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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 18
"Will you speak before I am gone? will you prove already too late?" – Walt Whitman
Dylan appears to have been taking stock. He has released three songs since the end of March, the last accompanied by the announcement of his first album since 2012. For any of our readers who have been following his most recent work, you will have recognized the kaleidoscopic quality that most defines it. There has been something both peculiar and fitting about hearing these songs set against the pandemic. It is as if he wishes at last to speak, needing to tell us, or just somehow to say – in whatever way, and as best he can – all the music he ever heard, all the books he ever read, all he lived through, all he loved, and to do so with the urgency of one aware how little time remains.
Perhaps the most interesting of the three songs is the second, “I Contain Multitudes.” Named for Whitman’s famous lines, the song begins with a nod to Macbeth’s “Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow” soliloquy:
Today and tomorrow, and yesterday too
The flowers are dyin’, like all things do.
He goes through Irish poetry (“Follow me close; I’m going to Bally-na-Lee”) to Edgar Allen Poe (“Got a tell-tale heart like Mr. Poe / Got skeletons in the walls of people you know”), old nursery rhymes (“All the pretty maids” – containing references also to the Eagles and The Rolling Stones), William Blake’s Songs of Experience and the later prophetic works “where all things lost are made good again,” and finally to Heraclitus (“Everything’s flowing all at the same time”), Blake and Heraclitus having really been present all the while. We find echoes of country and rockabilly (“A red Cadillac and a black mustache”), Bowie (“all the young dudes”), The Rolling Stones again (“them British bad boys”), Carl Perkins (“Pink pedal-pushers”), Gene Vincent (“red blue jeans”), together with references to Beethoven’s sonatas and Chopin’s preludes. Indiana Jones appears along with Abraham Lincoln (“I carry four pistols and two large knives”), Little Red Riding Hood (“You greedy old wolf, I’ll show you my heart – But not all of it, only the hateful part”), and Huck and Jim (“I’ll sell you down the river, I’ll put a price on your head”).
All these many things are explained and put in their place by the refrain, always perfectly rhymed with what preceded it: “I contain multitudes.” He seems always to want to speak before it is all too late, as if answering the question Whitman once posed in the above quoted lines. “What more can I tell you?” Dylan asks. And yet it is a rhetorical question, for the answer is entirely his own.
Never sentimental for too long, Dylan begins the final lines, “Get lost, madame, get up off my knee. Keep your mouth away from me.” Still, he says:
I’ll keep the path open, the path in my mind
I’ll see to it that there’s no love left behind
And so he has. 
What comes through more clearly than anything in these songs is Dylan’s refusal to be any one thing – above all those things that anyone would wish him to be. Always playing the part of Proteus, he would not allow himself to be held to a single steady form. He might have been an even greater artist if he had. Or he might have been less. I don’t think he knows either. As he sings on his most recent track, “Can’t remember when I was born, and I forgot when I died.”
There are any number of wonderful books on Dylan that are worth checking out, if you’re so inclined. There’s the classic first part of his memoirs: Chronicles: Volume One (a second volume has not yet appeared). Classics Professor Richard F. Thomas gives a distillation of his Harvard seminar “Dylan 101” in Why Bob Dylan Matters . Then check out Dylan’s The Lyrics: 1961-2012 (the kind of book you leave out somewhere) and compliment it with a hardcover gift-edition of The Nobel Lecture from America’s first Nobel Laureate since Toni Morrison.
Until next time.
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!

