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: March 31
Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
 – Mason Cooley
Hello friends,
I started reading Parallel Stories by Peter Nadas when the book first came out in 2011. I was able to get my hands on a damaged copy. It is a long, challenging book, of very long and challenging sentences, scenes that are certainly erotic to some, but mostly make me uncomfortable, some insufferable characters, some claustrophobic space, even (I think) a Nazi hanging out in a cabin. (I know, not my most EFFECTIVE handsell, but stay with me.)

But there is still something intoxicating to the prose. It can be like drifting along a river in an inner tube, a floating cooler of your favorite adult beverage following you attached to a rope you're neglectfully holding and it can also be like floating in that same river in that same inner tube, with that same cooler, only the current picks up. Just enough to tickle your drowsing with the slight anxiety that you read the map wrong.

The book is 1133 pages long. At the moment, my bookmark (which is, I see, also a souvenir of my time writing poetry reviews for Bookslut ) is between page 432 and 433. I intend to keep reading it, maybe even later today, since I've taken it out for this letter. (I'm always surprised by how much I remember of the book once I start reading it again.) But I don't intend to finish it.

Can you "finish" your favorite public park? Can you "finish" a mountain you climb a couple of times a year? Can you finish the Arnold Arboretum or whatever forest is near you? I like keeping track of what I read over the course of the year , I like reading challenges, and, in general, I think gamifying your reading can create a lot of value for you. But, I also know that we put way too much emphasis on "achievements" in our culture and that emphasis has only gotten stronger as social media has created this tendency to turn our entire personal lives into a CV.

There are lots of good reasons to not finish a book, but I'd argue there can be some joy in the simple act of "not finishing," that you can treat a book like that park or mountain or forest you return every now and then, spend some time in, separate yourself from the compulsion to achieve, and then go home to your accomplishments. Parallel Stories is one of my forests. I'm sure there's a forest on your shelves now, too.
Here’s to the unfinished books,
Josh @ PSB
Events We Missed
Even Bear got in on the challenge! (With a little editing help from Leila.)

That brings us to 7 pictures in the #JoshIntheSolariumChallenge. 5 more and we have a calendar. Will you take the challenge? All you need is a book. a plant or plants, a robe (silk recommended but not required), something to swoon on, and a passable swoon.
Need some inspiration?
It's interesting to me that, even though we all pretty much still have power and the internet, many people are stocking up on jigsaw puzzles and board games to help keep them entertained over the course of their social distancing. (And books, of course!) It makes me wonder if we'll start seeing a return to the parlour games that were a major source of entertainment until electricity came around. If there is a "most literary" parlour game it's probably The Proust Questionnaire . Think of it as a soul-searching version of "never have I ever." Some writers even use the Questionnaire as a way to get to know their own characters. David Bowie did one too , and if David Bowie does something it must be cool.

You can play by passing each question around the "room," everyone filling out the whole questionnaire at once and then sharing, or any chopped up way that works for your group.

It's also a great way to start keeping a journal if that's something you've been meaning to do. Just answer one question a day for as long as you need to get started.

Here are some of the questions:

__1.__What is your idea of perfect happiness?

__8.__What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

__17.__Which talent would you most like to have?

_20.__If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

__34.__How would you like to die?

Shana Reads from Gideon the Ninth
Shana shares their staff pick from earlier this fall, Gideon the Ninth , in last night's live Bedtime Story. Don't forget to tune in nightly at 8:45pm on our Instagram Live to catch the next installment!
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 Oracle Code by Marieke Nijkamp, illustrated by Manuel Preitano Rin Chupeco

Barbara has to tackle challenges ranging from making friends to chasing ghosts, all while resentfully getting used to life in a wheelchair. A story that both warms and wrenches the heart about one of the most prominent disabled superheroes in comics.-- Shana
We want to hear from you!
Lots of bookstores are doing really creative things as we figure out how to sell books while our storefronts are closed. Some stores are selling mystery bundles, where you pick a certain value ($50, lets say) and a genre, and the store sends you a bundle of books. Another store has set up a fund where you can donate some money and the store will send a free book to someone else. We've been thinking ourselves about creating a subscription service of books selected by specific libromancers. Would you like to see us do any of those things? Do you have other ideas? Reply to this email to let us know!
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. In the meantime, don't forget about all the other places you can catch up with us from afar, on
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube :
25 White St. Cambridge, MA 02140