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April 2024

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

Recently, I saw a conversation online where people asked where they can find community in their daily lives if they don't go to church. They wanted someplace that had a common culture and thoughtful conversations on issues and topics that expanded their outlook. Of course, the first place I thought of was an independent bookstore. From Gen Z, who are discussing "third places" online, to Gen X who are searching for new outlets from their empty nests—bookstores can be a place for community and discovery. 

Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz

Three books I recently enjoyed:

Table for Two by Amor Towles
Sometimes reading should be a perfect moment of entertaining bliss—one in which stories and language transport us without destroying our ever-fragile 2024 psyches along the way. Then let us rejoice that Amor Towles (Gentleman in Moscow, The Lincoln Highway) is sharing six new short stories, and a novella based upon a character from Rules of Civility. From a used bookseller in New York to a dutiful husband in Russia, to the glamour of big studio Hollywood, Towles's masterful storytelling is a balm for the soul.
 
The Morningside by Téa Obreht
Reminiscent of the novel The Golem and the Jinni, Téa Obreht (The Tiger's Wife) infuses magical realism into immersive storytelling, but this time turns her focus on a near-future impacted by climate change rather than the past. The displaced young protagonist tries to uncover a mystery of her surroundings while never upsetting the precarious structures set forth in her chaotic world, ultimately making her fight for her sense of home and belonging. This book has imagination for miles.
 
There's Always This Year by Hanif Abdurraqib
There are moments in reading when you know you are hearing the voice of a generation. Reading Hanif Abdurraqib's new memoir is one of these moments. Covering basketball and community, heroism and legacy, Abdurraqib infuses each morsel of storytelling with poetry and commentary that reshapes our perspective. It's breathtaking, wise, and lyrical. Bravo.