When I first walked into the Bear and Bee, on a Friday night at the end of a long week, I felt myself relax. It was October, and the shop was warmly lit in the early dark, and here were books and writers I know — James Baldwin, and Becky Chambers’ explorations in space in a generous universe, and S.J. Rozan’s mysteries in Chinatown … it felt like running into old friends.

Jennifer Stevens and Rye Howard took the leap of opening a bookshop in a pandemic. In summer 2021 they opened this space, and they are curating a growing collection of new and second-hand books, with focuses in science fiction and fantasy, health and the land, art and feminism and queer issues, local history, children’s books … and they will talk generously about their newest discoveries.

They have started book groups and a writing group and more, and they are already becoming a gathering point. Even on quiet days you’ll find locals chatting with them at the counter.

In their own words, “Jen is a certified nurse midwife of many years experience — she recently developed the educational curricula for midwives in Bangladesh — and she is also an avid gardener and herbalist. Rye is an environmental health scientist, astronomer, biker, tinkerer and book obsessive.”

BTW Berkshires