Barrow Bookstore

Specializing in Concord authors and history, children's books and literature, the Barrow Bookstore also has a general selection of used and rare titles.

Specializing in Concord authors and history, children's books and literature, the Barrow Bookstore also has a general selection of used and rare titles from art, crafts and cooking, to gardening, natural history and science. There are many options for the eclectic. The Barrow Bookstore also features a line of literary-themed gifts, including postcards, note cards, sachets, kleenex boxes and birdhouses, and carries home-made Bee of the Woods beeswax candles. .

LITERARY TRIVIA: In honor of the Barrow Bookstore's ongoing construction project, this trivia question focuses on another building endeavor - Ralph Waldo Emerson's hiring of Bronson Alcott to build a "summerhouse" at his home. As described by Marianne Walker in the New York Times in 1987, "Emerson benevolently hired [Alcott] for $50 to build - with the assistance of the capable Thoreau - a small, simple retreat similar to the house Thoreau had erected near Walden Pond. But the utopian architect stretched this short project into a long one, and the result was a weird piece of architecture that, among many bizarre features, had nine corner joints to honor the nine muses. This summerhouse, named The Ruin by Emerson's mother, didn't collapse, as many suspected it would. Instead it stood unused for many years as a silent, expensive symbol of the Emersons' inability to hurt a friend's feelings."

Who wrote the following to Ralph Waldo Emerson during the construction process: "I cannot have the heart to interfere with the finishing of the Summerhouse and I hope you will not. I do not think much more expense will be put upon it."

The replacement of Barrow Bookstore's special collection shelves has begun; we ended last night with a modern art exhibit titled "Screw Stuck in Wall," circa 1979. As described by the artist:

"When I created this piece, I was going tor something new, something fresh and edgy. The art took its own path. When I admire it now, I feel it conjures contemplation, despair, epithets, and takes one back to Dante's circles of hell."

Fingers crossed, we'll have more updates on construction soon!

New from the Barrow Bookstore postcard collection

Have you named a pet after an author or literary character? Please share! Today we met the owner of "Jack," a cat named after author Shirley Jackson. Jack joins "Bingley" (a rescue black lab named after Jane Austen's PRIDE AND PREJUDICE), and a host of beloved literary-named creatures belonging to Bookstore friends.

Reader friends, no doubt you understand the struggle. We are in the bookshop trying to redesign a 4ft x 2ft special collections case into the entire image below. Say it can be done!

Elizabeth Palmer Peabody | Boston Athenæum

Teacher, Bookshop owner, founder of of the first American public Kindergarten, older sister to Sophia Peabody Hawthorne, and so much more, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody (1804-1894) became known as “the grandmother of Boston”. Below, Chloe Morse-Harding and Boston Athenæum share a brief look at her fascinating life. July 2013 By Chloe Morse-Harding

ANSWER to WED. LITERARY TRIVIA: When Nathaniel Hawthorne became secretly engaged to Sophia Peabody, he broke the news to Sophia's sister Elizabeth by publishing in the Salem Gazette a short story called "The Sister Years". Older sister of Sophia, Elizabeth had a strong friendship with Hawthorne and had encouraged him in his writing, as well as helped him find employment in the Customs House. As described in Megan Marshall's THE PEABODY SISTERS, Elizabeth and Nathaniel shared an "understanding" that they would marry. Elizabeth introduced Hawthorne to Sophia and the rest is history. For more on this and the lives of the Peabody Sisters, we highly recommend Megan Marshall's book.

Images: Elizabeth Peabody
Sophia Hawthorne, etching by Stephen Alonzo Schoff;
Nathaniel Hawthorne, photograph by Mathew Brady

How wonderful! The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society is in Kyoto, Japan attending a joint conference with The Poe Studies Association, The Poe Society of Japan, The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society, and The Nathaniel Hawthorne Society of Japan.

Aine Minogue Chant of Eternity

"The word kindness has a gentle sound that seems to echo the presence of compassionate goodness.... Despite all the darkness, human hope is based on the instinct that at the deepest level of reality some intimate kindness holds sway. This is the heart of blessing." - John O'Donohue, Irish Poet.

Music: Áine Minogue,

Áine Minogue, Irish / Celtic Harp & Vocals Scott Petito, Guitar and Soundscapes Avi Gunther, Soundscapes Scott Petito, Recording Engineer Avi Gunther, Mixing...

LITERARY TRIVIA: Life's awkward, and when you get secretly engaged to the sister of a woman who loves you, you step up to the pen and break the news in a short story. And then you publish it so the passed-over-sister can read it in the Jan. 1, 1839 edition of the Salem Gazette. (You've probably guessed- yes- we're talking about Nathaniel Hawthorne). WHAT WAS THE NAME OF THE SHORT STORY?

