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a.c.'s Reviews

A ladder against a wall of books has two books placed cover-out on each of it's rungs. A woman with long, loose brown hair is hanging from the ladder, looking at the books and smiling.Bookseller Goodbye

Home is where your books are, and none of us ever really say goodbye to Bookshop Santa Cruz. My coworkers, this place, the community surrounding it and the very shelves of it have been home to me for the past four years. I’m braving a new challenge, soon, but I do so in the knowledge that huge pieces of my heart are stored safely in the stacks here. You may notice it sometimes in the rustle of certain pages: the spirit of booksellers past, like me, who never fully leave.

In the skylight room where we host events, and where the rain sounds exquisitely beautiful on winter days, there is a ladder which I have scrambled up over hundreds of times to adjust the sound before author talks. I said goodbye to it this Saturday! And goodbye to my books. Every title in this photo is one that once stopped my heart suddenly, raised my spirits, made me cry, made me pause, made me think or made me hope. I leave them with you! Please take them home. Don’t leave them to linger too long on these shelves, unread. Pass them around. Leave pieces of yourself between the pages.

My love to you always, Bookshop!




A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin

The novel opens on a nameless boy and his grandmother, in an unspecified and wooded country, during a war that-- also unnamed-- resembles WWII. Lyrical, beautiful, and focused keenly how human connection struggles against the threat of mortality, this extraordinarily quiet work warmed me to my bones. Slowly paced, Durbin here writes a treatise on war, love and God which only just happens to contain a faun and a faerie puzzle. - a.c.

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A Green and Ancient Light Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481442237
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 13th, 2017

Trees in Paradise by Jared Farmer

Finally in paperback! Blending science, history, and horticultural legend, this brilliant exploration of California trees changed my understanding of our state. First lesson: Forget gold! In early California, trees were the movers and shakers. Rare coastal trees were sold worldwide as status symbols, foreign trees swarmed west in the arms of overzealous arborists, and California was transformed. - a.c.

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Trees in Paradise: The Botanical Conquest of California Cover Image
ISBN: 9781597143929
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Heyday Books - March 1st, 2017

Behave by Robert M. Sapolsky

Please freeze, scream a little in the back of your throat, dance wildly, and rejoice with me over Robert Sapolsky’s new book on human behavior! A Stanford professor, lauded neuroendocrinologist, and one of the most brilliant minds in modern psychology, Sapolsky earned renown studying the physiological effects of stress. Now he tackles the big why: Why do you do what you do? - a.c.

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Behave: The Biology of Humans at Our Best and Worst Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594205071
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - May 2nd, 2017

Jane Austen, the Secret Radical by Helena Kelly

A detailed, progressive investigation by an academic who has had it with people misreading Austen! Kelly easily debunks the image of a quiet, receding, marriage-obsessed author and shows the subversive class criticisms Austen embedded in her writing during a period when censorship reigned. Alternating narrative biography with detailed explorations of each published novel, Kelly preaches mostly to the choir: it’s a good read for those who are familiar with the Austen canon. - a.c.

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Jane Austen, the Secret Radical Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524732103
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - May 2nd, 2017

Why You Love Music by John Powell

John Powell, a physicist with a master’s degree in music composition, adds another volume to the compendium of obsessive, awesome scientists from different disciplines trying to determine why music affects us so much. In this exploration, though he draws on psychology, Powell takes particular notice of music in the context of daily, regular human experience and how it amplifies an already good life. - a.c.

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Why You Love Music: From Mozart to Metallica--The Emotional Power of Beautiful Sounds Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316260671
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Little, Brown Spark - May 2nd, 2017

The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O by Neal Stephenson & Nicole Galland

A captivating, charming premise involving magic, science, and quantum physics steamrolls into a fast-moving, time-traveling plot with more historical weirdness than anything you’ve seen on Doctor Who. Told through documents, journals, letters, and highly irreverent acronyms, this book delighted me with its offbeat playfulness. I’ll never look at Vikings or a Walmart the same way again. - a.c.

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The Rise and Fall of D.O.D.O.: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062409164
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: William Morrow - June 13th, 2017

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness by Arundhati Roy

Arundhati Roy’s Booker Prize–winning debut was a mesmerizing force with a dizzying style and a powerful cross-cultural impact. The God of Small Things resonated internationally, immediately, and permanently. Now, after 20 years of writing nonfiction, Roy has written a second novel! Early readers speak of this book with excitement and praise. Set in Delhi, it features Roy’s effortless interlaced narratives, richly imagined characters, and a storyline of intense, kaleidoscopic beauty. - a.c.

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The Ministry of Utmost Happiness: A novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524733155
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Knopf - June 6th, 2017

Application for Release from the Dream by Tony Hoagland

The most concise array of observations about humanity that I have ever seen blended into one book of poetry. This collection is stunning; since its release in 2015, it has offered a swift kick in the gut to everyone with whom I've shared it, and an intense, immediate declaration, "this is good." Impossible to pass up; dark, beautiful and perfect, you'll reread it many times. - a.c.

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Application for Release from the Dream: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977184
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 1st, 2015

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

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
ISBN: 9780735211025
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - April 4th, 2017

The Sobbing School by Joshua Bennett

A debut collection and my favorite poetry release of 2016. Incredibly beautiful and artful, with affecting imagery, intelligent allusions, small pieces of language like glass shards perfectly placed to catch you in the heart. Ideal for fans of Rankine's Citizen. Bennett is an exceptional writer, almost mandatory reading. I looked up each reference as I went, and then read it straight through the second I'd finished. - a.c.

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The Sobbing School (Penguin Poets) Cover Image
By Joshua Bennett, Eugene Gloria (Selected by)
ISBN: 9780143111863
Availability: Backordered
Published: Penguin Books - September 27th, 2016


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