Jax's Reviews

Jax Caldwell-Dunn is a bookseller and buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz who loves table-top roleplaying in addition to books. She cannot resist the urge to make something (like a staff profile) more nerdy when given a chance.

 

I would say that I devoured this book about one person’s quest for spirits to stock his San Francisco bar Bar Agricole but I think perhaps it devoured me. Vogler insists on a farm-to-table approach for acquiring his liquors as well as his food, and travels all over the world to find that which feels worth bringing home. It reminds me of bookselling in that way, where you search for the perfect book that is worthy of your customer. I would give this one to someone who consciously labors out of love, who values enthusiasm over perfection, and who, of course, enjoys a good drink. - Jax

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By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399578601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - September 12th, 2017

The witch aesthetic has been on the rise, with women looking to this enduring symbol of feminine power to inspire everything from hairstyles to literature. I can’t wait to get my little black-magic hands on Literary Witches, with its great combination of witchery and fantastic female authors. If black cats and writers like Butler, Woolfe, and Dickinson are your jam, then you gotta check this out. - Jax

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Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers Cover Image
By Taisia Kitaiskaia, Katy Horan (Illustrator)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781580056731
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seal Press (CA) - October 10th, 2017

This book is like the ultimate party companion: it’s funny and smart and it feeds you lines that will make you seem funny and smart. From the creator of the web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (and his super-cool wife) comes a book that will tell you everything you need to know to explain to your smarmy friend why certain technologies aren’t here (yet). Perfect for anyone who loves Bill Nye or just loves looking to the future. - Jax

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Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve And/Or Ruin Everything Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780399563829
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 17th, 2017

It’s a heist. On the moon. And it’s hilarious, with a story that feels fresh and new. Do you love the science in science fiction? Weir skillfully combines the realities of living on a lunar base with the excitement and thrill of the scope of human ingenuity. It’s hard to follow a smash hit like The Martian, but Artemis does it so well. - Jax

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Artemis Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9780553448122
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - November 14th, 2017

This novel is a take on the family drama, with a certain something that only Los Angeles can bring. Drugs, cults, and crushing poverty all make appearances, but so do the human goodness and chance encounters that also pervade the City of Angels. Pochoda navigates these waters with grace and skill, leaving me feeling deeply connected to her characters even as I wondered how human connection is even possible. Is there anything more L.A. than that? - Jax

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Wonder Valley Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062656353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - November 7th, 2017

I am not shy about being a fan of Leckie’s, and I’m happy to say that although Provenance is very different from her other books, it is still very good. It has the same sense of exploration, politics, and self-discovery that I love so much about her writing. Ingray’s story has a more intimate feel, a story of family and finding one’s place rather than the grand epic. But I found I enjoyed it all the same, and I think you will, too. - Jax

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Provenance Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316388672
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbit - September 26th, 2017

I missed this one growing up, and worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to the off-the-charts hype. I’m happy to say this gorgeous, absolutely mesmerizing book is as relevant and engrossing today as ever. Offred’s story is so touching (and terrifying), because the world she inhabits feels so close to our own, with diction that feels positively poetic. - Jax

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The Handmaid's Tale Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - March 13th, 1998

This book is what you get if you add fae magic to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Millie is a delight, with all her dysfunction and her very real struggles with various disabilities. L.A. looms large as a character in its own right; the book is a kind of love/hate letter to the entertainment industry. I enjoyed the snark, loved the characters and was thrilled by the mystery. - Jax

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Borderline Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481429788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - March 1st, 2016

These are the stories of the comic book women whose storylines were hijacked, waylaid or destroyed by or in service to the men they love. I found myself drawn into each-and-every one of these, including one of the most fascinating looks at a Harley Quinn-esque character. Valente’s work is never for the faint of heart, but as always you will find it deeply moving and rewarding if you give it a try. - Jax

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The Refrigerator Monologues Cover Image
By Catherynne M. Valente, Annie Wu (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781481459341
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - June 6th, 2017

Each of these essays explores a different area—from San Francisco to Chile—through the lens of a literary figure. One author wandered Lake Geneva, following the path of Lord Byron and company, another road-tripped to learn about Nabokov’s inspiration for Lolita. Truly good travel writing mixed with literary musings—what could be better? - Jax

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The New York Times: Footsteps: From Ferrante's Naples to Hammett's San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780804189842
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Three Rivers Press (CA) - May 9th, 2017

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