Book Tour Day 3 Report – Oxford, MS feels like home

I am posting this late on Thursday because I have to wake up in a few hours to catch a flight to Miami.

Not that I think I’m going to sleep much. It was a wonderful, wonderful day.

The day started with a drive south to Oxford, MS, the literary capital of the region. If we get 10 feet of snow in 12 days again next winter, I will be taking a little vacation in Oxford. I adore this town.

The morning started with a speech to 250 9th graders who were very pleased not to be in their classrooms. They had all read SPEAK, so I focused on the writing and reaction to that book, and explained how boys’ reactions to SPEAK got me thinking a lot about boys and the challenges they face, which eventually led to the writing of TWISTED. The reason all of those kids got to read SPEAK was that the Junior Auxiliary and the county Literacy Council raised the money to buy each of the kids a copy of the book. That is an amazing model of community service and literacy action.

After the speech came lunch. Lunch at William Faulkner’s house. I will be trotting out that phrase “lunch at William Faulkner’s house” for months.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Billy’s house.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Lunch was served on his back porch, where he liked to write when the weather was fine.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic I ate a pimento-cheese sandwich, a local specialty.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Look! Look! His Underwood typewriter!!!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic He wrote the plot to THE FABLE on the walls of his office.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic More plot notes. This was incredibly fascinating to stare at. I could have stayed all day.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic They finally dragged me out (no, I did not kiss the walls, don’t believe everything you hear) and took me to Square Books Jr., the children’s book division of Square Books.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Attention bookstore owners – notice the totally excellent and accessible bathrooms! And a changing table!

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Another section of Square Books has a cat named Mamacita.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic The other highlight of Oxford day was that I got to spend most of it with friend Karen Hesse. She had a group of 2nd graders give her a quilt that they had sewn and decorated all by themselves. I couldn’t tell who was happier – the kids or Karen. We signed and signed and signed until the stacks of books were gone and the happy readers all on their way home. Many, many thank to Lauren, Jill, Colin, James and everyone else whose name I forgot for making the signing an astounding success.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic Dinner was shrimp and grits at City Grocery. Shrimp and grits is my new favorite food.

I have much to do before hitting the pillow so I will leave you with a few words from The Master:

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

11 Replies to “Book Tour Day 3 Report – Oxford, MS feels like home”

  1. thank you!!!!!!!!!! =) =) =) =) ♥♥♥

    thank you soooooooo much for the signed copy of twisted!!!! i just got it today. i walked in the door with my mom and there was the envelope lying there on the couch just waiting to be opened. i freaked out when i saw who it was from. then i read what you wrote when you signed it and started crying. my mom did too. it means so much to me that you signed it “to ashley-who is my best fan and dear friend.” thank you. you mean so much to me both as a friend and a mentor. i took the copy of twisted that i got yesterday to my journalism class and showed it to my advisor, who is a huge fan of your books. she asked if she could borrow it for the day to do a sales pitch to her english classes and get people to read it. i said sure. so i went back after school to get it and asked how it went. she said that some of her students are thinking about reading it. i just thought i’d tell you so you’d know that your books are popular at carlisle area high school too lol. i’m glad your tour is going well. i miss you, but i’m excited to see you on may 11th. i have so much to fill you in on and tell you and ask you and…oh my gosh i can’t wait! thank you again. i ♥ you so much! =) ♥

  2. thanks for your friendship =)

    sorry for leaving another comment, but after rereading your post and seeing that you signed books with karen hesse, it made me think that i hope karen hesse touched a second-grader’s life yesterday as much as you have touched my life over the past ten years ever since i met you in second grade. i really can’t believe it’s been ten years since we met. when we met each other i was a second grader and now i’m graduating. it just seems hard to believe for me. thank you for your friendship and for showing me what the life of an author is like. i love you very much and am grateful that you entered my life and touched it with your writing, friendship, and sense of humor. thanks again. =) ♥

  3. yummy

    Shrimp and grits is the perfect food. And you got to see some of my pals there in Oxford, Rosemary Ingham and Bobbie Samuels. I am jealous. But you will be in the Lone Star state soon enough.

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