Theme Reveal Day – Paying Tribute to Bookstores

One of my ‘unlived’ lives is owning a bookstore. Addicted to reading, I can fantasize the tinkling of the bell on the shop door as a book lover joins me in my quaint, welcoming shop. Imagine if you will, a cross between Marks and Company at 84 Charing Cross Road where Anthony Hopkins looks up to greet you and Meg Ryan reading to children in The Shop Around the Corner in the movie, You’ve Got Mail.

Though my husband used to say, Stepheny never met a bookstore she didn’t like, that isn’t quite true. We’ve all had the unhappy experience of visiting a bookstore where no one is able to make a suggestion when asked for a mystery set in Australia to give to a friend to read on the long plane ride there. No one can help with a book for a grandchild too old for Beatrix Potter and too young for Harry Potter. You ask yourself, could it be that no one working in the store reads?  Then there is the joy of the bookstore where other browsers get into the act by naming books they loved when they overhear you asking the owner for a recommendation. The comradery of fellow readers is a balm for the soul.

We’ve all been concerned about the vanishing small, independent bookstore. As revitalization takes place on Main Street USA, we are thankfully seeing independent bookstores open again. In the immortal words of my granddaughter when her family moved to a small town in Wyoming,  “What kind of a place is this if it doesn’t have a bookstore?”

In making amends to independent bookstores for the amount of shopping I do on Amazon Books, I announce with love and gratitude, this year’s THEME for the 2018 AtoZ Blog Challenge:


I invite you to join me as I pay tribute to individual far-flung stores from Raleigh, NC to Charing Cross Road in London and those in between. I hope this year’s theme will encourage you to never leave a bookstore without buying at least one book because life without books is unimaginable.

Image: The Fantasy Bookshop by Aimee Stewart found on Pinterest

About Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin

Stepheny Forgue Houghtlin grew up in Evanston, IL. and is a graduate of the University of Kentucky. She is an author of two novels: The Greening of a Heart and Facing East. She lives, writes and gardens in NC. Visit her:
This entry was posted in Ato Z Blog Challenge 2018 and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Theme Reveal Day – Paying Tribute to Bookstores

  1. noelleg44 says:

    Hi Stepheny: How are you? What a wonderful subject! Bookstores are like candy stores were to me when I was young. Filled with all sorts of stories and knowledge. How could you leave without a sample?

  2. Ellen says:

    This is a brilliant theme! Looking forward to your posts.

  3. patsypridgen says:

    Looking forward to reading your bookstore blogs! What a great idea for your theme.

    • Ready to publish the April 1st post where I begin with Avid Bookstore in Athens, GA. So much fun writing and researching the subject. It took in architecture, location and the world of books we love. Happy Easter to one of my favorite new cozy mystery authors. Hope you have time to take the book tour with me,

  4. Tarkabarka says:

    Love love love this! There is no place like a small and cozy independent bookstore. Awesome theme! 🙂

    The Multicolored Diary: Weird Things in Hungarian Folktales

  5. Looking forward to your posts. I do love small local bookstores and yes they are disappearing so your posts will be welcome. Your reveal reminded me of a flash fiction story I wrote awhile back about a scary future where a bookstore was a museum visited by a tour group, The Printed Book Museum

    • I can’t imagine a world without books so your few lines using the photo of the bookshop as a prompt was reassuring that should the world try and take books from us we could find them in the lining of a coat if need be. I’ve had a wonderful time researching and writing this year’s blog challenge and bookstores as my theme. I hope you will have time to keep me company on the tour. Happy Easter.

  6. jazzfeathers says:

    Well, as womeone working in an indipendent bookstore, you are making me happy 🙂

    Theme Reveal – Weimar Germany

    • Thanks for leaving your comment, Sarah. I followed you right back to your blog and look forward to learning a great deal from you with your interesting theme. Wish I had known to research YOUR bookstore. Hope you will have time to join me during April on this bookstore tour. Happy Easter.

  7. Hi Stepheny,
    Your theme for the challenge is near and dear to me and you’ve written an enticing theme reveal. I look forward to reading and commenting on your posts.
    I blog at and I’m doing the A-Z challenge for the first time. My theme is Snack-Sized Wow Notes for Women, Midlife and Beyond.
    Have a great challenge.

    • Hi Karen: I am intrigued by YOUR theme, which I found after you left your comment here. Thanks for checking on me. Addicted to reading and the influence books have had on my life, I look forward to reading what wisdom your reading has brought you. Hope you will have time to keep me company visiting bookshops. Happy Easter.

  8. randommusings29 says:

    I hate shopping – except for books! Bookstores are fantastic – the atmosphere, the smell, everything about them. Really looking forward to this theme

    • Hi Debbie: I tried to visit your blog after you left this comment, but this address seems to be a tweet address. I hope you will have time to keep me company during April for this bookstore tour. Can’t imagine life without these special places that we love Would love to know your favorite haunts. Happy Easter.

  9. Hari OM
    Stepheny, this sounds like great fun. I wonder if you will be referring to Scotland’s ‘book town’ of Wigtown and the shop which holiday-makers can rent for a fortnight, to live the dream you mention? (Link below in case that’s news to you.)
    Thank you for popping by DoWY. The “A” post is now live (Indian time); you appeared to have no trouble commenting on the Blogger page, but a few pals have mentioned some problems, so have doubled-up and opened a WP page for this month only. It is linked to comment name above, should you prefer to visit there instead.
    All the very best as we launch ourselves into it! YAM xx

  10. Thanks for stopping by Melanie’s Stories. You asked about following me, and I’ve added a link so you can do that. Thanks for mentioning it! I’m not sure when it was taken off.

    I love the theme for your A-Z challenge and I look forward to it!

  11. rolandclarke says:

    Late visitor, but I’m glad to find you, again, thanks to your visit to my site. Enjoyed both the 84 Charing Cross Road book and the film – plus I haunted the street when I used to live in London. Heading off there now – well, on your blog.

  12. Anne Young says:

    I have enjoyed spending time virtually browsing bookstores with you. I fear I spend too much buying books off the internet, partly because they are intentional purchases. When I go into a bookstore I succumb too often to impulse buys.
    Did you want recommendations for Australian mysteries? I assume it is too late for your friend’s trip though.

    • Yes, too late for this long ago trip, but I would love having your recommendations. I will look forward to what you suggest. I know exactly what you mean about the buying impulse in check online. But don’t we love that bookstore experience too.

  13. Finally I take the time to stop by!
    Two years ago, my husband and I signed a “deal.” He could pick our dinner table when we would be on the road as long as there would also be an independent bookstore nearby. It has been sometimes challenging to find one in walking distance from the restaurant but rarely an issue to spot one in the same town or city.
    So, of course, I could only love your theme. I cannot promise to be here every day for 26 days, but after the challenge I always highlight some blogs, and I will do so with yours.
    Good luck with the challenge!

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