On my third day as a resident of Boston, I found myself with time to kill while waiting to have lunch with my husband near Downtown Crossing. So I did what I always do when I have spare time–I wandered up and down the brick pedestrian lanes until I found bookstore. To be honest, I passed by the Suffolk Law School book store and a Borders; they were far more corporate that I was looking for. Across the street from the borders I found what I was looking for: an independent, used bookstore. Called Commonwealth Books, it boasts a wide array of used books, with specialties in the arts, philosophy, literature, architecture and religion. I went to their Old South location on Milk Street, but they apparently have another location in Downtown as well.
The Old South location is fairly small, but not an inch of space is wasted. The shelves are packed with books, and the isles between shelves are narrow. I am old fashioned when it comes to book stores and libraries–I want cramped spaces, dim lighting, and lots of dust. You can keep your high ceilings, sunny windows, and humanely spaced shelves.