Posts Tagged ‘Brattle Bookshop’

1. Watching the light on the sliver of Boston Common visible from our conference-room window.
2. Strolling (or hustling) down the east side of the Common, on my way to and from work each day.
3. Nichole’s Paris calendar and red photo set, hanging on the wall.
4. Brewing my favorite teas in a potbellied electric kettle, and drinking them out of a favorite mug.
5. Music to write by – Nickel Creek, HEM, the Pride & Prejudice soundtrack, Dave Madden, Grace Pettis.
6. Lunchtime strolls on the Common and in the Public Garden.
7. After-work or lunchtime stops into the Brattle, Second Time Around, Paper Source and other fun places.
8. Knowing where my next paycheck is coming from.
9. People-watching – on the T, in the food court downstairs, on the streets.
10. Leftovers for lunch, with a good book.


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From the booksellers at Brattle: stockings hung with care, Christmas books galore, and a tree MADE of green books. How perfect.

Of course, I’ve got some books on my Christmas list – including the new Father Tim novel, the letters of Julia Child and Avis DeVoto, and books by Adriana Trigiani (whom I’ve just discovered; she is delightful). Anything literary on your Christmas list?

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I know I’m a walking ad for Brattle Book Shop these days – I’ve rhapsodized about it on the blog, taken Jeremiah and Abi there, even coaxed my parents there on their visit this week. And nearly every time, I find a treasure I simply can’t live without, or a deal too good to pass up. So here, in all their glory, are my finds so far:

Most of these cost me $5 or less (oh, how I love the outdoor bargain carts/shelves). And the others were just too delicious not to take home. I love anything by L.M. Montgomery, so this copy of Mistress Pat charmed me, and The Bean and the Scene is a collection of delightful, whimsical drawings of Boston and Cambridge. I’d been hankering to read Russian Winter, so was glad to snag a review copy, and the 20th Century Psalter came with a letter tucked inside, from an English soldier in 1944 who couldn’t get home for Christmas, but wrote a cheerful message to the friend who was the book’s recipient.

I’ve devoured a few of these right after bringing them home, and the others are piling up nicely on the coffee table, just waiting for me to dip into them. And the best part is, I can always go hunting for more treasures, and bring them home for little more than the price of a round-trip T ticket, or a cup of hot cocoa at a cafe.

What are your favorite places to hunt for hidden treasure? (If you have any Boston spots to suggest, I’d be most grateful. And if any of you, dear readers, ever come to Boston, I shall be happy to show you around Brattle, and hunt for treasures with you.)

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I’m starting to sound like a broken record, I know. But oh, how I love the bookishness of Boston. Here, a few of my favorite bookish haunts so far:

1. Brattle Book Shop. I’ve gushed about this place before, but I’ll say it again: Outdoor stalls crammed with treasures ALL $5 and under. A rare-book room that feels as sacred as a church. Stacks of fiction, a wee children’s alcove, a shelf of review copies at the front, and a giant pencil over the front door. It is heaven. (And perfectly located near a coffee house, a yarn shop and my beloved Boston Common.)

2. Brookline Booksmith. This place is just dazzling – shelves upon shelves of books in every genre, a gorgeous gift section, and a Used Book Cellar. I wrote about it a few weeks ago, and I love a good browse when I’m in the area.

3. The Boston Public Library. Elegant, imposing, full of art and books and even a fountain in the central courtyard. I wandered around alone a few weeks ago, took Jeremiah back, and plan to return.

4. Quincy’s Thomas Crane Library. Our local library (with four branches!) has a fabulous selection of books, audiobooks and DVDs. Needless to say, I am here ALL the time.

5. Wellesley Booksmith. This is a bit farther out – but I got to meet Erin here a couple of weeks ago, and it’s a charming, cozy spot with a wide selection and fun, funky gifts.

I’m sure this list will grow as I continue to explore Boston…which is, really, a delightful prospect. I’ll be sure to share any future bookish treasures with you.

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It’s been a literary month around here. Lots of reading – old favorites and new stories. So this is a long post, but here’s my monthly dose of bookish delight for you:

The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson #5), Rick Riordan
I loved this fast-paced, breathless, battle-filled conclusion to the Percy Jackson series. I could hardly turn the pages fast enough, wondering what was going to happen. Sad moments as some characters are killed in battle; I suppose it’s like this with any epic series (echoes of Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, again). But (sorry if this shocks you) good does triumph over evil and Percy and his friends save the day. I won’t tell you how, though. The journey is pure pleasure.

