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.

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
By Haruki Murakami, Philip Gabriel (Translator)
ISBN: 9780385352109
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - August 12th, 2014

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
By Muriel Barbery, Alison Anderson (Translator)
ISBN: 9781933372600
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 2008

If you are like me and love being transported to other regions through fiction, you must know about Anthony Marra. Author of my favorite book of 2013, A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Marra brilliantly captures the brutality and humanity of Eastern Europe and Russia once again. The Tsar of Love and Techno, told through nine independent yet interwoven stories, portrays a cast of characters who share a common connection to a single painting once censored during the Soviet regime. With this collection, Marra continues to demonstrate that he is one of the best young talents in fiction today.  —Casey

ISBN: 9780770436438
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - October 6th, 2015

This is the incredible story that begins in 1937 of a dreamer, a school teacher–turned-swim-coach in Maui and his team of impoverished “ditch kids,” the children of Japanese-American sugar plantation workers who trained in irrigation ditches and dared to dream of Olympic gold, despite the obstacles of war and discrimination. Thoroughly researched and fully fleshed out, The Three-Year Swim Club brings these swimmers to life in a most inspired way, elucidating a fascinating time in U.S. history and the human will to become its heroes.  —Melinda

ISBN: 9781455523443
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - October 27th, 2015

Getting girls and women more involved in the sciences is a familiar discussion, and this book helps expose the behaviors that are creating that dearth of involvement. As a combination of memoir and research, I definitely found my own experiences reflected in what’s shared within. This is a book that will prompt discussions—and that’s exactly what needs to happen.  --Rachel

ISBN: 9780807046579
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - September 15th, 2015

Do you love history, the Civil War, or just stories about kickass ladies? This book has all that and more! Well-researched and full of detailed stories, Karen Abbot focuses on four women and their experiences and contributions during this chaotic time, such as Emma Emonds’ undercover life as a man in the Union army.  --Rachel

ISBN: 9780062092908
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - September 8th, 2015

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)
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


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
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
ISBN: 9780802123701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - April 14th, 2015


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