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National Reading Month: How to fall in love with reading

  • If you want a real taste of Mississippi’s passion for literature while boosting small business, visit one of the state’s local independent booksellers. 

March is National Reading Month. In a world of constant screentime and chaotic schedules, taking the time to slow down and get lost in a book may seem like a foreign concept. But just as March brings flowers to bloom, you can watch your love for reading grow if you take the time to weed out the distractions.

Mississippi has an assemblage of writers from about any genre you could enjoy reading. Many of the writing world’s most prominent names are from the Magnolia State: Eudora Welty, William Faulkner, Jesmyn Ward, Richard Wright, John Grisham, and Greg Isles, to name a few. 

You don’t have to go far to find a Mississippi author. Your digital reading app or a trip to the local library would do just fine. But if you want a real taste of Mississippi’s passion for literature while boosting small business, visit one of the state’s local independent booksellers. 

Fall in Love with Reading

Whether you used to read all the time and life got in the way, or you’ve never had much passion for reading, building a reading routine can be simple if you just tweak a few things in your daily routine. 

Schedule your reading time

Wordsrated.com says that 15-30 minutes a day is all you need to start reaping the benefits of reading. You’ll feel more relaxed, you’ll notice your comprehension increase, and you may just lose track of time and get sucked into that storyline. Tip: Attach your reading time to something you’re already doing–read before bed, pick up where you left off when you drink your morning coffee or listen to an audiobook while you head to work.

Start with your interests

If the thought of reading a container gardening how-to sounds like a snoozefest, then find something more up your alley. What naturally draws your attention? If you’re a true crime fan, there’s a genre for you. Love pre-war era love stories? There’s a whole series for you. Don’t try to build a reading habit around simply reading… start with your interests. 

Don’t be discouraged

There are various reasons why people struggle to increase their reading time. If cozying up with a good book for hours seems like a distant dream at this stage of life, building a reading habit is still possible; you may just need shorter reads. If you’re struggling to get your child to read more, or you need visuals when reading, look into comic books and graphic novels. Constantly on the go? Audiobooks still count as reading.

If you’re still unsure of where to start, visit your local library. Contact a book club in your area. Or visit one of Mississippi’s many wonderful booksellers. 

Independent Booksellers in Mississippi

Whether you’re a book lover or hoping to fit more reading into your hectic schedule, here are just a few of the several local bookstores in Mississippi that can help you find your next favorite book. 

Square Books, Oxford

Square Books doesn’t describe the books’ shape; it’s a nod to their location in Oxford’s historic town square. Oxford has long since been a literary source in the South, with Faulker, Grisham, Willie Morris, Barry Hannah, Cynthia Shearer, and more all calling Oxford their hometown. Square Books has been celebrating Southern literature since it first opened in 1979. Since then, Square Books has grown to cover five floors in four buildings, including Rare Square Books, Square Books Jr., and off-Square Books, where events including the weekly Thatcher Mountain Radio Hour occur. 

Lemuria Books, Jackson

Lemuria Books is located in Banner Hall in Jackson and grew from John Evans’ desire for a local bookstore. It got its modest start in 1975, crammed into an apartment in The Quarter on Lakeland Drive. Two years later, in 1977, Lemuria found its new home in Highland Village, expanding its horizons and tripling its size to accommodate the growing demand for literary treasures. However, the move to Banner Hall in 1988 marked a milestone for Lemuria, providing the space to explode in size and offerings. 

The Author Shoppe, Hattiesburg

The Author Shoppe on Front Street in Hattiesburg offers a variety of books, eclectic decor, and a place to sit and sip with other book lovers. Allison Chestnutt, Murph and Erin Little launched The Author Shoppe in 2020. They sell a variety of genres, southern literature, children’s books, and all things local art and culture. A backroom is also used for recording podcasts, book clubs, and other events. 

Southern Bound Bookshop, Gulfport

The Southern Bound Bookshop in Gulfport is a women-owned local bookseller on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It offers titles, events, and gifts for readers to explore. The shop specializes in used and vintage books and gifts. 

Wonders of the World Books and Toys, Biloxi

Wonders of the World Books and Toys focuses on kids! This unique bookseller, which focuses on multicultural works, is mainly online but offers pop-up events throughout the Mississippi Gulf Coast. WoW also offers a quarterly subscription service with a surprise, age-appropriate gift delivered to your home for your kids. 

While this is by no means a comprehensive listing of Mississippi’s many independent bookstores, it’s a start. Explore the literary offerings your area has to offer. This weekend, instead of streaming the latest serial on television, try reading a book. Your mind and imagination will thank you for it. 

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