We’re excited to present this collection of Cape Ann books and Cape Ann writers. Please support these creative members of our community! (You can also help us in the process: 10% of your Amazon purchase — if you use the links below — will go to help keep up and running. Thanks for your support!)


Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town

The area known as Dogtown — an isolated colonial ruin and surrounding 3,000-acre woodland in seaside Gloucester, Massachusetts — has long exerted a powerful influence over artists, writers, eccentrics, and nature lovers. But its history is also woven through with tales of witches, supernatural sightings, pirates, former slaves, drifters, and the many dogs Revolutionary War widows kept for protection and for which the area was named. In 1984, a brutal murder took place there: a mentally disturbed local outcast crushed the skull of a beloved schoolteacher as she walked in the woods. In this award-winning debut, Elyssa East evocatively interlaces the story of the grisly murder with the strange, dark history of this wilderness ghost town and explores the possibility that certain landscapes wield their own unique power. Winner of the 2010 L.L. Winship/PEN New England Award in nonfiction and named a Must-Read Book by the Massachusetts Book Awards, Dogtown takes readers into an unforgettable place brimming with tragedy, eccentricity, and fascinating lore, and examines the idea that some places can inspire both good and evil, poetry and murder.

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Gloucester Along The Water: Coastal Sights Along America’s Oldest Seaport

Get to know some of the sights and landmarks in and around Gloucester Harbor. From the working waterfront, to the fabulous mansions, to the lonely lighthouses, there is a surprise around every corner in America's Oldest Seaport.


The Last Days of Dogtown: A Novel

Set on the high ground at the heart of Cape Ann, the village of Dogtown is peopled by widows, orphans, spinsters, scoundrels, whores, free Africans, and “witches.” Among the inhabitants of this hamlet are Black Ruth, who dresses as a man and works as a stonemason; Mrs. Stanley, an imperious madam whose grandson, Sammy, comes of age in her brothel; Oliver Younger, who survives a miserable childhood at the hands of his aunt; and Cornelius Finson, a freed slave. At the center of it all is Judy Rhines, a fiercely independent soul, deeply lonely, who nonetheless builds a life for herself against all imaginable odds.


Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley

This groundbreaking dual biography brings to life a pioneering English feminist and the daughter she never knew. Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley have each been the subject of numerous biographies, yet no one has ever examined their lives in one book — until now. In Romantic Outlaws, Charlotte Gordon reunites the trailblazing author who wrote A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and the Romantic visionary who gave the world Frankenstein — two courageous women who should have shared their lives, but instead shared a powerful literary and feminist legacy.


The North Shore Literary Trail: From Bradstreet’s Andover to Hawthorne’s Salem 

You've devoured their pages of verse and prose — now witness firsthand the inspiration for those perfectly penned lines of Longfellow, Frost and Harriet Beecher Stowe. Discover the strong feminist voice of Judith Sargent Murray as you stroll down Middle Street in Gloucester, or navigate the narrow, winding streets of Marblehead and flip through the eighteenth-century journals of the sailor Ashley Bowen. Plan a literary-themed cultural outing or simply take a closer look at your town's local landmarks. From the “gem-emblazoned shore” of “lovely Lynn” to the gleaming gables in Hawthorne's Salem, Bierfelt uncovers some of the North Shore's most precious literary treasures.


Goneboy: A Walkabout

The recent rash of school shootings makes Gregory Gibson’s heartbreaking book as timely as it is good. Shortly before Christmas in 1992, an alienated, angry student named Wayne Lo went on a shooting rampage at Simon’s Rock College in western Massachusetts, wounding four people and killing two, one of whom was Gibson’s 18-year-old son, Galen. While grieving, Gibson embarked on what he calls a “walkabout,” a search for the truth about his son's death: “I would concentrate on the details, the facts, and trust that their greater meaning would emerge, of its own accord, in the end. It never occurred to me to doubt that there was a greater meaning.”

Gibson writes honestly about the rage that consumed him for the first few years after Galen’s death. In a remarkable chapter, he describes a conversation with Leon Botstein, the president of Bard College, which owns Simon's Rock, in which he realized that assigning blame would serve no practical or spiritual purpose. Not that human fallibility didn't play a huge role in Galen's death: Gibson makes a compelling argument that Simon's Rock administrators had more than enough warning signs to prevent the tragedy. Lo’s high-school teachers knew he was troubled. So did his college teachers. And his college friends and administrators knew he had a gun and ammunition.

