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Friday, February 25, 2011



I don’t know what it measured on the Richter Scale, but I apologize if you thought we were having an earthquake. That was just me, jumping up and down with excitement about the news I’m going to share in this post. I’ll try to not cause any after shocks, but I’m not making any promises, because I am SO excited to share this news with you.

One of my favorite things in the small town I call home, is our local bookstore. Our little town of Blytheville, Arkansas is so fortunate to have had one of our native Blythevillians return home and open this magical store in her home town. Not only has the store fostered reading among our citizens, it has become well known in the literary world. If you have visited my blog for very long, you may recall posts I’ve done about famous authors whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, thanks to the amazing proprietor of this store. When the store first opened in 1976, it opened as “The Book Rack”. When it was learned that the store name was previously taken by a chain of stores, it was logical that it would become “That Bookstore in Blytheville”, because that was the name used for the store when it was discussed by authors and publishers all over the country! An author would say, “I just autographed books at that bookstore in Blytheville”. Publishers would say, “We need to get this author to that bookstore in Blytheville”.

Let me take you inside this wonderland of books and fun.


Before we open the door, I want to show you these tiles on the outside of the store. This is an old building, and when the original tile began deteriorating, Mary Gay, the owner of this store, asked community residents to submit hand-drawn pictures depicting their favorite books. She then had those drawings made into tiles, which now decorate the front of the store. Isn’t she clever?


Follow me inside our charming book store, where I think you will immediately feel right at home.


I’d like to introduce you to our local celebrity, Mary Gay Shipley (as usual, she is busy on the phone). Mary Gay will contact ANY author and/or ANY publisher ANYWHERE, and invite them to our small town for a book signing. I don’t have any idea what kind of magic wand she waves, but this small town has hosted many very famous authors, thanks to Mary Gay.

mary gay

In addition to browsing the wonderful book selection, you might want to buy a gift to take home to your child or grandchild.

childrens books-vert

Or, perhaps you want to buy a gift just for you. Go ahead, indulge yourself.


Or maybe you just want to soak in the unique atmosphere.

coolr - stove

Be sure you check out all of the interesting vintage memorabilia while you’re here.


Don’t be surprised if you find an author sitting in one of these rockers, autographing books.


If the author is reading from his/her book, you can pull out one of these folding chairs and sit while you enjoy the reading. These chairs are autographed by the various authors who have visited this store. Many famous authors have penned their names on these chairs. Each year, a new chair is brought out for that year’s visiting authors. Perhaps you’ll want to look for the one from last year, which has the autograph of Laura Bush (red arrow on my picture) and Condoleezza Rice (white arrow), who discussed their books and their lives, (not politics), when they visited our town.


If that wasn’t enough to make you want to come visit our little bookstore, I want to share a photo of Mary Gay with another famous author, whose autograph is on several of these chairs. This author is a favorite of mine. Do you recognize her?

ML and MG

Maybe this mosaic of her books will give you a hint.


I’m sure by now, you have realized that it is Michael Lee West, our very own Designs by Gollum author!

michael lee

I am so excited to tell you that Michael Lee’s latest book, Gone With A Handsomer Man, will be launched from That Bookstore in Blytheville on April 12, 2011! I have been fortunate enough to have already read this book, and I want to tell you that it is wonderful! I love all of Michael Lee’s books, but this is my very favorite of all of them!


If you would like to meet “Gollum” (Michael Lee West) and visit the main attraction in our little town (That Bookstore in Blytheville), I hope you’ll join us on April 12th for this exciting book launch. If you can come for this event, please email me at, so I can email my home address to you, because you are invited to arrive early enough to have dinner in our home with Michael Lee and her husband, who have graciously accepted our invitation. After dinner, we can head to That Bookstore in Blytheville for more fun, book-autographing, and dessert. Get on a plane (you’ll have to fly into Memphis though, unless you have a private plane); or get out your Tom Tom or whatever gadget (or husband) you have, invite your family and friends, and drive, ride your bike, get on your motorcycle (no helmet required in Arkansas, but I don’t advise that), or take a bus (Greyhounds do stop in Blytheville!), or go all out and hire a limo. Just find a way to get here for all of the fun and excitement! You also don’t want to miss seeing me jumpin’ up and down with excitement when you arrive!

