bookish

If you’re a bookish sort and favor independently owned and operated bookstores, #Mississippi has some cool gems, all within a three-hour drive from Jackson.

Let’s begin with Square Books in Oxford. The heart of Oxford is the courthouse square, known as The Square, so it makes perfect sense that the local bookseller is Square Books. Square Books is actually three bookstores, but the main store is big enough that you could spend hours uncovering Southern writers. Book hunting can be hungry work, but don’t despair. John Currence’s City Grocery is just steps away from the main store.

Square

In Jackson, Lemuria Books rests on the third floor of Banner Hall off Interstate 55. Lemuria hosts weekly, sometimes daily, book signings and author readings. My friend Stacie Wells recently visited Lemuria and captured this wonderful photo for her Instagram account, Jackson and Beyond.

Lemuria

Source: Jackson and Beyond

Down on the coast, Pass Christian Books and Cat Island Coffeehouse are the bomb dot com. The bookstore may be tiny, but the coffeehouse has a beautiful deck where you can read, savor a glass of iced coffee, and look at the Gulf of Mexico and Cat Island in the distance. Dreamy experience.

Cat Island

1109 pinehurst place

At 1109 Pinehurst Place in #Belhaven sits the home of one of Mississippi’s greatest authors–Eudora Welty (1909—2001). If you visit Jackson, the Welty House and Garden Tour is a must-experience experience. The tour takes about an hour; admission is just $5.

Constructed in 1925, this two-story Tudor Revival is where Miss Welty wrote her most famous works–The Robber Bridegroom, The Optimist’s Daughter, and Delta Wedding in addition to short stories and essays. The house is largely intact as Miss Welty inhabited and left it before passing in 2001. Books and manuscripts are everywhere. There’s even her Smith-Corona typewriter at her desk in her bedroom that overlooks the tree-lined grounds of Belhaven College (now Belhaven University).

Eudora Welty House Belhaven Jackson Mississippi Deep South

Source: Eudora Welty House and Garden, Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

Photos are not permitted, unfortunately, so you have to commit this house and its garden rooms (containing more than 30 varieties of camellia shrubs and trees) to memory as you move throughout. For those who cannot visit in person, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History offers an online photo tour, which you can experience here.