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July 2023

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

When my son turned 14 this summer, it finally dawned on me that I no longer have children in my house. Instead, I am firmly in the category of a "parent of teens." And although this transition is filled with the usual teenage angst (from both sides), I am finding one huge benefit that might outweigh some of the trials: my kids can finally read adult books!

The day I realized this, I eagerly perused our bookcases to pull out the books that they just "had to read." How exciting to think that they could read some of the books I've enjoyed the most, one after another after another! Can you imagine a year when you could read The Grapes of Wrath, The Poisonwood Bible, The Kite Runner, Hamnet, All the Light We Cannot See, One Hundred Years of Solitude, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, Rain of Gold, Americanah, The Namesake, and Bel Canto? Of course, they had a bit of a head start with what they read in school—from To Kill a Mockingbird to Things Fall Apart to Maus to Fahrenheit 451. But, an endless supply of amazing books just waiting to be read? It is like a dream come true. 

Quickly, I learned that this might be more my dream than the upmost dream of my kids, but that didn't bother me. I could still spend hours thinking through all of the books that are still to come for them, and reminisce about how it felt to read them for the first time. One day, all those books will be waiting for them, along with plenty of others. As Jane Smiley said, they will be "as free as a person can possibly be, because she is free to choose among them." How sweet it is. 

 

Happy reading,

Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz

 
Books I'm loving now:
Saturday Night at the Lakeside Supper Club by J. Ryan Stadal
The Lakeside Supper Club is a family business, nestled in the woods of upper Minnesota. There we meet the family who built the club over three generations and the family that owns the chain of restaurants that might put it out of business. How do we navigate our passions in the midst of our family needs? Through love and loss, hope and pure grit, the lives of characters intersect to create a full and emotional life.
 
Between Two Moons by Aisha Abdel Gawad
This coming-of-age novel. set during the month of Ramadan in a Muslim community in Bay Ridge, New York, tells the story of how two girls going into womanhood navigate the expectations of their family, community, religion and a hostile nation, all while foraging their own paths. This book soared to the top of my "favorite books for the first half of 2023" with the humor, insight and heartfelt moments I found on each page.
 
The Art Thief by Michael Finkel
A true story retelling of a brazen couple who steals over 200 pieces of valuable artwork from European museums reads like a psychological thriller. How do they do it and why are they not caught? This page-turning history is the perfect summer escape that will have you looking at art in a new way, along with and a hundred new details every time you visit a museum.