Porter Square Books Staff Picks: February 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 about coping with burnout, one-eyed woodsmen, or feral mothers and owl-babies, PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!


Burnout by Emily Nagoski

I don't care who you are, but if you're living in year three of a pandemic and have even an iota of connection to the world (I wouldn't blame you if you've checked out) you need to read this book. Emily and Amelia Nagoski have created a book that brings you through actual, real things you can do to help yourself feel less burnt out even when you can't change the world around you. I am not a self-help book person, but even before I finished this book I found myself flipping back to passages, annotating the parts I needed the most, and quoting it to those around me. I know for a fact I will be reading it again. — Katherine

Electric Idol by Katee Robert

We have not seen the story of Psyche and Eros retold enough, but the world of Dark Olympus was the perfect setting for it. The characters were complex and wonderful, and I loved them and hated them in turn. This book is in turns sexy and heartwarming, and leaves the reader wanting more (seriously, I would like book three immediately). — Katherine

Bodies Are Cool by Tyler Feder

This is a delightfully fun, funky book about all the ways a body can look and move and be in the world! No more treating bodies with pity, disgust, or euphemism; in Bodies Are Cool, every kind of embodiment is a source of sheer joy and delight. Bodies ARE cool! — Piera

All of You Every Single One by Beatrice Hitchman

All of You Every Single One is beautiful and messy and tragic and sexy and funny, and it overflows with love. Highlights: messy lesbians who are trying their best. Baby theft. (I mean MESSY lesbians.) Turning tricks in the opera house. Teenage girls ruining their abusers' lives. Elderly landladies who cannot mind their own business. The romance of a roast duck. A nervous little whippet who sits under the table and eats cheese. How we love each other. — Piera

Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

In this wintery tale inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology, a young pagan woman and a one-eyed Woodsman form a rocky alliance to thwart an attempt on the king's life. It features a unique magic system that revolves around body horror, as well as one of the best enemies-to-lovers romances I have ever read. — Engel

Serendipity : Ten Romantic Tropes, Transformed by Marissa Meyer

Want a romance read but don't know where to start or what to pick up next? Look no further! Edited by the NYT bestselling author Marissa Meyer, Serendipity is a series of curated short stories and a comic all revolving around some of the most popular romance tropes in YA. (Fake relationship? Check. Stranded together? Check. Only one bed? Check.) This book is the perfect read for Valentine's day! — Cindy

Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

WARNING: First book in a series AND quite profane. That being said, this book was everything I was looking for when I picked it up. It's a great adventure story with a propulsive plot and great world-building. The narrator is just the sort or thieving rapscallion you want as your tour-guide through the taverns and high seas of this world of goblins, giants, war, and plagues. Beyond that, the ending left me gob-smacked and hungry for the second book. What more could you ask for? — Dave

This Woven Kingdom by Tahereh Mafi

If you're a lover of destiny, Persian mythology, and two characters yearning for a forbidden love, Tahereh Mafi's This Woven Kingdom is perfect for you! The style is reminiscent of well-loved stories like The Arabian Nights and The Shahnameh. Set among clashing empires, it also parallels the court intrigue that Games of Thrones is known for... — Engel

Chouette by Claire Oshetsky

An unhinged narrative about motherhood with a stunning cover? Oh, YES. In Claire Oshetsky's Chouette, a cellist called Tiny—a feral woman in her own right—gives birth to an owl-baby. Her husband and his family can't accept this terrifyingly unique daughter as she is, putting Tiny at odds with them as she fights to understand her owl-child. Even if it means feeding her baby mice. Not in spite of, but because of, her weird premise, Oshetsky perfectly captures the ferocious love, the isolation, the white-hot pride, and the many teeth of motherhood. — Olivia, GrubStreet

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

The Roughest Draft by Emily Wibberley

The Roughest Draft is an adult contemporary romance about two people who are close writing partners, only for a private disaster to ruin their relationship. Bound by contract to co-write one last book, both characters are forced to reflect and write in the aftermath of their falling out. What could possibly go wrong? Similar in content and style to Emily Henry’s Beach Read, this book is perfect for writers, readers, and lovers all around. — Cindy

Hollow Kindom by Kira Jane Buxton

Follow along on the adventures of ST the domesticated crow as he navigates the apocalypse with his trusty friend Dennis the dog in their “murder of two.” As an animal who had one foot in the house, and one in the wild, it is up to ST to help usher all the domesticated animals into the new world being born before his very beak. Equal parts profound and profane, this mash-up of The Secret Lives of Pets and The Walking Dead had me laughing and wincing on the same page, which I dug. — Dave

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