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A Note from Casey Coonerty Protti, Bookshop Owner, May 2021

Dear Readers,

As vaccinations increase, California seems to be awakening to a new reality. As we did a year ago when we pulled the store apart to create social distancing and new ways of operating, we return to reinvention to decide what we want to look like going forward. Although there is plenty of work on facilities, technology, and operations, it is the book portion where this work is the most fun. When will customers want travel books again? Do people want to trade books on sourdough bread making for books on party food?  One thing that will never change is our desire to fill our summer days and nights with reading. We hope you've seen our Summer Readers Newsletter filled with over 100 book recommendations from our passionate booksellers. Last night we held a virtual happy hour to share with you some of our favorites. Here are the books that I am recommending to get lost in this summer:

Olympus Texas by Stacey Swann: Six days in the life of a small-town Texas family pits sibling against sibling and husband against wife as they struggle for understanding, forgiveness, and redemption. It grabs hold from the beginning and slowly simmers to a dramatic end. Oprah Daily describes it as "The Iliad meets Friday Night Lights" which says it perfectly and demonstrates just how amazing this debut novel really is. 
Things We Lost to the Water, by Eric Nguyen: A moving portrait of two generations of Vietnamese refugees in New Orleans as their methods to cope, flourish, and find themselves after dramatic upheaval place tender connections to family and culture at the center of their multifaceted experience. A stunning novel from debut author Eric Nguyen. 
Hour of the Witch by Chris Bohjalian: Captivating historical fiction that casts early colonial witch hunts into a dramatic courtroom battle in 1600's Boston. One woman's fight for a divorce butts up against the Puritan values, and her fears, rage, and hope each play a part in deciding her fate.
On Juneteenth by Annette Gordon-Reed: This slim volume packs a large punch as you trace the history of Juneteenth, a holiday to mark the end of slavery in Texas, through the lens of historian Annette Gordon-Reed's family and her integration of her local public school. Beyond learning about the history of this day, we learn about who gets the right to create the historical record and how that lesson is central to all of our actions on equity and anti-racism. I think Gordon-Reed might be my new favorite historian. 
One Two Three by Laurie Frankel: Fredrik Backman meets Erin Brockovich meets The Rosie Project in this funny and smart story about triplets growing up in a town with tainted water, each with different levels of lifelong effects, and their fight to find the truth when the teenage son of the polluter shows up in town. You'll love getting to know the unique voice of each triplet, and how they become heroes of different strengths to make a difference to the people who mean the most to them and their future. Heartwarming at every turn.
Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead: An epic historical fiction tracing the life of a female aviator in the mid-1900's and the Hollywood star playing her in a movie biopic 70 years later. Sweeping, sassy, exhilarating, and beautifully written, this is the book that everyone is talking about and for good reason. Be ready to be immersed in incredible storytelling.
I hope you find some great reads with Bookshop and enjoy every minute of it.
Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz