Porter Square Books Staff Picks: January 2023

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 haunted house tale, a puzzlebox of a book, or a beautiful fable about a boy with shrinking parents, PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!



How Far the Light Reaches by Sabrina Imbler

This is just the kind of science writing I enjoy the most - half portraits of the animals and systems, and half portraits of the author and their world. Imbler's writing is clear and rich in metaphor while still scientifically sound, and their explanations of the animals they're interested in are just as compelling as the human communities, conflicts, and loves with which they are in conversation. When Imbler writes about the queer communities they've found, their writing just soars with love. Made me cry on the train a little, I must admit!! — Piera

How to Sell a Haunted House by Grady Hendrix

Grady Hendrix's books are where comedy and horror meet and bind together in a writhing, cacking embrace. In his newest tale, two siblings return to their childhood home after the pandemic and economic meltdown have ravaged their back accounts, ready to sell and make a quick buck. What lies waiting is more than they prepared for. Dark, horrifying, side-spliting, and somehow heartfelt, Hendrix is back with a bombshell. — Jen

Art of the Travel Journal by Abbey Sy

Are you someone who tends to go to super cool places to see super cool people and eat super cool food and buy super cool things only not remember any of it? This guide walks you through the various ways one can "scrapbook" in a compact volume, preserving time, space, and memories with only a few simple tools. There are other examples of great travel journals packed into the guide as well, resulting in both a dummies' guide-to comboed with an inspiration board full of unique formats and methods for memory-keeping. Resolve to change your ways this year by travel journaling! — Cindy

A History of Fear by Luke Damas

It's officially winter time so you know what that means... horror becomes much more terrifying (at least to me). In this chilling novel, the devil is in Scotland. When the country's most notorious serial killer is found dead in his cell, officers find a handwritten manuscript that promises to answer the question everyone's been wondering about: was he a lunatic, or was he telling the truth in saying that the devil made him do it... — Engel

Little Rabbit by Alyssa Songsiridej

In this literary sub/Dom tale, a young queer writer pursues her desire for an older choreographer, discovering pleasure and agency in sexual submission to him and drawing into a starring role in his art and life. Local readers might enjoy the Somerville setting and find a certain Boston-area literary nonprofit and writing conference ring familiar. — Preety, GrubStreet

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

Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern

The Starless Sea is the ideal book for Book People. If you were the kid who searched the back of closets for Narnia, who was constantly caught reading in class or after bedtime, who has ever read a book and longed to be a part of it, this book is for you. A puzzlebox of a book, it's the perfect read to start off the year. — Katherine

Greenwich Park by Katherine Faulkner

I loved this fast paced thriller, a twisty game of cat and mouse. Helen's idyllic marriage and pregnancy changes the day she meets Rachel in her first prenatal class. A past crime is about to be exposed that could destroy all of their lives. Greenwich Park is about unreliable friendships, motherhood, siblings and the high price of keeping secrets. — Babbie

Dealing with Dragons by Patricia C. Wrede

A childhood classic, I had just as much fun reading this book at 25 as I did at 8. Princess Cimorene, the daughter of a very proper king, runs away to live with a very powerful dragon, Kazul and in doing so turns every fairytale rule you know on its head. Perfect for precocious elementary schoolers who love reading and to be right, or adults who were once precocious elementary schoolers who loved reading and to be right. Princess Cimorene belongs in the same category as middle grade heroines like Sophie Hatter from Howl's Moving Castle and Ella of Frell from Ella Enchanted. — Katherine

The Whispering Dark by Kelly Andrew

Continuing the theme of reading creepy literature in winter time, this one is a promising Young Adult tale that follows a deaf student who's accepted into a prestigious academy that teaches students how to travel between parallel worlds. Ghostly partnerships, tales of sacrifice, love, and obsession, this is a story that you can't go wrong with. — Engel

My Strange Shrinking Family by Zeno Sworder

This is a strange, touching, beautiful fable about a boy whose immigrant parents literally, physically shrink with each sacrifice they make to their new country. One of those rare picture books which are sort of more for grownups than they are for children, although children can and should read them. — Piera

I Kissed Shara Wheeler by Casey McQuiston

There's simply no better way to start the year than alongside this snappy, prickly, hilarious cast with the mystery of a lifetime to uncover. So deliciously, mouth-wateringly good. — Cindy

A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

A Great and Terrible Beauty earns its status as the start of one of the best YA trilogies of the last 20 years. Hands down, Libba Bray has created a world rich and vibrant, while managing to make characters that are recognizable and fresh at the same time. The scenery is lush, the dialogue crisp. For fans of the Gothic, portal fantasy, and complex femme characters, this is the ticket. — Jen

About the Author See other articles by Info
by Info

Rate this!

Currently unrated