Shelf Stable: October 2nd
Salvation is certainly among the reasons I read. Reading and writing have always pulled me out of the darkest experiences in my life. Stories have given me a place in which to lose myself. They have allowed me to remember. They have allowed me to forget. They have allowed me to imagine different endings and better possible worlds.
- Roxane Gay
I haven't worked in the bookstore since the first week of March. Mostly, I miss seeing the Monday morning regulars, in for their coffee and newspaper. Knowing I would see them, wondering about them on the days they didn't appear, it made me feel so a part of the community. When I took a leave for a couple of weeks last summer, I told a few customers before I left, knowing they'd wondered (even worried) when I disappeared in the past. It's mutual; if I didn't see someone for a week, I'd hope they were okay, seeing a friend or sleeping in rather than sick.

Some of the things I miss at the store I've found a replacement for. HarperCollins recently sent me a copy of Return of the Thief, which I carefully devoured. Carefully, because I had to ensure my roommate didn't see it and steal it. When I finished the novel, I presented it to my roommate; her reaction was everything I'd hoped it would be, like an eight year old discovering there's a brand new Dog Man.

Tuesdays at the bookstore are hard days, as all the new releases are pushed onto the floor and you have to find somewhere to put them. But the difficultly of physical space was balanced by the excitement at getting to see all the new titles, of feeling the new books in your hand, of discovering that the book you read as a digital manuscript eight months ago is now a beautiful object. I am a visual kinesthetic, and it is this I miss most as there is no replacement.

Processing online orders, I've gotten to know some customer's reading tastes, recommending a book based on their purchase, but I know it isn't the same as pulling books from the shelves, feeling their covers and pages in my hands. There are so many books I'd like to gently throw at you right now, a six-month backlog of them. Many of them, recently published, I've never even held in my hands, having squinted at badly formatted manuscripts on my phone in order to read them (A Deadly Education hurt, but it was so worth it).

And then there are my coworkers. What book shirt is Josh wearing this week, and how is his garden? What nerdy shirt is Shana wearing and what book will we then need to photograph them with? What's Kate's ski training plan? Can I wrangle my coworkers into giving me jars for canning due to the great jar shortage of 2020?*

Despite all the things I miss, I always find myself circling back to community. We are here because of the community. I am grateful to everyone who wears masks, understands the delays of March and April, and tells us "I'm looking forward to it, but take your time! Stay safe!" I cannot see your mouth smile or hand you a book, but I know you're buying staff picks, chatting on twitter, and smiling as we give each other a wide birth on the sidewalk. I am grateful to the independent businesses where I pick up my orders, and where they know me by name and make recommendations.

So, in this time of confusion and craziness, thank you for being a part of this community. Excuse me while I digitally toss this book I love at you.

*This is a real thing. We've had to scale back tomato sauce operations due to a lack of cannable lids and jars.
Read our reopen policies and hours!
Thanks to all our friends who've visited so far -- it's been wonderful to see everyone's face (well, the top half above the mask anyway) and we're so grateful to everyone who has been so respectful of our policies!

Updated In-Store Shopping Hours:
Tuesday - Sunday: 11AM - 6PM
Saturday (at risk customers): 9AM - 11AM
Monday: CLOSED

We really appreciate your support!
Join our next virtual events!
Wednesday, October 7th
at 5PM
*Ticketed* Virtual: Duff Goldman, Super Good Baking for Kids

Porter Square Books is delighted to partner with HarperCollins and bestselling celebrity chef Duff Goldman to bring you a virtual event for Goldman's latest cookbook, Super Good Baking for Kids, joined by Kristin Salaky of! *This event is ticketed, and your ticket includes a copy of Super Good Baking for KidsThe first 50 tickets sold will include *signed* bookplates so don't delay! The event takes place on Crowdcast, and a join link to enter the virtual event will be emailed to ticket holders the day of the event.*

Super Good Baking for Kids, from New York Times bestselling celebrity chef and host of Ace of Cakes and Kids Baking Championship Duff Goldman, teaches budding young bakers how to make dozens of crazy delicious concoctions—from confetti snickerdoodles to unicorn cupcakes to amazing dessert pizzas. With more than 35 delicious recipes and tons of fun fact-filled sidebars on everything from the science of yeast to the history of baking, Super Good Baking for Kids shows kids how to make treats that will amaze parents, delight friends, and make the whole family go “mmmmmm.”
Need Some Inspiration?
If I pass the paint department in a hardware store, I find myself leaving with a paint chip. As a kid, I played with paint samples, fanning out the huge books (my dad is an architect). Often it's not the color I gravitate to, but the name. I'll use them as bookmarks, palette-builders, and even story fodder.

If you don't have paint chips at home, you can use an online catalog to find names, or use something you have at home-- like fancy crayons.

You may have heard of paint chip poetry. Taking a pile of paint chips, arrange the names to create a poem. If you want a challenge, give yourself a form for your poem. I recommend starting with a haiku.

