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Books on Boston, recommended by Book Den East

“Boston, City Of Many Dreams” by Bill Harris (1984) – Reflecting something of the cosmopolitan flavor, easygoing atmosphere, and charm that have made it one of the nation’s most livable cities, this lavishly illustrated book, with a lighthearted text, is a fitting tribute to a great metropolis. ($9.50)

“Boston Observed” by Carl Seaburg (1971) – This book recreates the atmosphere and history, in text and pictures, of one of the most fascinating and important centers of American life, history, and culture. ($15)

“Marco Paul’s Voyages & Travels, Boston” by Jacob Abbott (1853) – Written for the young adult reader, this book gives us a vintage perspective of a tourist in Boston prior to the Civil War; 17 steel engravings. ($40)

“Samuel G. Drake’s History And Antiquities Of Boston From Its Settlement In 1630 To The Year 1770” (1856) – A volume for the antiquarian collector with maps, engravings, and portraits illustrating the first 140 years of the city which Ralph Waldo Emerson characterized as “a seat of humanity…inextricably national, part of the history of political liberty.” ($225)

For the collector of Boston ephemera who has plenty of wall space, we have a bird’s-eye view, circa 1920, of the Old Corner Bookstore at the intersection of School and Washington Streets. It measures 36 by 48 inches. ($100)

Humor, Recommended by Bunch of Grapes

“Our Dumb World: Atlas of the Planet Earth” by The Onion – Take this easy-to-carry fake atlas with you on your exotic travels from Iran to New Hampshire. It is filled with beautiful, full-page maps and photographs that are framed by inaccurate essays. A must-have.

“I Could Pee on This: And Other Poems by Cats” by Francesco Marciuliano – In this laugh-out-loud book, felines attempt to explain their quirky behaviors to ignorant humans with such poems as “This Is My Chair,” “Kneel Before Me,” and “Some of My Best Friends are Dogs.” If you have often wondered why your cat loves dead mice, this book is for you.

“Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection” by AJ Jacobs – With a body described as “a python who had eaten a goat,” Jacobs interviews experts and scientists on how to get healthier. He is game to try anything from Roman soldier workouts to extreme chewing. His style is both hilarious and informative. While he is getting healthier, his grandfather is in slow decline, reminding the reader that no matter how healthy you are, we all end in the same way.

“Sleepwalk with Me: And Other Painfully True Stories” by Mike Birbiglia – From the author: “…a comedic memoir, but I’m only 31 years old, so I’d rather hate for you to think I’m wrapping it up, so to speak. But I tell some really personal stories. Stories that I considered not publishing time and time again – about my childhood, about girls I made out with when I was 13, about my parents and, of course, about my bouts with sleepwalking.”

“You Are Not So Smart” by David McRaney – Ok! You think you are smart. You think that everybody notices what you are wearing. You believe you are rational. You know you would never join a cult. You believe that you have lots of friends because of Facebook followers. You trust your memories. Let this self-described psychology nerd show you your errors and teach you about your wonderful ordinariness.