A) Forsooth, Thou Didn't
B) The White Old Maid (also titled: The Old Maid in the Winding Sheet)
C) The Devil in Manuscript
D) The Sister Years
E) Mr. Hawthorne's Catastrophe
F) Sunday At Home: Again and Alone

"Come away, O human child!
To the waters and the wild
With a faery, hand in hand,
For the world’s more full of weeping than you can understand."
-W.B.Yeats, The Stolen Child

Concord, Massachusetts Area Event: Thursday, June 21, 7:00 PM at The Old Manse, “A Short Walk on a Long Day".

"A Kindness Is Never Wasted." -Aesop's Fables, The Lion and the Mouse.
Illustration: Laura Goetz

A Lion lay asleep in the forest, his great head resting on his paws. A timid little Mouse came upon him unexpectedly, and in her fright and haste to get away, ran across the Lion's nose. Roused from his nap, the Lion laid his huge paw angrily on the tiny creature to kill her.

"Spare me!" begged the poor Mouse. "Please let me go and some day I will surely repay you."

The Lion was much amused to think that a Mouse could ever help him. But he was generous and finally let the Mouse go.

Some days later, while stalking his prey in the forest, the Lion was caught in the toils of a hunter's net. Unable to free himself, he filled the forest with his angry roaring. The Mouse knew the voice and quickly found the Lion struggling in the net. Running to one of the great ropes that bound him, she gnawed it until it parted, and soon the Lion was free.

"You laughed when I said I would repay you," said the Mouse. "Now you see that even a Mouse can help a Lion."

A kindness is never wasted.

Happy Father's Day. Wishing you all happy moments and memories today.

A rather confused Thoreau (statue) looks on as Barrow Bookstore owner Aladdine trys out the 3D glasses accompanying this newly arrived “Abraham Lincoln in 3D”.

George Orwell: A Life in Pictures Full Documentary (High Quality)

ANSWER to Wed. Literary Trivia Question: George Orwell's "1984". When describing Kim Jong Un's North Korea, many observers share references to British author George Orwell's "1984" (published in 1949). Below, BBC 4 documentary/drama takes a look at Orwell's life.

George Orwell: A Life in Pictures is a 2003 BBC Television docudrama telling the life story of the British author George Orwell. Chris Langham plays the part...

Lovely visit in the bookshop this afternoon with Laurie Robertson-Lorant, author of MELVILLE: A BIOGRAPHY. Reviewed by the Nantucket Inquirer and Mirror as “...a delicious read..carefully researched and as a result reads like a fine historical novel”, the book is currently being updated by Robertson-Lorant. Like watching the waves for the whaler’s return, keep a weather eye open for her new edition!

LITERARY TRIVIA: Ready for a question involving three different countries, a Mercedes, and short ninjas? Here you go: As a child, Kim Jong Un attended a private school in Switzerland. It was there that a teacher outside on a smoke break reportedly saw a black armored Mercedes arrive and Un's father step out accompanied by a swarm of "dwarf ninjas". This spectacle, and the teacher's attempted discussions with the younger Un about "democracy", led the teacher to later say he thought he was in a scene from a [title of a book by an English author]. As the years have passed, when discussing North Korea, this same English author's book has continued to be referenced by many. WHAT IS THE BOOK, and WHO IS THE AUTHOR.

Why Frankenstein is the story that defines our fears

“It’s alive! It’s alive!” From BBC,a look at the enduring story of Frankenstein. The tragic horror has done more than any other story to shape modern anxieties. But it’s what it tells us about compassion that we need now more than ever.

Another new addition to the Barrow Bookstore postcard collection.

Happy Monday reader friends. Have a nice week.
Image: The Tailor Mouse, by Beatrix Potter

He’s No Phony: How Fighting in World War II Changed J. D. Salinger and The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield

ANSWER to Wed. LITERARY TRIVIA: Q: On D-Day, What American Author stormed Utah Beach carrying six chapters of his future best selling novel? A: J D Salinger. For more on this and Salinger's experiences in WW II, have a look at Kennith Slawenski's Vanity Fair article below.

TRIVIA QUESTION: On this day, June 6, 1944, War correspondent Ernest Hemingway was among many brave souls storming the beaches of Normandy. Nearby, on Utah beach, another American author was rushing ashore carrying six chapters of what would become his most famous book. WHO WAS HE, and what was the name of his book?

New from the Barrow Bookstore's postcard collection:

Whitman expert Bob Hass on 'Leaves of Grass'

Of Walt Whitman's LEAVES OF GRASS, Whitman expert Bob Hass says, "I think it is the holy grail of American Poetry". In the link below, Hass sits down with the PBS Newshour to discuss Whitman's work.

San Francisco’s Arion Press is one of the country’s last fine book printers creating limited edition, handmade books. To celebrate the 40th anniversary and t...

