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"Just be who you are, calm and clear and bright." - Richard Bach, Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah

Bookstores of Boston: Porter Square Books

I love getting really specific children’s book requests. My favorite was “Do you have any picture books about wiener dogs?” Best part was that yes, we did!

Mackenzi Lee, PSB bookseller and future-famous authoress (all quotes below are hers)

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Porter Square Books is less than a fifteen-minute walk from my apartment. I know a bunch of the lovely booksellers there (like Mackenzi and Rebecca and Josh and Alexander), each of whom has their specialty. I love the paper goods, the 10% Grub Street member discount and the 10% charity donation on every box of holiday cards, and that there are actually really good books on the bargain table. The café has the most delicious Vietnamese soft rolls with peanut sauce, perfect for a light lunch. (For some odd reason I haven’t gotten around to trying the coffee yet.)

This bookstore is conveniently located a minute’s walk from the Porter Square T stop. I have an instinctive distaste for strip malls (being from South Jersey, you know—we can’t get away from them down there), but it must be said that 1, the Porter Square Shopping Center has a bunch of essential stores (at least if you are a bookish crafty health nut-slash-beer drinker like I am); and 2, Porter Square Books has a surprisingly cozy atmosphere considering it’s in a strip mall. I guess it’s a happy convergence of friendly helpful staff, lovingly-curated-but-not-too-curated displays, and the laid-back café area.

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My proudest bookseller moment was when a woman said “I don’t know the title, but the cover is yellow and it has the word EVERYTHING in the title. Do you know what I’m talking about?” AND I DID. It was THE BEGINNING OF EVERYTHING by Robyn Schneider.

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Oh, and have I mentioned that PSB are hosting the Bones & All launch on March 14th? I love their packed event calendar and that they do proper publicity. Every reading I go to there is standing-room only, and let me tell you—from an author’s perspective—what a blessed relief that is. Last Tuesday I attended Megan Mayhew Bergman’s pub-day event for Almost Famous Women (I “know” Megan on Twitter, so it was really nice to meet her in person), and the signing line was almost to the door.




Mackenzi with Neil Gaiman at Amanda Palmer’s PSB event, somewhere around 3:30 in the morning. I wish I had stayed up for this!



Nice to see my WROB friend Val Wang’s memoir on the table up front!


A few months ago I met a really lovely couple, probably in their fifties, who were looking for the fourth book in Garth Nix’s Sabriel series. They told me they’ve been reading science fiction and fantasy novels aloud to each other every night since they got married in their twenties. I sent them off with a copy of Terry Pratchett’s WEE FREE MEN.

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I have one complaint about Porter Square Books, and it is this: I wish there were about five more floors of it.

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Upcoming events and other fun links:

MarcyKate Connolly’s Monstrous, February 17th @ 7PM.

Josh Cook’s An Exaggerated Murder, March 3rd  @ 7PM.

Notes from a Fiction Workshop Panel

What to Do When You Love a Book

11 Things You Learn Your First Month As A Bookseller

12 Awkward Bookseller Moments (this is LOL-funny, yo)


(All Bookstores of Boston entries here.)

1 Comment to Bookstores of Boston: Porter Square Books

  1. Kate's Gravatar Kate
    January 13, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to go here for your event!

    I’m really enjoying Beijing Bastard!

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Hi! I'm Camille. I only write stories that could never ever happen in real life, though I do believe in real-life magic. If we were in the same room I'd fix you a cup of tea, but for now we'll have to settle for a virtual connection. I'm really glad you're here.