massachusetts

Derby Square Book Store

Now to uncloak that layer of radio silence that has permeated around here all week. This past week, I went to Massachusetts to spend Thanksgiving with the family. In between gorging, my father and I took a few day-outings to visit various places along the coast, including a walk around Salem, Mass (emphasis on walk…too much food).

During our stroll, we came across the Derby Square Book Store, which is packed from toe to ceiling. The store is small and made even more so by the walls of books. Claustrophobics stay away but if you are a bibliophile destined for a good buy, go on in. All hardcovers and paperbacks are 50% off.

I was trying not to buy anything but at the top off of one mountain was The Alienist by Caleb Carr; it’s been a “to-read” for me for a while and I figured it was about time. I nabbed it from the top but that copy was a bit worn and then I spotted one in better condition but, alas, it was squeezed in the center of one of the store’s precarious towers. My father proclaimed with much assurance that he would be able to grab it without any fuss. To jump to the conclusion, every book in that column came tumbling down†. Once that mess was taken care (which ended with the salty employee asking if I found everything I needed), I went to the front desk to pay.

The total with tax came to $3.78 plus a recommendation from the owner, which he wrote down for me. Besides his pursuits into novels, Caleb Carr is foremost a historian. The owner recommended Carr’s nonfiction book The Devil Soldier. He told me that if I liked The Alienist then The Devil Soldier about sailor and Salem native son Frederick Townsend Ward should be next.

It had been ages since I had been to Salem, MA and it really is more than witch history and charlatan psychics. The literary history and seafaring ways are a real treat. Perhaps, in a future post I shall ramble on about Nathaniel Hawthorne and a favorite short story of mine from Mosses from an Old Manse. But for now, I encourage you to drop by Derby Square Book Store where the books are aplenty and the prices good.

I’ve featured other bookstores in the past from New York and London. Scroll through and enjoy.

215 Essex St, Salem, MA 01970
(978) 745-8804
† I suppose this makes us even for the time when I was a child and I knocked over the entire shampoo display at a drug store.