Shelf Stable: October 7th
"I love books. I adore everything about them. I love the feel of the pages on my fingertips. They are light enough to carry, yet so heavy with worlds and ideas. I love the sound of the pages flicking against my fingers. Print against fingerprints. Books make people quiet, yet they are so loud."Nnedi Okorafor
According to all my devices, we are now a week into October. I can't remember what happened in May, but I'm pretty sure that was three years ago. On Monday, which could be two days ago, or a week, Leila posted a photo of Where the Wild Ladies Are. I LOVED reading that book, was my first thought upon seeing Leila's post. I finished reading the book in a hammock, wearing a jacket because it was cold, and the trees didn't have leaves. I felt slightly chilled by the story, but also transported, the images from the book weaving in with memories from my trip in March 2019 to Japan. The tree in one story was like the large gingko I'd marveled over, peering at the stones lifted by the roots over hundreds of years. A story set in a small shop brought me back to Onomichi, a seaside town that charmed me. Filtering through all these thoughts, I tried to figure out when, exactly, I'd actually read the book. I want to say April, but I'm not really sure.

Even before COVID, booksellers had a slightly odd relationship with time. We read advance copies of books (often called galleys or ARCs) months before a book is published. Ask me what I've been reading and I may struggle to remember because I want to recommend something you can purchase now, not in Spring 2021, which involves remembering what I was reading 1 day to 12 months ago; COVID has only made this worse.

You've already seen the banner at the top of this newsletter, imploring you to purchase your holiday books before the end of October. You may also have ordered books from us only to find that they take months to arrive, as we “await reprinting.” So what's going on? Well, COVID. Most printing happens in China, though some is done in the USA. Either way, printing capacity has been diminished as COVID safety restrictions limit the number of people who can safely work, or causes shutdowns due to outbreaks or positive tests. This means that there's a longer waiting time to print books that are sold out, and that it takes longer to print new books as a backlog builds up. A lot of books that were supposed to be published in November and December have been pushed to Spring 2021, as publishers have to wait longer for them to be printed. Then there's shipping.

Books have to be shipped from printers to publisher and distributor warehouses, where they are then sent to stores across the country. The people pulling and shipping the books at these warehouses have to practice social distancing and safe workplace practices, which decreases the quantity they can process. So many more people are ordering things for delivery (my recycling pile is proof of this) plus there's the issues earlier this year with the funding of the USPS...all of this affects distribution times.

And then there's us. We, too, are social-distancing and practicing safe workplace practices, which means we are limited in how many orders we can process at once. I know it's hard to figure out now what you want for the holidays, after all, next Wednesday could be a decade from now in terms of insane things happening, but if you want the best odds for getting what you want in time, shopping now is the best thing you can do. Since time is so confusing, just pretend it's December, and let me know what the world looks like from that month; I'm hoping for snow, but with 2020, who knows.

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!
Expanded hours for safe in-store shopping!
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 event!
Virtual: David Michaelis, Eleanor

Join Porter Square Books in welcoming David Michaelis for a talk on his new biography, Eleanor: A Life--a breakthrough portrait of America’s longest-serving First Lady, rich with family history. This event is hosted in partnership with American Inspiration series of American Ancestors NEHGS and the State Library of Massachusetts. This event is hosted on Crowdcast, and is free and open to all.

This cradle-to-grave biography – the first single-volume portrait in six decades - rediscovers Eleanor Roosevelt’s life of transformation, from her Gilded Age childhood as the orphaned niece of President Theodore Roosevelt; to an irreconcilable marriage with her ambitious fifth cousin Franklin, with whom she became a New York “power couple”; to her life-culminating role as world-circling activist, diplomat, and chief architect of international human rights. Drawing on new research, Michaelis’s riveting portrait is rich with insight into Eleanor’s emotional life and relationships, her struggles with motherhood, and role as her husband’s surrogate in which she transformed the career-ending storm of polio into the sunrise of the U.S. president who brought the nation out of the Depression and on to victory in World War II. Don’t miss learning more about this major American figure, a role model for heartfelt and effective political engagement.
Need Some Inspiration?
It is officially cool enough that I needed a sweater when I left my house this morning, which means it is once again the time of year where I start thinking “I could knit everyone holiday presents.” Reader, this is a fool’s thought. If I had wanted to do this, I would have had to start on January 1st, and even then I’m not convinced I could get to everyone. (Like holiday shopping this year, the key to making presents is starting early). 

