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.

While Murakami’s new novel reads like a dream or a whispered ghost story, it is also one of the most real-to-life coming-of-age stories I’ve ever read. Thirty-something Tsukuru Tazaki has a pilgrimage to make—both real and into his past—and for all the familiarity of his youth, it becomes a land more foreign than he could ever imagine. Carefully placed, fueled by thoughtfulness and simplicity, this is a beautiful meditation—at once mysterious, devastating and incredibly moving.  —Melinda

By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
$15.95
ISBN: 9780804170123
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 5th, 2015


While ultimately about the timeless battle between two otherworldly forces, The Bone Clocks roots itself deeply in the fullness of its characters and each moment’s here and now.  Spanning centuries, the story expertly weaves together a tapestry that is both an epic adventure and a critique on our all-too-real moment in time. This is classic Mitchell: Unfettered intelligence, a broadness of curiosity, and writing so clean the sentences glide forward and then stand still, demanding to be admired.  —Melinda

 

$18.00
ISBN: 9780812976823
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - June 16th, 2015


Lovely queer Victorian heroines and a series of misunderstandings convoluted enough to rival Shakespeare--Fingersmith has it all! Susan agrees to pose as Maud's maid to steal her substantial inheritance, but develops affection, and then something deeper, for her target. Everything seems to be going according to plan, when sudden disaster strikes and one girl is held captive while the other is dumped into a madhouse. You will read the last hundred pages with bated breath.

Reviewed by: Andrea
$16.00
ISBN: 9781573229722
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 2002


I work in Bookshop’s Receiving Department, and whenever a copy of this book arrives I take a few moments to mull it over before tucking it away to be shelved. Euphoria is simply an excellent novel filled with emotions both raw and refined. I keep getting swept back to that small island where our three anthropologists meet, where the Tam society that renowned Nell Stone studies awakens in her all the desires that women were/are denied. If you’re looking for an intelligent summer fling, pick this up.

Reviewed by: Louise
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802123701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 14th, 2015


We Are Called to Rise says so much about the good in humanity; it is a story of redemption and unexpected love. Set in Las Vegas, we are given an intimate view of those living in the city instead of the traditional story of the light and show. We are introduced to an immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker who struggles with the darker shadows of the city, and a wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can’t remember getting. These characters seem separate and disparate from one another, but McBride interlaces their stories and by the time their stories connect to reveal a whole, acts of tragedy and deep bravery are already unfolding. This is one of those novels that seems a quick read, where the story catapults you forward, but by the end, the spectrum of the range of what we are capable of, in every sense of that word, is what actually remains.

Reviewed by: S.M.C.
$15.00
ISBN: 9781476738970
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 28th, 2015


Drenched in literature, rich with contemplation, Tseng’s first novel is wryly observant, compulsively readable and dangerously passionate. Mayumi is a 41-year old small town librarian, married, a mother, and stuck in the mundane, when she falls inexplicably in love with a young man. What follows is a beautifully written meditative romp through the seasons of lust, obsession and love. As real as it is metaphorical, Tseng writes on many levels, making for a most complex and satisfying read.

Reviewed by: Melinda
$16.00
ISBN: 9781609452698
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - May 26th, 2015


Waitressing at a fancy restaurant where patrons are both noxious and moneyed, 20-something Marie lives out the complexities of modern womanhood. She spends her shifts planning her nights—mostly spent with an uncaring lover or mournfully fussing over her baby girl. Yet there is a self-awareness in her voice that begs you to consider life’s small complexities. This is a hurricane between two covers, but you’ll not regret being whirled away.

Reviewed by: Louise
$15.95
ISBN: 9780345807137
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - June 9th, 2015


In Ian McEwan’s latest novel, a judge known for her intelligence and sensitivity is called upon to try the urgent case of a teenager who refuses for religious reasons the medical treatment that could save his life. The Children Act is a book about choices—and the way a single decision can ricochet into the world with startling, unpredictable consequences. One of our staff’s favorite books of 2014, The Children Act also received starred reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews, and Publishers Weekly, who calls McEwan “among the best of Britain’s living novelists.”

$15.00
ISBN: 9781101872871
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - April 28th, 2015


For Anna Lyndsey, what begins as sensitivity to computer screens swiftly transforms into the unthinkable: a painful, burning reaction to all forms of light. Brilliantly, beautifully written, Lyndsey takes the reader on a maddening journey through her rare affliction of the skin, as she retreats to a fortress of darkness in her struggle to find a cure. Through creative tactics and unflinching resolve, she pushes forward, ever seeking the light at the end of the tunnel.
Reviewed by: Sara
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385539609
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday Books - March 3rd, 2015


This novel is one heck of a read—fast paced, fluid, impossible to put down. Set during the six riot-filled days following the Rodney King trial, Gattis lays out racial tensions, gang violence, and broken systems in the extreme by exploring the interconnected stories of people swept up in the lawlessness, vengeance and betrayal of the moment. All Involved is as smart as it is thrilling, as socially important as it is purely enjoyable.

Reviewed by: Melinda
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062378798
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - April 7th, 2015


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