3Q's: Lyn Roberts, manager, Sqaure Books


By NEMS Daily Journal

Lyn Roberts manages Square Books in Oxford, one of the nation’s best-known independent bookstores. With the convergence of the Christmas gift-giving season and those long winter nights when reading by the fire can be an extra-special pleasure, Daily Journal reporter Errol Castens recently asked her about trends and titles that rise to the top in the book business. Local authors, local editors and local subjects from music and mystery to heroes and history seem to be more popular with readers than ever.

Q:What trends are you seeing in book purchases this year?

A:I don’t know about trends, but most of the titles that are at the top of our list in sales are regional or have a local connection. For example, “Mississippians,” a coffee table book of famous and talented Mississippians, edited by Neil White, is high on our list along with the others mentioned. Kathyrn Stockett’s “The Help,” set in Jackson, also has continued to sell well.

This regional bias has always been the case, but it seems more this year. It might be that this reflects the national trend of local first (contradiction there?). People are buying locally, but also are interested in regional history and color, avoiding the national genericism.

Q:What have been some other customer favorites at Square Books lately?

A:Our top sellers for the season are: “The Confession” and “Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer” by John Grisham

“The Fall of the House of Zeus” by Curtis Wilkie

“Promises I Made My Mother” by Sam Haskell

“Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter” by Tom Franklin

“In a Heartbeat” by LeighAnn & Sean Tuohy

“The Southern Foodways Alliance Cookbook”

Q:What books are on your own Christmas list?

A:Yes, I love getting books, too! “Mississippi: State of Blues” by Ken Murphy with text by Scott Barretta. Murphy is a great photographer, and his style is especially suited to juke joints. Scott Barretta is a knowledgeable writer.

“One Big Table” by Molly O’Neill. Big cookbook of American recipes; a great pastime for the winter months.

“Long Last Happy”: Barry Hannah’s last collection.

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