The faint ringing of bells, as the doors open and close. Creaky wooden boards that shift underneath your weight. Stacks of books, ranging from Joyce to King, lining the over-stuffed bookshelves. And the familiar scent of used and new books. Ah, heaven.
Bookstores abound in our much-loved city, but where to start? How to narrow down the infinite options? Why with a neat little list, of course! Let us dig into these five suggested jumping-off points to begin your explorations.
1. The Raven – Harvard Square location (52 JFK St., Cambridge, MA); also located on Newbury (263 Newbury St., Boston, MA)
This hidden gem defines the term itself. Located below street-level in both stores, you could easily pass by this used bookstore, but oh the treasures you’d skip out on if you did. As books range from classics to contemporaries, there is something for everyone to discover amongst the jam-packed shelves of literary goodness. And with 50-80% marked down prices on all items, you can be certain to walk away with quite the bargain.
2. Brattle Book Shop – Downtown (9 West St., Boston, MA)
Another Cambridge location, this massive independent bookstore can draw you in for hours on end. One of America’s oldest and largest booksellers, the three floors and outdoor sale lot are a true testament to its growth and expansion since its founding in 1825. Owned by the same family since 1949, you can be treated to some of the best customer service at this bookshop. And as you peruse the 250,000 books they keep in stock, the fading daylight and rising sun may be a simple formality in your addictive search.
3. Trident Booksellers – Newbury (338 Newbury St., Boston, MA)
Conveniently placed within close proximity to the ever-popular Newbury Comics and highly accessible Hynes T-Stop, this has got to be one of my personal favorites. Two floors of everything reading and writing related, from journals to one-of-a-kind tote bags and, of course, every novel from the latest YA book to Pushkin, entrances me for hours. While not as large as Brattle nor as hidden as the Raven, Trident’s unique charm comes from its compact and cramped set-up. Narrow pathways are lined with books- no wall space is wasted here. And it has an absolutely scrumptious menu packed with comfort food that’ll be sure to hit the spot. There is no reason not to set foot in this sea of book-lover heaven.
4. Brookline Booksmith – Coolidge Corner (279 Harvard St., Brookline, MA)
An expansive collection that spans two floors, this creaky-floored space is packed to the brim with new and used books. On the first level, you can find the latest bestsellers and Moleskine notebooks to delight your tastes, but within the basement is where I find my home. Between the wide selection of quality, ninety-nine cent books and a cozy atmosphere for the visiting authors, who frequently come to give talks and hold signings, I highly recommend this Coolidge Corner wonder.
5. Newtonville Books – Newton Centre (10 Langley Rd., Newton, MA)
Another conveniently located bookstore is Newtonville, easily arrived at via foot or the mighty-fast D-line. A selection of new books lines the walls of this brightly lit, organized store. Quick access to whatever you seek, this independent bookstore also has the option to shop online for all you tech-savy folk out there. And as an added incentive to check it out sooner than you would initially think, BC’s very own Professor Rotella will be reading some of his contributions to Our Boston: Writers Celebrate the City They Love this Wednesday the 13th at 7PM along with fellow contributor Kevin Cullen!
With five options in hand, it is now time to venture off, adventurer! Independent bookstores span the great city of Boston and it is now up to you to discover those that your bookworm hearts so desire.Images via Facebook