As much as I love technology and the internet, I’m really sad to learn that the Globe Corner Bookstore in Harvard Square is closing this month. They’ll still be operating online and are negotiating a sale of that part of the business.
I used to love to go to this store during two stints of living in the Boston area. I loved it so much that when people came to visit me, I would make sure to take them there as part of seeing Cambridge. In my early 20s, I felt sophisticated going there and I was excited for the people I cared about to experience the place too. I wasn’t making much money to spend on books or travel those years, but the Globe provided a glimpse of what could be.
In many ways, guidebooks were the least of the store’s treasures to me. Even better was the selection of fantastic travel writing, histories of exploration, and geography-based cookbooks. The staff knew the inventory and clearly had their favorites. I imagined them all working and saving just long enough to fund their next adventure.
Just so you know, the store wasn’t crushed by the internet or ebooks. The owner has some health problems and doesn’t want to keep up the pace of owning the business. Though I wasn’t able to buy a whole lot and haven’t been back in many years, the Globe Corner Bookstore is one of my fondest memories of Boston.
Here are a few summer ebook recommendations based on books I bought at the Globe long ago (don't forget, the Globe Corner Bookstore website carries great maps, atlases, globes and other cool stuff that doesn't lend itself to ebook distribution!):
Adam Gopnik, Paris to the Moon
Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon
Rob Humphries, Rough Guide to London