Blytheville, Arkansas is not your top-most tourist attraction.
In fact, when the lady at the hotel desk was trying to come up with suggestions as to where to do some sight-seeing, she couldn’t think of much …
“The National Park right outside of town,” she said (which was actually a state park). “But I haven’t been there.”
She shook her head sadly – not too much for miles around …
Then she brightened – “Wait, you could go to That Bookstore downtown. John Grisham hangs out there.”
Seriously? I mean, I’m not the biggest Grisham fan around, but I’ve read enough of his books that it would be cool to meet him if I didn’t have to go out of my way to do so.
Now – the clerk was on a roll … “and the Greyhound bus station, you can go see the Greyhound bus station.”
Well, ok then.
This was Friday morning and you’d expect a town to have at least some people around, but alas … we hardly saw anyone, well, except for the puppy.
And the bookstore didn’t open until later, so. so much for meeting John Grisham.
But I did read an article that Mr. Grisham wrote about this … I mean That Bookstore. When he wrote his first book A Time to Kill, he could find no one to buy it. No one. He had 5,000 copies and went from bookstore to bookstore attempting to sell it, but no one cared about an unknown author and an unknown publisher. But when he went to That Bookstore, the owner invited him in and even had a book signing for him. (He says it’s because he was a local boy from a nearby town and so she felt for him.)
He also went back for signings for the next several books (although he turns down signings at other stores). Then the whole book-signing thing got to be too big of a deal, so now he sneaks in the back door, signs 2,000 books for That Bookstore and goes on his way.
(To read what John Grisham has to say about the store, go here.)
Interesting story about this sleepy little town.
But we did not get to see the store with or without him …
An interesting thing about downtown Blytheville is the way they have their parking set up … each block had an indentation that you use if you want to park your car. Guess that saves you from backing out onto a busy street – (though the streets weren’t exactly busy.)