However, I have perfected the art of panic knitting, and if there’s one thing I know it’s that if you’re going to power through all the presents you can, you’re going to need a soundtrack. While you could play “Eye of the Tiger” and the Rocky theme on repeat, it will probably be more fun if you can take out your needles and tune into an audiobook. Here are some excellent tracks to get you through your knitting marathon:
Rebecca Roanhorse’s latest fantasy novel, this audiobook is told by four people, one for each POV character, and tells the tale of the city of Tova, as it creeps ever closer to a cataclysmic celestial moment, and the way it will forever change the world.
It’s no secret that the staff of Porter Square loves the new Beowulf translation, and the audiobook emphasizes not just the bro-iness of the original tale, but also the oral tradition aspect of Beowulf’s history.
A shorter listen, perfect for a shorter project, Intimations is a collection of short essays, many of which were written after covid-19 changed all our lives.
A friends-to-lovers Romance novel set in the 1800s, this book had me with my head in my hands going “Oh my god, how are the two of you so oblivious” at least once every twenty minutes. Which is to say, I adored it immensely, and after finishing it I immediately downloaded the other two books in the series, which I was excited to see had the same narrator!
Saving the best for last, Mexican Gothic is the perfect chilling Halloween listen. In Mexico City in the 1950’s, debutante Noemí Taboada receives a letter from her cousin saying her new husband is trying to poison her. Noemí journeys to High Place, her cousin’s new home, to assess the situation, and ends up trapped in a nightmare she never could have imagined.
If you need even more inspiration you can check out these wonderful knitting books for quick projects (or just follow the patented Katherine Method of gift giving and pair a quick book cover with whatever book you were listening to when you finished it).

Quick and Easy Knits by Search Press Studio
Want to show your love of Porter Square Books? Order your very own Porter Square Books T-shirt!
Pictures and Panels
Do you read graphic novels? How about picture books? At the store, we have a Graphica section, which isn't a genre section, but rather a section for books of a similar format. Comics are a format in which images and (often) panels are integral to the show the passage of time or sequence in a story. As our Graphica section includes a number of genres, it's possible there's a book there you never thought to pick up! Here are some books that use images to tell stories. Whether you're a comics reader or you've never tried the format, consider checking one out.
Literary Humor
Fable/Inspirational Gift
Cicada by Shaun Tan
Contemporary Realistic Fiction
Current Events/Politics/Ethics
by Bryan Caplan, Zach Weinersmith (Illustrator)
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.
Catch the replay!
Have your calendars marked because next Tuesday, October 13th, our very own Rebecca Kim Wells' Storm the Earth launches - preorder your book here (signed copies available!) and make sure to join us for a virtual event the evening of 10/13 to celebrate! And to get in the mood, watch Rebecca talk about the first in the duology, Shatter The Sky, in the virtual paperback launch we hosted this summer by clicking the image below. (Psst, you can re-watch all of our virtual events on Crowdcast!)
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
The Boy in the Red Dress by Kristen Lambert

This has all the fun of film noir, but instead of black and white, this one's full color. Our femme fatale is a man who performs in drag at a speakeasy and our detective is his best friend who's determined to prove him innocent. It's got grit and snark and a full picture of the non-white, non-straight, non-male corners of 1930, and both the struggles they faced and the places where they could cut loose. I don't usually get to see myself in this genre. This is a welcome exception.
Featured Staff Pick for Adults

Inspiring true story from Chicago's West Side in the turbulent 1990s. A group of young Black men from Manley High form the first black rowing team to save themselves. They are utterly transformed by the experience. Survivors, they reunite 20 years later to make a difference by offering the same opportunity to young black kids in their hometown. They also invite white members of the Chicago Police Department to join them in bringing people together to make a difference one stroke at a time. You will be moved to tears. Now available as a documentary on Peacock TV.
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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