How to Find the Love of Your Life in a Bookstore: The Ray Bradbury Method

Posted by Hayley on August 22, 2017

If you want to fall in love with a reader, go where the readers go. The late Ray Bradbury met his future wife, Marguerite McClure, at Fowler's Bookstore in Los Angeles when he was 22 years old.

It was not love at first sight. McClure, who was clerking at the store, accused Bradbury of shoplifting.

"He carried a briefcase and wore a trench coat on a clear day, so I was immediately suspicious," she remembered later. "I expected him to slam his briefcase down on a pile of books and make off with a few. Instead, he told me he was a writer and invited me to have a cup of coffee with him."

She said yes, perhaps smitten with Bradbury's line: "I'm going to the moon someday. Wanna come?" As readers around the world know, the young writer wasn't exactly lying. During his influential and award-winning career, the author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian Chronicles took readers to other planets, other dimensions, and other times.

McClure was the first woman Bradbury ever dated—and the last. They were married in 1947 and remained married for fifty-six years until McClure's death in 2003.

So what's the lesson from Bradbury and McClure's romance? Are we suggesting that single book lovers should browse their local libraries and bookstores, acting like a shoplifter? Probably not. (But if you do, please write and let us know how that goes.)

Instead, maybe we'll take away the simple truth that a type of magic can exist wherever books and readers gather.

Something Wicked This Way Comes

The Martian Chronicles

The Illustrated Man

Discover more of Ray Bradbury's books and quotes here. And share your thoughts on Bradbury, meeting soulmates in bookstores, or both in the comments!

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(Top image credit: A 1976 edition of Fahrenheit 451)

Comments Showing 1-50 of 112 (112 new)

message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I wanna see if this works.....

message 2: by Julia (new)

Julia Is worth trying, anyway =)

message 3: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Kelly Wow I never knew this! What a beautiful story! I hope I am this lucky!

message 4: by Aditi (new)

Aditi Good god! It's quite hilarious!!

message 5: by Tan T. Ra (new)

Tan T. Ra Khan Hahaha! This seems to be quite the fair advice!
This was the similar experience Stephen King had.
He met Tabitha Spruce in the stacks of the Fogler Library at the University, where they both worked as students; they married in January of 1971.

message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

Ultimate meet cute!

message 7: by Hannah (new)

Hannah Kelly See, this is why hanging out in bookstores is a great thing. Not only are we supporting literacy but we are setting ourselves up to meet our soulmates.

message 8: by Jordan (new)

Jordan Litchy Men, you now know where to find me ;)

 ♥♥Mari♥♥ I felt so sad when this man passed away..... Bradbury was a genius! He's one of my favorite SF writers. I'm not surprised at his wit in this meeting with his future wife; he must have been quite a character!

I just came online, and something made me come to Goodreads first. I guess my subconscious mind must have picked up some GREAT vibes!

Thanks for making my day, Goodreads!!! YOU ROCK!!!! <3 <3 <3 : ) : ) : )

message 10: by Yaaresse (new)

Yaaresse There are worse places to meet a potential spouse. At least there's a good chance they are literate and are interested in something other than himself/herself. You can probably tell a lot about a person by what they're browsing.

The problem is finding a good bookstore. The few that remain seem to be more candle and card shops than bookstores.

message 11: by Eric (new)

Eric Morse This could be my favorite story ever.

message 12: by Anthony (new)

Anthony Burdge I never knew this & I think it is my favorite thing I heard today. This is sort of how my husband-- in the Tolkien section of our local B&N. He was working and I was trying to find a book for a friend. The first of the PJ films was still in theaters and I found the Tolkien section empty. I was upset & started a ruckus, complaining and cursing. He was sent to deal with the unruly customer. But, we hit it off & he invited me to attend the Tolkien track at a local con, which he was organizing. That was almost 20 years ago & started our time together as writers. We ran the local Tolkien Society for many years together & often shared this story. We're both Bradbury fans but didn't know that we shared such an experience with him-- which is even cooler. :p ~J

message 13: by Anshita (new)

Anshita I'm guessing I should visit my nearby library more than once a week. Hmmm...

message 14: by Sarah (new)

