Rico's Reviews

Rico has had a lot of different jobs over the years--carpenter, office manager, teacher, marketing copywriter--but he's spent most of his adult life selling books, first at Capitola Book Cafe and now at Bookshop Santa Cruz, where he manages the Fiction section. In his spare time he does a lot of birdwatching, backpacking, and woodworking. His novel, Fox Run, was shortlisted for the S. Mariella Gable Prize and and was a finalist for the James D. Phelan Award. His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines around the country--one was a Notable Story of the Year in the 2009 Best of the West anthology and two were nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. Though he mostly reads literary fiction, he also loves outdoor adventure, history and anything about Africa. Aside from being around books all day, his favorite part of the job is making recommendations and turning people on to authors they haven't discovered yet.

Frans Lanting, one of the most widely known and well-respected nature photographers in the world, has taken some of the iconic photographs of the past several decades. Here he collects his best images from Africa, capturing the light and vibrancy of the continent. The images are so astounding they literally calm the spirit. A great gift for photographers, travelers, nature lovers, and those looking to take an African safari of the mind. - Rico

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Into Africa Cover Image
By Frans Lanting, Chris Eckstrom (Editor), Frans Lanting (Photographer)
$50.00
ISBN: 9781608878895
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Earth Aware Editions - October 10th, 2017

This collection presents 50 large-scale works from Rothko’s color field period (1949–1970) alongside essays by his son, Christopher Rothko, and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art curator of painting and sculpture Janet Bishop. Filled with illuminating details about Rothko’s life, influences, and legacy, this essential volume brings the renowned artist’s luminous work to light for both longtime Rothko fans and those discovering his work for the very first time. - Rico

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Rothko: The Color Field Paintings Cover Image
By Janet Bishop (Contribution by), Christopher Rothko (Foreword by)
$40.00
ISBN: 9781452156590
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - September 5th, 2017

Eugenides is one of those great old-timey writers, like Tolstoy or Dickens, who tell big, sweeping stories that somehow still feel specific and intimate to his characters, and he does it with compassion and a sad-funny tone that keeps you glued to the page. Though he’s been publishing for almost 25 years, somehow we’re only now getting his first collection of short fiction. As a huge fan of his two previous novels, Middlesex and The Marriage Plot, I can’t wait to see what he does with the shorter form. - Rico

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Fresh Complaint: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374203061
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus and Giroux - October 3rd, 2017

Tobias Wolff calls this the best thing ever written about the Vietnam War. An amalgam of autobiography, war reportage, and fiction, it tells the story of O’Brien himself and the other soldiers in his platoon in such a powerful way you can’t imagine anything else needing to be said on the subject. The perfect companion to the new Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary. - RIco

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The Things They Carried Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780618706419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 13th, 2009

My favorite novel by Faulkner, and the most accessible of his major works, Light in August is a flat-out masterpiece of style, structure and storytelling. Following the fates of many characters at once, all of them swirling around and toward each other, the sense of tragic menace is palpable. For my money, this is the quintessential Southern Gothic novel. - Rico

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Light in August Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679732266
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 1991

This might be one of the strangest--and best written--memoirs I've ever read. It tells the story of Michael's aunt Harriet, who, along with her husband Irving, are very successful screenwriters. (They wrote Norma Rae, among other big movies). Because Aunt Harriet has no children of her own, and because she senses "great potential" in Michael, she steals him (emotionally speaking) from his own family. Much awkwardness ensues. - Rico

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The Mighty Franks: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374210120
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 16th, 2017

From the author of The Miracle Girl comes this smart, often funny and heart-felt collection of short stories. A Californian, Roe’s sympathies lie with the Golden State’s outsiders—its janitors and harried single mothers and petty criminals and lost souls—and the efforts they make, however on point or misguided, to save themselves. An assured debut! - Rico

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Where You Live Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781938126437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Engine Books - May 9th, 2017

This scintillating amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure that recalls the best of Nabokov. While Lerner’s intellect and erudition know no bounds, the book is taut and precise—a masterwork of literary engineering. It is among the smartest, most compelling novels I’ve ever read. - Rico

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10:04: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250081339
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - October 13th, 2015

This is an excellent anthology of great current fiction from California, representing our fair state in all of its beautiful and insane glory. Along with writers from many of the far corners of the territory, the book includes several Santa Cruzans, including Elizabeth McKenzie (The Portable Veblen), Micah Perks (What Becomes Us), Kat Meads (2:12 a.m.: Essays), and Gary Young (The Dream of a Moral Life). Sharp, intelligent, and often very funny, these pieces offer something for everyone. - Rico

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Golden State 2017: The Best New Writing from California Cover Image
By Lisa Locascio (Editor)
$18.50
ISBN: 9781944853235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Outpost19 - June 6th, 2017

Fair served as a contract interrogator for the U.S. military during the Iraq War. In this searing memoir, he recounts several of the “enhanced interrogations” he participated in, the moral gray areas that troubled his Christian faith and his sense of human decency, and the long period of nightmares that followed his service. When his health began to deteriorate and his marriage teetered on the brink of divorce, he decided to put pen to paper in a last-ditch effort to save his own life. The book is a compelling, heartbreaking addition to the growing body of important writing about the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. - Rico

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Consequence: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781250118424
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - April 11th, 2017

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