Want a bound copy of all of 1917’s issues of Punch? A Maine seafood cookbook? To browse through dozens of carts of old books priced at $ 1, $ 3, or $ 5, that you didn’t know you needed but can’t leave without? Stop at Brattle, Boston’s best second-hand bookshop, on the scene since 1825.
Though its core business is in antiquarian books (their experts appear on Antique’s Roadshow), Brattle is a magnet for all kinds of bookish people looking for their next read, or looking to divest themselves of an old read. In fact, so many local book reviewers get rid of unwanted advance copies at Brattle that there are shelves that hold nothing but reviewers’ copies, many with the press releases still tucked inside the front cover.
For my money, though, the best browsing is on the carts, in dry weather, even in winter, positioned outside in the parking lot adjacent to the building. Because the books are classified only by price – I’ve found art books next to literary biographies next to forgotten nonfiction – budget some time to look around. If this is too overwhelming, inside the shelves are organized by topic, and there’s an especially strong local history section – I’m slowly building up a collection of books on Cambridge sourced mainly at the Brattle. Good selection of fiction and art as well.