Bookshops in my Mind

When I was in college, I found unexpected joy in writing formal poetry. There was something wonderful and liberating about crafting something beautiful (and even being innovative) within limits. Perhaps this is why I am drawn to the occasional writing prompt.

I want to see what I can do within the limits.

My friend Anne from Modern Mrs. Darcy is doing a link-up, next Monday [update: Anne is pushing her link-up to November, so you have even more time than I thought!], about favorite bookstores. I'm writing mine today, which means that, if you're so inclined, you have time to write one of your own and link it up too.


When you ask me my favorite, I'll almost always ask if I can give you my top three. For example, if you ask me, like Anne did, about my favorite bookshop, I would tell you about these:


There is a beautiful novel which I consider to be a hidden gem. Inside, there is a bookshop, a hidden gem in it's own way:

"My dear, 80 Days exists for those who stumble across a narrow, unmarked entry and have the joy of discovering a new destination."

The place is musty, there are rolling ladders and more than one copy of Practicing the Presence of God but no copies at all of Tuesdays with Morrie. 

It used to be a travel bookstore, but now houses a little of everything. It is a refuge, a place to browse and discover and be quiet. I return there often.

The book is Life, Libby and the Pursuit of Happiness by Hope Lyda. This is Christian fiction of a high caliber. Funny, smart, joyous and real.


I was adopted one Thanksgiving by my advisor and her family, since home was too far away and the dorms closed for the holiday. On the day after Thanksgiving, this wonderful, like-minded family took me along to a favorite haunt of theirs in Hartford City, Indiana: a wonderful jumble of every kind of book.

We wandered there for hours, sunlight filtering through the windows lazily, as we picked up books and read their jackets, fingers lightly playing over spines.

I could not tell you how much time we spent there, I'm not sure that I bought a thing.

I still return to my memories of that cavernous shop, with books on every surface, from time to time.


Though I read them years ago, I still wouldn't trade my time in the Mitford books (and since Lauren Winner also loves them, I feel that I'm in good company).

There is a bookstore there called Happy Endings, and the owner, Hope, is relatable and lovely. In real book stores, people are rushed and, perhaps, worried about the future of print. Hope seems to always have time to talk, she is willing to help you find what you're looking for and she is a person too. The conversations are not just for you, but for her as well.

I could go on. My limit is three. There is still nothing better than being surrounded by many books, and having the leisure to explore them.

Do you have a favorite bookstore, real or fictional? I'd love to hear about it.

[photo credit]