A Mississippi Independent Bookstore Tour

 I’ve just returned from a whirlwind tour of some of Mississippi’s independent bookstores. It was great fun to meet the owners and managers of these wonderful stores and bring them a galley copy of Catfish Alley. These are the kind of bookstores where the owners know their customers, and where that comfortable sense of place makes you want to while away an afternoon browsing, having a cup of coffee, and leaving with a big stack of books to read and discuss with your friends.  

Our first stop was Square Books in downtown Oxford, Mississippi. I was welcomed by Richard Howorth, the owner, and Lyn Roberts, the store manager.  

Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi

We stopped for lunch in Clarksdale, at Morgan Freeman’s Ground Zero Blues Club. Clarksdale is on the Blues Highway, Highway 61 in the Mississippi Delta.  

Ground Zero Blues Club, Clarksdale, Mississippi

Our next stop was the McCormick Book Inn  in Greenville. Here I met Hugh McCormick III, and Mary Dayle, who showed me through the back room of the store where the McCormicks keep a wealth of Greenville history in documents and photographs. 

McCormick Book Inn, Greenville, Mississippi

We stayed overnight at the beautiful Corners Mansion Bed and Breakfast  in Vicksburg, where we were welcomed by owners Macy and Joe Whitney. Across the street at the Cedar Grove Inn, we had a delicious dinner. I highly recommend the bread pudding!  

The Corners Mansion B&B, Vicksburg, Mississippi

Saturday morning found us at Lorelei Books, owned by Laura Weeks, who moved to Vicksburg, renovated a wonderful old building, and lives upstairs over the bookstore. At Lorelei, I had a wonderful discussion about Catfish Alley with local readers Karen and Ernestine.  

Lorelei Books, Vicksburg, Mississippi

We drove on the Natchez, to Turning Pages Books and More, where Mary Emrick was hosting a book signing with Robert Dalby.  

Turning Pages Books and More, Natchez, Mississippi

Robert just published the fourth book in his Piggly Wiggly series—A Piggly Wiggly Christmas.  

A Piggly Wiggly Christmas by Robert Dalby

On to Hattiesburg, where my sister and brother-in-law took us to Main Street Books, which was bustling with activity during the downtown Victorian Candlelit Christmas. I was greeted warmly by owner, Diane Shepherd.  

Main Street Books, Hattiesburg, Mississippi

The last stop before returning to my hometown was Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, a beautiful bookstore that sits atop the Broad Street Bakery. I met store manager, Joe Hickman.  

Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, Mississippi

Back to my hometown of Columbus, I visited the newly renovated Tennessee Williams Welcome Center.  

Tennessee Williams Welcome Center, Columbus, Mississippi

It was such a grand experience to see all of these stores and meet the owners and managers! I’m looking forward to returning in the spring, when Catfish Alley is released. My publisher, Penguin/NAL, has set April 5, 2011 as the publication date.

6 Responses to “A Mississippi Independent Bookstore Tour”

  1. Kat says:

    What a fun tour. My husband and I have talked about doing this ourselves. I am a voracious reader, and he is a photographer. And Mississippi is a photographer’s dream. I’m so happy to have found your blog, through a facebook link on a friend’s wall. From one Columbus gal to another, just stopping by to say hey! Kat

  2. admin says:

    Hi Kat,
    Thanks for your comments. I agree, there are so many wonderful places to photograph in Mississippi. There was an additional bookstore that I didn’t make it to that I would recommend to add to your tour – TurnRow Book Company in Greenwood. It looks amazing!

  3. tom honea says:

    lynne !!
    what fun ! … and: what great photographs and notes.
    we all wait with baited breath for Catfish Alley to appear on the shelves.

  4. Steve Yates says:

    Lynne,

    Great tour and I’m glad you are encouraging others to see the literary treasures our state holds. I have a huge listing of these at
    http://www.squidoo.com/Mississippi-Bookstores

    Enjoy!
    Steve Yates
    University Press of Mississippi

  5. Angie Warren says:

    Hi! My husband and I are going to Natchez for Valentine’s Day this year, and we were really happy to see your website. We were searching for bookstores online and we could only find the “big” bookstores, such as Books-A-Million. Thank you so much for letting us know where to really go! We appreciate it very much.
    Angie and Brian

  6. admin says:

    You’re welcome. I’m so glad this was helpful! Have fun in Natchez!
    Lynne

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