Read Harder

Read Harder Task #2: Read a Book Set in a Bookstore

It goes without saying that readers love bookstores. I don’t think I’ve ever heard someone utter the sentence, “Oh I love reading; but I hate bookstores.” It just doesn’t happen. And if it does happen, I’d be worried that meant the end of the world was nigh. 

Personally for me, bookstores have always been a place of comfort. When I was a teenager and went to the mall, B. Dalton was always my first stop. And I almost never went out of there without buying at least one book. And it was usually just one since my inflow of money was much more limited back then. That said, it stands to reason that books that take place in a bookstore or have one heavily featured are a favorite of mine. 

Bookstores are just happy places. There is so much potential in them to find your new favorite book. I was excited that this was one of the prompts for the Read Harder Challenge in 2022  since I knew that would make a lot of my fellow book dragons happy. And without further delay, here are a few books to consider for checking off this box in the annual challenge. 


Cover of 84, Charring Cross Road

84, Charring Cross Road by Helene Hanff

This classic chronicles the twenty year correspondence between Hanff, a free-lance writer in New York City, and a used book dealer in London. Even though the two never met face to face, they built a lifelong friendship on their mutual love of books. Which is always a good foundation for that type of relationship.

Cover of The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap

The Little Bookstore of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

This memoir is about the real-life story of Welch and her husband who decide to open up a bookstore in a struggling coal mine town in Virginia. Despite everyone telling them they were crazy, they persisted with their dream to open up the store. In this book, you will read about the set up and the unique and memorable customers that walked through their doors. This is a must read for anyone who has ever dreamed of opening a bookstore.


Cover of Meet Cute Club

Meet Cute Club by Jack Harbon

Jordan is less than pleased when snarky coworker Rex asks to join his romance book club. However, as the club is floundering, he can’t really get into the habit of turning down new members. As the men work and read together, both realize that they may have judged one another too quickly and too harshly and that there is always an opportunity to make a good second impression.

Cover of Read Between the Lines

Read Between the Lines by Rachel Lacey

Rosie is shocked to find out that the person behind her favorite lesbian romance Brie is in fact property manager Jane—the same property manager that sent her a letter informing her that they would not be renewing her lease at the end of the calendar year. When the two women find out who one another really is, will this previous interaction doom a relationship before it even starts? Or will they be able to look past that to find a happily ever after?


Cover of The Ghost and Mrs. McClure

The Ghost and Mrs. McClure by Cleo Coyle

Widower Penelope moves back to Rhode Island with her young son to open a bookstore with her aunt. Little does she know that the store comes with its own ghost, that of Jake, a private investigator from the forties. After an author drops dead in the store shortly before his book-signing event, the two unlikely allies must team up to solve the mystery. This is the first in a series of cozy mysteries.

The Plot is Murder cover image

The Plot is Murder by V.M. Burns

This mystery includes another widow, Samantha, who has always dreamed of owning her own bookstore and being a published author. Her grand opening is threatened when a shady realtor is found dead in her backyard and she is the primary suspect. Sam must join forces with her grandmother and her merry band of fellow retirees to find the real culprit.

Young Adult

Cover of Words in Deep Blue

Words in Deep Blue by Cath Crowley

When Rachel returns to her childhood home, she ends up working at her former best friend Henry’s family bookstore. Her task is to catalog all the personal letters that were left in the Letter Library before the store closes down. This puts her in close proximity with Henry who is eager to pick up their friendship, not realizing why it stopped in the first place. This is a wonderfully bittersweet novel about how books bring us together and you’ll fall in love with the bookstore that is destined to close.

Cover of Recommended for You

Recommended for You by Laura Silverman

Shoshanna loves her job at local independent bookstore Once Upon. Between her car issues and mothers constantly fighting, the store is her safe haven. When her boss announces a holiday bonus to whoever can sell the most books, she knows she has to win the prize. If only her new co-worker, Jake wasn’t equally as determined to win the prize. This book takes place during winter, but it is a perfect sweet read any time of the year.


Cover of Kingyo Used Books, Vol. 1

Kingyo Used Books, Vol. 1 by Seimu Yoshizaki

You can find almost any manga you can imagine at Kingyo Used Books. But it’s more than that since Natsuki and Shiba, the propetiers, are as equally as invested in the stories of their customers as they are in the books they sell. And you can find almost every type of manga and manga-reader in this series. This is the first volume so if you enjoy it you can always pick up the rest in the series.

Don’t forget you can get three free audiobooks at with a free trial!

This is just a jumping off point for books to read to knock this challenge out. Whether you pick one from here or something else, I hope you have fun. Good luck on the rest of the challenge!!!