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. 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 24
“A first book has some of the sweetness of a first love.” Robert Aris Wilmott
Who else is celebrating their birthday and graduation during quarantine or know someone who is? If so, might I suggest a cookbook to celebrate the occasion?

My birthday was in early April and my partner made Beef Burgundy from the Instant Pot Miracle 6 Ingredients or Less cookbook and it turned out wonderfully delicious. Also, FoMu is still making deliveries and we spurlged on a Cookies & Cream ice cream cake (totally vegan) and let me tell you, this cake is what dreams are made of. We got an 8 cake which is too much for two people so we'll be able to celebrate my canceled Simmons University commencement with the same cake. Your birthday or graduate person will love you to pieces for a home-cooked meal and vegan ice cream cake!
Right, onto bookish updates: currently I am reading loads of books all at once, alternating after a few chapters. In recent years, I've been trying to read more books by and about Asian Americans. Growing up in the US, I often felt that there weren't enough books that I could relate to, so I'm making an effort to read stories where I can see myself in them. The stand-outs so far are Supernova Era and A Wish in the Dark , I'm almost finished with both and I highly recommend them. Supernova Era is a book for the times! And A Wish in the Dark is brilliant - how many Thai inspired fantasies have you read lately? None? I say go for this one!

Yours in books,
Sinny @ PSB
Join our next virtual event!
Breaking: We Are One of the Cool Kids Who Are "With It" In Terms of Hot New Music
How could we say "no" to such a validating request? Here are four books that we think evoke the experience of Fiona Apple's new album Fetch the Bolt Cutters (or "FtBC" for fellow kids like us).

The Polyglot Lovers by Lina Wolff : An act of exquisite literary revenge both in what happens in the plot and what the book achieves itself. Plot literally involves a woman finding a way to free herself from the guilt she feels over an act she...really shouldn't feel that bad about.

Die, My Love by Ariana Harwicz : If FtBC is shining a light, Die, My Love is the dark shadow it might cast. Executive summary: If a man were doing the same things our protagonist does society would either give him a book contract or advise him to buy a sports car.

Calamities by Renee Gladman : An exploration in confined creativity, both in terms of the form of the essay/poems and in terms of how society confines the creation of women of color.

Brute by Emily Skaja : You could call this collection a "break up album," if by "break up album" you mean "poetic exploration that uses the end of a particular relationship to explore the dynamics and power structures that define and restrict what it means to be in a relationship."
Need some inspiration?
I always loved art class in school, but as I got older I gradually stopped drawing and painting at home. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I was becoming too much of a perfectionist. By early high school, I stopped taking art class altogether. I’d see fantastic art by other students on the walls of my school and think, I don’t belong in that class . 

And so things remained for years. Now, as the card buyer at the store, I’m constantly seeing the work of dozens of talented illustrators. The itch started to come back, and I found myself flipping through drawing books at the store, buying sketchbooks and colored pencils, and then stuffing them away in a closet and doing nothing with them. 

One of those books was 50 Ways to Draw Your Beautiful, Ordinary Life by the creators of Flow Magazine (also excellent). It couldn’t be more perfect for these times -- the prompts and lessons are almost exclusively centered on ordinary objects in your home. I started flipping through the other day, and one prompt in particular caught my eye: “Glue half of a picture of a face on this page, and draw the other half.” This was my absolute favorite art assignment in middle school. I remember vividly the Baby Gap ad I chose and the hours of work I put in, laying on my bedroom floor. It’s still my favorite thing I’ve ever drawn. 

To be honest, I haven’t been feeling very inspired lately. But that reminder was a push: just start. So I did, skipping around in the book for some easy looking prompts. So far I don’t like anything I’ve drawn (they’re all pretty terrible actually). But it will be so much easier to sit down and draw again now that the ice is broken. 

Some of my favorite prompts from the book:
Draw and decorate a bunch of pairs of socks. 
Draw your bookshelf. Then, make a closer study of your favorite items on the shelves. 
Draw a house with the front wall removed, and fill in what’s happening in all the rooms.
Illustrate a comic strip of your daily routine. 
Draw your shopping list, or illustrate and hand-letter a recipe card.
Cut out paper dolls and give them different outfits. 
Gather everything of one type (utensils, different kinds of glasses, etc.) and draw them all. 

I like the structure of having a book to guide me, but you don’t need one. Just pick some of the objects you’ve been staring at for weeks and see if drawing them makes them feel new to you. Or use old photos and draw items from your childhood home, or the vacation home you wish you could visit. 

Whether it’s drawing or some other form of art that you loved to make as a child and have lost touch with, just start and you’ll have the hardest part out of the way.

-- Katie
Bedtime Stories
Need help breaking up with consciousness? Caleb reads from Why We Broke Up (which, sadly, is not Twilight ) by Daniel Handler
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
Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds with Ibram X. Kendi

Jason Reynold's " Stamped Jr" is a great resource for kids and adults who want to talk to kids about the systemic racism rooted in our country's history. Reynolds weaves together historical moments (some that students may have studied in other contexts, others totally new) in a way that connects them to a larger picture and to today. His playful asides make it feel far from textbook reading; perfect for at-home study. Highly recommend the audiobook from - you'll really feel like you're hanging out with Jason Reynolds in your living room! -- Leila
We Want to Hear from You!
What is your reading super power?
The dark art of reading & walking at the same time
I ask the best questions in book club
I don't need a bookmark to keep my place
I can listen to an audio book & read a print book at the same time.
I can tell immediately from the 1st page if I'm going to like a book.
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!
We'll get out our next issue as soon as we can. In the meantime, don't forget about all the other places you can catch up with us from afar, on
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