Shelf Stable: October 9th
“Her pleasure in the walk must arise from the exercise and the day, from the view of the last smiles of the year upon the tawny leaves and withered hedges, and from repeating to herself some few of the thousand poetical descriptions extant of autumn — that season of peculiar and inexhaustible influence on the mind of taste and tenderness — that season which has drawn from every poet worthy of being read some attempt at description, or some lines of feeling.”—Jane Austen, Persuasion
Back when I was a grad student in the early 80s, I had only recently started running as a voluntary means of recreation. (In my younger years the only reason I ever would have run more than 200 yards was because I had misbehaved in gym class and the punishment was to run laps.) I forked over a pretty substantial amount of money to buy one of the newest gadgets available, a portable cassette tape player that was a miracle of modern engineering (it could be held in one hand, unlike a regular cassette player which was the size of the four volumes of the Encyclopedia Britannica). It enabled me to listen to music while I ran, a novel concept at that time, and so four or five times a week I popped in my tape of Diana Ross and the Supremes' Greatest Hits (double-LP collection) and ran through Riverside Park singing along with "Stop in the Name of Love" and other such inspirational classics.

For approximately 35 years, music was what I ran to - the technology got better, the playlist got (a little) updated, but the basic concept never changed. Then a couple of years ago, we heard about Libro is an audiobook platform that is affiliated with indie bookstores (rather than Audible, which is part of the Evil Empire). They have pretty much the same selection and the same pricing model, but you're supporting institutions like Porter Square Books instead of  Amazon. Now up to this point I had not listened to many audiobooks (though when my children were younger we did listen to the spectacular Jim Dale recordings of the Harry Potter books on long family car trips), but it now occurred to me that if I listened to books when I ran, I could probably squeeze in an extra book or two each month. Hey, if you work in a bookstore one of your main professional goals is to read as many books as you can so you can be a more informed and intelligent bookseller - so one or two more books a month is not nothing, as my mother used to say. And while I still haven't gotten quite comfortable with the idea of saying "reading" to describe my experience with these books it has honestly transformed my running experience. Much as I loved hearing my beloved playlist of 200 good running songs, I have realized now that I never got as lost in that music as I now do in my books.

While I won't say that you need a fabulous reader to make an audiobook good, I will say that a good narrator can make a good book even better. When they recently remade the movie of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, they also released a new audiobook with Kenneth Branagh doing all the voices of the characters. (The man is a virtuoso; if you know the book, it is about 95% dialogue and the suspects are from about ten different countries - he does all their accents brilliantly and hilariously.) Another spectacular remake of an audiobook was Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, read by Lin Manuel Miranda. And as far as I'm concerned, the great tour-de-force of recent audiobooks (as much as triumph of logistics as anything) is the breathtaking version of George Saunders's Lincoln in the Bardo read by Nick Offerman, David Sedaris, Lena Dunham, Keegan-Michael Key, Julianne Moore, Susan Sarandon, Ben Stiller and - I'm not joking - 159 other people. Audiobooks of novels are not commonly read by their authors but rather by "professionals" - lots of the readers they get are famous actors - but there are some wonderful exceptions. Lauren Groff did the audiobook for her fabulous story collection Florida, Elizabeth Acevedo (who happens to be a slam poet and so is no amateur when it comes to performance ability) reads her amazing novel of earlier this year Clap When You Land, and Rachel Kushner is riveting in her rendition of her multiple-award-winning The Mars Room.

When it comes to nonfiction, authors are more likely to be their own readers, and often to terrific effect. Jason Reynolds is brilliant in Stamped: Racism, Anti-Racism and You, his remix of Ibram X. Kendi's Stamped from the Beginning (PS, while the Reynolds's version is marketed as YA, I am of the firm belief that it should be required reading for every adult American). I laughed my ass off (sometimes uncomfortable when one is running) listening to Phoebe Robinson read Everything's Trash, But It's OK. And there's always the brilliant Stephen Fry narrating either of his last two magnificent books about Greek myth, Mythos and Heroes. Memoirs, too, are particularly apt for author reading - Ruth Reichl's Save Me the Plums or Tara Westover's literally take-your-breath-away Educated or - what could be better to listen to right about now - Michelle Obama's Becoming

I could go on and on. (If you see me in the store you will know that I probably will.) But all I'm saying is: if you haven't done this audiobook thing, give it a try. It doesn't take the place of reading paper - I still do much more of that - but it's a nice supplement to it, you can do it during activities that don't otherwise involve books, and it's another way to help Porter Square Books. If you're not already signed up, here's how to do it. At our website, go to the dropdown menu for "online," and click "digital audio books." They'll take you from there. And hey, if you don't like it, you can always go back to "You Can't Hurry Love."

