This past weekend, my husband and I took a little road trip to Oxford, Mississippi, and Memphis, Tennessee (sort of a practice run for our upcoming honeymoon). We’re both literary geeks, so the most exciting attractions for us in Oxford were its excellent bookstore, Square Books (and its offshoot, Off Square Books), and William Faulkner’s home, Rowan Oak.
We were both really impressed with Square Books, which had a great ambiance—complete with a little cafe on the upper floor, of course—and a big collection of books by Southern writers, and Mississippi writers in particular. There’s also a small but diverse selection of books in translation by international authors, which I spent a long time browsing. We would have loved to spend all day there, but with limited time, we had to move on to our next destination: Rowan Oak.
Faulkner’s home is a little hard to find, set far back from the road behind a row of trees. It’s been kept up by the University of Mississippi, but it still seems a bit rundown. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—you can really feel the age of the house and the passage of time. I coveted Faulkner’s library, but the most interesting room was his study, with a desk and typewriter that seem so small and rickety to modern eyes.
Later on our trip, we went to Memphis, where we visited another great bookstore, Burke’s Book Store, and toured Graceland (which is not very similar to Faulkner’s home, in case you were wondering). Now it’s time to start reading up in preparation for our honeymoon!