Bookshop Santa Cruz staff recommendation:

The following books are recommended by our staff as great choices for book groups. Sign up for our Book Ends email newsletter to receive more great book group recommendations.

Step into an enchanted land of Middle Eastern mythology and folklore in this remarkable debut by S. A. Chakraborty. Follow the tale of Nahri, a con artist from the streets of 18th-century Cairo, as she is swept into the world of the ancient magical djinn. Complex and mesmerizing, with phenomenal world building, the story’s mythology is vibrant and tangible. This is an exciting read that is impossible to put down. - Trey

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The City of Brass Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062678102
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Voyager - November 14th, 2017


Sasha loves Russia, languages that don’t contain binary genders, and the way their skirt feels against their legs. Richard just got back from a juvenile residential program in Redding. He says he never got a childhood, so he’s always making jokes, pulling pranks. His friends and mentors think he might be the one to get out of their rough neighborhood in Oakland. Between their lives runs the 57 bus and a brief encounter that will make their actions erupt onto the world’s screen. The 57 Bus reads like a gorgeous young adult novel—one of the best books I’ve read this year—but it’s based on a true story, heartbreaking, eye opening and, surprisingly, filled with hope. Ages 12 and up. - Tera

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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374303235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 17th, 2017


During winter break her college freshman year, alone in upstate New York (instead of home in San Francisco), our hero muses and slowly, gently reveals her past. Here is an exploration of grief, betrayal and, most importantly, reconciliation. Exquisitely written and, for me, one of the year’s most deeply affecting YA novels. Grades 8 and up. - Ga

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We Are Okay Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525425892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - February 14th, 2017


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


Unforgettable tells the story of culinary legend and author of nine award-winning cookbooks, Paula Wolfert (Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. This biographical cookbook, written by Emily Kaiser Thelin, shares more than 50 of Wolfert’s most iconic dishes and explores the relationship between food and memory. “The amount of love, through food, Paula has given so many over the years makes this biography-cum-cookbook a truly wonderful project.” —Yotam Ottolenghi

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Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life Cover Image
By Emily Kaiser Thelin, Andrea Nguyen (Editor), Eric Wolfinger (Photographer)
$35.00
ISBN: 9781538729885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Life & Style - October 17th, 2017


In 1928, women were permitted to participate at the Olympics in track and field for the first time. This book recounts the careers of the women who were there and those who followed in their footsteps. These women overcame immense physical, mental, and social obstacles to pursue a sport they loved. It’s a fascinating and rarely told part of history. - Jade

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Fire on the Track: Betty Robinson and the Triumph of the Early Olympic Women Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781101906156
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown Publishing Group (NY) - October 17th, 2017


Singer-songwriter Dar Williams tackles the sensitive issue of rampant gentrification in the United States in her new book. Using the knowledge she has acquired over her many years touring the country and her experiences in her own community, Williams offers strategies for building a happy, healthy town. She takes the reader all over the country, telling stories from cities that have made strides toward reducing gentrification and detailing the different ways that they are doing so. - Jade


Reading The Inner Life of Animals is like having a cheery fireside chat with a dear friend. One feels immediately welcomed and in cahoots with the author. With light chapters and a conversational tone, it’s the perfect armchair read. Wohlleben (The Hidden Life of Trees) translates scientific studies about animal behavior for the layperson and weaves in stories of his own animals (including goats!) as they steal, count, and parent their way through life. - Melinda

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The Inner Life of Animals: Love, Grief, and Compassion--Surprising Observations of a Hidden World Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781771643016
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Greystone Books - November 7th, 2017


Switching between his year on the International Space Station and the choices he had to make to get there, Endurance seems like an understatement considering all that Scott Kelly has achieved. It’s more than a book about space or about an astronaut’s experience; it’s about all that comes together to make such things happen. The perfect blend of biography and science, humor and inspirational reading. My copy is full of Post-its marking my favorite bits. - Rachel

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Endurance: A Year in Space, a Lifetime of Discovery Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781524731595
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - October 17th, 2017


In the same vein as Radium Girls and Hidden Figures, Code Girls delves into the stories of the women working behind the scenes during World War II. From deciphering codes to soldering together the cipher machines themselves, these women were at the forefront of the war and its outcome but unable to tell anyone about their work. Code Girls dragged my emotions all over the place and is at the top of my all-time must-read list. - Rachel

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Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316352536
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - October 10th, 2017


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