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: Rebecca Kim Wells with Tessa Gratton, Storm the Earth
Tuesday, October 13, at 7PM

Please join Porter Square Books to celebrate the release of Storm the Earth, the highly anticipated sequel to Shatter the Sky -- Porter Square Books' Staff Pick of the Year -- with PSB's very own Rebecca Kim Wells, joined in conversation with Tessa Gratton! This event takes place on Crowdcast and is free and open to all.

Maren and her girlfriend Kaia set out to rescue Sev and free the dragons from the corrupt emperor in the explosive finale to the journey that began with the thrilling Shatter the Sky.

Let them burn. Maren’s world was shattered when her girlfriend, Kaia, was abducted by the Aurati. After a daring rescue, they’ve finally been reunited, but Maren's life is still in pieces: Kaia seems more like a stranger than the lover Maren knew back home; Naava, the mother of all dragons, has retreated into seclusion to recover from her wounds, leaving Maren at a loss on how to set the rest of the dragons free; and worst of all, her friend Sev has been captured by the emperor’s Talons.

With the final battle for Zefed looming, Maren must set aside her fears, draw upon all she’s learned about her dragon-touched abilities, and face her destiny once and for all. But when the fighting is over and the smoke clears, who will be left standing?
*Ticketed* Virtual: Natalie Portman with Gregory Maguire, Natalie Portman's Fables
Wednesday, October 21 at 7PM

Porter Square Books is pleased to present a virtual talk with Academy Award-winning actress Natalie Portman for her new picture book Natalie Portman’s Fables, joined by Gregory Maguire (Wicked)! This event is brought to you in partnership with New York State Writers Institute at the University at Albany (State University of New York).

*This event is ticketed, and your ticket includes a copy of Natalie Portman’s Fables -- or upgrade to the premium bundle including both Natalie Portman’s Fables and Gregory Maguire’s A Wild Winter Swan!*

In Natalie Portman’s Fables, Academy Award-winning actress, director, producer, and activist Natalie Portman retells three classic fables and imbues them with wit and wisdom. From realizing that there is no “right” way to live to respecting our planet and learning what really makes someone a winner, the messages at the heart of Natalie Portman’s Fables are modern takes on timeless life lessons.

Natalie will be joined by New York Times Bestselling author Gregory Maguire, beloved for his own retellings of classic stories.
Need Some Inspiration?
Want a chilling read, but don't know where to start? Here are some recommendations to get your creepy season started. 
If You Haven't Read These Classics, You Really Should
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier
Frankenstein: The 1818 Text by Mary Shelley
The Scary Stuff
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Melmoth by Sarah Perry
The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi
Through the Woods by Emily Carroll
Spooky Lite, for When You Want Ghosts without the Jump Scares
We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry
The Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett
The Regrets by Amy Bonnaffons
Want to show your love of Porter Square Books? Order your very own Porter Square Books T-shirt!
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 Daughters of Ys by MT Anderson and Jo Rioux

A kingdom built on magic that sits precariously on the coast's edge, nefarious deeds in dark rooms, witchcraft and severed heads; this beautiful graphic novel has all the trappings of a good dark and spooky story, but at it's depths it has a heart.

Featured Staff Pick for Adults
The Year of Witching by Alexis Henderson

THIS. BOOK. I started this book and said that I was just going to read two chapters and then do something responsible, and instead I made it ten chapters and 100 pages before I was able to rip my eyes away from the page. This book is perfect for people who want something thrilling but not too scary. With patriarchal threads from The Handmaid’s Tale (and our own society), a puritanical setting, and a vibe that reminded me of the VVitch, this is a ‘carve out a day and don’t plan on moving until you’re done’ kind of book.

See you next time here at Shelf Stable!
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