Bookshop Santa Cruz offers a great way for Book Groups to save 15% on the titles they read, get special invitations to Book Group mixers, and receive email recommendations on excellent Book Group titles.

Register your Book Group at our information desk or online and get 15% off your Book Group picks (when ordering 5 or more copies) and have us hold the titles in one place for easy pick up for all your group members! Browse our new Book Group shelves in the Fiction room for staff recommendations, local book group choices, and information on running Book Groups.

Below are some staff recommendations of great books for Book Groups.

Children of the Jacaranda Tree by Sahar Delijani

Brave and exceptional, this incredible novel is set in post-revolutionary Iran and details three generations of oppression, struggle, and revolution. The intimacy with which the characters’ lives are portrayed moved me completely, and although it was heartbreaking and stunning, it was also amazingly beautiful. These stories deserve our attention; this book deserves much praise.
Reviewed by: 
Nici
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9781476709109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books, 6/2014

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves by Karen Joy Fowler

You may think you already know the big reveal of this novel, but that’s not the half of it. Really, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is a compulsive portrait of family, its ties, jealousies, damages, loyalties and all the fluxing within. Fowler writes with an effortless peculiarity that immediately transports you to another world that is recognizable, but somehow far more interesting and ultimately more meaningful. Just incredible
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780142180822
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Plume, 3/2014

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

Inspired by the friendship of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, this novel imagines two new characters and captures the writer’s life of the late ‘50s, complete with artist colonies, East Village life, and a martini or two. Written entirely in letters, Frances and Bernard ruminates on art, religion, faith, and friendship in a way that only the correspondence between a novelist and a poet could.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda

Frances and Bernard (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780544105171
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books, 2/2014

The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery

This continues to be one of my favorite books. It incorporates all the best that life has to offer within the context of a bourgeois apartment in the center of modern-day Paris. Muriel Barbery writes an original and thoughtful narrative between two different yet oddly similar characters. One, a bright­-beyond­-her­-years twelve year old, and the other, a widowed yet highly cultured concierge. Thus ensues a beautiful and thought-provoking philosophical discussion.
Reviewed by: 
Megan
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9781933372600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions, 9/2008

Dirty Love by Andre Dubus III

Andre Dubus III writes my kind of summer reads. His latest, a collection of linked novellas, delves into the vulnerability that shadows love and desire. As always, Dubus has crafted characters who feel like people we know intimately, and in Dirty Love they wander in and out of each other's stories, lending perspective and nuance to a larger narrative. Dirty Love is an assertive, addictive read that is reminiscent of his earlier work, House of Sand and Fog.
Reviewed by: 
Kat

Dirty Love (Paperback)

$14.95
ISBN-13: 9780393348910
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company, 6/2014

Dear Life by Alice Munro

The very deserving recipient of last year’s Nobel Prize for Literature delivers another beautiful and heartbreaking collection of stories. Filled with simple, honest moments that reveal the depths of her all-too-human characters, Munro’s writing appears effortless, but the casual asides, detours, and odd details are the precise and compassionate brushstrokes of a master painting tableaus of uncanny artistry and power. The book is simply dazzling.
Reviewed by: 
Rico

Dear Life: Stories (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780307743725
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 8/2013

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik

In writing immediate and stripped to its necessity, Maksik gives us Jacqueline, an unknown woman, homeless and bereft, struggling to survive on some Greek island. Slowly, her story of escaping devastation and fleeing Liberia is revealed as she searches for shelter, food, and safety. How does one choose to survive amidst absolute horror and grief? What does it mean to survive, when so much has already been lost? These are the questions at hand, powerfully at hand.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
$15.00
ISBN-13: 9780345803863
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 6/2014

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

If you love nonlinear narratives and interconnected stories as much as I do, and you haven't read Cloud Atlas yet, put it at the top of your list. Six stories, six narrators, and six vastly different points in time, unfold from each other like matryoshka dolls, and David Mitchell's phenomenal storytelling ties them to one another in both big plot arcs and infinitesimal details. It's one of those books that only gets better with each reread!
Reviewed by: 
Andrea

Cloud Atlas (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9780375507250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 8/2004

Quiet Dell by Jayne Ann Phillips

This novel stunned me with its originality and power. At its end, I realized I would be forever haunted—truly, there is no better word to describe the vibration left behind after reading this book. Fusing fact and fiction, the novel is based on a true crime that took place in 1931. Along the way, there are photographs (lifted from real archives) of the characters and the settings that surrounded them. Closing the cover, I did not feel weary about the world, but rather grateful and in awe of those who take the time to find the beating hearts amid the chaos.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.