Thank you for sharing in my excitement. I wish every one of you could be here on April 12th! I’d love to meet you. laurie


Pamela said...

It looks like a delightful store--wish I could shop a bit there. Thank you for all the pictures--almost made me think I WAS there.

Unknown said...

Dear Laurie,
How wonderful! I thought I felt the earth shaking all the way to Mass. Just thought it was another plow going by! LOL!
What a wonderful visit you have to look forward to! Having a nice lovely bookstore is almost a thing of the past so I hope your lovely book owner plans on keeping such a treasure!

shannon i olson said...

well, how exciting!!! And you know what..we have a couple of those chairs, I think I might have everyone sign them that comes to visit. how much fun is that!!!

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Well dang! I thought I heard on the news there were some earthquakes over there, and you are saying that was you ?!?! :-D
Thanks for the nice comment on the necklace.
Have a great weekend.

Anonymous said...

Laurie Eve..what a wonderful tribute to your author/blog friend Gollum and to Mary Gaye's wonderful bookstore..I will never forget when I brought a local author to her store for a book signing of his new book and how excited he was to have made it to THE bookstore of the South..I love those tiles out front and know how hard Gary Taylor worked on transcribing them..his Velveteen Rabbit one is the one I always look for when visiting. You girls are going to have so much fun! Wish I could get there! Susie

The Charm of Home said...

Wow! That is really cool Laurie! Your so lucky to have a bookstore in a small town, not mention events! Very fun! Enjoy!

Sarah said...

Oh, how I'm jumping up and down with glee for you. I so wish I could be there to join in the fun. Michael Lee is one of my favorite authors. I have all her books and waiting for a copy of this one. I may just have to call up Mary Gay and order a signed copy. How exciting that Michael Lee will be there in your home for dinner. Now I can't wait to see what darling tablescape you create for that event. Yipeeeeee!!! ~ Sarah

Pam @ Our Adventures in Home Improvement said...

How exciting Laurie! Have fun on the 12th!!

Debbie said...

I am using every ounce of self control not to covet! I would love to visit that bookstore one day. It sounds absolutely wonderful.
To top it off, you are going to host Michael Lee West to boot. Oh please let us peep through the windows when you do!

(singing) Somewhere in your youth or childhood...You must have done something good... (Did I just sound like Julie Andrews? In my head, I did.)

Mellodee said...

Oh I wish I could come!!! A chance to meet my favorite blogger buddy, see some of her beautiful things, a great looking bookstore to explore, and a new author to meet. It sounds like a lovely trip!

April is turning out to be one of those months where every thing is happening. I will be spending a week with my two best (real live) buds the week of the 11th. My granddaughter's 10th birthday is the 8th. My 45th anniversary is the 2nd. Plus there a couple of ttentative things later in the month.

I haven't had ANYTHING going on since Christmas! Arrgh!

You will write about the event though, right????

lvroftiques said...

Awwww geeezzzeee Laurie! I wish I could be there!! I'm soooo excited for you! Gollum's going to your house for dinner!! (I always knew that girl wrote a little too well kwim? *winks) You're going to have such a blast!
And that bookstore looks just as a bookstore should...comfy and well worn, with just a touch of magic. You're so lucky to have it in your town! Vanna

Susan Freeman said...

Hi Laurie! How exciting!! I thought with all the jumping Bentley and I were to have to get under the dining room table lol. We live in earthquake country. Anyway, that's very exciting news indeed. Happy Favorite Thing Saturday!!

Susan and Bentley

Olive said...

How delightful to have this jewel of a bookstore in your town!

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Oh Laurie, this is so exciting. I am so thrilled for you, I know you will have a ball. This will be so much fun. I sure wish I lived a little closer. I can't wait to see all the pics and hear all about it. Hugs, Marty

Lynn said...

