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 4. Other options: try  or - keep it indie!
Shelf Stable: May 4
“A thing of beauty is a joy forever.”-- John Keats
Naples, October 1820 – a single-decked, 130 ton, two-masted brig named the Maria Crowther reached the harbor. Heavily laden with cargo, the vessel also carried the poet John Keats. The voyage from England had been slow, delayed by storms followed by a dead calm. Docking in Naples, suspicion of an outbreak of cholera at home in Britain held the ship in quarantine for ten days.

In search of a warmer climate to alleviate his tuberculosis, Keats had seen his condition degenerate during the previous year. Suffering two hemorrhages in his lungs within the first week of February, he held no illusions: "I know the colour of that blood! It is arterial blood. I cannot be deceived in that colour. That drop of blood is my death warrant. I must die.” Receiving disastrous medical care for pains in his stomach that likely hastened his end, he had been subsisting on a diet of an anchovy and a piece of bread a day.

Keats arrived in Italy tormented not only by sickness, but by love for one distant – a love without prospect for as long as his illness and financial instability prevented a formal engagement. Quarantined in the harbor, he wrote to the mother of the love of his life, Fanny Brawne. He keeps his words few, knowing the letter would be opened for fumigation at the health office in England. He asks Mrs. Brawne to remember him to their shared acquaintances. He recalls his only comforts – a knife Fanny gave him in a silver case, her hair in a locket, a pocketbook in a gold net. “Show her this,” he writes. “I dare say no more.” 

Freed from quarantine and arriving in Rome on November 14, any hope for warmer air having disappeared, he who had been “half in love with easeful death” still wished to live. Though with “a habitual feeling of my real life having passed, and that I am leading a posthumous existence,” he could not at last let life go so easily. Long wondering at the human heart’s seemingly infinite capacity for suffering, “coals of fire” in his breast, “perplexed in a world of doubts & fancies,” and nothing finally stable, he did not now wish its uproar to cease.

“If I recover, I will do all in my power to correct the mistakes made during sickness; and if I should not, all my faults will be forgiven,” he writes on November 30 in his final surviving letter, the poet dying early the next year at the age of 25. Bidding adieu to a dear friend, Keats writes, “I can scarcely bid you good bye, even in a letter. I always made an awkward bow.” They were to be the poet’s last recorded words, excepting those he requested be carved upon his tombstone, his last request, bearing no name or date, only words drawn from those of old Catullus: “Here lies One whose Name was writ in Water.”

Ultimately, though, Keats’ final poems and letters remind us above all of words he himself had written in a letter the year before: 

“… for any thing tho’ it be unpleasant, that calls to mind those we still love, has a compensation in itself for the pain it occasions…” 

They seem fitting words for our time, and for all times. We may even feel ourselves fortunate, when all is said and done. 

Take care, everyone. 

James @ PSB
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Old Hollywood: From Page to Screen

Authors in Tinsel Town
In the past most published authors had no qualms about selling their work to Hollywood; after all, the movie studios paid exceedingly well.  However few authors cranked out screenplays, instead they let the studios or producers find a writer to adapt their book, or short story.

There were some well-know writers who actually did come to Hollywood; most freely admitting it was for the money. Nobel Prize winner William Faulkner found much work in Hollywood between the years 1932 and 1955. Some of his credits include:  Today We Live  (1933) with Gary Cooper. He co-wrote  The Big Sleep  (1946) book by Raymond Chandler and Hemingway’s  To Have and Have Not  (1944) – both films starred Bogie and Bacall.  Although he “doctored “ the script for  Gunga Din (1939) he was uncredited.  One of his last projects was his adaptation of the novel  Stallion Road  in 1947 written specifically for Ronald Reagan; this screenplay was never filmed.

One of American’s foremost authors of the 20 th  century was John O’Hara who sold many of his best-selling titles to Hollywood.  Feature films were made from  Ten North Frederick  (1950);  Pal Joey  (1957);  Butterfield 8  (1960);  From the Terrace  with Paul Newman (1960).  He did try his hand at screenwriting with 1942’s  Moontide  and as co-writer on  He Married His Wife  (1946) starring Joel McCrea.

Anita Loos was the rare woman screenwriter in Hollywood.  She started her career in the Silents and eventually became one of the most sought after screenwriters and book adaptors.  Her own novel,  Gentlemen Prefer Blondes  became a huge hit as a stage play and then film starring Marilyn Monroe as the infamous Lorelie Lee.  Interesting trivia:  Anita Loos wrote the title cards for a silent version of  Macbeth ; her billing came right after that of Mr. Shakespeare.  Writer and wit Dorothy Parker came to Hollywood in 1934 and worked as a screenwriter on such films as  Suzy  (1936);  A Star is Born  (1937) and  Smash-Up: the Story of a Woman  with Susan Hayward.

In 1937 the financially strapped F. Scott Fitzgerald signed a lucrative contract with M-G-M studio.  However, the only screenplay credit he ever had was for  Three Comrades  (1938).  His work on  Madame Curie  (1943) and  Gone with the Wind  (1939) went uncredited.  Unfortunately, Fitzgerald never found his niche in Hollywood and in 1940, at the age of 44, he died there of a heart attack; or broken heart, no one is quite certain which it was.

Next up:  Rebels and Rogues:  the 1950’s

Need Some Inspiration?
Before there was Star Wars, there was Alice.

Alice fell down the rabbit hole on 4 May 1865. So in honour of Alice, I thought it would be fun to return to Wonderland. 

Ever since I was young — ever since I learned how to read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland — Alice has always represented this idea — that there was this world — that I could exist in without the troubles of the modern-day. Like, for example, dealing with the reality of growing up as a refugee immigrant in the USA and teaching yourself how to read. Alice, along with many other books, saved me. (I will not remove my em dash!)

I wonder, how many editions of Alice do people have in their homes? It's always fun to see when classics get new covers, right now, this is my favourite edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Also, I recently just purchased an Alice edition written in Korean and am awaiting shipment! Dear reader, please note that I cannot read nor write in Korean, but I'm such a fan of the story and new illustrations by puuung that I couldn't help myself. I'm hoping to learn how to speak and read Korean in the future, so perhaps Alice in Korean will help me like Alice in English once did for little Sinny.

Bedtime Stories
Last night Shana read from staff favorite Red, White, & Royal Blue.
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
Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo

Elizabeth Acevedo has done it again! Like in her award-winning The Poet X Acevedo gives us a beautiful, lyrical look into the life of her protagonists. What I love about this is that in spite of the gripping premise (two girls from opposite sides of the world discover they are half-sisters after their father dies) there’s such a focus on the specific lives of each main character. There are no blanket statements about the two cultures they hail from (though plenty of insights into both), just two people that seem so real they could walk off the page.
A Porter Square Books Choose Your Own Adventure!
You go through the door with the duck. The glowing paws take on a mysterious new shimmer. It takes you a moment to figure out that the paws are shimmering because they're covered with water. Water that is rising! "Always pick the door with the cake," you shout at yourself. The door behind you slams shut, so your inner Ina Garten can't help you now. You rush forward with the water slowly rising until you reach a wall with three levers; three levers with those three mysterious symbols again. The water is now up to your knees.
Do you...
Pull the lever with the duck
Pull the lever with the cake
Pull the lever with the floor lamp
The water isn't rising that fast. Check the book again.
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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