January 28, 2024

Port Book and Newsletter January 2024

January has about come to an end, and what is often a time of recovery and reorienting after our busiest time has been somewhat eventful here at the store. The cold and snow dictated some shorter days for us earlier in the month. There were travel times and birthdays. Then, illnesses and staffing issues meant we had to close the store for a few days.

Now comes the big one: we are scheduled to be closed on Monday, January 29 through Thursday, February 1 while we count every little thing in the store. There are a lot of things.

We are also putting many new books and items on the shelves, and finding plenty to be excited about. We hope to see you soon!

New Books and Preorders

Tranquil Books for Troubled Times

Books from the Tranqull Books for Troubled Times list with their covers visible on a shelf display.

You do not need us to tell you that these times are troubled, but maybe it helps a little to know some books we reach for to find a bit of tranquility.

Valentines Day

Valentines-themed items from Port Book and News displayed on a shelf.

This Valentines day, stock up for your special someone and give them the gift of reading. From Gift Cards, to Candles, and Journals we hope to help you give the perfect gift.

Need a date but don’t want to actually leave your house? We have restocked our “Blind Date with a Book” section! Pick one out and spend Valentines day with a new book! The best part? You can stay in your pajamas and eat anything you want!

And remember, Roses are Red, Violets are Blue, a Book is cheaper then dinner for two. Happy Valentines Day!

Valentines card, bookmark and gift certificate from Port Book and News

Books we are excited about

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year
by Margaret Renkl

This book is a joy to hold and behold. Just what the Universe has ordered up for these trying times, and Margaret Renkl has delivered. 52 transcendent meditations on the natural world. Brief yet beautiful with illustrations to accompany done by her brother.

Over and over Margaret reminds us that even though "The world is burning, and there is no time to put down the water buckets, for just an hour, put down the water buckets anyway."

I promise you, you will not even need an hour, just a few minutes a day to realize that "The world is trembling into possibility" and that "until the very last cricket falls silent, the beauty-besotted will find a reason to love the world."


North Woods
by Daniel Mason

Two lovers escape a repressive Puritan colony to carve a new life together out of the wilderness. Everything that happens in that spot for the next few hundred years is the subject of *North Woods*, a fascinating, genre-hopping core-sample of American history crafted by a writer very near the peak of his game.

Like Richard Powers' *The Overstory*, this work has a larger frame of reference than any single human generation, and there is a non-trivial share of attention paid to trees. Like 2022's *When I Sing, Mountains Dance*, the organizing principle here is a place and the perspectives aren't always human. Mason crafts something that dances across genres and formats. It works on many levels, I felt like I could read it again as soon as I finished and detected all sorts of new resonances.

There is love, illicit and otherwise, all manner of contemplations of nature (including a particularly memorable recollection of elm bark beetle congress), ghosts and grisly crimes, the cultivation and re-wilding of lands, and people falling in and out of love with living just beyond the edges of civilization. Intricate and spellbinding.


The Eyes and the Impossible
by Dave Eggers

Dave Eggers hit it so far out of the park with The Eyes and the Impossible that when we heard the news the book had won the 2024 Newberry Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature, all we could say was: well of course it did.

How did Eggers craft a touching, clever and perfectly-paced book about bravery and belonging and friendship and finding one's purpose? Where the narrator, Johannes the dog, is tasked with being the "eyes" of the animal stewards of the park (three ancient bison) while collaborating with a ragtag interspecies squad (a seagull, a raccoon, pelican, a squirrel)? "I interviewed a number of dogs," he said recently.

You could take out for a walk each volume on the hallowed shelf of Great Works Narrated By Canines (which includes entries from Mark Twain, Anton Chekhov, Paul Auster, Mikhail Bulgakov, Franz Kafka and Garth Stein, to name some of the most luminous luminaries), and I never have more fun than this wild and carefree joyride.

This is truly the literary equivalent of a dog running happily through a park.


Children's awards

ALA Youth Media Awards logo

The first big book awards of the year are the American Library Association's Youth Media Awards, which reliably honor outstanding children's books. The most recognized honors are the Newbery, won by The Eyes and the Impossible (see above), and the Caldecott, won by Vashti Harrison's Big.

Browse all 2024 winners and honorees at Port Book and News.

PBN Bestsellers

Joke of the Newsletter

A person walked into the bookstore the other day and asked for a book on Pavlov and Schrodinger.

We said "It rings a bell but we don't know if it is here or not."