat with Mamasita.

Since I am a Bookfool and so are my children, we did leave with (ahem) a small pile. The eldest pointed out a book and forced me to read the cover flap on pain of being trapped in the store with a cute cat. How cruel. So, I read it and, duh, bought it for him. Call me Wimp. And, the other child shoved a couple of things in my hands. I do believe he knows how to operate the Book-Purchasing Mama Machine well.

So, that's where I spent my weekend. I think I need to visit my eldest more often. If you went somewhere better, please feel free to loudly one-up me. I'm all glowy from my bookstore experiences, but someday I've got to come down off this Book High.

Bookfool, back home and barefoot


  1. Oh, I LOVE the picture in the top! What a mood you captured, what a place to visit. I'm glad you have little "bookfools" in your family to accompany your hobby. My son also likes to read, and often accompanies me to Barnes and Noble and Borders. But, those aren't nearly as nice as the bookstores you described here.

  2. Thanks, Bellezza. Both my kids love books and bookstores, thank goodness. I guess they'd have to. Actually, we took our youngest to Barnes & Noble in Anchorage when he was tired and having a bit of a tantrum from fatigue and hunger (we have a tendency to keep going till we all drop, on our vacations) - what a miracle transformation! The moment he walked in the door, he was calm and angelic. There's something to be said for the atmosphere they provide, but I love the uniqueness of small, privately owned bookstores. Square and Off-Square books are bliss.

  3. Anonymous9:46 PM

    I love visiting bookstores and seeing pictures like this!! How fun!!

  4. Suzi,

    Your recent bookstore photos inspired me to take these (although I'd planned on photographing the cat, next time we went to Oxford). :)

  5. Oh bookfool...I'm so so jealous. Glad you had fun though (she said bitterly) lol

  6. Bybee,

    Thanks. You had me chuckling. I'm actually envious of my son for getting to live in Oxford; it's a gorgeous little town with a lovely university campus (and he lives in a nicer apartment than I ever lived in). We can have a pity party together, if you'd like. :)

  7. Sounds like a lot of fun!
    Alas, I haven't been to a bookstore in a couple weeks... which is a good thing since I shouldn't be spending any more money for a while.

  8. Yay for ambiance! Pics of dead authors, coffee, and that wood/paper smell are the best things ever.

    I'm quite jealous of such a charming book shop, and Mamasita is one lucky cat!

    Now, tell us what you bought!

  9. I typed a long post and then it timed out. *sigh*

    In summary, that looks like a fabulous, atmospheric book store, and that has to be the luckiest cat ever.

  10. Angela,

    I go through bookstore-avoidance phases but they never last long. It's awful, I must say, being 50 miles from a decent bookstore in combination with having a sucky library, but I've worked at making my own home library to make up for it. I need a bigger house; I'm pretty sure the books are going to rebel and kill me, soon, if I don't get my act together.


    Well, it looks like both posts did come through. I lost my reply to Angela, earlier. Sometimes Blogger can be a pain.

    I'm jealous of Daniel, getting to live in such a great place. The weirdest thing about my kid . . . he often goes to Memphis with his buds. Who would want to go to a nasty town with tight traffic when you can hang out in a place with trees everywhere, rolling hills, a beautiful town square with TWO shops with friendly store cats, great bookstores and a REAL bakery (to die for soup and scones, I kid you not).

    Let's see . . . what did the silly girl buy?

    Two nature books because the photography has made a closet environmentalist go hog wild for nature:
    1. Audubon Guide to the National Wildlife Refuges - Southeast
    2. National Geographic's Field Guide to the Birds of North America

    Because of my Bible study, two books on the same Ancient Dude:
    1. Alexander the Great as told by his original biographers
    2. Alexander: The Sands of Ammon (second in a series for which I haven't seen a first) - Valerio Massimo Manfredi

    And . . .
    A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian - Marina Lewycka
    The Return of the Native - Thomas Hardy
    The Jungle Book - Rudyard Kipling
    War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (Chunkster Supremo!!!)
    Leaf Storm and other stories - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

    I think that's it. :)

  11. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian? LOL Not familiar, but you can bet I'm looking it up now!

  12. Andi,

    I've seen a couple of reviews of A Short History, etc., and it sounded pretty good (although they were not what you'd call enthusiastic reviews, it just appealed to me). We shall see. Great title, eh?

  13. Anonymous3:50 PM

    Ohhhh, bookfool, I just love the pictures! Nothing warms my heart more than a visit to a good, old-fashioned bookstore - how wonderful that you had the opportunity to spend time in that wonderful atmosphere! I love the idea of authors' pictures up on the walls, I can't remember seeing that in any other bookstore - I'm sure that adds real charm to the place.

    I'm off to check the link now!

  14. Thanks, Lotus!

    They have photos of authors all over the place at Square Books - most autographed, but not all. Square Books hosts frequent signings; they're one of the few stores that very kindly allowed John Grisham to do a signing of his first book, when he was still unknown. Authors love them, you can imagine!!! It's a very small bookstore, but has so many nice little corners and special touches.

  15. I'm going to seem REALLY random and out there with this comment. But I was searching "Delta State, okra, decal" and your blog came up. Apparently, the campus bookstore no longer offers these stickers, which made my husband and me very sad! I was wondering... just... wondering... if you might still have one left over that we could purchase from you? Does that sound insane or WHAT??


  16. Aha, I found you, Melanie! I left a reply at your blog. I'll do a search and get back to you. I know I have a couple around here, somewhere. Also, kiddo has friends who attend Delta State, so if they still have them at the campus bookstore but just don't sell them online, we might be able to get you some when school opens in the fall.


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