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 5
“Fairy tales are more than true: not because they tell us that dragons exist, but because they tell us that dragons can be beaten.”
– Neil Gaiman, Coraline
Hello everyone,

I spent a good chunk of my Saturday evening on that necessary, periodic, and Sisyphean task I adore so much – bathing our two 65-pound dogs. As soon as I take that one step closer to the tub than I normally do, they start their pitiful theatrics. Once I turn the water on, it’s full-blown panic time. To look at them, you’d think that some horrible fate is about to befall them. Perhaps they’ll both dissolve and flow down the drain with their beloved dirt. Maybe this time the tub is filled with voles seeking revenge for being chased around the yard at odd hours. The doggo who goes first – stinkier but easier to handle in the tub – chooses the standing-stock-still method. Every muscle in his little body is taut like a bow. Given that he’s all muscle, it does make cleaning him difficult. As soon as he’s out of the tub, he gets the wet zoomies and proceeds to hurl himself around like the living room like a man possessed. His sister goes next. She has the amazing ability to wield her stocky body like a super-dense cannon ball. Suffice it to say, when I open the door to let her join her brother romping around like they’ve forgotten their earlier turmoil, I stand watching them dazed, soaked, and needing a bath myself.

This time, however, I began to think of how confusing they must find everything right now. Their humans are home all the time (yay!) but they barely leave the house (boo), and when they do, they give every other human they see a very wide berth. And they can’t even say hi to the other puppers! Sherlock lets us know his displeasure by erupting with an embarrassing angry noise every time this happens. There’s no dog park, no people to greet at the door. I feel bad that they seem so cooped up, but at least they have each other, a little room to run, and a stockpile of chew toys (my tactic of reading them a book doesn’t seem to keep them occupied, shockingly). I’m already dreading the separation anxiety Sadie’s is going to have once we start leaving the house again. But I’m so glad they’re here with us, that we get such unconditional love, even when they’re really confused. I hope your dogs are adjusting okay, and boy do I miss giving them all treats!

Best wishes,
Stacey @ PSB

PS – At least the cats won’t care when we go back to work again.
Events We Missed
From the Diary of a Traveling Bookseller
I pack the books into my little mini cooper. The first box goes into the front seat. The second into the back. I put my waterbottle in the cup holder and slide my sunglasses up my nose. I'm ready. 

The list has addresses listed out in a nice circuit, so I'm rarely driving more than five minutes to reach my next destination. Never more than ten.

For the most part, my journey is silent, besides the playlist of showtunes I have going under the GPS directions. The world is quiet, with few people out besides the ones walking dogs I can't go pet because it would involve getting too close to their owners. I see squirrels. One time, I see a rabbit. Another time, a beautiful calico cat that's gone too fast for me to photograph her. I see other cars. A few times I see delivery trucks from you-know-where and glare as I drive past them.

Sometimes, when I get to a house, there's a person outside. Maybe one, like the mother in law of the person I'm delivering on, out working in the garden, or several, all spread out so that no one is too close to each other. 

I say the name of the customer. The woman on the porch responds. I put the package on the stairs so she can come get it after I've backed away.

"Wait," says one of their companions, "Porter Square Books delivers? "

I nod. "You can order online and we can either ship or hand deliver, depending on where you live and whether we have it in stock."

She leans in closer (but not too close). "Do you also deliver Cafe Zing? "

"A few things," I say. "We have coffee and chocolate bars available."

"How about the fresh rolls?"

I have to let her know that tragically, we cannot deliver the famed Cafe fresh rolls. She is sad but understanding. 

Some deliveries are more complicated than others. Most houses have the number clearly written and a front door in an obvious location. Some of them, though, aren't as obvious. Number 205 is one one side of the house and 209 is on the other and for the life of me I can't find the number of the house itself, but it's probably 207, right? Probably? I hope so. Hopefully, the name will be on the mailbox or something at least. If not, I do have a phone number. I can call and ask to be sure. 