Sarah I already work at a small bookstore! Now all I have to do is wait for my beloved Bradbury to come along...

message 15: by Danielle (new)

Danielle Tremblay I read most Bradbury's books. None disappointed me. :)

message 16: by Julia (new)

Julia I really enjoy Ray Bradbury's works, and I love that the story of how he met his wife is the same story of how I *hope* to meet my true love one day!!

message 17: by Shannon (new)

Shannon I love this. Ever since doing a report on Bradbury in high school I have been inspired not only by his works but by how he lived his life. You get the sense that he lived every moment of his life with a true love for reading, writing, and storytelling.

message 18: by Max (new)

Max who DOESN'T fall in love with someone who invites them to the moon?????????? find them and i'll fight them.

message 19: by Novel Nymph (new)

Novel Nymph "I'm going to the moon someday. Wanna come?"

Most unique pick-up line ever. ; )

message 20: by Janice (new)

Janice Like the artwork. I assume it came from a movie poster. Great book, and great movie. Graphic novels, fine too.

message 21: by ShanDizzy (new)

ShanDizzy There's nothing sexier than seeing a man reading a book, like at a coffee shop. It just beckons you over to his table to ask what he's reading...and then who knows what will happen...

message 22: by Bobbi (new)

Bobbi Jo I no longer have much of a local bookstore. (used book stores only)

message 23: by Virginia (new)

Virginia I think that's beautiful. I have actually met a couple potential husbands in bookstores and getting a hot chocolate and looking for new reads or writing was something I enjoyed with my special guy friend :)

message 24: by Avolyn (new)

Avolyn Fisher I see an opportunity here, a follow up article on how to get the attention of a potential mate in a bookstore. Perhaps some pickup lines, or tactful ways to approach someone. I've been attracted to my fair share of Barnes & Noble employees but no matter how many times I go in or how friendly I am, I don't get any sense of interest. Which is quite alright, but perhaps there are some hot tips I'm missing. I have noticed a high success rate of being at a table in the cafe and having men engage in conversation when I'm trying to read. Mostly friendly, including an older gentlemen who gave me candy in a similar vein of your grandparents who may have always had candy at their house (it was less creepy than my account portrays). I had another man leave a sticky note on my stack of books with his number, pausing to diligently press the post-it down and then walk away without saying a word. It's a shame that bookstores are becoming almost non-existent.

ModernAlexandrian I work in a bookstore and am completely ready to be asked to go to the moon someday - haha

What a great man, that Bradbury!

message 26: by Hannah (new)

Hannah This totally works! I've met tons of fantastic men in bookstores: Kvothe, Kelsier, Geralt of Rivia, Jean Tannen... Oh, wait...

message 27: by Donna (new)

Donna Krebs what a beautiful story! Bradbury is one of my favorites! All of his stories seem to dig down into the characters souls, I think.

message 28: by Beth (new)

Beth Gea According to his biography, he did have an affair even though he never divorced his wife, so as much as I love Bradbury, he has his black side, too...

message 29: by Alexis (new)

Alexis ♥♥Mari♥♥ wrote: "I felt so sad when this man passed away..... Bradbury was a genius! He's one of my favorite SF writers. I'm not surprised at his wit in this meeting with his future wife; he must have been quite a ..."

Those are some good points you make there.

message 30: by Seema (new)

Seema Instead, maybe we'll take away the simple truth that a type of magic can exist wherever books and readers gather. nice post

message 31: by Stef (new)

Stef This is beautiful! I often desire something like this. :) <3

message 32: by Kusaimamekirai (new)

Kusaimamekirai Awww....I worked in bookstores for years and it never occurred to me to invite a woman to the moon! Bradbury ahead of his time in fiction and in love!

message 33: by Newsha7 (new)

Newsha7 Doesn’t work though, the ones I like come in with somebody and the others are just not my type. Believe me, I’ve tried!

message 34: by d (new)

d Great example. Another story that expresses this really well is the book If On a Winter's Night a Traveler

message 35: by k.filizfidanoğlu (last edited Aug 23, 2017 07:07AM) (new)

k.filizfidanoğlu Maybe I didnt meet with my boyfriend in a book store but he got me with a book which he gifted it to me. So if you love reading, it means it can bring someone to you who loves reading. It doesnt matter what it reads, its all about just giving yourself the letters, the words, and just watch what happens later. Books can help you to find yourself.

