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 18. Other options: try  or - keep it indie!
Shelf Stable: May 15
“In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you.” – Mortimer J. Adler
Hello readers,

I'm sorry for this personal opening letter today--if you'll allow, I'd like to share my morning event. This morning was the 115th Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony for Simmons University and the end of my undergraduate experience. As a non-traditional student (that's just a fancy way of saying that I'm older than 25 years old), I've always felt a little separated from the whole college experience, but the loss of an in-person commencement feels sadly the same. But not everything is sad, there are perks to having a virtual graduation, like making a matcha latte and heating up breakfast during technical glitches and long speeches (sorry speakers!), or a private chat box in zoom with all your fellow graduates laughing through the whole ordeal.

90% of my life has revolved around Simmons - I was a full time student, a TA for photography labs, and a student worker in the multicultural center, whilst selling books at PSB! Now, I'm kind of at a loss of who I am without that 90% - it's a strange time to be a graduate.

The next great big thing I'll be doing is filling out graduate school applications and cooking more recipes to share. Perhaps I'll finally learn the choreography to BTS' ON music video - a real goal of mine. Caleb@PSB supports this and will also perform all of Taehyung's part in the music video.

And that’s a wrap on my BA in English/Creative Writing and Photography at Simmons University. Have a book-filled weekend, cheers!


Editor's note: Sinny, we're so proud of you! Congratulations on all you've achieved and on everything that's ahead for you.
Join our next virtual event!
Finding Yourself on the Page
Has this ever happened to you?

You're reading a book, enjoying it, as one often enjoys books. Then suddenly a character shows up. In many ways, this character is like any other. They have a name, personality, character arc… but there's one thing about them. One thing you've never seen in fiction, that in fact, you'd rarely seen anywhere but in yourself.

Suddenly you feel seen.

Representation is important. I know this, and I've experienced this feeling before. If you're anything besides a cis white heterosexual Christian man, you're unlikely to see yourself in a lot of popular fiction. This is changing. There is so much good work going into publishing more diverse work in both children's and adult's literature. If you're looking for books with queer characters or characters of color, I can name half a dozen without even glancing at my bookshelf. 

But I still sometimes get taken off guard.

Most recently, when I read Red, White, and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston, I was immediately drawn to Alex Claremont-Diaz. There were so many reasons, but it wasn't until I saw one of the author's tweets that I realized exactly what it was that was making me relate so hard.
Suddenly, all the parts that were swirling around clicked into place. Of course. Alex's brain moves too fast. Alex cares too much. Alex works so hard but is afraid to let anyone see how hard he works. He wants it to look easy. Alex gets so absorbed in his work he misses meals. Alex talks too much. Alex doesn't want to let anyone down. Alex is too much. Alex doesn't feel like he can ever be enough. 

Alex is a whole lot like me. 

He's probably not the first character with ADHD I've come across, but he's the first one that's punched me so hard in the unresolved issues. We may have come a long way in representation, but there's still such a long way to go.

Still, this isn't the only book out there that deals well with mental health.

Finna by Nino Cipri takes place in a store that's a lot like Ikea, except that sometimes interdimensional portals open up and the staff have to deal with them. Ava, the main character, has been diagnosed with anxiety and depression. Ironically, that helps her in some ways because her fight or flight reflex is already dialed so high that things like chairs that eat people startle her, but don't make her freeze up.

Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire features Jack Wolcott, a young mad scientist with OCD that affects her life, but never defines her. She still goes on adventures and raises the dead and falls in love. It's just that she wears gloves and washes her hands a lot as well. It's a part of her, right up there with wearing glasses and knowing how to most efficiently dispose of a corpse. 

Unstoppable Wasp Unlimited Vol. 1: Fix Everything written by Jeremy Whitely with art by Gurihiru. Nadia Van Dyne is a delightful, brilliant young scientist and superhero who happens to be bipolar. Fortunately, after a particularly bad manic episode, her friends and family are there to support her and help her. It's not something she can manage alone, but she doesn't have to.

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant. Olivia Sanderson is an autistic reporter who's joined an expedition to figure out if mermaids are real. She's known she was on the spectrum for long enough that she has plenty of strategies to help her get along in a neurotypical world. For instance, she goes to the boat early so she has a chance to explore it while no one else is on board. She's also a massive nerd and one of the romantic leads. 

These are just a few of them. I love them because while all of these characters are neurodivergent, that is not their only trait and it isn't the main focus of the story. It's just a part of them that doesn't define them and doesn't limit their options. I hope to read many more like this in the future, and I hope everyone can find a book that shows them their soul this perfectly. It's an amazing feeling. -- Shana
Need Some Inspiration?
I’ve always loved retellings of myths and fairy tales. If hard pressed to say why I love them so much, I’d probably say it’s because they are familiar yet infinitely variable. The original stories are playgrounds—one only need ask “But why?” during the telling of Cinderella to start off on a path to creating your own unique reimagining. Why does the pumpkin become a coach? Why doesn’t the prince recognize his beloved? Why aren’t the stepsisters nicer?

Today I’m recommending a myth retelling of epic proportions: Lore Olympus. It’s a webcomic hosted on Webtoon—basically, a serialized comic, releasing one episode each week. Lore Olympus itself is a modernized retelling of the Greek myths, centering around a slow burn romance between Hades and Persephone and featuring almost all of your other favorite deities. It’s romantic, engrossing, and does something that all the best retellings pull off: it’s surprising and inventive, but still makes sense in the context of the source material.

If you’re a reader of graphic novels, this is absolutely worth checking out. If you’re not but you’re into Greek mythology, I still recommend you give it a try. Now is a great time, as the series is currently in development as a TV show with the Jim Henson Company—and there are over 100 episodes to fly through! And if you’re so inspired…make up your own retelling!

- Rebecca
Bedtime Stories
Shana shares a favorite: In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan.
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
The Mermaid, The Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

This sweeping fantasy adventure delves deeply into questions of identity, sacrifice, and freedom. So queer, so artful, so delicate, so exceptional. I love this book fiercely , and you will too. --Rebecca
A Porter Square Books Choose Your Own Adventure!
"Ah, gee," you mumble to yourself. "What now?" Trepidatiously, you lean over the bed, pull up the coverlet, and find...

... a many-eyed lime green monster rubbing its head, which ostensibly you bumped when you leapt onto the bed.

"Aahhh," you yell.

"Not very sporting, old thing, not sporting at all," the monster complains, but without any real anger. "How d'you do? I'm Roger, much obliged."

"Haaaa?" you manage. You're not sure which eyes to make eye contact with.

"A name I've not before encountered, but then, dear Witchie always has a knack for finding far-flung travelers. Tell me, which quest were you sent on - duck l'orange? Pineapple upsidedown cake? Monkeybread?"

"I--Rum. I had to find rum. But--how did you know?!"

"Oh, I know all about our resident Witch. I was an assistant once too, you know. Before I was cursed."

You have a lot of questions for Roger.
Do you...
Find out who - what? - *who* Roger is, anyway.
Beg for all the dish he has on The Witch.
Try to find out if Roger can help you get home.
Ask about this curse - and can you help Roger with it?
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
See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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