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Shelf Stable: March 19
“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”
-Marcel Proust
Hello readers,

We've been blown away by all of the support we have received over the last few days. Even though the storefront is closed, we've been kept so busy processing online and phone orders, bringing orders out for curbside pick up, and shipping orders out that we haven't had as much time to make the videos and other content as we expected. Which is great! Thank you!

But this means the ideas are starting pile up. Over the next few days Kate is going to perform some dramatic readings in a range of different accents and even a couple of foreign languages, Josh is planning a couple of short presentations--one about how to become a superstar in your book club and the other about how the opening pages of Proust (you've got the time!) provide a key to reading the whole thing, and we'll continue to read chapters and selections from our canceled events and other books we love. If there's a particular type of video you'd like to see, reply to this email with your request and we'll see what we can do. We've also got some blog posts coming from both of our Writers in Residence.

But none of those plans help you for right now! One of my favorite things going around the internet today is the #InternationalPoetryCircle . Using that hashtag, poets from around the world are reading and sharing poems in one massive, international 24/7 poetry reading. There are always more poems being added so you can check in every day and see something new.

If you're looking for reading recommendations, a bunch of the local indies pitched in for this article in the Globe . We recommended Magic for Liars , I Hotel , and more.

Stay connected, stay well, and keep reading.
all the best, Josh @ PSB
Events We Missed
Need some inspiration?
Did you have imaginings, like us, that this time of social distancing would finally be your moment to finish that writing project you're working on? Nail that opus? Perfect that poem?

...And are you now feeling a little, um... stuck? It happens to the best of us! Here's a quick exercise to get those creative juices flowing!
To begin, write a single sentence with two clear parts. Something like, "I called my mother and was disconnected."

Once you have your sentence fashioned, find a point between the two parts to write into: how can you successfully expand the middle of the sentence, delaying the sentence’s resolution, keeping its parts apart? Can you slow the sentence down without making it drag? Can you fill it with other kinds of information, actions, sensory detail? Is there a way to insert a mid-sentence list of some sort? Play around with different sentence parts, kinds of clauses: you’re certainly not limited to the prepositional phrase. All that material you’re used to putting at the beginnings or ends of sentences? Try putting in the middle instead. Look for ways to create variety and surprise.

What other effects might be possible from within the middle of the sentence? Surely refusing forward motion isn’t the only thing you might accomplish.

This exercise is from writer and teacher Matt Bell and is inspired by a sentence in "The Husband Stitch" by Carmen Maria Machado from her collection Her Body and Other Parties . Sign up to receive more exercises from Matt here .
Leila reads All Your Twisted Secrets
Get a taste of All Your Twisted Secrets . If you like what you hear, it's on sale for 20% off for the month of March.
Shelf Stable Exquisite Corpse
An "exquisite corpse" is a group writing exercise in which a story is built one line at a time. Someone kicks it off by writing one sentence on a piece of paper and handing it to the someone else. That person writes the next line, folds the paper so that only their sentence is visible, and passes it to someone else. This goes on until everyone in the room has added their line and then the "story" is read. With social distancing we ain't passing anything to anybody. So we'll do our exquisite corpse online. We'll get us started:

You didn't know there was another door in the basement until it slowly swung open while you were down their looking for a jar of dried beans.

Respond to this email with your next sentence. We'll pick our favorite and put it in the next newsletter. Rinse and repeat. Eventually, we'll publish the entire story on our blog.
Featured Staff Pick For Kids
Welcoming Elijah: A Passover Tale with a Tail by Leslea Newman

This lovely Passover story leaves room for a variety of traditions and depicts a diverse group of characters, making it a stellar choice for families and classrooms! Gal's gestural illustrations are filled with movement while the strong contrast and bright colors sparkle. A story of opposites, warmth, welcome, and animal adoption, it's a holiday title that will be reread throughout the year. --Marika 
We still want to hear from you! What content would you like to see more of?
Book recommendations
Videos of us reading
Extras from authors/books who would have been featured in events
Personal notes from PSB staff
Behind-the-scenes silliness
Interactive writing prompts & polls like this one!
Audio Book Of The Month
Oona Out of Order by Margarita Montimore

" Oona Out of Order is a work of fiction that genuinely encouraged me to reflect upon my own mortality and the trajectory of my life. Oona wakes up on her birthday every year in a different part of her life. The difficulty this imposes is fascinating. Pop culture and music is ever-present, as Oona is a musician and chapter titles are taken from song titles or lyrics. What would it be to live your life out of order? To instinctively want to second guess and redo what you saw as failures? At the heart, Oona Out of Order is about mastering the art of living in the moment and it is a terribly fun romp."
-Rachel, Avid Bookshop
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
We'll get out our next issue as soon as we can between fulfilling and delivering your orders. 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