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 28
“I guess there are never enough books.” – John Steinbeck
I live in a tiny attic in Cambridge, literally surrounded by piles and piles of books. My to-be-read list is so long that it’s difficult for my brain to comprehend it, like the size of the known universe, or the concept of infinity. Working at a bookstore will do that to you. (So will frequenting one, as many of you know.)

The last time I was starved for reading material, I was working as an  animatrice --a summer camp counselor--in a tiny village in the Pyrenees. According to a 2017 census, Thèbe has a population of 76 people, none of whom spoke English. Our tiny camp library had only a single book that wasn’t in French or Spanish. It was possibly the only English book in the region. It was  East of Eden .

I had hated  The Grapes of Wrath  when I had to read it in high school, so I was disappointed to learn that Steinbeck was my only option. But at least that brick of a paperback would last me a long time, I thought. So I gave it a shot.

To this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite novels. Every time I picked it up, I was transported from rural France to the dusty Salinas Valley, in turns unsettled by and filled with empathy for the generations of characters, nostalgic for the American West. And it provided me with one of my favorite lines in literature, one that has been a guiding principle in my life ever since:  And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good.

I’ve wasted a lot of time in the past few weeks worrying that I’m not doing enough. I haven’t picked up a new hobby or read a billion books. I haven’t learned to meditate or done yoga every day or started an art project or baked sourdough. With no fixed routine and the ability to work from home, I’ve stressed constantly about working too much or not working enough. But these are unprecedented times, and I think we all need to be reminded that we don’t need to be perfect right now. This isn’t a vacation retreat or a chance to “work on ourselves”. So let yourself off the hook, and just focus on being  good.  Stay safe, self-isolate, wear a mask in public, protect others, take care of yourself. That’s what I’m trying to focus on right now.

Oh, and also--maybe pick up that book you’ve been avoiding. It could end up giving you just what you need.

Yours in books,
Kate @ PSB
Join our next virtual event!
Life in the Time of COVID-19: A Photo Essay by Robin
Working from home, making masks, trying to stay safe while outside…
Delivering books, always fun, and shopping safely, while wearing those masks….  
And in between...
Need some inspiration?
At the start of the pandemic, before non-essential business closed, my roommates and I were making frequent trips to the garden store, for seeds, plants, flower pots, soil, gardening gloves, you name it. In one week we took four trips. Two of us in this household also have a plant problem, in that we just can’t stop buying them. All available window spaces and surfaces in our living room, kitchen, and bedrooms are filled with plants. Our porch is a maze of planters filled with herbs, vegetables, catnip, and pansies. As some friends left town we were also charged with rehoming their plants for the time being. Despite strict instructions not to buy more plants, one roommate received a gift card to Mahoney’s for her birthday yesterday. I may emerge from quarantine draped in fronds and identifying as a wood nymph.

I’m new to the care and keeping of plants, but I’ve found it incredibly healing and satisfying. Not only do plants make a home more inviting, but it’s really nice to have something to devote attention to. In particular though, I crave flowers. (Is this any surprise for a May baby?) A pothos is an easy plant to care for, but so is a brightly colored geranium. I got a stunning pink one a month ago that is still thriving. I highly recommend getting one. 

The PSB staff is probably tired of me talking about these, but here are two plant-related books that I can’t stop recommending: The Landscapes of Anne of Green Gables by Catherine Reid, and the classic Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. Also in my shopping cart/on my TBR list is Things That Are by Amy Leach, because I’ve heard there’s a delightful section on how flowers were named.  -- Heather
Bedtime Stories
Stacey reads from the first chapter of Rin Chupeco's Wicked As You Wish! Pick up your own copy here.
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
Sunny by Celia Krampien

A colorful, silly story about a girl who makes the best of everything. A good story for looking on the bright side of things.

We Want to Hear From You!
Which book format are you preferring these days?
A nice hefty hardcover will always do the trick.
Paperbacks are portable, flexible, light - perfect for moving from room to room.
I am e-reading everything!
Audiobooks are the way to go right now.
I can't focus on reading at all! (To which we say -- try another format!)
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