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.

Zealot by Reza Aslan

Zealot is a must-read for anyone with a pragmatic interest in Jesus Christ. Reza Aslan intrepidly and clearly elucidates the radical nature of Jesus’ sociopolitical influence, which shakes up the established ideas about the person he was, and gives us a fresh perspective on both Christ and Christianity.
Reviewed by: 
Norbu
$18.00
ISBN-13: 9780812981483
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks, 11/2014

A Circus in Winter by Cathy Day

Set in a fictional town based on Day’s real Indiana home, the chapters melt together in a glittering, nostalgic portrait of the winter home of the Great Porter Circus between 1884 and 1939. Think Winesburg, Ohio plus Water for Elephants. It was a finalist for The Story Prize and was recently made into a musical at Ball State University.
Reviewed by: 
Julia
$18.95
ISBN-13: 9780156032025
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books, 7/2005

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov

For my money this is the best novel in the English language. Though the story is morally dubious Humbert Humbert’s deranged intelligence and erotic exuberance is hilarious, tragic and exhilarating. Mary McCarthy called Lolita “the only truly convincing love story of the twentieth century.” I agree; I’ve read this book ten times (at least) and I can’t wait to read it again.
Reviewed by: 
Rico

Lolita (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9780679723165
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 3/1989

Shantaram by Gregory Roberts

If you’ve always thought, Oh, I’ve been meaning to read that!—don’t put it off any longer! At almost 1000 pages, I was never bored once. Based on the author’s life, it follows an escaped Australian convict as he weaves a new life in Bombay, from his makeshift hospital in the slums to the “glamor” of the drug- and gun-smuggling mafia. There’s also an intense, honest love story.
Reviewed by: 
Julia

Shantaram (Paperback)

$15.99
ISBN-13: 9780312330538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Griffin, 10/2005

Selected Stories by Alice Munro

Alice Munro is quite simply the best short-story writer ever. The recent Nobel Prize in Literature is just icing on the cake. This book brings together the best stories from the first half of her career (1968-1994), including the masterpieces “Walker Brothers Cowboy,” “Friend of My Youth” and (my personal favorite) “The Albanian Virgin.”
Reviewed by: 
Rico
$16.95
ISBN-13: 9780679766742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 11/1997

Life Drawing by Robin Black

This beautiful literary novel has the bones of a thriller. From the first line on I found myself clutching at the pages, as though to save myself from what I knew was coming. Robin Black is simply a master (her short story collection If I Loved You, I Would Tell You This is a huge staff favorite) and her writing deserves a wide, adoring audience. Don’t miss Life Drawing.
Reviewed by: 
Kat

Life Drawing (Hardcover)

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9781400068562
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House, 3/2014

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

If it were up to me, Boyd would be as well-known as Steinbeck or Dickens. He does it all: amazing plots, wonderful descriptions and—especially—great characters. Written in the form of journal entries, this book tells the story of an art dealer and sometime-spy whose life is a kind of history of the 20th century. Both intimate and sweeping, this is simply a great old-fashioned read.
Reviewed by: 
Rico

Any Human Heart (Paperback)

$15.95
ISBN-13: 9781400031009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage, 1/2004

The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton

In 17th-century Amsterdam, young Petronella arrives at her new husband's doorstep and is greeted with coldness and secrecy. To occupy her time, he gives her a cabinet replica of their house, wrought in extraordinary detail. Nella commissions an enigmatic craftsman, but gets a shock when the delivered items portend violent mishaps in the family's future. With a style as bewitching as the miniaturist's crafts, this debut is a great pick for book groups.
Reviewed by: 
Andrea

The Miniaturist (Hardcover)

$26.99
ISBN-13: 9780062306814
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press, 8/2014

10:04 by Ben Lerner

This amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure recalling the best of Nabokov or W. G. Sebald. With a childlike sense of wonder (and a healthy dose of dismay), Lerner reveals the connective tissue between the Challenger disaster, contemporary art, the film Back to the Future, Superstorm Sandy, a plagiarized poem that shows up (re-plagiarized) in a Reagan speech, and a popular dinosaur that never actually existed. Brilliant work.
Reviewed by: 
Rico

10:04: A Novel (Hardcover)

$25.00
ISBN-13: 9780865478107
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Faber & Faber, 9/2014

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage by Haruki Murakami

This is not the book I expected Haruki Murakami to write. This book is simple and subtle in both language and plot. The protagonist, Tsukuru Tazaki, leads the reader through both his past and present experiences, as he seeks out the answer to a question that has continued to plague him. The plot will, no doubt, interest you. However, I feel that the soul of this book is better found in Murakami's language; presenting weighted moments with such elegance. This book is evidence of why we love Murakami, because of his ability to give energy to what is otherwise merely empty space.
Reviewed by: 
Megan
$20.76
ISBN-13: 9780385352109
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf, 8/2014

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

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

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