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Brattle Book Store, Boston

Brattle Book Store's outside sale is ideal for readers looking to stock up (©Bill Comstock/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Top Stops In Boston for the Literature Fan

By Sarah Burke on 07/28/16
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Boston is one of America's great literary hubs.

Venerable authors like Emerson, Hawthorne, Thoreau, Alcott and Plath have called this city home, and with so much rich history and a deep appreciation for the literary world, it's no wonder Boston is a magnet for bookworms. Bookstores—from the conventional to the utterly singular—abound in every neighborhood. The homes of many a great writer offer tours and events. The Central Branch of the Boston Public Library alone can make a buff swoon.

Check out this compilation to ensure your bookish adventure in Boston is tops. 

Boston Public Library

Inside the serene courtyard at the Boston Public Library (Courtesy Boston Public Library)

Attractions

Boston Public Library

The BPL is the world's first free municipal library and the country's only public library that is also a Presidential Library, holding the papers of John Adams. Cast your eyes on reads from the latest bestsellers to rare items like the 1623 First Folio, the first collected edition of the works of William Shakespeare.

Boston Women's Memorial

(©Robert Linsdell/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Boston Women's Memorial

Phillis Wheatley, one of the three women memorialized in this Commonwealth Avenue Mall sculpture, began scripting poetry while she was still a young girl, publishing her first poem, “On Mssrs. Hunley and Coffin,” in 1767 at the age of 15, and then her first book "Poems on Various Subjects, Religious and Moral."

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

(© Sarah Nichols/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Restaurants, Shopping

Trident Booksellers & Cafe

If you enjoy a good hummus platter and a plethora of books, check out local favorite on Newbury Street. Events here include book signings, bingo and trivia nights, but it's also a great place to settle in and binge read or write in a cozy corner.

Harvard Book Store

(© Kan Wu/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Shopping

Harvard Book Store

Harvard Book Store is a staple of the Harvard experience, and the print-on-demand service makes it unique.

(Courtesy Orchard House)

Attractions

Orchard House, Home of the Alcotts

Louisa May Alcott lived and wrote her beloved novel "Little Women" here.

Schoenhof's Foreign Books

(© John Phelan/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Shopping

Schoenhof's Foreign Books

Head to this place to peruse the selection of books in languages like French, Italian and even Dutch.

Boston Public Library Author Talks & Lectures Series

(© Tony Webster/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Entertainment

Boston Public Library Author Talks & Lectures Series

Well-known local and national authors talk in-depth about their books and the creative process.

Grolier Poetry Book Shop

(©Where)

Shopping

Grolier Poetry Book Shop

Visitors to this Harvard Square landmark have included E.E. Cummings, Anais Nin, Seamus Heaney and Charles Olson. Now that's solid!

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

(© Ken Lund/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Ralph Waldo Emerson House

See where this venerable author wrote notable works like "Self-Reliance" and "The American Scholar."

Brookline Booksmith

(© Tim Pierce/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Shopping

Brookline Booksmith

For those who like to binge shop for books (most of us), the Used Book Cellar at this renowned independent shop offers fantastic deals, so you don't have to limit your spree.

Old Corner Book Store

Freedom Trail attraction. This photo of Old Corner Bookstore was taken in 1975. Today, the historic building operates as a Chipotle. (©City of Boston/Peter H. Dreyer; citation: Peter H. Dreyer slide collection, Collection #9800.007, City of Boston Archives, Boston)

Attractions

Old Corner Book Store

This stop along the Freedom Trail is one of Boston's oldest buildings and once served as a publishing house for Emerson, Hawthorne, Stowe and Dickens.

Boston Athenaeum

(Megan Manton/©Boston Athenaeum)

Attractions

Boston Athenaeum

Its collections include the personal library of George Washington and art by John Singer Sargent. One fun but rather macabre treasure is “The Highwayman,” a first-person account of criminal James Allen, bound in the author’s own skin.

Mount Auburn Cemetery

Mount Auburn Cemetery is also a vibrant park. (©Jennifer Johnston/Mount Auburn Cemetery)

Attractions

Mount Auburn Cemetery

This may seem like and odd choice for book lovers, but the beautifully landscaped cemetery preserves the remains of greats like Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Oliver Wendell Holmes and Julia Ward Howe. It's also a popular place for exploring nature with a hike, bike ride or bird watching.

Walden Pond State Reservation

(© Angela N./Flickr, Creatvie Commons)

Attractions

Walden Pond State Reservation

Bostonians jump at the chance to bask in the sun along the banks of Walden Pond as soon as the weather is nice—you should know this oasis served as the inspiration for Thoreau's "Walden." There is also a replica of his cabin.

This Georgian-style home was the house of poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and is open for tours. The home is a classic thanks to its treasury of original objects and documents. There is also the garden to be explored on nice days, and events are periodically held on the grounds.

Louisburg Square

(© Matt Kieffer/Flickr, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Louisburg Square

Amid cobblestone streets and elegant brick row houses of this Beacon Hill enclave, successful writers including William Dean Howell and Robin Cook have settled among the blue bloods.

Brattle Book Shop

(©Chris Ball/Flickr CC license)

Shopping

Brattle Book Shop

This used-book bookstore features an entire floor dedicated to rare and antiquarian editions. For huge discounts, don't miss the outdoor sale lot.

The Mount Estate & Gardens

(© John Seakwood, Courtesy The Mount)

Attractions

The Mount Estate & Gardens

Discover the majestic home of the first woman to win a Pulitzer Prize. Featuring a picturesque setting and grand elegance, it's easy to see why Edith Wharton enjoyed writing here.

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

(© Jim Logan/Google Images, Creative Commons)

Attractions

Sleepy Hollow Cemetery

Author's Ridge in this historic cemetery is reason enough for a literary buff to visit. Henry Thoreau, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson and Louisa May Alcott were laid to rest in these hallowed grounds.

Map of Top Stops In Boston for the Literature Fan