Monday, October 13, 2014

A Bookish Trip to Natchez

A week or so ago, I made a trip to Natchez, Mississippi (about three hours from where I live) to attend the wedding of one of my work colleagues.  It was a very festive occasion, as most weddings (hopefully) are -- a big church wedding at an Episcopal church, and during the ceremony I had my first experience with communion that involved a common cup of wine.  The microbiologist in me just about had a conniption fit and was prepared to sit this one out, but I reasoned my way through it:
  1. It was real wine, after all, and alcohol is no slouch at disinfecting things;
  2. The officiant wiped the rim of the chalice after every person drank from it;
  3. It was a silver chalice.  Silver is also highly antimicrobial.
So -- I had some wine.  It was pretty nasty.

While in Natchez, I decided to make a trip to a small independent bookstore while I was there, because books!  This was my second trip to the city, but the first time I was there, I didn't look up a bookstore.  That was a mistake, because Natchez has a real gem of a bookstore, called Turning Pages.  (Love the name!)

When you walk in the store, you are immediately greeted by shelves and shelves of books.  It's the most inviting sight ever.

You're looking at more or less the width of the bookstore in this shot.  It's cozy!

Also near the door was this display of Greg Iles' most recent book, Natchez Burning.  In case you don't know, Greg Iles is Natchez' resident famous author.  In fact, while chit-chatting with the cashier during my checkout, I found out that Mr. Iles was getting married that day also, somewhere in Natchez in a private ceremony.  Talk about synchronicity!

These were signed copies of the book, actually.  One made it home with me.

While the bookstore is not large, it's sufficiently welcoming and stocked so that one can spend quite some time there (and I did).  And I came home with this:

  1. The signed Greg Iles novel. I've never read any of his books, but I figured since I was in Natchez, I was morally obligated to buy this book. (ha)
  2. The Secret History by Donna Tartt -- I bought this because I read The Goldfinch this summer and loved it (which reminds me, I still need to write a review of it). 
  3. Whistling Past the Graveyard by Susan Crandall.   No particular reason; it just looked like my kind of book.

On top of the stack is something I had not run across previously.  There you see three paperbacks which are samplers of upcoming books, put out by Penguin Books ("What the World is Reading") and their imprints Berkley Prime Crime, New American Library, and Obsidian Mysteries (the Mystery and Thriller Sampler).  These are essentially ARC samplers, and of course they were free.  And, of course, I took them home with me, because I don't have nearly enough books and I always need ideas for more.

If you're in the vicinity of Natchez (it's a wonderful place to spend a weekend, that's for sure), make sure you stop in at Turning Pages and say hello.  You will be glad you did!

By the way, here's a photo of a display at the Natchez Visitors' Center outlining the writers who hailed from Natchez.  Richard Wright is on there -- he's arguably the most famous writer who was born or lived in Natchez.  (He was actually born on a plantation near Natchez but spent the majority of his life somewhere else, most notably Chicago, New York, and Paris.)  Mr. Iles is on this exhibit as well, and although he was not born in Natchez, he was raised there and has since made it his home.

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