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 April 7. Other options: try  or - keep it indie!
Shelf Stable: April 3
"What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you." - Anne Lamott
Hello Friends,

As the events manager here at Porter Square Books, it's been a really bizarre few weeks. Usually I'm cramming as many events as we can accommodate onto our calendar, sending out requests for author visits, making sure we've got a great stack of books for the audience to pick up. Instead, since early March I've been fielding and sending cancellations left and right, reassuring authors that we'll find a time to host them when they're back, promising disappointed would-be attendees that we'll get them a signed bookplate, and so on. I really try to curate an events calendar that's very intentional: aiming to center books and authors that our community is excited about, highlight local and marginalized voices, and find topics that ask us to reflect on the past, speak to our current moment, or offer resources for our shared future together. Dismantling it is a bit like watching one giant wave take out a sand castle you spent all day building, right as you were about to put on the final shell.

And of course, gathering is the key component to events. Gathering that we cannot do, not now, and no one's really sure when that will change. I've been trying to bolster my spirits by dreaming really big for the distant future, but even that is challenging at times, not knowing what we'll have been through at that point. And we need this now--right now, when we have no choice but to isolate, coming together is more important than ever. That's what we've been aiming to do every day with Shelf Stable.

That's also why I'm excited to start offering a slate of virtual events. We're still finding our footing here, so be sure to check back for an evolving lineup - likely a combination of events we would've held, and others that are only possible virtually due to far flung authors and suddenly cleared schedules, a silver lining to this all. I'd like to kick things off by inviting you all to join me and a few of our mutual friends here at PSB for an evening of Poetry Karaoke next week. Here's how it works: You look at our friendly, familiar faces. We read you some of our favorite poems written by other people. You stay cozy in your PJs and enjoy. I hope you'll join us on Thursday, April 9 at 7pm for Poetry Karaoke ! You can sign up here. (Don't worry, we'll remind you!)

Virtually yours,
Leila @ PSB
Events We Missed
Need some inspiration?
Today's inspiration is brought to you by Nina Katchadourian, an artist using "sorted books" as her medium. Nina approaches someone else's library, notes the titles that jump out at her, and then arranges a stack so that their titles offer a portrait of their owner. (Thanks to Morgan Michaels for the suggestion!)
I'm going to go ahead and guess that you don't have a famous author's library to snoop through (if you do , please take video and send it to us because that sounds amazing) - if you're co-quarantined with someone, you could try to create their portrait from their stacks, or make a self portrait from your own collection. I personally wasn't feeling especially introspective today, so I decided to make a Sorted Books poem speaking to isolation anxiety instead:
Things fall apart.
What if
we are as gods--
The invention of everything else
topics of conversation
how to be a good creature?
Tap out:
--separation anxiety
--acceleration hours
--sweet sorrow.
Clap when you land.
I definitely recommend taking Nina's advice on this one: come up with your titles before you start stacking to limit the disturbance to your library! If you make your own, we'd love to see it. --Leila
Bookseller fashion, Shana Style
Shana gives us the tour of their impressive book-themed wardrobe!
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
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, & You by Jason Reynolds & Ibram X. Kendi

Jason Reynold's " Stamped Jr" is a great resource for kids and adults who want to talk to kids about the systemic racism rooted in our country's history. Reynolds weaves together historical moments (some that students may have studied in other contexts, others totally new) in a way that connects them to a larger picture and to today. His playful asides make it feel far from textbook reading; perfect for at-home study. Highly recommend the audiobook from - you'll really feel like you're hanging out with Jason Reynolds in your living room! --Leila
We want to hear from you!
*Send your entry by Thursday!* For some reason, we've been thinking about the apocalypse lately, (insert joke about moving dystopian fiction into current affairs) which, of course, got us thinking about the Apocalypse Team game. The rules are simple and presented here in their bookish version. Build a team with three realistically human or animal characters from literature. So no picking characters with magic or super powers or anything like that. Once everyone in your group has assembled their team, each person makes the argument for why their team will survive the longest. Debate until a winner is chosen or you get sick of debating. Rinse and repeat with whatever other rules you want to add.

Respond to this email with your Literary Apocalypse Team and your argument for why you'll survive. We'll pick a favorite and share the winner in next Thursday's shelf. The winner will get a stack o' galleys sent to them via media mail!
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