Porter Square Books Staff Picks: November 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 poignant coming-of-age novel set at an elite academy in Beijing, a good horror novel about grief and healing, or a retelling of a timeless classic, PSB has a pick for you. We're located on the southeast side of 50 Liberty, facing the Marina and the ICA. Come visit!



If You Could See the Sun by Ann Liang

Ann Liang's debut is a poignant coming-of-age novel recounting the pains of growing up, set against the backdrop of an elite academy in Beijing. Following two overachieving students and their plights with a secret selling business, this is a story about class, about privilege, about what it means to fall in love with a world and the people that are not yours to keep. — Cindy

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

The very anticipated sequel to The Atlas Six, The Atlas Paradox is rich with (increasingly) feral characters, chaos, moral decay, and corruption. It's a perfect early holiday gift for that friend or foe who was talking your ear off about it last year. — Engel

Vita Nostra: A Novel by Marina & Sergey Dyachenko

I was influenced by a recent tweet from Alexis Henderson and various authors to check out this book. Vita Nostra is cut from the same cloth as Lev Grossman's The Magicians series. A slow unraveling of a story, reading this book echoes the sensation of giving someone your hand and trusting them to lead you somewhere magical. — Engel

The World Keeps Ending, and the World Goes On by Franny Choi

Choi's kaleidoscopic gaze unravels catastrophe after catastrophe, putting into context our precedented times. Considering the fractal immensity of the disasters we're all somehow expected to survive -- or, worse, not to -- is like trying to hold a globe of molten glass in your bare hands. And to be a fully alive human in this world, you have to. There's no option not to hold the glass. Choi's work in this book doesn't cool the glass, but it provides you with oven mitts: for now, at least, you may hold it and behold it. — Piera

When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb

I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH!!!! I read it in two days and then I spent the next two weeks thinking about it. Literally forgot to take my lunch break at work because I was busy thinking about it. This book is SO fun and funny and beautiful. Inherently, inextricably deeply queer-and-Jewish in a way that makes my brain buzz. I am obsessed. — Piera

Hiders Seekers Finders Keepers by Jessica Kulekjian and Salini Perera

Hiders Seekers Finders Keepers is a sweet and cozy book perfect to share with your little one as the seasons turn. One of my favorite things about this book is that because the science and animal facts are presented separately from the narrative, you can tailor how educational you want to get for the age and interest of whoever you're reading to. — Katherine

White Horse by Erika T Wurth

I love a good horror novel about grief and healing and White Horse is a masterclass in that subgenre. Kari James is given a bracelet that belonged to her dead mother, and as soon as she receives it she finds herself haunted by her mother's ghost. As she struggles to uncover the truth of her mother's murder, she also must grapple with the grief and trauma she has let consume her for years. — Katherine

Smoke Gets in Your Eyes by Caitlin Doughty

Death and taxes: two guarantees. Caitlin Doughty tackles the more permanent of the two with her debut work of nonfiction. Covering everything from her first days as a crematorium worker to the ins and outs of green burial, to discussing living wills with your loved ones, this book dives into everything and anything to do with death and the industry built around it. And through it all, Caitlin's humor and intellect carry the reader on a journey that makes death a little less scary (not taxes, though. That's still terrifying). — Jen

I Am Not Starfire by Mariko Tamaki

Legendary Teen Tiatn Starfire is back, this time with Mandy, her sullen teen daughter who is nothing at all like her mother- or so she thinks. Born without powers, Mandy has her own problems to worry about- like that fact she walked out of her SATs- without her mom's stardom getting in the way. But when an old face from Starfire's past appears and threatens everything she holds dear, Mandy will have to step up and find the power within herself to fight back. Beautiful art and characters, great for all ages! — Jen

Mrs. March by Virginia Feito

In my mind, this book is like Rebecca meets Mrs. Dalloway meets The Silent Patient: gothic psychological thriller that follows the unraveling psyche of an Upper East Side housewife. As a reader, you'll find it as difficult as the titular character does to differentiate between what's real and what's made up in her mind. Also, there's an upcoming movie adaption with Elisabeth Moss! — Catherine

The Wolf Suit by Sid Sharp

Bellwether Riggwelter is a sheep who enjoys simple pleasures like blackberries, dancing, and flowers. But the forest is a dangerous place for a kind, soft sheep like him. So Bellwether schemes up the ingenious idea of sewing himself a wolf suit to blend in with the forest's most fearsome predators.What follows is a modern-day folktale about being yourself and standing up against what scares you. This graphic novel is absolutely delightful- the art style, the story, and the twist at the end! You'll never see it coming, and that makes it all the better. — Catherine

None of this Rocks by Joe Trohman

Trohman provides a deep look into the alternative music scene of the early 2000s as well as into his own life navigating within and beyond it. A comedic and important memoir, super enjoyable even if you're not a Fall Out Boy fan! — Hannah

The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Mac Barnett

A wonderful retelling of a timeless classic! — Hannah

Perish by LaToya Watkins

I have to admit that what first drew me to the book was the publishing imprint, Tiny Reparations Books. I’m a big fan of the founder Phoebe Robinson for her writing and comedy, so I’ve made it my own personal mission to buy and read the books she publishes. Perish, the debut novel by Latoya Watkins, completely swept me away. The book is a multi-generational story centered around the Turners, a Black Texan family, with the matriarch Helen Jean at the helm. We witness how trauma can be passed down from one generation to the next, through the cyclical nature of sexual and domestic violence, and much more. Each chapter is told by a different member of the Turner family as they grapple with Grandmoan Helen Jean’s impending death. At the core, this story is about motherhood, childhood, and the intricacies of growing up and sometimes growing away from family. — Emma, GrubStreet

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

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