Any time I’m in a new town, one of my favorite places to visit is a good independent bookstore. I like browsing through the local author sections and the staff picks. Sometimes I find a few gems that I never would have known about. I also think a trip to the local bookstore is a good way to learn a little bit about a community. You get to people watch, meet the locals, get a sense of the prevailing political winds. An independent bookstore like Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi goes a few steps further. It’s been open for almost 30 years, and at this point it’s a significant part of Oxford’s cultural history. Square Books has hosted scores of fine writers and nurtured local talent, stimulating a literary conversation that would have been silent otherwise. Richard Howorth, who founded Square Books, says when he opened the bookstore, he knew 12 families in Oxford who would buy books. Who knows how many kids he’s turned into lifelong readers, how many adults he’s enlightened with his book selections.