Very exciting news indeed Laurie, I know you'll have a wonderful visit! Here's what's really blowing my mind, you live in Blytheville!!! I was stationed at Blytheville Air Force Base! Both of my sons were born there! It really is a small world:@)

xinex said...

Oh I can understand why you are so excited, Laurie, having Michael Lee West in your house for dinner and having that neat store right in your small town. I already preordered the book from Amazon and I can't wait to read it. Be sure you take lots of pictures!!....Christine

Happy To Be/ Gl♥ria said...

How fun for you and the BOSS...I have always loved that book store it so reminds of of the "Shop around the corner" from my favorite move You got mail..Now what are you cooking?? what are you wearing?? how are you doing the table ha ha!! Hey I'm a nosey old board from Calif.girl..
I so remember when Gollum was our mytersy lady in blogland...Hugs and smiles Gloria

Anonymous said...

You are so showing me a store I would love!!! I can spend hours and hours in a good book store and never even realize it!!

Had to smile at Gloria comment as I too can remember when Gollum kept her identity a secret and how much fun it was when she let the rabbit out of the hat!

bee blessed

Diann said...

Hi Laurie!
First of all, I have vistied your bookstore in Blytheville! And I loved it. It just feels comfortable. you know what I mean. When Troy and I were first married he was an over the road truck driver and I spent about 6 months out of the year traveling with him. We were in Blytheville a few times. If we could, we would head down there and spend time with you guys for this fun event! I would so love it!

Savannah Granny said...

Wow!! What a neat bookstore in what must be neat town. I soooo wish I could be there for this momentous occasion. Michael Lee is a fantastic lady and i would love to meet her. This time I will have to buy the book instead.
Love those chairs with the signatures. That is some valuable wood she has there.
Thanks for this great post. Hugs, Ginger

My Cozy Corner said...

Hi Laurie
I would love to visit your book store, but I live to far away. Please say Hi to Michael for me. I love joining your blog party on Saturdays.

Designs on 47th Street said...

Oh i love bookstores such as this! How wonderful for your little town and how exciting that Michael is going to be there. Would love to meet her AND you!

I'm linking up with you today! :)

bj said...

OMG...if Michael Lee was going to be my dinner guest, I just know both arms, both legs, both my titties and ALL my hair would fall off !! I would be a sorry sight when I answered the door.

Very exciting, indeed. Thanks so much for sharing all this with us.
Am so going to be looking for photos...LOTS AND LOTS of photos.
You are a sweetie to let everyone know.
xoxo bj

bj said...

Oh, and WHERE are my manners? (they would fall off, too)
I forgot to say many thanks for hosting this fun meme...:))

A Kitchen Witch said...

Oh, that is exciting news! If I'm ever in Arkansas, I know what book store I want to visit. Thanks for sharing. I love Ms. West and can't wait to read her latest. "Mermaids in the Basement" is one of my favs : )

Confessions of a Plate Addict said...

What a wonderful bookstore, Laurie! I also had the privilege of meeting our dear Gollum, Michael Lee, when she visited here in Georgia! She is a very talented lady! Happy weekend!...hugs...Debbie

Sue said...

Laurie, I know you will definitely be the hostess with the mostess for this occasion! How wonderful for you to host such a party and what an even for your sweet bookstore! hmmm... wonder how far you are away from Ohio?!
xo Sue

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK for Grandparents and Caregivers said...

What a fun book store to have in your own home town. I love its new name! We've been blessed to have small independent book stores in two of the cities we lived in and they each have such a distinct personality, don't they. Thank you for hostessing this delightful party of our favorite things, mine being BLUE JEANS! Since I live in them, and since today is Levi Strauss' birthday, I couldn't resist writing about them. :) Have a fun and lovely week.

Maggie said...

Gosh Laurie, I really wish that I could join in the fun that day, what a scoop!
That bookstore looks like the kind of place I could lose myself in for an hour or three!How fortunate you are to have it right there in your own town, in AR!

KimMalk said...

What a charming bookstore, Laurie. You are lucky to have it. Hugs, Kim

Linda @ A La Carte said...

