Spring Reading, 2018

A pink background with white text that says "Spring Reading" and a photo of a woman reading amidst flowers in nature.

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

I have to admit that I have a weakness for family epics. There is something so powerful about connecting to characters’ lives in the place that is most emotional, complex, and personal. So when I read The House of Broken Angels I was not surprised that I fell in love with the extended cast of characters of the Las Cruzes family, but little did I know that their feelings of belonging, loyalty, and forgiveness would deeply permeate and change my own view of humanity. Dave Eggers says that it is “one of the most vivid and engrossing family epics of the last twenty years” and I agree. - Casey

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The House of Broken Angels Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316154888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 6th, 2018

This lovely literary debut takes you back to Portland in the 90s in all its raw and messy glory. It is an unconventional love story with one major twist: A lesbian has an affair with a man that leaves her pregnant and possibly ostracized from her insular community. The plot is simple yet powerful, deftly shining light on issues of belonging, what family means, and how to expect the unexpected—all with humor and care. - Kelly

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Stray City: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062666680
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Custom House - March 20th, 2018

This stunning novel brings an American scientist and a Ghanaian psychologist together in London in a hunt for a missing boy. “Aminatta Forna expertly weaves her characters’ stories, past and present, in and out of the larger story of London, which becomes as rich a character as the human beings and, indeed, the foxes; and she makes us care deeply about them all, the foxes, the people and the city. A terrific novel.”—Salman Rushdie

Happiness Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780802127556
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atlantic Monthly Press - March 6th, 2018

Richard Powers is an author of voracious curiosity and laser focused insight, gracing each of his novel’s topics with originality and breadth. His newest, The Overstory, is structured around trees, their own histories and our relationships with them, both on a personal level through the cast of diverse characters he builds and through the environmental activism that brings them together in unexpected ways. Gorgeously written, thoughtfully rendered, this is another intellectual feat by one of my favorite authors. - Melinda

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The Overstory Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780393635522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 3rd, 2018

This book reads like an old black and white movie. Think Bogart and Bacall. It’s everything you want in a smart, summer, beach read; tragedy, intrigue, forbidden romance, and dramatic endings. Each chapter keeps you rooting for Grace, cheering her on as she discovers who she is, what she wants, and how strong she really is. - Jenny

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The Stars Are Fire Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345806369
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 27th, 2018

Bare, intense, and incredibly beautiful reading. Arimah has a kind of raw and obvious literary talent that seems almost unfair in the world of publishing. These concise and powerful short stories cut deeply without lingering too long over one image, over one characterization... a quiet and harsh exploration of violence, each story flashed like a photograph in the mind, using powerful words touched upon only briefly to vivid effect. Hard to read; worth every word. - a.c.

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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735211032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 3rd, 2018

If you’ve ever struggled with who you thought you were in contrast to who life shows you to be, you will appreciate the stories of these three women. Set against the harsh and resilient sub-Saharan African landscape, Adrienne Benson uses this appropriate backdrop to illustrate the resiliency and courage of these women as they wrestle with cultural expectations, motherhood desires and disappointments, and the way we can use relationships to speak truth back to ourselves. - Jenny

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The Brightest Sun Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780778331278
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - March 20th, 2018

Right away I knew I was going to love this book. This is one instance where you should judge the book by its cover because of how lovely it is. Naledi is a capable, intelligent woman who really had zero time for Thasibo's privileged nonsense. Cole layers her sexy smooches with real world issues, smart dialogue, and just a fun plot. Life hack: Read this after you watch Black Panther, because then you’ll picture T’Challa as Thasibo and it’ll be that much better. - Karena

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A Princess in Theory: Reluctant Royals Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9780062685544
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - February 27th, 2018

Danya Kukafka’s debut novel ticks so many of my good-read boxes: Beautifully written; well-paced; great character development; and then, more specifically, multiple points of view and intertwining story lines. Told from three distinct perspectives, Girl in Snow takes different paths to the same ending as each character passes by, circles around, and eventually collides with the others as this small Colorado town deals with the aftermath of the homicide of a local teen. - Megan

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Girl in Snow: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781501144387
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 3rd, 2018

An absolute must-read for any true crime fan or armchair sleuth, this horrifying account of a decades-long unsolved California crime spree is the definition of “gripping.” The compassion and bulldog advocacy McNamara brought to the story is truly a new standard for this genre, and even though the case remains cold, the bittersweet ending is more than satisfying. Be warned that this intense read will have you locking your doors and windows at night! - Kelly

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I'll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman's Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer Cover Image
By Michelle McNamara, Gillian Flynn (Introduction by), Patton Oswalt (Afterword by)
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062319784
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - February 27th, 2018

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