During our visit to Mississippi last week, we spent a day in historic Oxford, home of William Faulkner and many other quite famous writers through the years. We visited the wonderful Square Books bookstore on the town square. It's an outstanding independent bookstore that carries a wide variety of books but specializes in Mississippi authors. There are a lot of them.
While at the store, I purchased a couple of autographed first editions of John Grisham and Ace Atkins, as well as two paperback mysteries by Carolyn Haines, a writer whom I had not read. My "to be read" shelves are beginning to groan under the weight of all the books there.
We could not be in Oxford, of course, without visiting the home of the most famous Mississippi author of them all, William Faulkner, so we headed out to the house called Rowan Oak. Faulkner had bought the house, a primitive Greek Revival structure that was built in the 1840s, in 1930 and had named it after the rowan tree, a symbol of security and peace. It was the home of the Faulkners until he died in 1962. In 1972, his daughter Jill sold the house to the University of Mississippi to secure its preservation and, in 1977, it was named a National Historic Landmark.
Rowan Oak is a a very modest and unpretentious house. Apparently, it suited Faulkner just fine. It was his home and his sanctuary.
If you happen to find yourself in Oxford, by all means take an hour or so and tour Rowan Oak and its grounds. The spirit of Faulkner can be felt here, and the day we were there, the woods were full of birdsong. Miss Estelle, the bird watcher, would have been happy.