"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend."
– Paul Sweeney
As the website's manager, I keep track of our online sales, where those sales come from, how people find the site, etc. With the exception of preorder or signed book campaigns, we don't formally keep track of the titles that are sold on the website, but, when you process orders and run the various reports, you sometimes notice what's selling online and what's not.
One of the things I'm really missing right now, is the opportunity to handsell my April staff pick, Wicked Enchantment by Wanda Coleman,
to every single person asking for poetry or even just browsing in the poetry section. Even when I'm not there to make the hard sell, the staff picks display gets a lot of attention and I know even more readers will find her that way.
Obviously, staff picks sell really well at the store, compared to other books, but, not online. In general (or "In the time before COVID-19"), we saw very few online sales for staff picks, no matter how fast they were flying off the shelves in the store. This actually makes a fair amount of sense; when you know what you want, shopping online is easier and when you don't know what you want, shopping in store is easier. And though we've put a lot of working into creating something like a browsing experience online, in the form of our tagged online staff picks archive it isn't close to the ease of walking around the store. And until this very moment, that was fine, probably even preferred.
Is this letter a relatively thin contrivance to push Wicked Enchantment? Duh. Yeah. But I'd still encourage you to click around our staff picks archive. You can search by genre or by bookseller. It's not the same as walking through the stacks, but it's the best we can do at the moment and "best we can do at the moment," seems like a pretty noble goal to me.
Yours in books,
Josh @ PSB
Events We Missed
Inspiring Forgiveness : Nonfiction
In a different timeline, today we'd be hosting friend of the store Barbara Bonner for her newest book Inspiring Forgiveness, an encouraging guide for the angry or heartbroken soul, in the form of uplifting stories and quotations.
Sometimes forgiveness can feel unfathomable, unreachable, or even just plain wrong. Inspiring Forgiveness throws wide open the doors of possibility within the human heart with the wise words of philosophers, writers, poets, and great thinkers from across centuries and continents. Each offering can serve as guideposts along the path to bringing greater forgiveness into our lives. This book also tells the stories of real-world people—from the Dalai Lama to Congressman John Lewis and more—whose lives were changed forever by forgiveness, including for themselves. Just bearing witness to these experiences can itself be transformative.
One wise teacher quoted in this book, Pema Chödrön, offers a simple practice for cultivating forgiveness: “First we acknowledge what we feel—shame, revenge, embarrassment, remorse. Then we forgive ourselves for being human. Each moment is an opportunity to make a fresh start.” This book is a collection of those moments.
Inspiring Forgiveness consists of twelve true stories of people who have endured great pain at the hands of others and have found a way to open themselves to forgiveness in its many forms. Each story is followed by extraordinary poems that speak to forgiveness as well as a collection of over 100 inspiring quotations. We hope to have Barbara visit the store when we're able to host again, but for now, you can pick up your copy of the book for 20% off.
Wanda Coleman, a poet laureate of anger and honesty, lived resistance and shouted rebellion, has always been the poet America needed, though sometimes it seemed like she was the only one who knew that. With this new book of poems selected and introduced by Terrance Hayes, perhaps America will finally know it too. --Josh
For all the latest on events, new books, reviews, and more for young and young-at-heart readers.
Looking to get some good book recommendations, personalized just for you? Check out our Virtual Bookseller! Just fill out the form with your likes and dislikes, genres and favorites, and we'll crowdsource a bunch of great picks for you with our crack team of real life booksellers. Give it a whirl!
Preorders are a great way to support PSB while we're not able to actually be at the store for two reasons:
They bring in income now while the store is closed.
We can deal with them later!
You can see all of the books from the future we're excited about here.But you can preorder more than just what we're excited for. Any book with an inventory status (who knew you'd have to get to know our online inventory statuses so well) of "Coming Soon--Available for Pre-Order Now" or "On the Horizon--Available for Pre-Order Now," is, uh, available for preorder now.
Miss one of our bedtime stories? Or one of the tours of our libraries in the epic YouTube series PSB: Cribs? Good news! We've made playlists on YouTube so you can catch up on all of them.
Are you missing out on our recommendations, pining for our Staff Pick display?? Our April crop of staff picks is now live on our website! We'll feature titles throughout the month, but you can browse the full list at the link below. As ever, all staff picks are 20% off - so go crazy!
Don't forget to tune into our first virtual event on Thursday, April 9th at 7pm! Join us to spend some time with familiar bookseller faces as we read you a sampling of our favorite poems. Pajamas welcome!
In addition to working at the store and running school book fairs, I work as an author, illustrator, and educator. Here are some fun drawing games my students have enjoyed that the entire family can work on together! If you like these, check out Raina Telgemeier's Share Your Smile, Making Comics by Lynda Barry, and Maker Comics: Draw a Comic! by JP Coovert.
Everyone folds a piece of paper twice, once hamburger-style, once hotdog (also known as once vertically and once horizontally). This creates 4 rectangles. Set a timer to 3-7 minutes. In the top corner, everyone draws the first panel in a comic. When the timer goes off, pass your paper to the left. Set the timer. This person's job is to draw the next panel in the story! Repeat until you have at least 3 panels (see below).
Panel 1: Start the story.
Panel 2: Make something happen!
Panel 3: Give it a cliffhanger or an ending.
Panel 4: Bonus!
3 Line Game
Draw 3 lines on a piece of paper. (I like to fold it as in the jam comic, so you have 4 to work on, but you don't have to.) Give the paper to someone else. Their job is to turn these lines into pictures!
Monster Variation (from Lynda Barry's Making Comics): Draw a big squiggle and give it to someone else. Turn it into a monster! Give it to someone else to color. Someone else gives it a background. Someone else names the monster and draws the monster's family. Pass it again and make a 1 page comic about the monster!
Unless you caught the action live, you may have missed Meaghan's Strega Nona-inspired reading from Calvino's Italian Folktales.. Strega Meaghan. Meaghan Nona. Strega Meghanona?
Meet us over at our Instagram story at 8:45pm for tonight's live reading with Kate!
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?
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 Libro.fm - you'll really feel like you're hanging out with Jason Reynolds in your living room! --Leila
*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.”