With holiday shopping upon us in Boston and the surrounding areas, I thought I'd take the opportunity to bring a little more local cheer to my blog. One of my favorite things about living in the Greater Boston area is the commitment to local shops, artists, restaurants, etc. And on that note, it shouldn't be a surprise that New England's smartest city has some of the most unique and wonderful book stores around.
There are still a bunch of us that love the feeling that comes with holding, smelling, and embracing a real page-filled book in a bookstore--especially during the holiday season, there is something about books that makes me feel warm. Just like the books themselves, these local book stores have irresistible charm that pulls you in. Some have cafes, some host events, some are so small that you wonder how they fit books in them at all--but each of these independent book stores are worth a visit.
This sweet little literary paradise is tucked away in an unsuspecting location in Newton Centre. Really, if you don't know it's there, you may never see it. The store itself isn't gimmicky; it hosts book readings and events and has a small trinket shop up front, but the vibe of this space is magical. The front desk is literally made out of books, many of the shelves move and shift as event space is needed, and sliding ladders reminiscent of Beauty and the Beast line the exterior shelves. The current iteration of the store also came about when it was purchased by the owners, who had fallen in love there years before while it was owned by someone else. When that owner decided to sell, they knew they had to keep it going.
This is definitely the smallest of the book stores on the list (it's also the newest, having been opened in 2014) but it packs a punch. Because of the tighter footprint of the store itself, I think the owners have chosen to be more selective with what they carry. The owners also started a printing press so that they could have more control over what they carry, and often publish smaller works by local authors. They don't have many events, but they more than make up for it for their carefully selected works on the radical-leaning spectrum.
Located in the heart of Coolidge Corner, Brookline Booksmith is a local mainstay which opened in 1961. The massive, two-level store is "dedicated to the fine art of browsing." The first floor is stacked top to bottom with new books across all fields, and the used book cellar downstairs is a great for getting your favorite books at discounted prices. They also have an amazing gift area in the store filled with stationary, handcrafted jewelry and journals, it’s a great place to purchase thoughtful gifts.
Harvard Book Store
This gem in Harvard Square has been around since 1932, when it opened to sell used and bargain general interest books. Today, they have a wide variety of used, new and bargain books for sale. Harvard Book Store also has a print-on-demand machine that can print million of public domain or print-on-demand books right in the store, which is just pretty cool. But the best thing about this particular store is their carefully curated schedule of book readings and signings, many of which are free. The store is a huge advocate for the Cambridge and Harvard community; it's exactly what you would expect of an independent book store.