Porter Square Books Staff Picks: December 2022

Porter Square Books: Boston Edition, located on the first floor of GrubStreet's Center for Creative Writing, is open and ready to fulfill all of your book-browsing desires! Staff Picks are 20% off, so you can add to your TBR pile guilt-free. Whether you want to read a book for Weird Creature Enthusiastsa MG tale of a young girl on a quest to save her aunt from small-town monsters, or love letters to "low culture," PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!



Creature: Paintings, Drawings, and Reflections by Shaun Tan

Hugely interesting and inspiring collection of Shaun Tan's weird creature illustrations, plus insight from Tan about his artistic development and approach to design. Great for Weird Creature Enthusiasts small and large! — Piera

Alone with You in the Ether: A Love Story by Olivie Blake

A PHD candidate fixated on time travel and hexagons. A museum docent undergoing court-ordered psychotherapy after being caught making counterfeit money. Six conversations that will change their mutual fractured view on the world. An exploration of time, love, and mental and emotional well-being, Alone With You in the Ether is perfect for fans of Normal People and Fleabag! — Engel

The Annotated American Gods by Neil Gaiman

Gaiman's magnum opus, now with detailed annotations from the man himself. Step into Shadow and Mr. Wednesday's world, meet gods new and old, and travel across America on a mission to keep the old ways alive. For any mythology fan, Gaiman fan (to replace their old dog-eared copy), or fan of beautiful books. — Jen

Making Videogames: The Art of Creating Digital Worlds by Duncan Harris and Alex Wiltshire

Got someone in your life who LOVES video games? This stunning artbook includes some of the most prolific worlds in the gaming industry and is a surefire hit on their coffee table... or maybe right next to their PC setup. With text accompanying the portraits, readers will get to see how these immersive worlds came to fruition. It's a gorgeous collectible for anyone harboring an intense love for virtual landscapes and all the possibilities that reside in them. — Cindy

Tacky: Love Letters to the Worst Culture We Have to Offer by Rax King

This reads more like a memoir in essays than a collection of cultural criticism. By delving into certain pieces of pop culture, King reveals the way “low culture” makes an indelible mark on us. From her introduction to Hot Topic as an antidote to the popular clique, to the bond she shares with her father over Jersey Shore, these “love letters” argue that just because something isn’t “good” doesn’t mean they aren’t perfect. — Kat, GrubStreet

(This pick is discounted in Porter Square Books: Boston Edition exclusively.)

Metamorphoses by Ovid, translated by Stephanie McCarter

The perfect excuse to revisit Ovid's Metamorphoses. Stephanie McCarter's translation is lush and gorgeous, keeping the poetic bones of Ovid's epic without falling into the clunky pitfalls that comes from translating a classic poem to English. McCarter takes a frank look at the power dynamics of of the Metamorphoses, making this the perfect companion to Emily Wilson's Odyssey and Caroline Alexander's Iliad. — Katherine

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

With a newly revamped cover, stunning end pages, sprayed edges, AND a ribbon bookmark, Ari and Dante's story celebrates its 10th anniversary. Following two teenagers as they come of age and uncover all the beautiful and ugly things in life related to family, friendship, and personal identity, this book is a definite tear-jerker with some truly beautiful lines. This will make the perfect gift for the teen in your life who might also be struggling to sort out the tricky puzzle that we call life or, more generally, anyone who wants to get existential and teary-eyed. — Cindy

The Clackity by Lora Senf

Spooky, scary, and full of heart, The Clackity is a wonderful middle grade tale of a young girl on a quest to save her aunt from the monsters in their small town. With wonderfully creepy illustrations to accompany the chilling story, this one is perfect for a snowy evening in with a cup of hot cocoa. Just make sure to check under the bed before you turn in for the night. — Jen

The Story Orchestra: I Can Play by Katy Flint & Rowan Baker, illustrated by Jessica Courtney Tickle

A gloriously illustrated music lesson for the littlest virtuosos in the making. The keyboard has color and shape coded instructions which make it a breeze to learn these 8-bar one-finger melodies. Beyond design, the true delight is the sound quality, which stands apart from other tinny sounding musical toys. — Kendall

The Golden Age: Ovid's Metamorphoses by Ovid, adapted by Heinz Janisch, illustrated by Ana Sender

D'Aulaire's Book of Greek Myths for a new generation, this beautifully illustrated selection from Ovid's Metamorphoses will introduce kids to some of the well trodden myths alongside the less while known stories of transformation. — Katherine

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