Book Club

This Trident bookseller knows the value of a ‘third place’

Geoff Raywood and's Book Club explore Eric LaRocca's chilling "Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes."

Geoff Raywood
Geoff Raywood is Trident Booksellers & Cafe's bookstore manager. Photo courtesy of Geoff Raywood

When a visitor enters Trident Booksellers & Cafe on Newbury Street, they find a place of gathering that isn’t home or work. Here, they can think, talk, and read. Bookstore manager Geoff Raywood has a name for this kind of space.

“This is the platonic ideal of your ‘third place,'” he said. “Folks come here from all over the place. We have people who are students who are international, traveling from all corners of the country, and wind up in a place like Boston. They have someplace they can come, [where] they can discover things, whether that’s books, a good meal, or somebody to talk to.”

As a bookseller for more than a decade, he knows bookstores can fill unexpected but important roles in their communities. Raywood found himself in the bookstore world somewhat by accident, he said. He had been working in a museum doing research and was looking for a different direction when he found that a local bookstore was hiring. Having more direct interaction with customers was gratifying. Now, he continues to stay immersed in literature, primarily fiction. Reading a book can offer a person a new perspective on the world, he said.


“I’m drawn more into fiction and the feeling that you’re sitting down and living somebody’s life with them,” Raywood said. He added, “If you’re living alongside somebody for a little bit, even a fictitious character, then you’re being given into a different experience.”

With its collection of new books and classics in all genres, there’s no shortage of opportunities for the bookstore’s visitors to have that same experience. But Trident doesn’t only provide visitors with shelves of books to explore; it’s a place where people can come together through its extensive programming that goes beyond traditional author talks. The shop holds trivia nights, including themed competitions on “Harry Potter,” “Twilight,” or “Gilmore Girls.” It also hosts “It’s Tarot Time,” an event featuring comedic tarot readings. 

On Trident’s calendar, you’ll also find poetry open mic nights, LGBTQIA+ “speed friending,” and The Silent Book Club and Write Nights, which allow guests to meet in a relaxed way.

“Silent Book Club is a very low-stakes book club,” Raywood said. “There is no assigned book. You basically show up on the day. You hang out and read your book, silently. Everyone who is interested in talking and sharing about what’s going on in the book that they’re reading may do so. It’s perfect for folks who want to feel a little connected but don’t want to go much further than just being in the room.” Those who want to sit and write can share their pieces and get feedback from others if they wish. “It’s as social as you want to make it,” Raywood said.


One of the shop’s selling points is its cafe, where breakfast is sold all day. On the menu, you’ll find dishes like lemon ricotta French toast and pumpkin pancakes. Fresh juices, smoothies, and bubble teas are also available. It’s a great place to meet up with friends or get some work done, said Raywood. In a survey, readers said that was among their favorite things about the bookstore. 

“Great book selection. Independent vibe. The cafe has good food for reasonable prices, and it really adds to [a] homey atmosphere,” said Kristen from the North End.

This month,’s Book Club is reading Eric LaRocca’s “Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes” and Raywood will be in conversation with the author. The main story in the horror collection was first published in 2021 and follows an online correspondence between two women, Agnes and Zoe, who meet in a chatroom. Their relationship starts innocently enough as a budding friendship but quickly takes a dark turn. With Halloween coming up, Raywood said that the twisted tale, which is followed by two short stories, is the perfect read for the month of October.


“[LaRocca’s] writing was very unsettling,” he said. “What he did a very good job with was conveying [how] the characters were both reaching for something that seems very normal and in terms of fulfilling it, becomes more drastic until things start to really get out of control.” 

If you’re looking for a horror book that feels very psychological and builds a sense of unease, “Things Have Gotten Worse Since We Last Spoke and Other Misfortunes” is the book for you.

Reading horror can allow us to come to terms with our own fears, Raywood said. “[You can] step outside your anxieties for a moment and then re-engage once you’ve gotten a little more distance,” he said.

Raywood will speak with LaRocca on Oct. 24 at 6 p.m. about the chilling read.