For a prose challenge, get 5-10 paint chip names. Now, write a short story in which you use all the names in your work. They can be character names, moods, places, descriptions, or even actions. As added fun, I like to type up my story, changing the text to the color that inspired it.
Want to show your love of Porter Square Books? Order your very own Porter Square Books T-shirt!
Strange Stories
October may be the season for spooky books, but Autumn is also good for strange stories. Our weather can go from summer to late fall in a day, and the colors around us are mesmerizing. Here are some stories to check out.

Link has mastered the art of the short story, giving you just enough information that you always end wanting just a little bit more. Each story has a thread of strangeness or magic that is so skillfully woven in, you may not realize when it was introduced. Quite simply, these are astonishing stories that beg to be read aloud.
by Kelly Barnhill

Gorgeous language, striking doesn’t get better than this. If you like Kelly Link’s work, you simply must read this short story collection!

Strange, haunting, with luminescent this one aloud to the entire family.

Enthralling, smart, and relatable, these stories offer commentary on society, gender, and power. Each story in this book is a retelling of a traditional Japanese ghost tale.
Shop with Your Pod!
Don’t want to wait in line outside? Want more control over who you’re sharing indoor space with? Want to make sure you get your holiday shopping done easily and early? Shop with your pod!
Reserve Porter Square Books from 6PM-7PM, after the store has closed to the general public for the day, for a group of 5-10 people. One bookseller will be your concierge for the evening, checking your group in at the door, answering questions, giving recommendations, and helping you find books. If a slot is "Out of Stock" it's already been reserved, so try another!
Visit your friends at Cafe Zing!
Did you know our beloved Cafe Zing is open for customers? Now you know!

In addition to Fresh Roll Preorders for pick up on Thursdays, you can now walk in and place an order for your favorite Zing beverages and pastries, plus three-packs of fresh rolls.

Open Wednesday-Saturday, 8AM-2PM! See you and your extra-shot, biggest-size-you-have iced latte at the cafe.
Antiracism Books: A Place to Start
Bookseller Bundles

Our bookseller bundles have expanded again! Hannah has joined the fun with her new horror bundle! Having trouble getting into spirit this unusual Halloween? Hannah will hand pick you three spine-chilling paperback novels that will make you double check your locks and hide beneath the covers. Let’s embark on a journey of short story compilations, female horror writers, horror poetry, Halloween books for youth, and classic horror together. Now light that pumpkin spice candle and let’s take a ride to Halloween Town.
Missed our event on Thursday?
Audio Book of the Month

From two-time Newbery medalist and living legend Lois Lowry comes a moving account of the lives lost in two of WWII’s most infamous events: Pearl Harbor and Hiroshima.

“Incredibly, Newbery Award-winning author Lois Lowry, the daughter of an Army dentist, has home movies, taken in 1940, of her 3-year-old self playing on the beach in Waikiki, Hawaii, as the USS ARIZONA steams towards Pearl Harbor on the horizon. At the age of eleven, she and her family joined her father in postwar Tokyo, Japan—imagine what she just have seen, felt, wondered! In this slim, poignant narrative-in-verse, Lowry draws on the stories of real people, both American and Japanese, as well as her own memories. In spare verse, Lowry deftly puts a human face on those who lost their lives and those who survived and leads readers to consider the tragic consequences of war. Beautifully executed.”

--Jennifer G., Blue Willow Bookshop
Shop the store!
Digital Audio Books:
A terrific way to support local indies!
The Power of Preorders!
Preorders are a great way to support PSB and the authors you love! You can see all of the books from the future we're excited about here. But you can preorder more than just what we're excited for! Simply look for "Available for Preorder" in the inventory status.
Virtual Bookseller
Want book recommendations, personalized just for you?

Fill out our form with your likes and dislikes, genres and favorites, and we'll crowdsource a bunch of great picks for you with our crack team of real life booksellers. Give it a whirl!
Journals, Stationery & Crafts
Sometimes a new notebook is what it takes to get the juices flowing!

We have now made a much wider variety of notebooks, journals, and even calendars available for order from our website, like this classic Moleskin. Now, along with items with an inventory status of "On Our Shelves Now," you can order journals, notebooks, diaries, calendars, planners, and more with an inventory status of "Available at Warehouses."
Face Masks
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!
Additional Book Bundle Offerings
Make your shopping easy by buying bundles, handpicked by our expert booksellers!

A new month means new staff picks! Check out what we're excited for this month.
Featured Staff Pick for Children
Okapi Tale by Jacob Kramer, illustrated by K-Fai Steele

This story about an okapi-talist whose pursuit of profit ravages a community--and the noodle-loving animals who come together to stop him--feels appropriate for October 2020. Packed with puns, delicious food, cute creatures, and heart. Kids and adults alike should give it a read.

Featured Staff Pick for Adults

83 years old, written and read during recessions, and somehow equal parts timely and timeless; Discouraging and hopeful.

See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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