Porter Square Books Staff Picks: March 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 cottagecore witches, what it means to be a person of color in America during a pandemic, or Romeo and Juliet retold (in the 1920s, in Shanghai), PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!



The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

This book has left me completely speechless (which makes it hard to write a review) but I’ll give it a shot. Why should you read this book? Well, we can start with the fact that the prose is so gorgeous I had to stop the audiobook and buy a physical copy just so I could highlight everything, or we could talk about how each character is complex and real and desperate and fighting for exactly what they want, or the fact that Tasha Suri is a master worldbuilder. If you like high fantasy that deals with the price of power, believe me when I say every minute you’re not reading this book is a mistake. — Katherine

Little Witch Hazel: A Year in the Forest by Phoebe Wahl

In this beautifully illustrated collection you'll find four stories of Little Witch Hazel, a brave and helpful witch who lives in the forest with all her forest friends. Reminiscent of classics like Frog & Toad and Jan Brett, this is the type of book kids and adults will love to read. — Katherine

The Treeline by Ben Rawlence

This book is an act of sustained attention - which is to say love - that is dynamically detailed, refreshingly holistic, and deeply urgent. Rawlence names capitalism explicitly as the engine of climate destruction, and names indigenous knowledge and lifeways as the means to human survival. The prose is clear and beautiful, and Rawlence is unashamed to admit to his own fear and dread in the face of an irreversibly changed planet; but he doesn't give in to that fear, nor does he give readers the easy out of doomer pessimism. Instead, The Treeline urges us to transmute despair into hope and action. — Piera

Mina by Matthew Forsythe

Wow, I really cannot get enough of Matthew Forsythe's books! Like his first book Pokko and the DrumMina is a dreamy, funny, delightfully weird adventure of a book, and the art is so lush and beautiful that it takes rereading again and again. — Piera

The Atlas Six by Olivie Blake

The Secret History meets The Umbrella Academy in this dark academic Paranormal Fantasy. If you're active on BookTok, you might remember seeing this title all over your For You Page last year. Through unconventional storytelling, The Atlas Six definitely lives up to the hype. The cast will stay with you long after you've put it down, and its musings will have you trying to formulate your own theory of the universe. — Engel

Ain't Burned All the Bright by Jason Reynolds

Griffin's illustrations in this book complement Reynold's words SO well... I haven't ever seen anything executed quite like this. A thoughtful and poignant stunner for sure--perfect for anyone looking for a fast, poetic read full of powerful social commentary about what it means to be a person of color in America living through the pandemic. (Plus, the book smells amazing!) — Cindy

Must Love Books by Shauna Robinson

Are you a college student suffering from an existential crisis because you're just not sure what you want to do with your life yet? Are you already in the workforce, but don't have a clue what you're doing? If so (and even if not), this is the perfect book for you! Shauna Robinson's Must Love Books follows Nora, a run-down editorial assistant whose identity is a little too (read: way too) closely tied to the job she hates. This book is a brilliant contemplation on what it means and takes to be content--in romantic and platonic relationships, in the workplace... and in life. — Cindy

Our Violent Ends by Chloe Gong

This action-packed sequel to These Violent Delights, a 1920s retelling of Romeo and Juliet in Shanghai except they are heirs to rival gangs, is a beautiful summation of Gong's thoroughness as a writer. Without spoiling the events of the end of the last book, the story continues with a changed Juliette and Roma. The usual "I hate you but we have to work together" fanfare continues but now, the stakes are so much higher and Shanghai is even bloodier. Come for the Shakespearean influences, stay for Gong's expertise on the beginning of a turbulent history in China. — Engel

Rabbits by Terry Miles

This techno-thriller follows K, a slacker with a mind for recognizing patterns and an unfortunate habit of losing time. He's obsessed with games of all kinds, but none more so than Rabbits. The high-stakes game has claimed lives, and almost robbed K of his sanity. If you dig unreliable narrators and puzzles, and characters "hacking into the mainframe," this is your book. — Dave

Yonder by Jabari Asim

Can love thrive in the midst of brutality? That's the question behind Jabari Asim's new book. While the story doesn't shy away from the harsh reality of chattel slavery, the narrative is focused on four characters dreams of freedom, and the love that leads them toward it. This is a historical fiction with hidden magic and unforgettable characters. I couldn't stop reading. — Dave

The Anomaly by Hervé Le Tellier

For fans of speculative fiction, it is not so much a question of “if” something strange will happen, but “when.” In an alternate 2020, a transatlantic flight passes through terrifying turbulence. The story of those passengers is fascinating enough: an assassin, a Nigerian rap star, a cancer patient—and more!—mark the flight’s manifest, as well as the opening chapters. Things get weird, of course. A flight is rerouted. An MIT statistician gets a call decades years in the making. We find ourselves asking, who are these people, really? I have finished few books in the last two years, but L'anomalie is bringing me back into the literary fold. — Matthew, GrubStreet

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

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