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Chorel's Reviews

Chorel is the Events Director at Bookshop Santa Cruz. Mostly she reads books by women. Not intentionally. They're just usually better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sex and Rage by Eve Babitz

The silky/sinister LA novel always captivates me, and this joy of a read is also loaded with the protagonist’s precarious drinking, her avoidance of adulthood, and her dance with her true potential. Perfect for lovers of Joan Didion’s Play It As It Lays and Nathaniel West’s Day of the Locust. Just ignore the publisher copy on the back of this book; our “dreamy young” heroine doesn’t move between Los Angeles and New York City, she exists stubbornly on the Best Coast. But The New York Times Book Review has it right: “This novel is studded with sharp observations… Babitz’s talent for the brilliant line, honed to a point, never interferes with her feel for languid pleasures.” - Chorel

 

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Sex and Rage Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781619029354
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 11th, 2017

The Honey Bus by Meredith May

The Honey Bus is immersive and gripping, a heart-soaking experience. May tenderly lays forth the intricacies of bees and beekeeping (just as her grandpa presented them to her); the glories of Big Sur are delicately rendered; and the girl saved by bees is courageous, lovable, and fierce in the face of heart-piercing pain. May has written a page-turner for all readers. - Chorel

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The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780778307785
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Park Row - April 2nd, 2019

Aerialists: Stories by Mark Mayer

Mark Mayer’s stories are astonishingly good, and Aerialists is a genuine pleasure to read. With absorbing characters and elegant writing, Mayer proves himself a richly developed, sensitive writer. Whether he’s writing in an adolescent voice or at the other end of the spectrum, with men looking back on their lives, the gems in this gorgeous collection will settle into your mind and heart, not to be forgotten. - Chorel

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Aerialists: Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781635572179
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - February 19th, 2019

The Story Prize: 15 Years of Great Short Fiction ed. by Larry Dark

This collection is nothing short of essential for all lovers of fiction. The range in material is excellent, featuring longer pieces (“Memory Wall” by Anthony Doerr is a standout), classics of the canon (George Saunders’s “Tenth of December” and Tobias Wolff’s “Bullet in the Brain”), and new discoveries from all your favorites; Claire Vaye Watkins, Daniyal Mueenuddin, Mary Gordon, Edwidge Danticat, and Adam Johnson are all here. The Story Prize deserves a place on your bookshelf, and is a volume you’ll return to for pleasure, study, and an immersion into new worlds of the human experience. - Chorel

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The Story Prize: 15 Years of Great Short Fiction Cover Image
By Larry Dark (Editor), Anthony Doerr (Contribution by), Elizabeth Strout (Contribution by)
$16.95
ISBN: 9781936787630
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - March 5th, 2019

Retablos by Octavio Solis

A retablo is a devotional painting, often laid on tin and depicting, as Solis describes in his introduction, “some terrible rift in a person’s life that they survive thanks to the intercession of the Divine.” This memoir-in-vignettes from the celebrated playwright and poet Solis is a series of treasures: absorbing, vivid, sensitive, and sorrowful. Solis, who grew up in El Paso, deftly and humbly depicts individual formative moments (an encounter with a young border-crosser in a field near his home, excruciating first loves, a venture south of the border). The divine in these retablos is not always visible, but the retablos themselves are full of grace. - Chorel

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Retablos: Stories from a Life Lived Along the Border Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780872867864
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - October 23rd, 2018

The End of the End of the Earth by Jonathan Franzen

“How do we find meaning in our actions when the world seems to be coming to an end?” asks Jonathan Franzen in the opening essay of his new collection. It’s no secret that Franzen is a bird lover, and The End is largely concerned with the plight of birds. But even as he convincingly details birds’ worth and wonder, he also writes of the deeply confounding tension between climate change’s looming results and the maddening lack of preservation of specific systems right now. Luckily, the pleasures of reading Franzen’s essays make dipping into this fraught subject feel like a rich necessity, with intelligence, humility, and even optimism winning out. - Chorel

Don’t miss our event with Jonathan Franzen on November 29th.

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The End of the End of the Earth: Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374147938
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 13th, 2018

Bigfoots in Paradise by Doug Lawson

Bigfoots in Paradise is phenomenally original. Each story in Doug Lawson’s first collection has characters that are both surprising and real, making this a pleasure of a book. With its surreal elements and Santa Cruz settings, it will be especially delightful for local readers, who are sure to recognize the specific strangeness of our area. The relationships of friendships, families, and attraction are rendered with exasperation and tension that are deeply recognizable, and the gorgeousness of Lawson’s language will leave you feeling at once shaken and grateful to be alive. - Chorel

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Bigfoots in Paradise Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781597096928
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Red Hen Press - November 15th, 2018

The Truth About Animals by Lucy Cooke

You will not want to miss this fun and fascinating romp through natural history with the cheeky, smart, and side-bustingly funny Lucy Cooke, who takes us on a tour de force of animals who have been (hilariously) misunderstood by naturalists. Each chapter is a delight. From the mysterious mating practices of eels (still not fully understood), to the overestimated social structures of beavers (humans and their anthropomorphism!), to the politics of pandas (it’s complicated), Cooke’s The Truth About Animals will make you reconsider the world around you—as well as shed some tears of laughter over her incredible photo captions. Read and enjoy! - Chorel

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The Truth About Animals: Stoned Sloths, Lovelorn Hippos, and Other Tales from the Wild Side of Wildlife Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780465094646
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Basic Books - April 17th, 2018

The Electric Woman by Tessa Fontaine

Tessa Fontaine’s The Electric Woman is enthralling. Moving between the sustained emergency of a collapse in her mother’s health, the complicated, flawed relationship she has with her mother, and her 5 months as a crew member in the traveling sideshow the World of Wonders, Fontaine writes of the layer after layer of heartache and grind. With lovely, clear prose, she invites the reader in to her attempts to explore and escape reality through the hard and fascinating traveling sideshow life. A tenderly written, captivating memoir. - Chorel

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The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374158378
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 2018

There There by Tommy Orange

Tommy Orange’s debut offers a contemporary glimpse of Native lives through a wide array of characters. There There lifts the figure of the Native American off the shrine built of white America’s guilt and sins. This novel has horror and rage and sadness and banality—and beauty, too: Orange writes of the humanity of his people who exist now: urban, dynamic, less “other,” more real. - Chorel

Don’t miss our free event with Tommy Orange at Bookshop Santa Cruz on June 18th, 2018.

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There There: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

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