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March 2024

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

As I watch my 16-year-old daughter sit down to start writing her college essays, I realize how impactful it is to have a deadline. Few things inspire us to finally accomplish what we have always meant to do than some external force helping us shift our priorities. I think that is why we've heard from so many customers about how book challenges are a fun and inspiring way to read.

From our Summer Reading Program for kids to our Winter Reading Program for adults, we see people clamoring for ways to be challenged in their reading. These challenges can inspire you to get started, overcome a reading block or an addiction to devices, help you read outside your comfort zone, or find books that weren't on your radar. 

To add to this fun, we just announced a new challenge—Spring-O Bingo (yes, we actually talked about this in marketing meetings!). We chose some of our favorite books from early this year and are challenging you to read at least two of them by May 1st. Use this fun bingo card to track your reading choices. Once you get three across and complete the challenge, we'll donate $5 on your behalf to our new Keep Kids Reading Fundraiser, which is raising money to buy books for kids on the border who are seeking asylum in the United States through Border Servant Corps

Here are the two books I picked for this challenge:

Will you join me? Let's get reading together. 

Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz

Books I'm loving now:
James by Percival Everett
Many books have attempted to enlarge our understanding of humanity by putting readers in another's shoes. Percival Everett's brilliant retelling of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn from Jim's point of view not only redefines our understanding of humanity, but also reclaims it. Described as a "literary reparation" (Atlanta Journal-Constitution), James accomplishes this feat through epic storytelling, razor-sharp humor, deep compassion and heartfelt vulnerability. An American classic now has a worthy companion, and Jim has the agency he always deserved.
Wild Houses by Colin Barrett
Short story Irish author Colin Barrett's (Homesickness) debut novel is a slow-burn of a thriller centered amongst the hard scrabble working class of a small Irish town. The story follows Dev, a gentle spirit coming-of-age on the edge of acceptability, and Nicky, a waitress who yearns for something more. When they are dragged into some low-level violence in a barely thought-out extortion scheme, the push-and-pull of their desires versus their reality gives a modern voice to the age-old question about how much you can, or should, live beyond the confines and expectations of a narrow life.
Did Ye Hear Mammy Died? by Séamus O'Reilly
Leave it to an Irish author to write a memoir that is equal part humor and heartbreak, leaving you laughing and crying through every sentence with the knowledge that you are bearing witness to the fullness of human emotion. Seamus O'Reilly lost his mom to cancer when he was 5 and was raised and nurtured by his father and 11 siblings. Much in the vein of David Sedaris's storytelling, O'Reilly's family (and familial chaos) is a guide to how a life well-lived is most often one filled with the love (and sometimes a swift kick in the arse) from our loved ones.