Quiet Dell (Paperback)

$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781439172544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company, 7/2014

The Circle by Dave Eggers

I couldn't shut up about this book for weeks after I read it: I was like one of those people who bring up their new significant other every two seconds. Dave Eggers places his novel in a near/parallel future in some ways more horrifying than that of 1984, and one for which we may have already passed the event horizon. It is a captivating, deceptively light, and deeply important novel.

Reviewed by: 
Emily

The Circle (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780345807298
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 4/2014

Look At Me by Jennifer Egan

Model's face burns off/
eighty screws can't fix her life/
but coming home might.
Reviewed by: 
Blair

Look at Me (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780385721356
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor, 10/2002

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells by Andrew Sean Greer

Greer captures an inherent melancholy that slips his characters forever into my heart. Greta Wells is no exception; after the devastating loss of her twin brother in 1985 she undergoes a medical treatment that inadvertently sends her back in time. She experiences two different, potential versions of herself (1918 & 1945) providing an interesting look at what it means to be happy and drawing a striking parallel between the Lost Generation and the U.S. AIDS epidemic.
Reviewed by: 
Kimberly
$14.99
ISBN-13: 9780062213792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press, 4/2014

A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip by Kevin Brockmeier

Kevin Brockmeier first caught my attention with Illumination, his beautiful novel that uses a dash of magical realism to trace the seam of empathy and visibility in a world where we so often fail to see one another. Illumination stands out in the way that it is expansive and far reaching. So, I was curious to see what Brockmeier would do with a memoir that is so focused and concise—a memoir whose entire focus is on one year: Brockmeier’s experience of seventh grade. Brockmeier tells the story of his twelve-year old self in third person, he is Kevin, a kid “who cries too easily and laughs too easily” but “he is trying hard not to be him anymore, that kid.” What comes next is a chronicle of awareness, of awkward first kisses, and friends that turn enemies, and creativity squashed and encouraged and squashed again. Kevin is the kind of kid that knows awkwardness and loneliness and small victories while they are happening. His 12-year-old self is astute and awake enough to grasp exactly how harrowing growing up can be. So in the end, Brockmeier offers us in non-fiction what he does in fiction: universality. We share the feeling of frailty and of hope—of a life experienced in all its brave triumphs of faltering, humor, falling, landing, and holding on.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
$24.00
ISBN-13: 9780307908988
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon, 4/2014

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

I read this book in a single weekend, on a mini-vacation, and it was just perfect. Hamid writes absorbing, intelligent page-turners, and How to Get Filthy Rich is now my favorite of his novels. The story centers around a nameless man’s life, from his childhood in a slum to his wealthy adulthood. But no matter where he winds up in the world, his heart constantly tracks the beautiful girl he fell in love with as a young man.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
$16.00
ISBN-13: 9781594632334
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Trade, 3/2014

The Secret of Raven Point by Jennifer Vanderbes

I have been in awe of Jennifer Vanderbes since the publication years ago of one of my favorite novels ever: Easter Island. So when I saw that she had another novel coming out, I greeted it with bated breath and The Secret of Raven Point did not disappoint. Telling the story of Juliet, a young woman growing up during World War II, Vanderbes hands us a novel that is part coming-of-age tale, part mystery, and part wartime narrative. When Juliet’s older brother goes missing in action as an American soldier battling the German army overseas, Juliet lies about her age, then trains and enlists as a nurse to get as close as she can to the point her brother was last seen. Stationed in a field hospital in Italy, Juliet is thrown into the chaos of wartime life. She quickly finds herself surrounded by a makeshift family of fellow nurses, patients, soldiers, and doctors whose lives and small actions create intimacy and meaning under such perilous conditions. Juliet is caught between allowing her new life to shape and form her, and her own loyalty toward that of her missing brother, whose whereabouts remain veiled. This is a novel about holding faith beyond reason, about transgression and transformation, and about how when seeking truth about another, it is impossible to not also find truth about yourself. A poignant, lasting story, for anyone who is a fan of Call the Midwife; Vanderbes’ new novel shows off her skills in their highest form.
Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
$26.00
ISBN-13: 9781439167007
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner, 2/2014

Other Services:
All titles are subject to availability. Prices subject to change. Please call 831-423-0900 to confirm.
Copyright © Bookshop Santa Cruz
(831) 423-0900 · 1520 Pacific Ave · Downtown Santa Cruz · Santa Cruz, CA · 95060