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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!




THE TIDE by Hugh Aldersey-Williams

The audio version of The Tide should be read by that extreme-movie-preview voiceover guy—you know the one—because this writer is More Intense About the Ocean Than You. Melville, eat your heart out! Challenging, intellectual, flowery, and epic, the book opens with 13 hours of the author watching the tide go in and out. Thereafter, The Tide takes us on a tour of Greek mythology, classical history, the art of Andy Goldsworthy, and the linguistics of water…for crying out loud, people die tied to stakes on the shore! Delightful madness.                                                                 —a.c.

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The Tide: The Science and Stories Behind the Greatest Force on Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393241631
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 20th, 2016

My Private Property by Mary Ruefle

This is the sort of poetry that leans on prose—is direct, is conversational—but that is so imagistic, brazen, and obsessed with meaning that each word imprints itself on your very bones. I love this collection. Ruefle looks at the world with a wry, mature gaze, resulting in a work definitional and sometimes dark but also too beautiful to be entirely jaded. I had the uncomfortable impression that she was staring into my eyes and advising me, woman to woman, on how to live. —a.c.


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My Private Property Cover Image
ISBN: 9781940696386
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Wave Books - October 4th, 2016

Mischling by Affinity Konar

Mischling opens at the doorsteps of Auschwitz as twin sisters first enter Josef Mengele’s infamous “Zoo,” where he affronted the human soul with a series of unforgivable experiments. Told from their dueling perspectives, this story isn’t a historical Holocaust narrative—instead, it is a literary, experiential kaleidoscope, using precocious young narrators to wrest meaning from that abyss. Horrible reality here gives way to poetic, lyrical prose which is affecting, powerful, and transcendent.  —a.c.

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Mischling Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316308106
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - September 6th, 2016

American Heiress by Jeffrey Toobin

Damn you, Toobin, you’re a genius. I have loved this author since The Nine, but am still floored by his ability to transform one historical moment into a lens through which we can view the weight and meaning of entire decades. I didn’t care a whit about Patty Hearst until he used her story to unveil the cultural underpinnings and outcomes of the 60s and 70s. Peddle this to everyone you know who loves history and don’t stop until they’ve all read it.  —a.c.

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American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385536714
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Doubleday - August 2nd, 2016

We Gon’ Be Alright by Jeff Chang

Compulsively readable, real, and important, Jeff Chang’s new book provides a topic-by-topic overview of how racial tension, pain, and calls for justice have risen to the current moment—from Donald Trump to Rachel Dolezal, police brutality to campus protest. The author writes as one aware that, stranded in discomfort, many people elect to stay silent about racial issues. The invitation he writes toward is simple: Screw silence. Join in. You are needed.  —a.c.

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We Gon' Be Alright: Notes on Race and Resegregation Cover Image
ISBN: 9780312429485
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Picador - September 13th, 2016

Collected Poems: 1950–2012 by Adrienne Rich

To me, Adrienne Rich is the beautiful, brazen, contemplative, powerful, deeply complex feminist heroine of all modern poetry. I pass on her poems to struggling friends like a missionary trying to woo converts—give them as gifts to embolden and uplift—and carry her collections for courage during long travel. I wish this complete edition of her poetry, beautifully bound, could be passed out to young women everywhere.  —a.c.

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Collected Poems: 1950-2012 Cover Image
By Adrienne Rich, Claudia Rankine (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9780393285116
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 21st, 2016

Stranger by Adam Clay

Amply praised by respected peers like Ada Limón, Adam Clay’s writing is euphoric yet accessible; direct yet powerful. Stranger, his third collection, has such an incredible forward motion that forget where I am while reading. Clay explores the disorientations of transition but rejects a good existential wallow, with each poem instead insisting that “the space/ a body holds in any moment/is a marker of something greater/ than ourselves.”   —a.c.


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Stranger: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571314635
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 15th, 2016

Lanterne Rouge by Max Leonard

A conversational microhistory of last-place cyclists, this treatise on the Tour de France worked for me even with my rusty-spoked lack of knowledge about the race. Charting the Tour from its 1903 inception (when it was launched to save a dying newspaper), through the world wars, and all the way on to its recent doping scandals, Leonard ultimately focuses on human determination. He explores each race compellingly by focusing on its “loser,” and generously shares his own relationship to cycling so that we feel the grace it offers.  —a.c.


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Lanterne Rouge: The Last Man in the Tour de France Cover Image
ISBN: 9781681771366
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Pegasus Books - June 14th, 2016

Borderline by Mishell Baker

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 (The Arcadia Project #1) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781481429788
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - March 1st, 2016

What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours by Helen Oyeyemi

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
ISBN: 9781594634635
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Riverhead Books - March 8th, 2016


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