Operating for over 200 years, Brattle Book Store is one of Boston’s original book shops. The first time I visited was my sophomore year of high school. I had just just finished the full 20 mile loop for Boston’s Walk for Hunger with my friends, and my feet were so swollen, I was limping. I just wanted sit on a bench with the Ben and Jerry’s bar the walk’s organizers bestow on everyone who crosses the finish line. But my friends convinced me to begrudgingly limp a little bit further, to check out a bookstore a few blocks away.
It was worth it. I loved the creaky wooden floors, the narrow isles between shelves stuffed full of books, and the quiet of the third floor, reserved for rare and antique books. The best part, however, was the outdoor sale in the alley adjacent to the store. Everything was three dollars or less, and I wound up buying a hefty National Geographic photography book for two dollars. I still own it. I went back again and again, every high school summer vacation, as college student who could take a train ride from campus to the city, and when I worked one of my first jobs a few blocks away in the financial district.
I started looking for other independent bookstores when I traveled, and the books I bought at them were my travel souvenirs. When I no longer worked in Boston, I searched out other bookstores near my Taunton apartment. When I moved to North Carolina a few years ago, I made a point to find new ones to peruse.
Do you have a favorite bookstore? I’d love to hear about it!