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. Five or fewer books per order if possible.

We are happy to fulfill other orders, but will not be able to process them until at least May 18. Other options: try  or - keep it indie!
Shelf Stable: May 10
You may have tangible wealth untold. Caskets of jewels and coffers of gold. Richer than I you can never be — I had a mother who read to me. ” Strickland Gillian
My mom and I have always had very different tastes in fiction, but we've always bonded over our shared love of fairy tales. We had our favorites, like The Balloon Tree by Phoebe Gilman and The Twelve Dancing Princesses by Marianna Mayer and Kinuko Craft (which made such an impression on us that my youngest sister is named Elise after the youngest of the princesses in the story). But what we loved to do most of all is go to the library, find the fairy tale section, and take out a dozen different versions of the same story. Humorous , beautiful , an interesting twist , a different cultural background , it didn't matter. We bonded over the many ways the same story could be told.

Which is to say, my love of fan fiction started early.

Now that I'm older, my tastes have changed some, but my love of fairy tales remains in both my reading and my writing. Cinder by Marissa Meyer features a future Beijing where Cinder is a mechanic with a cyborg foot. Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust has unique and fascinating magic, a queer love story, and a central focus on the relationship between Snow White and the "Evil" Queen. Indexing by Seanan McGuire twists together a bunch of different stories to create a detective agency responsible for defusing fairy tales before they can wreak havoc on the rest of the world. 

It's nice being able to come back to these same old familiar stories now that the world's gone insane. Nicer still that I can go back to them and not be faced with the passive princesses and extreme heteronormativity of the original stories. Mom taught me I didn't have to accept the first way a story was told as the only way it could be told. She's such a huge part of why I love reading, and I'm glad we still have these stories that continue to connect us through everything. 

Happy Mother's Day.

- Shana
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Stacey Approved Screen Time
I don’t watch much; even now in quarantine, I’ve barely watched anything (I have various theories as to why, but that’s another topic). On the rare occasions when I do, I usually watch an animated movie or TV show that I consider all-ages. Anything by Studio Ghibli definitely falls into that category (please don’t imagine I’m sitting at home, binge watching The Land Before Time series, ugh). I think many people are familiar with Studio Ghibli (I’m not going to talk about them here, but please check them out if you have not already), but I imagine fewer are familiar with other movies from their distributor: GKids. It’s rare that I don’t like a GKids film, so I thought I would introduce a couple of my favorites.

Such an adorable move with beautiful artwork. Ernest the bear and Celestine the mouse are told by society that they cannot mix. The terrifying bears live above ground, and the mice stay below ground. As you might expect, that doesn’t stop Ernest and Celestine.
Saoirse is the last of child of Selkies, but her powers have not manifested. With the spirit world in danger, she and her brother go on a mythical journey to save the world of magic and awaken her powers. Heartwarming, wonderfully animated, and loaded with Irish mythology.
A masterful cacophony of music and colors. Follows the story of a boy who leaves his rural life in a village to find his father in the city. There’s so much in this movie, from the art to the subtler messages. It’s…a little hard to describe, but wonderful.
- Stacey
Need Some Inspiration?
A special Mother's Day themed NSI.

Making your own vinegar is a great quarantine activity. It's not labor intensive, you're going to be around anyway, homemade vinegars are amenable to fidgeting, futzing, poking, & prodding, and since you'll be using stuff you were likely going to throw out anyway, you don't really lose anything if it doesn't turn out well. I've been making my own vinegars for years now and I got started with a simple apple scrap vinegar.

To make apple scrap vinegar you need:
Apple scraps (any time you've peeled & cored an apple)
Something to kick off the process

Simply leave the apple scraps out to dry for a little bit (not more than a few hours), cover them with water, and add either a sugar of some kind ( as in this recipe) or a little unpasteurized apple cider vinegar (more on that later), cover with cheese cloth or a towel and...wait. Depending on the temperature of your house, the bacteria in the air, in the starter, on the apples, etc., it can take a couple of weeks to well over a month to be ready. How do you know? Well you've just got to taste it. The stages of vinegar usually go something like this: Apply water, I can see where this is going, Oh, This Will Some Day Be Vinegar, Huh?, That's Weird, Oh God It's Poison, THIS IS DELICIOUS. Once it hits THIS IS DELICIOUS pull out all the solids, jar it up and put it in the fridge.