With love,

message 36: by (new)

Tô Awhh, What a sweet story!

message 37: by محمدجواد (new)

محمدجواد مهدیزاده It is often believed to be only an idea but such realistic stories prove that this can be a fact, not only dreams came out of a surreal mind and a romantic heart

I haven't tried it before- may I have the chance to find my lost this time with this way! It really seems to be a good idea, guys :)

message 38: by Joan (last edited Aug 23, 2017 01:01PM) (new)

Joan  R I love the idea of readers seeking out other readers - for romance and friendship! You'll know you have something in common - the joy of reading! My husband and I have been together for 40 years and we both read, but we have NO completed books in common. He reads mainly horror and science fiction and old fashioned newspapers. I read mainly mysteries with some chick lit (hate the term -
like men and fully grown women don't read them!), biographies, and some nonfiction. Along with asking about "How was your day?", you can always discuss what both of you have been reading lately. Reading is never a boring subject and a great ice breaker! Happy Reading to all!

message 39: by sarahlireads (new)

sarahlireads Though this would be really sweet and fairytale like, I do think that opposites attract more. My boyfriend doesn't like to read books but he prefer to watch movies/series BUT the good thing is that we support each other on what we want. He accompanies me whenever I go to book sales, carry my books whenever I do book haul, buy me books I really want and etc. In turn, I watch movies with him and I find it quite fun ('cause I rarely watch movies before)!

message 40: by Joan (new)

Joan  R My husband had never been to a play and he thought Shakespeare was only for academics. Over the years, he has enjoyed many plays including The Bard! In exchange, he taught me the rules of football (US!) which we often watch together while both yelling at the tv! We were both NY MET baseball fans when we met and our wedding was announced on the scoreboard at Shea Stadium. I still haven't gotten him to enjoy subtitled films after a disastrous movie date in 1978 - he hated the movie and having to read so much during a movie!! We've technically only been married 38 years, but we've been together since 1977. I'm assuming we'll make it till 40!!! lol

message 41: by Daisy (new)

Daisy Paquet I have my heart set on marrying a reader<3

message 42: by [deleted user] (new)

My story is not so romantic. My wife and I met in a maths lecture at uni. But the method worked: we are still (happily?) married, some decades later. On our anniversary, we exchange equations. But she is a reader, of mainly crime fiction and cookery books.

message 43: by Julia (new)

Julia Bobbi wrote: "I no longer have much of a local bookstore. (used book stores only)"

Yeah, me too. Ours in on the Main Street... it is two storeys, and the top used to be an apartment with super uneven floors, and the bathroom actually has a tub in it!! Love that place! :P

message 44: by Phoenix2 (new)

Phoenix2 Well that's a pick up line for you!!

message 45: by [deleted user] (new)

Here (Berkshire, UK) there are still some bookshops left, but I get most from charity shops (note to Mr Scrooge: at a fraction of the price).

message 46: by Diana (new)

Diana *looking in the YA section*, helloooo, any soulmates here?

message 47: by edie (new)

edie This is so adorable! I literally got that little fluttery sensation in my heart when I read this!

message 48: by Cecilia (new)

Cecilia Morin I've always wanted someone to just say right to my face that they want to take me out. More out-going guys are what I'm into. I don't like when a person is scared to talk to someone it makes for complications and hurt feelings.

message 49: by Chris (new)

Chris My array of Shakespeare-themed shirts make up for my lack of six-pack abs.

I also have a Fahrenheit 451 shirt.

message 50: by Gary (new)

Gary Moreau A great story.

In 1973, at the age of nineteen, three buddies and I drove from our school in Vermont to San Fran. First stop - City Lights Bookstore. Kerouac, Thompson, Ginsberg, and Ferlinghetti himself were our literary heroes. And it was, indeed, like being in a very special place. Forty years later I started writing. And, as the saying goes, I don't believe in coincidence. Haven't been back to the store since, but I can still visualize it. A truly transcendent place.

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