SOUTHERN BYWAYS BOOKSTORE PROJECT: THAT BOOKSTORE IN BLYTHEVILLE

That Bookstore in Blytheville

Address: 316 West Main, Blytheville, AK 72315

Phone: 870-763-3333 / 800-844-8306 (toll-free)

Owner: Mary Gay Shipley

Website: www.tbib.com

Twitter: @marygayshipley

Thought I’d start the Southern Byways Bookstore Project all the way down in Arkansas, at That Bookstore in Blytheville, which – you guessed it! – is at the heart of the historic commercial district of Blytheville, Arkansas. Considering that Blytheville is truly a small-town, I can’t say enough about how owner Mary Gay Shipley has created such a vibrant and bustling indie, becoming a powerhouse in the book-selling world. Customers come looking for current fiction, signed books and Southern authors from John Grisham to Pat Conroy to Kathryn Stockett.

Hand-selecting a friendly staff that loves to read, alongside the store’s creaky wooden floors, rocking chairs and a real working wood stove, Mary Gay has created a welcoming refuge for book lovers.

One of the very cool things about the store is the special seating for readings and alike.  For an event, Mary Gay pulls out a collection of wooden folding chairs and every year, every author who comes to the store signs the chair for that year. I actually signed my name alongside John Grisham’s, so  people would be sure to see it!

And – as a personal aside – I must share that  it was one of her staff members, Marvel, who tweaked the title of my book from “The Proper Life of Bezellia Grove” to “The Improper Life of Bezellia Grove.”  In fact, one of the main characters in my next book is named Marvel in her honor.

Secret insider’s tip: If you get a chance to pay call on the store, go around the corner afterwards to Sharecroppers for delectable chocolate meringue pie!

Posted August 17, 2010 at 8:11 am · 12 comments · Leave a Comment

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