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Notes from Casey

October 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

Twenty years ago this month, my husband and I went out on our first date. As you can see from this photo, one of the first things I did when I fell in love was gift him a Bookshop Santa Cruz t-shirt.

September 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

After 55 years in business, we've seen a lot of cycles in the life of the bookstore. I think this year's reality is one of my favorites. We are seeing a huge influx of younger customers who are hitting the book aisles with the explosion of buzzy romance books, LGBTQ+ focused stories, more diverse representation in books being published and a wide exposure for books on #booktok. 

July 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

This summer my family traveled to Spain for a COVID-delayed vacation. The big surprise for me was how much I fell in love with Madrid, a place that previously only registered as the city where my friend's bag was stolen while backpacking around Europe in my early twenties. Why did it resonate so much more this time around? I found Madrid to be a city centered in literature—full of bookstores on every street, golden literary quotes etched into the roads, people reading on park benches, and even burial sites of authors (like Cervantes) in churches. 

June 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

The start of summer means taking stock of the first half of the year in books and for Bookshop staff, that means putting together our lists of the "Favorite Books of 2022, so Far." Always an impossible task, I narrowed down my list to six books that made a major impression on me during 2022.

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.

April 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

Earlier this month, my family and I traveled to Israel for spring break—a long planned (and delayed) visit to the country to connect my kids even more fully to their Bar and Bat Mitzvah journeys. In one of the most meaningful moments, we visited Yad Vashem, The World Holocaust Remembrance Center, on a Bar Mitzvah tour where they shared the powerful story of a boy with the same birthday as my son who did not make it to their Bar Mitzvah. My son was called upon to carry this remembrance with him during his learning and celebration so that his memory would not be forgotten.

March 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

One of Bookshop's most deeply-held beliefs is that connecting the right books to readers has the possibility to change lives. However, for the last ten years, a central way Bookshop does this work has actually only ever been seen by our youngest customers. In partnership with local schools and through the leadership of local librarians, Bookshop brings dozens of authors each year to our schools to connect with kids on books, illustration, writing, and, most importantly, imagination. I remember watching one such assembly where I could see in the faces of some young students that their dream of becoming an author could indeed become real. These events are much more than just an introduction to the book— they give a glimpse to kids about how they could live a creative life.

February 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

In two weeks, Bookshop will host our first in-person event in two years. There are days when I sometimes forget what it felt like to gather together in a room to be inspired by an author, delve into the issues of the day, and come together as a community around our favorite books. Since March 2020, we’ve held over 130 virtual author events, keeping the connection alive. (To say that our Events Director, Chorel, is a hero for engineering, coordinating, and/or hosting all of our virtual author events would be an understatement.) Now, we will gather together at the beautiful Cowell Ranch Hay Barn at UC Santa Cruz for three in-person events to kick off this new chapter in Bookshop’s history.

January 2022

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

Recently, I was having a conversation while exercising with a friend of mine. I was dutifully complaining about my lack of time for exercise, and how to fit it into my busy schedule being a mom and a business owner. After being empathetic to my feelings of stress, my friend asked a very clarifying question: "Casey, what have you done in the last few weeks to figure out what you are going to read next?" I quickly launched into a soliloquy of the lists of anticipated books I scoured on the internet, the panels and forums amongst booksellers to share what books are buzzing, digging through my mail to make piles and organize my advance reading copies, reading reviews of the books as well as the first paragraph of all the contenders, making stacks of prioritization by month and then ultimately creating a digital representation of my to-read-pile. My friend was impressed and then said with a grin on her face, " I think we make time for the things that we are really passionate about."