Before we moved out to the ‘burbs, we lived in Brookline (a stubbornly independent town surrounded by Boston). There were many great things about living in Brookline and just minutes from the city: good pizza, museums, bakeries, many bars, shopping, weirdos, runners, and all the history.
By far one of the best things, for me, was the Brookline Booksmith bookstore in Coolidge Corner. I was there multiple times a week. Sometimes for events, sometimes to buy, and sometimes just to hang out with the books.
Just like good pizza, a good bookstore can be hard to find in the suburbs. We are lucky in our town to have a great children’s bookstore, but it’s not the kind of place a book nerd like myself can go and hang out. Not without getting strange looks. An Unlikely Story in nearby Plainville is that type of place and might fill the bookstore void in my life since we left Brookline.
Owned by Wimpy Kid author Jeff Kinney, and built in an old general store, it feels like a close relative of the Booksmith. It has a large kid’s and middle grade section, but also lot of space for adult books. Like a lot of bookstore, it also has a lot of space for things other than books. I don’t think a bookstore selling just books can survive anymore. Most of the non-book stock fall into that unique gift category like literature themed socks, make your own putty or a cat vegetable peeler.
The first floor is divided into the bookstore side and the cafe side. The cafe has coffee, treats, soups, sandwiches and kids stuff. There are plenty of soft chairs and tables scattered about that invite lingering.
The staff was cheerful and seemed honestly excited to talk about books and help us figure out a good series for Cecilia to start.
The second floor is an event space for author readings, trivia nights, pop-up shops and story times.
This was my first time in downtown Plainville, but now that I know it’s hiding this gem of a bookstore, it certainly won’t be my last.