Our Book Group City Tour travels the great state of Mississippi to explore its literary heritage and iconic bookstores!
From Civil War sites to the Delta Blues Museum, Mississippi stands out as a state with a lot of history. Mississippi’s capital, Jackson, is home to the Freedom Trail, commemorating Civil Rights events and noteworthy individuals, as well as landmarks on the Mississippi Writers Trail. Oxford boasts the University of Mississippi (“Ole Miss”) and attractions for writers and artists that make it “the Cultural Mecca of the South”. From the northern part of the state to the delta, book lovers are sure to find an event, historic landmark, bookstore, or reading group that suits their interests! See our list of sites and stores below.
And take a trip to one of the other great cities we’ve visited!
Lemuria Books is named after a lost continent, home to a race of humans with exceptional intellect who began to record their thoughts in books after the gods took away their telepathic abilities. Since 1975, Lemuria Books has valued real human interactions and prided themselves on providing quality signed first editions. By joining one of Lemuria’s First Editions clubs, readers can obtain first access to signed first editions picked by the bookstore staff. The bookstore hosts multiple author events, including events with children’s book authors for their Oz Young Readers group. Find out more and take a virtual tour of the space on their site.
Every summer, book lovers gather at the State Capitol grounds for this “literary lawn party”. Featuring authors from the state and all over the country, the Mississippi Book Festival remains an opportunity for booksellers and bookworms alike to connect. Authors and panelists discuss their work with audiences, and artists display their work to the public. Food trucks and family-friendly activities contribute to the fun. The festival also facilitates the donation of thousands of books to local schoolchildren. Visit their website for up-to-date information about the plan for this year’s festival.
Located in the square in downtown Oxford, Square Books is actually three bookstores in one. Founded in 1979, the eponymous main store boasts a wide collection of fiction, nonfiction, and collectible works. They also have a cafe and balcony on their second floor, inviting readers to relax with their next good book. Off Square Books includes lifestyle selections and bargain reads in addition to hosting the Thacker Mountain Radio Hour and a multitude of author events each year. Square Books Jr. sells books for children and teenagers with a biweekly story time for young readers. And upstairs sits the newest addition to the family: Rare Square Books, featuring vintage titles and first editions. And don’t miss their top 100 books from the past year on their blog!
Located in the Mississippi Delta, Turnrow has been serving book lovers since 2006. Beyond bringing acclaimed authors to the store for events, Turnrow prides itself on supporting local educators and students through store discounts and by supplying books to schools and libraries. Turnrow also promotes book groups by offering consultations, advice, and book discounts. For readers with an appetite, Turnrow has their own cafe featuring homemade items, coffee, and local craft brews. The cafe doubles as an event space for authors, local artists, and musicians. The space also includes an art gallery on the second floor. To encourage and guide young readers, Turnrow offers A Child’s First Book Club—a subscription to staff picks of quality, award-winning picture books that are all signed first editions. Visit Turnrow’s website for more information!
The Mississippi Arts Commission has partnered with several state organizations to construct a series of landmarks known as the Mississippi Writers Trail. Jackson possesses the trail’s first landmark honoring Pulitzer Prize-winning author Eudora Welty and the landmark honoring prolific author Margaret Walker. Other current landmarks include Elizabeth Spencer in Carrollton and William Faulker in Oxford. The trail’s commissioners hope to inform visitors about the history of these great authors. They also aim to inspire others to read their works, which have been deemed essential classics. Read more about the trail and its history.
Still have literary wanderlust? Take a trip to stores around the world with our Book Group Store Tour for interviews with owners and book group leaders!