View From a Hotel Window, 4/5/17: Brookline

Today’s view is an interior one, into a little courtyard that features a large chess set. Wacky!

Tonight’s event: Brookline, Massachusetts, at the Brookline Booksmith bookstore. Boston, bring yourself and every single human you’ve ever met.

Tomorrow: Concord, New Hampshire and Gibson’s Bookstore. Come along! I understand there will be pie.

20 Comments on “View From a Hotel Window, 4/5/17: Brookline”

  1. Ah, I know that hotel. We had our wedding party stay there back in 2011. Their breakfast buffet isn’t bad, though I don’t know if they have it on weekdays. We’ll see you tonight at the Brookline Booksmith. Anything in particular you’d like a local to bring to you?

  2. I overheard a guy at a physics conference talking about an enormous chess set he’d supposedly seen at a hotel – maybe in Tokyo? – that was automated with wheeled, robotic pieces and used two simple keypads for the players that each contained 64 squares with icons representing the pieces that occupied used spaces. He said you simply touched the piece on the keypad then the square upon which you wanted to move it.

    It could apparently differentiate legitimate from illeginimate moves and disallowed the latter (like moving a knight as a bishop). If a piece was being captured by a move the defeated piece would first wheel itself off the board before the offensive move was compleded.

    It seems like a very sophisticated and expensive piece of technology for a hotel lobby but you never know about the brilliance of Japanese technology and their willingness to share. I tried Googling the thing with no success so perhaps the fellow was full of sh!t but if it’s real, I want to see this before I die!

  3. Brookline Booksmith is just down the road from my inlaws, and it’s always one of my stops when I’m visiting. Enjoy! Sad I’ll be missing you, since I drive down on Friday for a family thang. Maybe someday you can come to Ad Astra in Toronto or CanCon in Ottawa?

    Four foodie suggestions while you’re in Brookline: If you want a traditional huge (Jewish) deli breakfast, try Zaftigs (, which is just over a block northwest of the bookstore on Harvard. Alternatively, try the breads at When Pigs Fly (, a block or two southwest of the bookstore on the north side of Beacon. If you like Indian food, try Rani (, about a block southwest on Beacon St. from the bookstore, but on the south side of the street.

    Last but not least, if you love chocolate, check out the house-brand 1-pound chocolate bars at Trader Joe’s, about a block away from the bookstore on Beacon St. If you like good chocolate but (like me) are too cheap to buy the really good stuff (70%+ cocoa), these bars are excellent. (They also have the really good stuff, but I rarely feel the need to splurge.) I usually bring 2 or 3 back to Canada after each visit — enough to last me until I return. Trader Joe’s has a ton of other good travel food (trail mix, dried fruits) for the plane flight home.

  4. Should be a parking lot or deck view from just about any window there….I remember when that was an open-air courtyard for a motel. Sorry I may have to miss you tonight, but a friend has a medical emergency going on. :-(

  5. I played chess on that chessboard!

    (More food options- Rami’s, just up the block from Booksmith- across the street, turn right. Middle-Eastern cuisine, and possibly the best felafel I’ve had anywhere.)

  6. Breakfast tomorrow: Union Square Donuts up Harvard st. Trust me.

    Also, pretty sure Los Amigos Taqueria at Pleasant and Beacon does churros.

  7. True story: my spousal entity got to be a living chess piece (bishop) in a large game played in a park in London. They don’t play chess, so took water and a book, sat down in their square until a player told them where to move. They report they got a lot of reading done sitting in the park.

    Have a great time!

  8. How DO you stay sane?? I like being different places, but hate the airplane travel part (mind you , I like airplanes and flight). I always felt like a bombed-out refugee after a few days of travel-work-travel. I can’t imagine doing that for weeks at a stretch. And I’m OK with beer…

  9. Saw your presentation in Brookline. I apologize.
    I swear I thought what I said was too myself. I had no idea my voice would carry that well or that far.
    ‘I don’t like the name.’
    I had no idea why your were laughing. I asked the lady sitting next to me ‘Did that carry?’ She nodded yes.
    I was mortified.

  10. If I were you, I’d be tempted to go and set up a miniature parking lot there on the patio, with chalk and Matchbox cars. :)

  11. I’ll be at Gibson’s even if there wasn’t going to be pie. Always enjoyable to hear an author read his own work. The pie will enhance the experience, though. Stay dry on the trip up from Brookline! And thank ghu that it isn’t snow!

  12. Question: I’ll be attending your appearance in Madison on Saturday; a friend who now resides in Japan would like to virtually “attend” via FaceTime on my iPad. If I can keep the device quiet, would this be acceptable to you? The talk would NOT be recorded, simply streamed. You permitted this the last time you came through town, but I thought it best to ask again.

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