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May 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

In a world that seems to be crumbling around us, people often turn to books for different reasons. Some turn to poetry to try to put their feelings into words. Others seek out books on history or politics to make sense about what is happening. Still others turn to science-fiction to live in worlds where anything is possible. Surprisingly, this year, I’ve turned to short stories.

In the past, I didn't gravitate toward short stories. I ended up frustrated that I didn't get more time with characters that I fell in love with. However, during this overwhelming year, I've found that there is something absolutely perfect about a short story. It's amazing that in such a short time, you can recognize the humanity of a character's experience, which reminds us that the connections of our shared humanity are, in fact, more powerful than our differences. Having something bite-sized makes the enormity of the world seem more manageable. And, the experimentation of short stories kicks in my imagination right when reality is too much to bear. Not to mention that I can finish an entire story between the time I start reading at night and when I fall asleep.

Some of my favorite books this year are short story collections. If you haven't given them a try, I encourage you to pick one up and dive in. I think we all need some things in our life that just feel right for a moment.

Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz

Books I'm loving now:
Nobody Gets Out Alive by Leigh Newman
Leigh Newman’s stories examine both the ordinary and extraordinary of living in Alaska. Each story of the hard scrabble existence of such independent people is smart, fresh, captivating and courageous. Her stunning writing and amazing storytelling has catapulted this book to be one of my favorite books of 2022 thus far. .
The Angel of Rome: And Other Stories by Jess Walter
Jess Walter, author of Beautiful Ruins and The Cold Millions, is back with a collection of wildly entertaining, funny and resonant story stories that traverse the globe. I love that they run the gamut from a coming-of-age story in Rome to a conversation between an elderly couple in New York, each capturing the immense feelings of those periods of our lives. It's brilliant.
You Have a Friend in 10A: Stories by Maggie Shipstead
Last year, Shipstead's The Great Circle was one of my favorite books of the year. This year, she shows the range of her storytelling prowess by stunning us all with a collection of short stories from all walks of life. A fellow Bookshop bookseller told me that she might be one of the best short story writers of our time and after reading this collection, I completely agree.