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1. Only order titles with an inventory status of "Available at the Warehouse" 
2. Select the " UPS/USPS Ground Shipping" option
3. Pay with a credit card

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: April 13
“Let there be a good supply of books and food to last the year, and let me not waver nor sway with the hope of each uncertain hour.” – Horace *
Amidst the countless quiet hours of recent days, I have returned to visit an old and ancient friend, the great lyric poet of ancient Rome: Horace. A more welcome companion to me now than he was in my school days, when another old poem spelled only more glum monotony through which we would feel ourselves compelled to wade, his voice now offers solace, his words a kind understanding.

Nearing the end of the eighteenth letter of his first book of Epistles , I came upon the lines quoted above. The letter was nominally addressed to his friend Lollius, a sort of protégé, instructing him in the art of winning a patron to which he could successfully attach himself, as Horace himself had done. The letter itself reads like a kind of 1 st -century-BC How to Win Friends and Influence People for well-mannered parasites. Still, after due instruction on the habits that will best set Lollius upon his chosen course, there arrive these lines of exceeding beauty. Living alone in his quiet village by its icy stream, Horace asks his friend:
"What do you think I feel? For what do you think I pray? I pray for what I now have, or even less, and to live out what days are left to me, if the gods will that any remain. Let there be books and food for the year, and let me not despair, however uncertain all that surrounds me. But it is enough to pray to Jove, who gives, and who takes away: may he give me life, and may he give me means; a calm and equal mind I shall fashion for myself."

Best known to many for a phrase still known to almost all, “ carpe diem ,” these words give voice to a profound way of experiencing the world, one that is mostly forgotten because it is so hard to remember. This philosophy tells us that it is possible to find, if not happiness, then at least calm even amidst uncertainty and despair. To find steadiness, no longer tossed about by the winds of chance. Meet the day with a level mind, victim neither to your hopes nor fears. Be of good faith. Take this day as it comes, greet it kindly, and don’t count on any more. Then leave all else to whatever powers may be.

Listening to his words now in my own time, I am still afraid. I am afraid of losing those I love, and of being left without them. I grieve for those I have lost. I fear for my future, the coming years suddenly made so much less certain. I am terrified of a thousand other things, truly, and I long for ten thousand more. And yet I have a good supply of books and food to last the year – the most recent delivery my mother and I have just now unpacked and dutifully disinfected – and Horace tells me to place my feet solidly upon the ground, steady against this uncertain and doubtful storm.

I will try.
James @ PSB

* For those who might still recall their high-school Latin:

sit bona librorum et provisae frugis in annum
copia, neu fluitem dubiae spe pendulus horae.
Once Upon a Simpler Time..
Need some inspiration?
It's okay to do nothing during a pandemic. Honestly, if there is a time to do nothing, now is that time. If you can't bring yourself to clean the house, learn a new language, home cook all your meals, then you're doing fine. But can I suggest some great k-drama (Korean drama) to help you get through this if you want to try something new?

  1. Itaewon Class (2020): this has everything you want in a drama. Handsome protagonist (Park Sae-ro-yi) beautiful scenery of South Korea, LOTS OF FOOD, and a pretty diverse cast, including a transgender supporting character (Ma Hyeon-yi)! The first episode is all you need to get going in this series. Quick summary: It's about a boy who runs into trouble by doing the right thing. There is a hint of romance but it's not the highlight of the story. The season is all about how Park Saeroyi handles missteps and setbacks when he tries to build the best restaurant empire in South Korea. His enemies will get in the way every time. (Available on Netflix)
  2. Crash Landing On You (2019-2020): I would be surprised if you haven't heard of this one. When released on Netflix, the show amassed a huge following even amongst viewers who didn't like reading subtitles. You'll need to give yourself time to get into this one, it's slow to start but by episode 3, you'll be in it for the long haul. Romance is at the core but the supporting characters really steal the show. There are a lot of moments that are light and funny that you wouldn't think would be in a North Korean backdrop. Quick summary: South Korean heiress (Yoon Se-Ri) ends up in North Korea and she needs to find a way back without getting caught and killed. There's a North Korean soldier ( Ri Jeong-Hyeok) who might just be able to help her. (Available on on Netflix)

And, of course, recommended readings to go with these TV shows:
  1. The Way You Make Me Feel by Maurene Goo
  2. Searching for Sylvie Lee by Jean Kwok
  3. What We Were Promised by Lucy Tan
  4. Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

Bedtime Stories
Here's a bedtime story you definitely don't want to miss - Kate's back with a reading from The Hobbit !
Meet us over at our Instagram story at 8:45pm for tonight's live bedtime story with Meaghan!
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
Sunny by Celia Krampien

A colorful, silly story about a girl who makes the best of everything. A good story for looking on the bright side of things. --Stacey
We Want to Hear from You!
You're stranded on a desert island! Luckily, a magic book genie offers you a bargain...
100 books, but you've never heard of any of them before
10 books only, but you know you love (or will love) them
A different book every day - but only for 1 day each
One single book - but it grows and never ends!
Audio Book Of The Month
Deacon King Kong by James McBride

“Deacon King Kong is a quintessential New York story. Set in the Brooklyn projects in 1969, a perpetually inebriated deacon called Sportcoat aims a gun at the neighborhood’s main drug dealer in the public plaza and pulls the trigger. Incredibly well-constructed and hilarious at times, McBride’s story entwines a number of storylines that are kickstarted by this central event. The local Italian gangster, the veteran cop, the meddling churchgoers, and the drug pushers all have their own agendas, hopes, and dreams that are affected. And though Sportcoat doesn’t remember his actions and is always under the influence of gut-rot moonshine, I couldn’t help but root for him as I was reading this. His delightful ineptitude and absence of clarity made this book impossible for me to put down. If you’ve never read McBride before, this is a great introduction.”
--Stuart McCommon, Novel.
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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