Daddy-Long-Legs, Jean Webster
I found my copy of this sweet story at Brattle Book Shop, in the outdoor stalls, and read it in just a couple of days. The narrator, Jerusha (who wisely nicknames herself Judy), is sweet and funny and observant, if a little naive. It’s such a fun portrait of a girl’s college life around the turn of the last century, and though I already knew about the sweet surprise at the end (from having read Dear Pen Pal), it was still worth reading.

Meet the Austins, Madeleine L’Engle
I bought this one at the charming Children’s Book Shop in Brookline, caught without something to read on the train home. I quite enjoyed it – I knew about the Austin series from reading Madeleine’s memoirs, but hadn’t read them before. I like Vicky and her quirky family, though I think I like the Wrinkle in Time series better.

Romancing Miss Bronte, Juliet Gael
This title and cover captivated me – I found it at the library and it just looked so romantic. And it was – though not in the way I quite expected. I didn’t know much about the Bronte sisters’ lives, other than their quiet seclusion in Yorkshire with a blind father and a delinquent brother. Gael brings the sisters and their struggles to life deftly, and I learned a lot about their lives I didn’t know before. (This is fiction, but even the servants’ names are historically accurate.)

The Hunger Games, Suzanne Collins
I know I’m late to the party – the literary world has been abuzz lately over Mockingjay, the third in this trilogy. But I just hadn’t got round to The Hunger Games, and now that I have, I can only say: Wow. It’s like Shannon Hale’s tales of bravery and 1984 and a Roman gladiator fight all in one. Katniss is a little dense when it comes to boys, but she’s brave and strong and clever, and compassionate – which both saves her and endangers her in the end.

The Goose Girl, Shannon Hale
I’m needing a little extra bravery these days as I learn to navigate a new city, send out job application after job application, and work to make friends. I love the tale of Anidori Kiladra Talianna-Isilee, who must hide her identity as a goose girl before she can claim her rightful place as queen. The language is rich and the characters are real, and it all feels true and solid, and it makes me feel brave.

Enna Burning, Shannon Hale
I love this sequel to The Goose Girl as much as the original. Enna has a great but dangerous gift – and I love walking with her as she learns to control it. The characters really start to come into their own in this book, and there’s a lot here about love and bravery and battle. Excellent.

River Secrets, Shannon Hale
Razo is one of my favorite Shannon Hale characters, even more so because he doesn’t know the scope of his own gifts. The world of Bayern expands southward, and Hale draws us, along with her characters, into a new realm where lots of the rules are different. It’s a compelling, entertaining, powerful story.

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, J.K. Rowling
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, J.K. Rowling
I don’t know what I can say about this series that hasn’t already been said. It’s heartbreaking, powerful, challenging, compelling, enchanting – and funny. Every time I read it I catch more of Rowling’s jokes, more of her cleverness, more complex layers of plot and character. I always have to go back after finishing the seventh book and read the last 200 pages (at least) again. The last few books, when people really start dying, make me cry, and all of them make me laugh, and warm my heart, and make me stay up way too late reading.

The Bread of Angels, Stephanie Saldana
This is a moving account of one woman’s journey out of faith and back again – but it’s more than that. It chronicles her year living in the Christian quarter of Damascus, her complicated relationship with her family, her longing to find her calling in life, and her falling in love with a monk. Stunning prose – though I admit I got bogged down at her spiritual low point – but such hope and grace and beauty later on.

Pies & Prejudice, Heather Vogel Frederick
I love young-adult and middle-grade fiction, even more so if it relates to books. So this fourth installment of The Mother-Daughter Book Club series, where the girls read Pride and Prejudice, charmed me. The girls are growing up – they’re starting high school – and it’s fun to watch them mature, navigate the world of boys, read Jane Austen for the first time, and visit England together.

Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story, Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor
I’d heard this was wise, beautiful and compelling – and it was all three and more. The intertwined journeys of mother and daughter, both dealing with their identities as women and writers, resonated deeply with me. (I also learned a lot of the backstory behind The Secret Life of Bees.) I love travel writing that’s also spiritual and literary – this is perfect.

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