Left: Plaids and Hawaiian flowers
Flowers and fun patterns
Plaids, stripes, and more flowers
Solid colors in pastels and brights
Need Some Inspiration?
I am really into easy vegetable dishes lately. Today's lunch (& dinner) is a vegetable stir fry recipe I made up, no cookbook necessary. The recipe is vegetarian friendly and if you substitute the oyster sauce out for mushroom-based soy sauce, it will be entirely vegan. This is one of my favourite recipes of all time because it's so easy to make and it yields enough for lunch and dinner.
  • 1 bag of mini bell peppers (or 3 large bell peppers), diced thinly
  • 2 zucchini (green), diced diagonally (please see photo)
  • 1 yellow onion, diced thinly
  • 3 garlic, crushed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2-3 tbsp agave nectar
  • 2-3 tbsp oyster sauce (or mushroom-based soy sauce)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • salt & pepper
  • Turn the heat to high, add oil, add garlic then immediately lower heat to medium-high
  • Add bell peppers and stir for about 1 minute
  • Add zucchini and onions, and stir for 1-2 minutes
  • Add oyster sauce, agave nectar, soy sauce, and salt & pepper, then mix all ingredients together and stir for about 3-4 minutes
  • Then you're finished, enjoy with rice! --Sinny

Bedtime Stories
Last night Kate read from a childhood favorite, Amazing Grace! The video is still to come - but check out this amazing homemade book jacket Little Katy made all the way back in Kindergarten. Some books just stay with you, you know?
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 Pick for Kids
I'm Sticking with You by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Steve Small (illust.)

A charming and fun story of enduring friendship…perfect!


Featured Pick for Adults
I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

This is the book I turn to when I need cheering up. Set in a crumbling English castle populated by a quirky and delightful cast of characters, the diary entries of the witty, charismatic, and "consciously naive" Cassandra Mortmain make up a coming of age story so utterly charming that I couldn't stop smiling while reading.
A Porter Square Books Choose Your Own Adventure!
You're torn: you want to rescue Summit, but you also sense Roger's telling the truth, at least in part, and you want to help him, too. (Look, are you the hero of this thing, or what?)

"Are you stuck beneath that bed in particular?" You ask Roger. He blinks at you.

"Yes, but ... it's more of a ... tied to the castle, metaphysical, locked-dimension type situation?" he tells you cautiously. "I think I could go anywhere, as long as I stay under this bed." This doesn't make a whole lot of sense, but what does?

"Great!" He extends a hand from under the bed, which you take. Gracefully, he rises, balancing the bed on his head. "We've got to help Summit, but on the way, tell me more about this curse." You open the door, peeking in each direction. The Witch's voice comes from the direction of the kitchen - still shrieking loudly. "This way."

Whispering as he follows you, "Well," he says. "It all has to do with some contract I signed. But it's not in this book. Witchy took it away as soon as I signed it, before I noticed the postscript about being trapped for all time."

"Where do you think it might be?" you whisper back as you pull Roger down the hallway you'd skipped last time.

He shrugged. "For all I know, it's been baked in a cake by now." He says sadly. You'd like to reassure him, but you've just reached a door. Behind you, you can hear the sound of the Witch's yelling getting louder.

"Come on," you say, and pull open the door to find a familiar wide expanse of sand. " Wow," you hear Roger murmur. "I haven't been to the beach in eons."

"Ah! Our compatriot has circumambulated back to our shores. What, ho! Who's this?"

"Summit, Roger, Roger, Summit," you gesture between them to complete the introduction. "Summit, look, I don't know how to tell you this, but I think you're trapped. In this book. Right here." You wave it at him.

"Enchanted, magnificent creature, enchanted," Summit says, eyes fixed on Roger, who gazes back from underneath the bedspread.

"Summit? Did you hear me about the whole trapped thing? In a book?"

He tears his gaze away, and gestures you to one side for a private word. "If the sea's a book, well, it's the book I'll sail; ne'er have I felt a page so choppy beneath my hull nor crested a wave of words, but willingly I will...if you'll tell me what would most beguile your .... most beguiling friend."

You hear an echoing boom from off in the distance - and a yell. The witch is onto you.
Do you...
Grab Summit and Roger and find someplace to hide in the castle while you plan.
Leave Roger and Summit together while you go hunt down this contract.
Get ready for a confrontation with The Witch.
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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