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 30
“I am simply a 'book drunkard.' Books have the same irresistible temptation for me that liquor has for its devotee. I cannot withstand them. – L.M. Montgomery
Dear April,

You are my favourite month, you are my birth month, you are Khmer New Year, you are cherry blossoms and tulips, you are rain, and every year, you are love.

You remind me that I need to always carry an umbrella no matter what Google says because you are always around the corner with your April showers.

Every few days, you bloom new flowers and it brings me so much joy to see. You make Cambridge and Somerville look so beautiful with pink flowers.

On the days that I was sad and depressed, you gave me sunshine and wrapped your warmth around me as I lie in bed with a cup of tea.

No matter what day of the month it was, you nudged me awake every morning.

April, you are a reminder that “normal” will look different for all of us when we get through COVID-19. And maybe that’s not a bad thing. With spring, comes change and with change comes a new beginning.

And now it's time to make way for May.

Yours ever,
Join our next virtual event!
When Books and Show Collide
Last night all twelve episodes of Normal People, based on the book by Sally Rooney, released on Hulu. I made myself stop after episode five (they’re only half an hour, so it’s not as bad as it sounds…). I read an advanced copy last winter on a Saturday morning when I was awake strangely early. No one else was up, so I got cozy with my cup of tea and I didn’t get up until turning the last page, hours later. The show has a similar mesmerizing quality; this NPR review says it better than I could. 

I’ve watched a lot of great TV based on some of my favorite books recently. Another excellent Hulu adaptation is Little Fires Everywhere, based on the book by Celeste Ng, which wrapped up last week. Celeste even has a cameo! Honorable mentions include an updated High Fidelity starring Zoe Kravitz, based on the book by Nick Hornby, and Looking for Alaska, based on the YA novel by John Green (complete with all the feels you remember from the book). 

Earlier this year I watched Dublin Murders (BBC/STARZ), based on In the Woods and The Likeness by Tana French (and starring Sarah Greene, who plays Lorraine on Normal People). I loved all six of the Dublin Murder Squad books, character-driven mysteries each featuring a new detective who was introduced in the previous book. The Likeness is my favorite, and combining the first two books into one series actually worked really well. Here’s hoping there will be more. 

Season one of His Dark Materials (HBO), based on The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, premiered last fall, but I have to mention it because these books are among my all time favorites and the show actually lived up to my expectations (and washed away the memory of the unfortunate 2007 movie). I’ve read the trilogy every couple of years since discovering it in sixth grade; my copies are held together with tape. The show is incredibly well-cast, and the combining of timelines from The Golden Compass and The Subtle Knife sets up for an equally impressive second season.

Finally, one that I still have to look forward to is season two of My Brilliant Friend (HBO), based on The Story of a New Name by Elena Ferrante. It premiered in February, but I’ve been putting it off so it doesn’t have to end. If you haven’t read the Neapolitan novels yet, it’s a wonderful series to get lost in; the characters began to feel so real to me that I feared they were getting on with their lives and I was missing it whenever I put the book down. 

If you don’t currently subscribe to any of these streaming services, Hulu offers a free 30-day trial, and HBO is offering a free 7-day trial, as well as streaming many of its shows for free (including Big Little Lies, based on the book by Liane Moriarty ). STARZ is currently offering subscriptions for $5/month for the first three months, and there are numerous series based on books that I don’t have room to mention here. Maybe one of your favorites!

Happy binging (and reading),
Need Some Inspiration?
So last Saturday was a very important day. It was supposed to be Independent Bookstore Day, a nationwide party celebrating indie bookstores and their amazing supporters. And on Independent Bookstore Day, for the past two years, Porter Square Books has hosted a Great Bookseller Bake-Off.

Not to brag, but I’m the two-year defending champ. (Okay, a little bit of a brag.)

I’m a very single, fairly lazy person, so I’m not often inspired to bake. Especially not a huge, fancy cake, which I would then have to eat all by myself. So on Bake-Off Day, when I finally have the chance to bake for a crowd, I go all-out. It’s the only day of the year that I try my hand at the fickle art of cake decoration.

Year One: I’d literally never tried decorating a cake before, so my initial thought was to go simple, sticking to Joanne Chang’s sweet, minimalist style for her Flour Bakery Lemon Raspberry Cake . But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from watching too much Great British Baking Show, it’s this: go big or go home. (Also, careful with floral flavors. And don’t take your opponent’s ice cream cake out of the fridge.) So I looked up an easy fondant recipe, ate so many marshmallows I got sick, and ended up with a pretty adorable sculpted version of PSB’s own Bear.

Year Two: April just seems like the right time for a lemon-berry cake, right? I went with the Strawberry Lemon Layer Cake from Christina Tosi’s All About Cake: A Milk Bar Cookbook . I ate a LOT of her trademark milk crumbs. And I decided to take my first stab at chocolate work. 

I really missed all of you this year, and I REALLY missed getting to sample all of the other contestants’ desserts. But I made a cake in honor of the bake-off tradition anyway. (My parents were thrilled.) It’s a Lemon Blackberry Cake from The Perfect Cake by America’s Test Kitchen. The piped buttercream decorations (a new skill I learned this year!) are inspired by The Cake Blog . I made an enormous mess and ate many failed buttercream leaves, and I made a second attempt at a Bear sculpture, this time out of marzipan. (Marzipan Bear tasted better than Fondant Bear, but was too heavy to sit on the cake.)

There is something SO freeing about trying something totally new, with zero expectations, just to see if it’s as fun as it looks on tv. Cake decorating has been that for me. (Plus, as an added bonus, even if you totally fail at it…. it’ll still taste delicious.)

Independent Bookstore Day has been rescheduled for August 29th, so we’ll see you all then. Be prepared to eat plenty of delicious baked goods.

~ Kate
Bedtime Stories
Last night, a very dapper Josh read from How to Set a Fire and Why by Jesse Ball! Check it out on PSB's YouTube!
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 - Last Few Hours!
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.
Polling Place!
How do you feel about book-to-show adaptations?
It depends, but I always give them a shot!
What, you mean like Broadway?
I don't have the attention span for watching things *shrug*.
Most of the time, I end up deciding to read the book AFTER the show.
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!
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