Open for Shipped Orders!
Our physical store is closed, but you can still get many books shipped to you directly from our warehouse. Here's how:  
1. Only order titles with an inventory status of "Available at the Warehouse" 
2. Select the " UPS/USPS Ground Shipping" option
3. Pay with a credit card

We are happy to fulfill other orders, but will not be able to process them until at least May 4. Other options: try  or - keep it indie!
Shelf Stable: April 25
“People say that life is the thing, but I prefer reading.” – Logan Pearsall Smith
Hi friends!

I hope you are all safe and healthy.

I did my first round of deliveries last Thursday and it was such a delight to have the opportunity to hear from a few of you via text. I got the most wholesome and kind responses, we are truly so lucky to have such sweet customers. It is nice to be reminded of how many lovely people there are to look forward to reconnecting with on the other side of this.

Unfortunately, we don’t know exactly when that may be. So I’d like to talk a bit about what to do until then. I’ve been feeling quite a lot of pressure from the media that this time can be used to do things such as learn an instrument or get super fit. I think it’s important to remind ourselves amongst all this pressure to “make the most out of this time” that these times are completely unprecedented and quite unnerving. I want to remind you that if all you are doing in these times is simply surviving, you’re doing more than enough and I am proud of you.

For many, these times are a constant battle to stay in a healthy headspace due to the lack of distractions, structure, and social interaction. Even if you are someone who hasn’t struggled with mental health prior, we as humans simply are not meant to be in complete isolation. We are social creatures. Of course this isolation is taking a toll on each and every one of us. So please, give yourself some credit. Don’t stress about how many more jumping jacks Amy from the gym is doing or how much more reading/writing a friend of yours is doing than you. If your way of surviving this is to binge mediocre reality TV and inhale popcorn, so be it.

There is no right way to pass time in a global pandemic. You are doing just fine.

-Hannah @ PSB
Join our next virtual event!
Books You Can Rock Out To
Maybe the lists of things we miss in quarantine are getting a bit old, but I’m going to add another item to the list. Concerts. I miss them so much. I miss the chat static and the ghosts of cigarettes past in small venues where friends and the band fight for attention. I miss the sensory deprivation dark of a ballroom where you’re squeezed in with strangers who know as much of the lyrics as you do. There are few things better than a really good gig. If you’re missing live music as much as I am, I’ve got a few book recommendations to tide you over. 

How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran
I recently read a chapter of this on our bedtime stories because the movie is coming out soon (!!!), but if you A) are a girl; B) are not a girl; C) enjoy Britpop and other UK music of the early nineties; or D) enjoy laughing, you should read this book. It’s a fictionalized version of Moran’s own story, wherein sixteen-year-old Johanna Morrigan becomes a music journalist at one of the UK’s top music magazines and dives headfirst into the world of sex, drugs, and rock’n’roll. The sequel, How to Be Famous , is just as good, and has a happy ending that I (a person that generally dislikes happy endings) actually loved. 

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
It’s a classic, but few books come with better soundtracks. If you watched the recent Hulu series, or the John Cusack movie version, or perhaps even the musical, but haven’t read the book, I recommend going back to the source material. Soundtrack aside, no one writes an introspective sad sack quite like Nick Hornby. He’s in on the secret that the protagonist is kind of the worst, but Hornby makes you really care about him anyway.

Astral Weeks by Ryan H. Walsh
This book covers the music and counterculture of Boston in 1968, and friends, there was a LOT happening in town that year. Van Morrison was hiding from his mafia record producer, performing around town, and writing one of his greatest albums, Astral Weeks . But this book is not just about Van Morrison, it’s about long-gone and storied Boston venues, local and visiting musicians, an LSD personality cult in Roxbury, a weird PBS show, a failed bank heist, and a Boston that we shouldn’t forget. 

Yes, this is a book version of a podcast, but hear me out. Disgraceland is the “true crime rock’n’roll” podcast of Boston musician and podcaster Jake Brennan, where he reads stream-of-consciousness style retellings of the worst sins of music’s big names. Brennan is a stylish writer, but his work actually stands out when you read it yourself. And this book is full of entertaining true crime tales.