I send out a text every time. "Hi [Customer name], it's Shana from PSB! I just left your order on the porch."

Most people thank me. A lot of them tell me to be well. Many even go out of their way to say how much they appreciate what I'm doing.

By about halfway through, my water bottle is getting dangerously close to empty, and my stomach is rumbling. Fortunately, I came prepared. This isn't my first delivery rodeo. I stop after my next delivery and reach down below the passenger seat. I pull out a second water bottle, two cheese sticks, a snack bar, and a yogurt drink. I much on the snack bar, then swap water bottles. The rest of the snacks I save. This drive ain't over yet.

I deliver a book to a house that looks like something out of a fairytale. An impossible amount of trees fill its little yard, tangling over the stone path to the porch. I wonder if a witch or one of the fae is buying our books. It's Cambridge, so honestly, the odds are reasonable. I'm careful not to step in any mushroom circles as I walk back to my car. Fortunately, this faery witch knows how to text.

When I finish a crate of books, I swap it out for the next crate in the back. Since I have three crates this time, I toss the old one into the backseat. Sometimes, I'll stack them, one inside the other, to save room. 

Parking is horrible on some streets. Finding the house isn't difficult, but finding somewhere I can stop, even just for a few minutes, sometimes takes me as long or longer as driving to the place to start with. I park guiltily in front of driveways and quietly think, "please don't need to leave your house for the next two minutes." So far, so good! And I'm getting amazing at parallel parking.

I munch another cheese stick. Only a few more deliveries to go. 

One of the books I'm delivering is by one of my newest favorite authors (Sarah Gailey!). I can't help shooting off an excited text to mention it when I tell them I've delivered. They don't mind. People shop from Porter Square Books rather than other online services they could turn to because of the human aspect. It's just the right amount of unprofessional. 

Finally, I'm done. I switch from my showtunes back to my audiobook. It's too distracting with all the stopping and starting and GPS directions to pay attention to while I'm delivering, but now that I'm back on familiar roads, I'm eager to get back to it. I have one final stop to make: back where I started, so I can return the crates, now empty and ready to be filled with the next batch of book deliveries.

It may take two water bottles and a handful of snacks to power me through it, but I'm glad to do the work. People need books, now more than ever, and I'm here to bring them. It's been a long and productive day. I buy a slice of cake to reward myself.

~ Shana
Need some inspiration?
Many of our customers are fiber and textile arts lovers, and so are many of our staff! Shana just completed this cool knitted t-shirt from a pattern in one of the books in our bargain bin (if you're a knitting fan, definitely check out the bargain bin when we're back open).
I mostly crochet, but I generally don't crochet anything...conventionally useful. Here are a few of the books that get me inspired when I'm in the mood to crochet:
If you're feeling like a whole book is a big commitment, there are always tons of adorable patterns here: Amigurumi!
I'll be honest though, right now I'm finding it difficult to dedicate myself to projects, and I know I'm not alone. But even if I can't work up the motivation to start something, I still try to dream and plan. Here are some of the books I'm looking at or planning from right now for my summer wardrobe!
Nani Iro Sewing Studio
Face Mask Crafting
I'm sure you've been inundated with info about face masks, but I'd still feel remiss not including something about them with crafting. Not everyone loves sewing or has many tools at the ready right now to make face masks at home. Here's a compilation of a few resources for creating sew-free, easy, or quick face masks: no-sew face masks.
For Those Who Sew
If you are someone who loves to sew and are looking for a pattern to make masks, here's a relatively simple looking one (with child sizes).

Bedtime Stories
Did you miss Kate's bedtime story from Hyperbole and a Half (many of us LOVE this book)? If so, check it out!
Our lovely Kate reads from Hyperbole and a Half right here!
The monster itself! Some background story and the video of the actual goose here: GOOSE.
Meet us over at our Instagram story at 8:45pm for tonight's live reading with Leila!
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 Deceivers by Kristen Simmons

Private academy for teenage con artists! What's not to love? Fast-paced, fun, diverting, and there's a sequel once you've finished this one!

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