Laurie what an exciting event! Wish I could come but I will be home with my daughter and grandson as he is due April 10th! I haven't read any of her books but I will now! Thanks for introducing her to I missed her I don't know. hugs, Linda

Nancy's Daily Dish said...

The store looks so charming Laurie. I wish I could come and have dinner with you and Michael! What a wonderful evening for everyone who's fortunate enough to attend!


Curtains In My Tree said...

I am so glad I read your post on your bookstore and the author Michael Lee because I need a new book to read so will get right out and find one of her books to read.

I added a line on my latest post for people to read about your bookstore.


{Bellamere Cottage} said...

Well, how about that! How wonderful for your little town. I swear, I don't hear of book signings in our town....or even closeby... Hmmmm... Maybe we need Mary HERE!



Lady Katherine said...

Oh, Laurie, I so loved the tour of your book towns book store! How I wish I could come! Oh, but that will be a month and half out of surgery. So I can't so wish! Was hoping she would get to come to Jackson, Mississippi, or Flowood. I would go, even if I was out of hospital! lol Lucky you! Dinner and all!

Lady Katherine said...

PS This will be the last week I get to link, for I go to surgery March 2nd. I want to come! lol

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

OMG Laurie!
That is way cool my friend!
I may be the gal coming on a grey hound bus! Of course meeting you would be the highlight of the trip!
What a neat little store.... and now i am going to mapquest Blytheville just to see exactly how far away it is!
You go girl!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Hey Laurie,
I just map-quested and it's 700 miles. That's not so bad! Maybe I could do it! Maybe I can find someone to ride with me.
This summer hubby and I are going to Missouri to visit a friend so for sure then.

Annie Joy said...

Woo, woo, Laurie -- if I could, I would be there with bells on. First, I just put a library reserve on Gone with a Handsomer Man; I could buy my own personally inscribed copy at the book's launching! Second, Mary Gay is not only a local celebrity, I have known about her for years through reading about her in the Independent Booksellers Association's publications. I have been planning to visit her store for ages and may have even driven by last summer when we were in Kennett for a family reunion -- we went to Blytheville to eat! Alas, I can't make the trip again in April, but will definitely go there someday. Even if I'm not going to Kennett, it's just a little off the way from here in Oklahoma to my daughter's home in Alabama. Have a wonderful time and tell both Mary Gay and Michael that they have a fan in Oklahoma!

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

How exciting for you! Thanks for the invitation. If only I could! It will be so fun to hear all about it!

Kathleen said...

Oh man! That would be so much fun!!!
I wish I could go! I'd help with the cooking too! I am so jealous!
I love how quaint that book store is, what a treasure!
Oh and you heard, one of those big chain book stores went belly up!

Chari at Happy To Design said...

Hi Laurie...

Well dear friend, I was just over here visiting your SF's post and read that you had exciting news so of course I had to come and see!

Yeeehawww!!! How exciting, dear have Michael come to your wonderful town once again! I think it's just fabulous that you are hosting a pre-book signing party at your wonderful home! I sooo appreciate the invite and wish that I could come! I just know that a fabulous time will be had by all!!! Michael's new book looks awesome...I will have to get a copy!

Girlfriend, I just loved getting a tour through your famous little book shop! It is sooo sweet and has the warmest, hometown ambiance! By the way, I love the book art tiles on the store front...what a creative that! Well my dear, I bet you creative wheels are just a turnin'...making plans...lists...etc. Wished I were closer, I would love to help! Have lots of fun, sweet friend! I'm just tickled pink for you!!!

Love ya,

Rattlebridge Farm said...

I loved the visit to TBIB and am so honored that you are hosting a dinner at your home. I'm just crying tears of joy. TBIB is the most magical bookstore and my personal favorite. I can't wait to see you and to visit TBIB again. It's like coming home.XX00

Andrea at Opulent Cottage said...

I am just so excited for you, Laurie!! I would so be on the Greyhound bus to Blytheville were it not for our daughter's school musical that week. I hope you all have just the very best time, and I can't wait to see the photos!

Susan (Between Naps On The said...

Laurie, I so wish I could come to this! I can wait to hear about all the fun you guys had! How far is it from Atlanta to Blytheville? :)