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 16
“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience: this is the ideal life.” Mark Twain
The BBC published an article today asking for readers’ last “normal” photo on their phone. I’ll tell you about my last two. Neither photo has any people (save for my knee and my hand), but both have renderings of sci-fi cats. The true last photo was taken from the floor of Josh’s living room, a picture of me holding a can of Laser Cat IPA, label decorated with a kaiju cat with laser beam eyes. I took it so I’d remember that I liked it. A pin in my memory, intended to remember the beer, but which ended up commemorating the last time I was inside another person’s house. The other is a photo of a Star Trek cat pinball machine at the Frogmore in Jamaica Plain. I’d stopped by after work to get drinks with two friends, an evening that started with, “We should do this more often.” It’s just a photo of something I found funny, but has become momentous with the hindsight of two months in quarantine. 

Looking back at these photos has me thinking about friendship, and how much the nature of my friendships have changed in the intervening months. Some friends I’m “seeing” more often; I now have a standing weekly movie night with my two best friends from college, one of whom lives in Colorado, the other in Wisconsin. We didn’t or couldn’t make this time for each other before the world outside my living room stood still. Some friendships have become dependent on my ability to check in, or the trust that, despite not seeing or rarely hearing them, the years of acquaintance will be enough to hold onto these friends. 

On the one hand, text-based friendships show my good side: I’m much wittier in writing, with more time to think than the standard conversation. There have also been more misunderstandings. On the other hand, I’m rather effluent in person: I’m a hugger, I’m loud when I’m excited, friends are usually “love” or “dear.” Showing how I feel doesn’t take a whole lot of extra effort. 

Have I bummed you out yet? I’m sorry, but I’m getting to something good. Basically, I want to remind that even though few friendships are convenient right now (being friends because you see someone all the time isn’t really on the table), having to show up can be a good thing. I’ve noticed that I have carved out more mental space for my friends. Our interactions are thoughtful and intentional. I make more of a point to end conversations by telling that person I love them, or that I’m grateful for them. A “you can’t see my face, but you’re important to me.” Like my mundane last normal photos, events and people take on more meaning if you give it to them. Make sure to give meaning to your friendships, they’re important. And they’ll still be there when this is over. 

- Meaghan
Join our next virtual event!
Face Masks: Now Available from PSB
Face coverings are going to be with us for a while, so we’re now offering non-medical grade cloth masks (including kid size) from a variety of makers. Right now quantities are limited, but additional styles are on the way. We’ll keep you posted!
Need Some Inspiration?
Hope everyone's having a productive week of quarantine! To be totally clear I think that being productive right now can mean anything from cleaning your house to making bread (or eating bread) to just getting out of bed. Purge rules, remember? 

For me, writing productivity is more about consistency as opposed to my usual quantity these days, and I think that's okay. In case you're also trying to get something creative done and are also feeling a bit of lethargy, here's another round of writing prompts to get you out of the rut, or just make you laugh. Time will tell!

1. Let's just lean into it. Write an apocalyptic quarantine scenario! To be clear, in this scenario, nobody dies or anything, we just can't leave our houses again. What happens in your new, microcosm of a world? 
2. Okay, enough of that. The sickness is cured. In fact, ALL sickness is cured. Write about that! 
3. So the quarantine is lifted and you can finally go out to eat. Describe the meal so as to make your readers' mouths water. I'm talking full-on Redwall or Hogwarts feast description. 
4. Speaking of Hogwarts and made up stuff, write a scene featuring a brand new game. Ideally something that could be played inside with just a couple people but hey, this is your story, go as Calvin-ball as you want. 
5. Personify the things that are getting in your way as you try to write (it could be me and my awful writing prompts, you never know!). Now vanquish them. Now write. You can do it! 
Anyways, I believe in you! Pressure's off!

Bedtime Stories
Meaghan shows off her Evenstar, weighs in on Aragorn v. Legolas, and - oh yeah - reads to you from Lord of the Rings.
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
The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

This sweeping fantasy adventure delves deeply into questions of identity, sacrifice, and freedom. So queer, so artful, so delicate, so exceptional. I love this book fiercely , and you will too. --Rebecca
A Porter Square Books Choose Your Own Adventure!
"Look, Roger," you say. "Just what -- I mean who are you? And what's the deal with this curse?"

He nods vigorously. "A fair question, new assistant. I am Roger. I come from a plane of existence, oh, not far from here. You've been there, in fact." You are pretty sure you've only ever been on one plane of existence, and tell him so. He laughs. "What an odd thing to say! You're carrying it with you, after all. That book in your arms? That was once my home. But it's been many ages since I've lived within its pages." This confession would ordinarily shock you, but with the way this day's been going? It only seems to make sense.

"So how'd you get here, then?" you ask.

"It all started when I was lingering on Page 53, watering the periods. I was hoping to grow a crop of commas, you see," he explains. You nod as though this makes sense. "Anyway, I'd only gotten through the first paragraph when this witch - our friend The Witch - appeared out of nowhere.

This was a very long time ago, and I'd never met a Witch or anything like. I was dazzled! The Witch has a very clever tongue, you know. Before I knew it, I'd been convinced that I was missing out by living in just one plane and just one book! I'd hardly agreed before The Witch gave a great bellow and clapped twice, and I found myself in this Castle. At first I was sent on a myriad of quests, for ingredients, songs, magical instruments... and then I displeased The Witch by asking to visit my home in your pages, which I dearly miss. For this show of ingratitude, I was cursed. Cursed to remain underneath this bed, and to --" he breaks off, looking guilty. You urge him on.

"Well... I was cursed to find the next assistant and trap them with the book, and the next after that, and the next, and watch them fail, all the while unable to even touch my home myself." He looks longingly at the book in your arms. "I'm sorry. I didn't want to trap you here, and now you're going to die an agonizing death when you displease the Witch! It is bothersome, is it not?"

A tad, you agree. "Unless..." he bites his lip. "Unless, we work together, you and I, and unravel this curse, and send ourselves home."
Do you...
Agree to team up, and ask Roger what he's got in mind.
Refuse - Roger's the reason you're here at all! You'll figure it out yourself.
Find The Witch - you've heard Roger's side of the story, but what's the truth?
Turn back to the book for advice, or at least corroboration of Roger's story.
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
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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