What makes this book special, and what distinguishes it from the blizzard of 30-second explanations and 800-word op-ed pieces on teen violence, is the way in which Gibson transcends his rage and becomes capable of mounting a searching, informative and ultimately deeply moving exploration into the combination of causality and randomness that surrounds his son’s death.


At the Cut

A a memoir of growing up in Gloucester in the 1940s by Peter Anastas who was born in Gloucester in 1937. Anastas is the editor of Maximus to Gloucester: The Letters and Poems of Charles Olson to the Editor of the Gloucester Daily Times, 1962-1969 (Ten Pound Island Books). He has recently completed a sequel to his memoir At the Cut, to be called From Gloucester Out, along with A Walker in the City: Elegy for Gloucester, a selection from his weekly columns in the Gloucester Times between 1978-1990.


Leaving Lucy Pear

Chosen as a must-read book for summer 2016 by TIME Magazine, InStyleGood HousekeepingThe Millions, the Minneapolis Star Tribune, and BookPage.

“Gorgeously moving . . . a dazzling exploration of the impact of roads untaken on motherhood, class, and gender. . . . Solomon expertly works on a large, mesmerizing canvas, with an almost dizzying array of characters, each moving the terrific drama of the book. . . . [She] renders each character so exquisitely complex, they could be the heroes of their own novels. . . . It’s impossible to stop reading, because Solomon has made us care so much for all the characters, because she’s fashioned a world so real, you can taste the salt spray and smell the heady fragrance of the ripe pears.” —The Boston Globe


The Woman Who Named God

The saga of Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar is the tale of origin for all three monotheistic faiths. Abraham must choose between two wives who have borne him two sons. One wife and son will share in his wealth and status, while the other two are exiled into the desert. Long a cornerstone of Western anxiety, the story chronicles a very famous and troubled family, and sheds light on the ongoing conflict between the Judeo-Christian and Islamic worlds.

How did this ancient story become one of the least understood and most frequently misinterpreted of our cultural myths? Gordon explores this legendary love triangle to give us a startling perspective on three biblical characters who--with their jealousies, passions, and doubts--actually behave like human beings.

The Woman Who Named God is a compelling, smart, and provocative take on one of the Bible's most intriguing and troubling love stories.


The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

It was the storm of the century, boasting waves over one hundred feet high ― a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologists deemed it “the perfect storm.” In a book that has become a classic, Sebastian Junger explores the history of the fishing industry, the science of storms, and the candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched. The Perfect Storm is a real-life thriller that makes us feel like we've been caught, helpless, in the grip of a force of nature beyond our understanding or control.


The Boston Girl: A Novel

Anita Diamant’s “vivid, affectionate portrait of American womanhood” (Los Angeles Times), follows the life of one woman, Addie Baum, through a period of dramatic change. Addie is The Boston Girl, the spirited daughter of an immigrant Jewish family, born in 1900 to parents who were unprepared for America and its effect on their three daughters. Growing up in the North End of Boston, then a teeming multicultural neighborhood, Addie’s intelligence and curiosity take her to a world her parents can’t imagine — a world of short skirts, movies, celebrity culture, and new opportunities for women. Addie wants to finish high school and dreams of going to college. She wants a career and to find true love. From the one-room tenement apartment she shared with her parents and two sisters, to the library group for girls she joins at a neighborhood settlement house, to her first, disastrous love affair, to finding the love of her life, eighty-five-year-old Addie recounts her adventures with humor and compassion for the naïve girl she once was.


Mistress Bradstreet: The Untold Story of America’s First Poet

Though her work is a staple of anthologies of American poetry, Anne Bradstreet has never before been the subject of an accessible, full-scale biography for a general audience. Anne Bradstreet is known for her poem, “To My Dear and Loving Husband,” among others, and through John Berryman's “Homage to Mistress Bradstreet.” With her first collection, The Tenth Muse Lately Sprung Up in America, she became the first published poet, male or female, of the New World. Many New England towns were founded and settled by Anne Bradstreet's family or their close associates — characters who appear in these pages.