Porter Square Books Staff Picks: March 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 about an accidental hitwoman for hire, slime, or a queer coming-of-age set in 1950s San Francisco, PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!



Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi

I first discovered Roshani Chokshi from her debut novel, The Star-Touched Queen. A master of storytelling then and now, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride instantly soared in my ranking of favorite books. It's thoughtful, provocative in the best of ways, and unbelievably beautiful. It's evident just from the first chapter that immense research and care went into the novel. This is a story that will definitely lure readers back in for seconds and thirds. — Engel

Finlay Donovan Is Killing It by Elle Cosimano

Because what else do you do when a random lady in Panera misinterprets your conversation with your literary agent and hires you to kill her husband for a heck ton of money?

Chaotic, hilarious, and seriously troubled, Finlay Donovan is the perfect struggling protagonist and accidental hitwoman for hire. This tale of triumph and tribulations (and there are many) will leave you laughing your socks off and anxiously flipping the pages to see if Finn manages to scrape by yet another close call. A gateway, if you will, for murder mysteries, perfect for the reluctant reader. — Cindy

After Sappho by Selby Wynn Schwartz

This book is beyond words. It's Dead Poet's Society for queer women, not the movie but the actual society. It's the type of book that makes you want to dedicate your life to it, to stand up and quote poetry, to send excerpts to everyone you know. It's a love letter to everyone who has had to look as far back as Ancient Greece -as Sappho --to see themselves, and a history lesson in all the women who came before us. — Katherine

Murder Book: A Graphic Memoir of a True Crime Obsession by Hilary Fitzgerald Campbell

With quirky artwork and an honest voice, this graphic memoir goes into deph as to why people- especially women- love true crime. If you're subscribed to the podcasts, if you've watched the documentaries, if you are constantly looking over your shoulder, this is for you. Also great if you have no idea why your girlfriend/wife/significant other is so obsessed with the Zodiac killer. — Jen

Slime: A Natural History by Susanne Wedlich, translated by Ayca Turkoglu

Slime! What's her story? Slime is yucky, funny, dangerous, sexy, and absolutely invaluable to every organism on the planet. There isn't a single organism that does not make use of slime in some way. This is a great little exploration of what slime is all about. — Piera

Last Violent Call: A Foul Thing; This Foul Murder by Chloe Gong

If you thought you saw the last of Roma, Juliette, Benedikt, and Marshall... think again! This novella set bridges the years between the crackling finale of the These Violent Delights duology and its spinoff series Foul Lady Fortune. Full of the same heart-pumping suspense, now with a little more heart and domesticity, A Foul Thing and This Foul Murder follow the two couples several years after their escape from the bloodied streets of Shanghai. Even in their departure however, trouble manages to claw its fingers deep... — Cindy

Juniper Harvey and the Vanishing Kingdom by Nina Varela

This middle grade fantasy is a funny, adventuresome romp through dream landscapes, the nature of creativity, the meaning of friendship, realizing your parents are people too, and the horror of Having A Crush. AND!!! It's by bookseller Piera's real life sister. What more could you want!! — Piera

She Is a Haunting by Trang Thanh Tran

In this delightful ghost story set in Vietnam, creeping atmosphere, first love, and familial issues mix. In exchange for paying her college tuition, Jade Nguyen agrees to spend the summer helping her dad with his project: restoring a French colonial house. But as if sleep paralysis, bugs, and sightings of a beautiful undead bride aren't unnerving enough, she now faces an intense challenge—proving the house is haunted. — Engel

Woven of the World by Katey Howes & Dinara Mirtalipova

A gorgeous picture book that looks at the history of weaving and how it is represented in various cultures. The rhythm of this book makes it perfect to be read aloud, and the stunning illustrations contain extra stories for the careful reader. — Katherine

The Merciless by Danielle Vega

Dark, grim, terrifying. Sofia is new in school and just wants to fit in. When the popular girls take her under their wing, she's elated. When they say the beautiful outcast girl, Brooke, is possessed, she's wary. What comes next is the stuff of nightmares. Not for the faint of heart- but if you can stomach the horror, it'll be so worth it. — Jen

Last Night at the Telegraph Club by Malinda Lo

For lovers of historical fiction, drag kings, and romantic queer slow-burns, Last Night at the Telegraph Club is quite possibly the perfect book. Set in 1950s San Francisco, the book follows the coming of age of Lily Hu, a teenage girl from an immigrant Chinese family, as she discovers her sexuality. Equal parts heart-warming and heart-wrenching, this story will suck you in at every turn. — Hannah, GrubStreet

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

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