Friends, Alcott scholars, we have a question. The below is an entry page from Louisa May Alcott's KITTY’S CLASS DAY. Can you help us shed light on why Louisa says she was forbidden to write at that time? Thank you. (Note the later reader's penciled in comments!)
Louisa May Alcott's Orchard House Louisa May Alcott is My Passion

Walt Whitman - Journalist | Mini Bio | BIO

Self-educated, volatile, and brilliant. Take a brief tour with Biography through the life of Walt Whitman.

Poet and journalist Walt Whitman was born on May 31, 1819 in West Hills, New York. Considered one of America's most influential poets, Whitman aimed to trans...

Happy Birthday to the memory of poet, writer, and journalist Walt Whitman (May 31, 1819 - March 26, 1892)
"Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road, Healthy, free, the world before me, The long brown path before me leading wherever I choose." -Walt Whitman, "Song of the Open Road".

Good evening reader friends. What are you reading this week?

No entertainment is so cheap as reading nor any pleasure so lasting. ~ fortune cookie

Concord War Memorial Monument Plaza

On this green bank, by this soft stream,
We set today a votive stone;
That memory may their deed redeem,
When, like our sires, our sons are gone.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

Concord, Massachusetts

In Remembrance: Monument Plaza War Memorial in Concord, Massachusetts. music: "The Parting Glass" (trad. Irish) , and "The Clergy's Lamentation" (comp. Turlo...

Just in to the store today, half a shelf of new Civil War titles! We’ll be open the whole holiday weekend if you want to come take a look.

LITERARY TRIVIA: In honor of Margaret Fuller's birthday, test your knowledge of her life and work with the following questions:

1. In what year was Margaret Fuller born, and where?

2. What was the name of the American magazine that Margaret Fuller began editing in 1840?

3. What is the name of Fuller's book that is often considered the first major feminist work?

4. Fuller went to Europe as the first female correspondent for which paper?

As a bonus question - what other famous Concord figure has a birthday this week?

Back of Beyond Books - Moab, Utah Guidebooks Maps Abbey - Home Page

Small bookshop spotlight: Highly recommended by a Barrow Bookstore visitor, Back of Beyond Books in Moab, Utah, specializes in regional and natural history, environmental literature, southwestern guidebooks & maps, Native American books, Western history, and more. Bookstore road trip anyone? Let's go! Back of Beyond Books specializes in regional and natural history titles of the Colorado Plateau and beyond.

The Real Life Inspiration for Sherlock Holmes

Happy birthday to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, creator of Sherlock Holmes! Born in Scotland in 1859, Doyle studied medicine at the University of Edinburgh. Fortunately, his medical practice in London was slow, leaving him time to write. Drawing upon his memories of Dr. Joseph Bell, a medical school teacher with keen deductive reasoning skills, Doyle created Sherlock Holes, who first appeared in print in "A Study in Scarlet" in 1887. Did Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes out of thin air? Elementary, my dear Neatoramanauts, he did not. Meet the real life inspiration for Sherlock Holmes: Dr. Joseph Bell, a physician and lecturer at the medical school of the University of Edinburgh. Conan Doyle met Bell in 1877 while he wa...

That Time An Agatha Christie Story Saved A Little Girl's Life - CrimeFeed

Thanks to bookshop visitor for sharing with us this story of a reader to the rescue!. In her 1961 mystery "The Pale Horse", Agatha Christie described the terrible symptoms of Thallium sulfate poisoning. Years later, a London nurse was treating a patient with mysterious symptoms. The nurse was currently reading Christie's novel and recognized the ailing patient's strange symptoms as thallium sulfate poisoning. For the full story, read the link below. Mystery writer Agatha Christie, who died on January 12, 1976, described the debilitating symptoms of thallium poisoning in her 1961 thriller The Pale Horse.

Every now and then you gotta put down the book. Hello reader friends from Fenway Park. Let’s go Red Sox!

LITERARY TRIVIA: Mason/Dixon line generational flip-flop. Grandson of a Confederate Sharpshooter in the Civil War, this American Author’s first writing assignment was for The Springfield (Massachusetts) Union Newspaper. Unlike his gray-garbed sharp shooting ancestor, the writer chose stylish white suits and sharp witted words. Even though John Irving and John Updike criticized some of his novels, the books brought millions in advances and sales. The author’s own story recently sailed through its final chapter bringing us to the question: Who is this author?

Tom Wolfe dies at 88 Tom Wolfe, author of "The Right Stuff" and "Bonfires of the Vanities" has died.

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79 Main St
Concord, MA

Opening Hours

Monday 09:30 - 17:00
Tuesday 09:30 - 17:00
Wednesday 09:30 - 17:00
Thursday 09:30 - 17:00
Friday 09:30 - 17:00
Saturday 09:30 - 17:00
Sunday 12:00 - 16:30
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