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.

What Becomes Us is one of those delicious novels that immediately places you into a world of narrative glory, stunning setting, and characters so bold and original that the cadence of their voices fill your every thought. When Evie, pregnant with twins, moves across the country to escape her controlling husband, she ends up in Lonely Rincon, New York, made famous by its historical significance as the location where (real-life) settler Mary Rowlandson was held captive by Native Americans in 1682. Perks weaves together the facts of Rowlandson’s story with Evie’s journey toward independence and acceptance. The novel is part ghost story, part love story, and most of all, a wonderful, wonderful read.  —S.M.C.


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What Becomes Us Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937402983
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Outpost19 - October 4th, 2016

1939: A young Jewish girl, Hannah, drifts alone through Berlin, waiting for either the “Ogres” to take her family or her family to take her from home. 2014: A young girl, Anna, drifts alone through New York City, waiting for her mother to stop mourning her lost father. Through photos and family secrets, from Germany to Cuba to New York, the lives of two girls connect—lives where moments matter less than memories or dreams.  —Jocelyn


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The German Girl Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501121142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - October 18th, 2016

With his first story collection in 12 years, McCann reaffirms his place as one of the great writers of our time. Deeply sympathetic to his characters and subversively funny, he tells quirky and powerful stories that slyly achieve great emotional power. If you’re already a fan, you know you need this. If you’ve yet to discover him, this is a great place to start.  —Rico


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Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812986587
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade - September 20th, 2016

In Foer’s latest novel, generations of history are laid on the shoulders of one modern Jewish-American family during a time of crisis. So much is endured, revealed, and lost that they seem inextricably bound to the reader. At the heart of it all is this: What does it mean to be fully present in one’s life? There are no easy answers, but I am in awe at the skill with which Foer delves into the heart of familial life.  —Jax

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Here I Am Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374280024
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 6th, 2016

In this beautiful, brazen debut novel, Arudpragasam intimately explores the human condition through a day in the life of Dinesh, a young refugee of the Sri Lankan Civil War. Asked to marry an older man’s only daughter to provide an illusion of protection from the armies and the shellings, Dinesh accepts and in so doing must reacquaint himself with the act of living, instead of merely surviving. It is bone-deep introspective and worth the devastating read.  —Melinda

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The Story of a Brief Marriage Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250072405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - September 6th, 2016

This is the book for literary nerds. This is the book for period Anglophiles. For those whose guilty pleasure rests in just a small puddle of blood. Whether you’re a fan of Jane Eyre, or just looking for a great, fun novel to sink your teeth into, this is the book you need to lose yourself in. Funny, intelligent, on-point—I loved getting to know Jane Steele, and hated having to leave her world.  —Jocelyn


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Jane Steele Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399169496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - March 22nd, 2016

This is the perfect book for those looking for something deeper, richer than your average summer read. Set in England on the eve of World War I, it hosts a fascinating cast of characters that worm their way into your heart and refuse to leave. It’s a novel about transitions: from peace to war, from innocence to adulthood. It’s about love and loss, and the ways lives are not only defined but also forged and refined by the hardships endured.  —Jax

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The Summer Before the War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812993103
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - March 22nd, 2016

Complex in both style and content, Nguyen’s The Sympathizer offers an original and wholly rewarding reading experience. Our narrator chronicles Saigon’s fall and the political and personal fallout that ensues. A U.S.-educated Viet Cong mole, he undermines the country that has molded him to serve the country of his birth. As his external life collapses so too does his internal, evoking a heartbreaking, darkly comic view of what nationalism truly means.  —Dillon

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The Sympathizer: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize for Fiction) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802123459
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Grove Press - April 7th, 2015

Yanagihara writes the interior epic to heart-aching perfection, following four college roommates through three decades of relationships, careers, struggles and triumphs. At the novel’s heart is Jude, determined to keep hidden his past and its terrible effects on his every present. A Little Life is a deeply felt journey through male friendship, love, trust and hurt, quietly building and connecting, drawing you in page after page. It’s an emotional challenge to read, but one that pays off in the lives you come to love. —Melinda

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A Little Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804172707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor Books - January 26th, 2016

When it comes to music, a guy with an opinion is a cognoscente while a chick must be a drooling fangirl. Teenage girls are the number one purchasers of music, and yet too often when women care about culture it is assumed to be for superficial, and thus invalid reasons. You should buy this book because Jessica Hopper's work exists to expand the world of music connoisseurship beyond these tired polarities. Unless of course you're part of that sacred cabal of "men" who "get it." There are plenty of Bob Dylan books in the music section, filed under D. –Molly

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The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic Cover Image
ISBN: 9780983186335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Featherproof Books - May 12th, 2015



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