And finally, while not a book, I also recommend listening to live albums very loud. - Meaghan
Need some inspiration?
It was great to see how many people engaged with our horoscope book recommendations! I’ve taken this as a sign that many of our customers are woke and inspired by the mystical and magical. A year ago I received my first deck of tarot cards. I’m not a proficient reader yet but the act of shuffling the cards and picking one from the pile, or laying several out in a spread, is not only calming but insightful. The magic of the tarot comes from the energy you bring to the cards, and the ways in which you choose to intuit their meanings. Tarot can provide guidance, encourage creativity, and set a foundation for opening yourself up to more experiences. If you’ve been thinking about purchasing tarot cards for yourself, quarantine is absolutely the perfect time to do so. 

There’s a lot of different answers online about the right tarot deck to start with. The Rider-Waite deck is probably the most universal. But below I’ve listed some decks that have caught my eye, and which I think would appeal to PSB customers especially:

  • The Wild Unknown Deck is beautifully designed and comes with its own guidebook to help you interpret the cards. This would be a lovely gift for you or a friend. 
  • The Jane Austen Tarot Deck provides literary and mystical appeal! Honestly, I saw this and immediately wanted to tear into it. 
  • Cat Tarot is whimsical and mysterious, like all cats truly are. 
  • My friend has this Fountain Tarot deck and it is truly gorgeous. It also comes with its own guidebook. 

Most tarot decks come with a small guide to the cards and their meaning. If you want something more in depth, I recommend doing a bit of research, but here are two books I like for interpreting the cards: Tarot Made Easy by Kim Arnold and The Book of Tarot: A Guide for Modern Mystics by Danielle Noel.

Note: There’s a superstition that you’re not supposed to buy tarot cards yourself. But it’s just a superstition! Feel free to buy your own deck. The only thing you’ll want to do is make sure it’s a deck that speaks to you. -- Heather
Bedtime Stories
Happy Birthday to the Bard! Last night, Kate read a short monologue from Romeo & Juliet in honor of Shakespeare's 456th birthday. We would've baked a cake, but that's a lot of candles!
And of course, don't forget to meet us over at our Instagram story at 8:45pm for tonight's live bedtime reading!
Support Cafe Zing baristas!
Although Cafe Zing is its own business separate from ours, we really don't see it that way: Zing workers are part of the Porter Square Books family. They keep us well supplied - very well supplied - with caffeine, kindness, and some great tunes. Sometimes they give us staff picks; sometimes we give them exact change because we've bought the same, perfect, comforting, delicious beverage twice a day five days a week for how long, now?

They're our family, and they could use a hand. If you are able, please considering donating to the Cafe Zing GoFundMe; 100% of proceeds go to baristas. What might you have spent at Zing over the past weeks if it we were in normal times? If that $10 is still in your wallet, consider putting it in their tip jar. We love you, Zing!
Featured Staff Pick For Kids
The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe

Much like me, the last thing Norris wanted was to move across the country, leaving his friends (and his hockey team) behind to go to high school in Texas. It's hot, it's sticky, and it might as well be another planet. Guess he better find a way to make the best of it...or escape. This book charmed me, in spite of my resistance to go back to the land where football and church are the same thing. 
-- Caleb
We Want to Hear from You!
What's your favorite part of an author event?
Hearing the author describe their writing process.
Listening to the author read a passage as they meant it to be read!
I love asking my own question & getting to listen to the answer.
Meeting/making friends with other attendees who love the same book.
Saying "hi!" at the end is the best part - if I'm not too starstruck!
The signed book I get to take home - duh!!
Audio Book Of The Month
Deacon King Kong by James McBride

“Deacon King Kong is a quintessential New York story. Set in the Brooklyn projects in 1969, a perpetually inebriated deacon called Sportcoat aims a gun at the neighborhood’s main drug dealer in the public plaza and pulls the trigger. Incredibly well-constructed and hilarious at times, McBride’s story entwines a number of storylines that are kickstarted by this central event. The local Italian gangster, the veteran cop, the meddling churchgoers, and the drug pushers all have their own agendas, hopes, and dreams that are affected. And though Sportcoat doesn’t remember his actions and is always under the influence of gut-rot moonshine, I couldn’t help but root for him as I was reading this. His delightful ineptitude and absence of clarity made this book impossible for me to put down. If you’ve never read McBride before, this is a great introduction.”
--Stuart McCommon, Novel.
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
We'll get out our next issue as soon as we can. In the meantime, don't forget about all the other places you can catch up with us from afar, on
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25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140