The only thing you really need to look our for is mold. If you see something green or blue or furry floating on top just scoop it out with a spoon. If you also have a sourdough starter going or have been hitting the craft beer pretty hard, you might end up with yeast in your vinegar. You can scoop it out just like mold or get rid of it by filtering the vinegar through a coffee filter. As you develop a palate for it (because, honestly, you can develop a palate for anything) you'll learn when to switch out the apple material, when to let it "cure' by pulling out the scraps, sealing it up, and leaving it for while, and when it might need an extra boost of starter.

But Josh, now that I've got all this vinegar, what do I do with it? Well it's lovely as part of a salad dressing. I think it makes a great base for homemade hot sauces and shrubs. You can also infuse vinegar with herbs and spices and use it like bitters. Or you could make switchels. (I highly recommend making switchels.) Really, you can use your vinegar in any recipe that calls for apple cider vinegar, just know that your vinegar is likely to have less acid than commercial vinegar so adjust accordingly.

Finally, don't use it all! Vinegar is essentially made by herds of bacteria, herds that have generations just like every other living thing. Using your old vinegar to start your next batch adds complexity and depth of flavor, so each batch is a little different and also a little better. (I fully intend for my descendants to fight over my vinegar starter.) One more thing. Do you have an oozy, slimy, viscous disc of globule-ness floating around? (Not pictures, obviously.) Congratulations! You have a vinegar mother! (See what I did there?) A vinegar mother is like a starter times 10. It will make the vinegaring process faster and produce better flavor. If you're not making another batch right away, just put the mother in a jar, cover it with vinegar, and seal it up. It will be reading for you next round whenever you are.
But Josh, you might be thinking to yourself, apple season is, like, three months away. Good news, friend! Really anything that is mostly liquid but has some sugar in it will vinegar. Something like...let's see what's in here, ah, that beer you don't like that your buddy left in your fridge or that last cup or two of wine you weren't a fan of. Each different base will produce a different flavor. And, if you use your own starter, all of that depth of flavor will come along with you. An old can of Guinness and an even older Harpoon Winter Warmer (pictured here) produced two of my favorite vinegars.

- Josh
Bedtime Stories
Meaghan reads from staff favorite Uprooted by Naomi Novik.
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
Eek, You Reek!: Poems about Animals That Stink, Stank, Stunk by Jane Yolen and Heidi Stemple, illustrated by Eugenia Nobati

This fun, dynamic collection of poems highlights animals that stink! Stellar illustrations featuring expressive animal characters and detailed backgrounds accompany each poem. With actual facts in the poems and strong back matter, this book will appeal to everyone from goofy kids to teachers. --Marika
A Porter Square Books Choose Your Own Adventure!
You figure it's time to phone a friend, so you click on the address book and for a second, you wish you had thrown the phone into the ocean. Your gestures and expressions of frustration are so pronounced that they draw a hushed, "Zounds, does rage of some sort boil the blood and being our new companion. Pray, friends, such a rage be not infections and soil our noble pirating with incandescent fury." from Summit the Pirate and a cascade of worried glances from the rest. You're angry because you see the same three symbols again; duck, cake, and lamp. But before being overcome with despair you notice that you can scroll to a fourth contact!'s the witch who sent you for the rum in the first place (maybe this is Kanye's phone) grinning wide and throwing up an exuberant "call me" sign in the picture.
Do you...
Call the Duck
Call the...Cake?
You're seriously giving me the option of calling a lamp?!
Call the witch. What's the worst that can happen?
Audio Book Of The Month
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson

Fatima is a concubine of the sultan of the last emirate in the Iberian Peninsula to submit to the Spanish Inquisition. When her dearest friend, Hassan, a mapmaker who can map places he has never seen (and that do not always exist), is singled out by the Inquisition, she flees with him and a jinn, following the trail of the elusive and mythical Bird King, who may or may not be able to grant them sanctuary. Wilson’s latest novel is rich with the historical detail, lush description, and fantastical elements that we have come to know and love from her. A story of resistance, freedom, seeking, and strength, and a true fable for our times.
--Anna Elkund, University Bookstore
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