Reed’s Bookstore Tupelo Mississippi

        Smitty and I played golf on my visit to Saltillo (I’m gonna post on that soon- a very spirited match it was) and after the round he told me about Reed’s Book Store in Tupelo.  He said it was the happening place where all the writers want to do a book signing.  I dropped back by the Jameson and checked my e-mail in the lobby.  The lady at the desk and I got to talking and she mentioned Reed’s also, so I decided it was a must.  Like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture. I always liked Clower anyway, and I figure in Mississippi you better pay extra attention to Jerry.  He was pretty well known in those parts.

        Reed’s is not hard to find.  It’s right across the street from Tupelo Hardware, where Elvis’s mom bought his first guitar.  We walked in the Reed’s clothing store, and a man came right up to ask if he could help you.  His name was Rush, and he’d been there forty-five years.  I figure he can size up a man for a suit from thirty paces.  My guess is downtown Tupelo has not changed much over the years, and I like that.  He directed us to the bookstore just around the corner.

        Just like the clothing store, right away a lady named Susan asked how she could help.  We got a camper’s travel guide we’d been looking for, and talked books for a while.  I told her about my blog, and all my dreams of how I hoped to get my book published someday.  She said John Grisham’s first one was self-published, and that Reed’s carried it and had him do a book signing.  To this day, he still comes back to Tupelo for signings when he has a new release.  I  noticed a stack of his signature editions on a table.

        Ms. Susan mentioned that independent book stores were a tough business these days, and the support of a man like Grisham was beyond helpful to them.

        “You know Ms. Susan, I’ve read most of Mr. Grisham’s books.  Of course I don’t know him, but I have to tell you I admire loyalty in a man.  It sounds like Mr. Grisham believes in Sam Snead’s old saying- ‘Dance with who brung ya.”

        “Oh yes.  He is a very fine man.”

        “Well, Ms. Susan, I’ll never be like Grisham, and I’ll be lucky to get one book to see light of published day.  But I can promise you this.  If I get a book out there and there is one human being in the world who wants me to sign it, I’d love to do it here.  If y’all let me, I’ll never forget ya.  I might not be Grisham, but I do know to dance with who brung me.”

       She looked me right in the eye.  “Dr. B, we’d be proud to have you come.”

        At my age, a man’s gotta have his dreams, and Ms. Susan understood that.  I got out my mandolin and played a few bars of ‘The Kentucky Waltz.’  She’d made my day, the least I could do was play the lady a tune.

        We went back to the Jameson and got ready to check out.  I had promised Mark, the manager, I’d play him one tune on the mandolin, so I pulled it out of the case in the lobby and rendered ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to the best of my ability.  Soon a crowd gathered, and a young lady named April from housekeeping asked if I knew ‘Glory Hallelujah, Gonna Lay My Burdens Down.”  I kicked it off in ‘D’ and she flat belted it out.  I sang the harmony part with her on the second go round.  It was great stuff.

        Mark knew we were on the way to Memphis and recommended we stop in Oxford on the way.  He said it was the perfect modern southern town- not too big, not to small, literary minded, great book stores, and perhaps most important, had made the transition to the New South.  I recalled my agent had said to go there, too.  Hm, like Jerry Clower says, if you hear it twice, it’s scripture.  We plugged Oxford into the GPS, shook hands with brother Mark and lit out for Ole Miss and Oxford.

Dr. B

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10 Comments on “Reed’s Bookstore Tupelo Mississippi”

  1. Billy Says:

    Darn, Dr B. You made my eyes water. It has been too many years since I drove through Tupelo and saw Elvis’ house and walked down the street and went into Reed’s bookstore.

    Independent Bookstores are harder to find than honest politicians. But when you find one you need to help them all you can. They are a gold mind. You can actually talk to you in complete sentences. Every one of your readers should get to know their nearest independent bookseller.

  2. drtombibey Says:

    Billy,

    Reed’s was indeed a good’un. Treated me like family from the minute I walked in the door. The kind of place you want to go buy a book, then sit down and relax and read.

    It reminds me a lot of independent music stores like Johnny’s Jewelry and Loan at home where I buy all my guitar and mandolin strings.

    Dr. B

  3. Cindy Carter Says:

    I love towns with that small town feel. The town, Georgetown, SC, that my grandparents “pedaled” in, has that feel. When we were kids, everyone knew us.

  4. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Cindy,

    I dig them too. Always have. It’s like the Ricky Skaggs song says, “Everyone knows everyone for miles and miles around.”

    Dr. B

  5. pandemonic Says:

    I’ve never been there, but your description is a heavenly one.

  6. drtombibey Says:

    Ms. Pande,

    It is a long way from the frozen tundra, but if you are ever down that way, check ’em out.

    Dr. B

  7. lyn o'carroll Says:

    Dr B, a great story. I know that I could just walk in your office and get you to sign a book for me, but I think that it would be worth the drive to Tupelo just to experience the excitement. Give me plenty of notice so I can ask off.

  8. drtombibey Says:

    Will do Ms. Lyn,

    Who knows, if we can find the gas, I might just cart the whole crowd down there.

    Dr. B

  9. Jim Carruth Says:

    Doc., I’m no John Grisham either, but I love writing southern fiction, and I love Tupelo, MS, I wholeheartedly agree with you and John Grisham. Reed’s allowed me to have my first book signing of my first published novel, “The Gatlan Kids.” Reed’s employee, Ms. Emily Gatlan set me up for a book signing, and I was welcomed by the owner,
    Mr. Jack Reed who is a great personality,this February 20th for my new novel, “Rosa’s Revenge.”
    Reeds is absolutely tops in my mind, I greatly appreciate them, and their friendliness towards me and Judy, my wife. Jim Carruth

  10. drtombibey Says:

    Mr. Carruth,

    Thanks so much for writing. Go ahead and put me down for a copy of “Rosa’s Revenge” now. Where can I order it? My email is:

    drtombibey@hotmail.com

    I also fell in love with Tupelo from the get-go. Look for me to be back. I am the gray haired Doc who plays the mandolin. (My book, “The Mandolin Case” is due out late 2009, early 2010.)

    Dr. B


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