Brown Paper Packages

If you visit The Bookshop of Beverly Farms, which I highly recommend you do, there is something especially enchanting waiting on a little stack of shelves just before the register to your right. Here you will find a small collection of books wrapped in brown paper, and yes, tied up with string. On the front of each is a brief and beguiling description of the mysterious title inside. If you are up for it, you can purchase these books at a slight discount and find yourself, as I did, deep in the pages of an outstanding book you likely would not have found your way to otherwise. The bibliophile behind this bit of fun is Hannah Harlow, co-owner of The Bookshop and she calls the wrapped stack, “A Blind Date With A Book.” What fun. In addition to giving us a lovely place to go and discover our next great read, she has agreed to share book recommendations with The Cricket in a monthly column — Shop Thoughts.  

Kris McGinn writes features and columns on local life around Cape Ann. In 2020 she won two national writing awards from the National Newspaper Association. She can be reached at