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Porter Square Books spreads out, Rozzie Bound pops up, and a poet laureate debuts

Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola is author of “I Shimmer Sometimes, Too.”Tatiana Johnson


Porter Square Books received 133 suggestions in its contest to find a name for the store’s new location in Boston as part of the expanded Grub Street headquarters in the Seaport District. A few favorites included Laureates (a nod to the old Boston bookstore chain Lauriat’s); Two If By Sea and Two Books By Sea; SeaRead Books; Sea-quitor; Bookish Beluga; Chapter 91 (the law which gives the public rights to access the filled-in tidelands of the Seaport). The winner, which keeps things simple and straightforward, is Porter Square Books: Boston Edition.

And in Roslindale, a pop-up bookstore will make a temporary home at Turtle Swamp Brewing’s Roslindale Beer Hall in Roslindale Square. Rozzie Bound, which will open on the weekend of Dec. 21, will carry new and used books across genres. Tom Nealon, former owner of Pazzo Books in Roslindale and West Roxbury, teamed up with writer and educator Roy Karp to open the pop-up, and the two are hoping to make it a permanent thing. Roslindale’s last bookstore closed eight years ago.



Boston Poet Laureate Porsha Olayiwola’s propulsive debut collection of poetry, “I Shimmer Sometimes, Too,” (Button) moves with new force. The poems reckon with violence and the threat of violence, and the risks involved in living in between places: “when two or more/ margins meet at an edge, they create a/ jagged funeral.” Her lines sway and shift, both energetically and in the way the words spread across the page; an aliveness saturates lines like an “aging spirit ancestoring the/ home you come from insoles, rich with it.” She shows us about memory, how it fails, and how sometimes those failures are memories doing work to save us. “Memories have gravestones,” she writes. And from “The Bus Stop Is Crowned Motif,” one of the stand-outs of the collection: “i do not tuck a blade when i/ travel to places memories will not/ take me. night, prayer, or bodies, i can/ hear the surface crack, can hear the bursting/ engine sounding toward the memorial.” Olayiwola will read from her work on Monday, Dec. 2 at 7 p.m. at Northeastern University.



Boston history buffs as well as lovers of cartography will find much pleasure in “The Atlas of Boston History” (University of Chicago), published last month, a telling of Boston’s story — historical, geographical, geological — through a series of striking maps that cover ground from the ice age to the present day. The 57 full-color maps are supported by text from a number of historians and contributors, and explore the city’s economic development, its cultural and sports life, its first inhabitants and immigrants, its abolitionist, reform, and literary movements, its transportation, its water, and its sewage. Edited by historian and historical archeologist Nancy S. Seasholes, the book is a rich new way of looking at the city.

Coming Out

“Dead Astronauts” by Jeff VanderMeer (McClelland and Stewart)

“The Hills Reply” by Tarjei Vesaas, translated from the Norwegian by Elizabeth Rokkan (Archipelago)

“Dispatch” by Cameron Awkward-Rich (Persea)

Pick of the Week

Alex Meriwether at the Harvard Book Store in Cambridge recommends “Until We Are Free: My Fight for Human Rights in Iran” by Shirin Ebadi (Random House): “In one passage of ‘Until We Are Free’ Shirin Ebadi reflects on a frank, bitter lesson she must impart to her daughter, and writes, ‘The field of human rights is not about pretty words; it involves the abuse of the vulnerable by those who wield power.’ In this latest book, she tells her remarkable and harrowing story with a directness that makes moments of humanity and love — for her work, her family, and her country — all the more moving.”


Nina MacLaughlin is the author of “Wake, Siren: Ovid Resung.” She can be reached at