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September 2021

Picture of CaseyDear Readers,

When anyone asks me how I spent my summer, my reply is always the same: I spent it reading for fall! As booksellers, we get often get books in advance so that we can be ready for fall, the biggest season for new books. Here is a snapshot of some of the titles that I loved and that should end up in your book bag over the next month, or at the very least on your holiday wish list.

Cloud Cuckoo Land by Anthony Doerr
Simply one of the best books I’ve read in a long time. An epic, sweeping tale set over three time periods that are all linked by one Greek manuscript. Reading it is a transformative experience as you understand what it means for stories to have lasting impact and the shared power of our humanity to be guardians of those stories. Simply amazing.
The Book of Form and Emptiness by Ruth Ozeki
An innovative and emotional novel centering on two characters grappling with their own forms of mental illness, but still finding a way to love, be loved, and exist outside of the bounds of being "normal.” Don’t miss our event with Ozeki tomorrow! Tickets to the virtual event include a copy of the book.
Sankofa by Chibundu Onuzo
A middle aged woman discovers that her absent father is the leader of a small, revolutionary African country. Her journey of self-discovery raises issues of belonging, identity, and forgiveness.


Fight Night by Miriam Toews
Tracing the journey of brave nine year old Sviv in the care of her angst-ridden mother and her larger than life grandmother, Toews uses laugh-out-loud humor and compassion to show us how to care for each other in the midst of a hard-scrabble world.
The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina by Zoraida Córdova
Magical realism (bordering on fantasy) combines with family drama to show how the secrets and connections through generations carry powers much larger than we could ever imagine.


If you need further inspiration, I hope you will join our Fall Reading Challenge. Read two books from our curated list by the end of October, and we will donate $5 on your behalf to our Keep Kids Reading Fundraiser, benefiting Santa Cruz Pride and Santa Cruz County of Office of Education to put more LGBTQ+ books in local public school libraries. It’s a great way to read some terrific books and make a difference.

Finally, I know we are just starting to see pumpkins and autumn leaves in our midst, but I would remiss if I did not say that this holiday season will be all about shopping early. You’ve heard the drumbeat about supply chain issues, and books are no exception. If you have a particular title you know you’ll want, get it now while we have stacks as we can’t guarantee that we will have it later in the season. If you don’t feel like jumping in before Halloween, just know that we have 40+ booksellers who love books of all kinds who can help you find something when the time is right, even if it isn’t the first title you thought about for that special someone. We look forward to it!

Casey Coonerty Protti
Owner, Bookshop Santa Cruz