Spring Reading, 2016

Some of the best books of the season, recommended by Bookshop Santa Cruz staff.

One of the most highly praised and anticipated story collections of recent memory, Night at the Fiestas is set in northern New Mexico and follows hardscrabble lives haunted by loss and enlivened by dreams of a better future. Quade’s writing is lushly detailed, her characters lovingly drawn, and her stories achieve astonishing emotional power. By turns tragic and very funny, this is a terrific debut.  —Rico

 

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Night at the Fiestas: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393352214
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2016

Sara Baume has written a remarkable debut novel. With lyrical yet exacting prose, she unfolds the inner thoughts and history of a downtrodden older man, the town misfit, as he finds meaningful relationship with One Eye, the scruffy dog he adopts. Both loners and outcasts, their poignant story is told through the course of a country year and its seasons, and as one might suspect, they do not play lightly with your heart.  —Melinda

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Spill Simmer Falter Wither Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780544716193
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - March 8th, 2016

The Passenger is a breathless thrill ride filled with secrets and deception. Our heroine is on the run, swapping identities as she flees from city to city, trying to escape her past. Along the way, she makes allies and enemies, while the details of her past are slowly parceled out, keeping you on the edge of your seat until the very end. This book kept me guessing the whole way through. I thoroughly enjoyed it.  —Flannery

 

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The Passenger Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9781451686630
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 1st, 2016

Millie is a compelling, original, funny, and sometimes downright obnoxious new protagonist in modern SciFi. She’s an urban film school dropout with no legs (but great prosthetics); a mental illness for which she offers no apologies (ever); and a sense of ironic humor which ties together a completely unexpected storyline. Mishell Baker’s faerie-driven explanation of Hollywood movie making is such a well-built world that, as Millie says, “Walt Disney would be peeing right now.”  —a.c.

 

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Borderline (Arcadia Project #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481429788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Saga Press - March 1st, 2016

It’s difficult to believe that this collection is Mia Alvar’s first; her writing is so polished, her insight into the complexities of human nature illuminated by its crispness. While Alvar chronicles the many different experiences of Filipinos, whether struggling at home or as immigrants and expats searching abroad, her compassionate voice rings true for all of us as we determine where we belong and what is home and, more importantly, how to accept it when we find it.  —Melinda

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In the Country: Stories Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804171496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 2nd, 2016

My favorite book in a year, this collection is for the postgender, the whimsical, the anti-establishment fiction lover who refuses to read the same thing twice. With deft skill and beautiful language, Oyememi pushes the boundaries of each story until they snap—and magical surrealism takes hold. Widely diverse in style, these tales begin to subtly connect early on, an initially slow blurring of shared characters and themes that calls for attentive reading. Makeless! Ideal for fans of Kelly Link.  —a.c.

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What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781594634635
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016

The latest in the Hap and Leonard series is raunchy, twisted good fun. The two PIs are good ol’ boys with a penchant for vanilla cookies and Dr. Pepper. They’re sly, and apt to erupt into violence at the slightest (and I mean slightest) hint of injustice. Their “cases” aren’t so much jobs as digging themselves out of their own graves. Smart chemistry between leads centers a rollicking mystery that ain’t for the squeamish.  —Dillon

 

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Honky Tonk Samurai (Hap and Leonard) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780316329408
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Mulholland Books - February 2nd, 2016

Not gonna’ lie, some of the math in this book was a little over my head and at times it felt like I was reading an assignment for school, but this book is a lot of fun if you’re into this sort of thing (which, evidently, I am). What I’m trying to say is you don’t need to be a math whiz to enjoy this book, so don’t let that discourage you.  —Andrés

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Fluke: The Math and Myth of Coincidence Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780465060955
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books - March 29th, 2016

Evicted tugs at your heartstrings and inspires you to want to make a difference. Matthew Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, lived in low-income neighborhoods for three years, recording this true story of people living in the slums of Milwaukee, as they struggled (and failed) to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted engages the topic of income inequality with honest reportage and real solutions to ensure that everyone has a place to call home.  —Jason

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780553447439
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Crown - March 1st, 2016

Whether you have long been a fan of Annie Dillard or are coming to her for the first time, prepare to be stunned. Dillard has selected essays from a lifetime of work, ranging from Pilgrim at Tinker Creek to An American Childhood, to illuminate her observations on the natural world and our very human place in it. Thoughtful, beautiful, harsh, real, fanciful, funny, and all out revealing—both in the ordinary and in wonder. What a gift.  —Melinda

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The Abundance: Narrative Essays Old and New Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062432971
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ecco - March 15th, 2016

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