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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.




Gender Studies: The Confessions of an Accidental Outlaw by Ajuan Mance

From the talented Ajuan Mance comes a journey of learning to feel like yourself that will inspire, educate, and disarm. Gender Studies includes bits of memoir and light-touch history lessons (Mance is a professor of English and ethnic studies at Mills College and a lifelong artist and writer). Her probing is gentle, the tone is humorous and expansive, and each expressive panel has a purpose, but the book doesn’t feel spare. 


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Gender Studies: The Confessions of an Accidental Outlaw By Ajuan Mance Cover Image
ISBN: 9781732638860
Availability: Not Yet Published - Available for Pre-Order; Please See Publication Date Below Before Ordering
Published: Rosarium Publishing - March 12th, 2024

The Dog of the North by Elizabeth McKenzie

For those of us enviables who may spend an entire languid weekend reading books, rejoice: Elizabeth McKenzie's newest is the perfect getaway. You'll love escaping the boring chaos of your own life into Penny's kaleidoscopic, open-hearted adventures, which begin in medias res on a bus departing Santa Cruz and end on the other side of the world. Actually, everyone just do yourself a favor and pop The Dog of the North on top of your stack—but be advised, this one’s hard to put down.


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ISBN: 9780593300695
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - March 14th, 2023

Beautiful Country: A Memoir by Qian Julie Wang

Qian Julie Wang’s memoir is transportive, immersive, her childhood rendered with such a natural hand that each particular pain and joy feels as intimate as one’s own memory. This acuity is strangely healing—Wang pulls no punches when recalling moments of shame—even as the remoteness of her position as an undocumented immigrant, isolated further from her peers by poverty, is a devastating revelation. Powerful, nuanced, and tender, Beautiful Country is essential reading.


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Beautiful Country: A Memoir of an Undocumented Childhood By Qian Julie Wang Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593313008
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 27th, 2022

Future Feeling by Joss Lake

Joss Lake’s debut novel is disarmingly fresh and fun, a page-turner that reflects our (slightly augmented) contemporary reality through its characters, vocabulary, and topics, and whose protagonist is both fearless and vulnerable as he explores life. Penfield R. Henderson has plateaued in Bushwick, falling short of fulfilling his potential and plagued by bitterness over the photogenic transition of Aiden, another trans man, on “the Gram.” When he successfully convinces his roommates to help him hex Aiden, he finds he must expand beyond himself to repair the damage, and the rewards of his journey are many. Future Feeling dazzles with an assured, delightful new voice that both entertains and enriches.


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Future Feeling: A Novel By Joss Lake Cover Image
ISBN: 9781593766887
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Soft Skull - June 1st, 2021

Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead

It’s been a while since I’ve committed to a book this size, but Great Circle was compelling and absorbing enough to keep me turning the pages. The story moves from the last century to this one, tracing the life of stunt-loving, fiercely independent aviatrix Marian Graves as it affects the career of the claustrophobic, headstrong woman set to play her in a Hollywood biopic. With its complexity and range, atmosphere and characters, the book is one you will want to get lost in.


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Great Circle: A Novel (Man Booker Prize Finalist) By Maggie Shipstead Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984897701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 5th, 2022

Riviera Gold by Laurie R. King

Tantalizing, dreamy, fresh, and absorbing, the newest installment of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes series will be a welcome escape for Laurie R. King fans this summer. Set in the Riviera in the Jazz Age, Riviera Gold features real-life power couple Sara and Gerald Murphy, legendary hosts of many a sparkling party for the Lost Generation, as well as a fascinating cast of players. Longtime readers will love the dive into a familiar character’s past (never underestimate the white-haired ladies!), King’s enthralling portrayal of Holmes, and the clearheaded Russell’s continuous curiosity. 

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Riviera Gold: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes By Laurie R. King Cover Image
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9780525620839
Published: Bantam - June 9th, 2020

The Confessions of Frannie Langton by Sara Collins

This riveting historical page-turner is complex, unexpected, and empowered. Sara Collins’s Frannie Langton will linger in your mind, and Collins holds a mirror to the white reader’s embedded expectations—demands, even—of black stories and black suffering. Beautifully written, powerfully told, this debut is a standout.

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ISBN: 9780062851802
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 23rd, 2020

The Knockout Queen by Rufi Thorpe

The Knockout Queen wrapped its fist around my heart and then squeezed. I mean this literally—the sensation was physical. Rufi Thorpe writes with breathtaking grace and creates a slow build that explodes: the loveability, failings, and deficiencies of everyone, the drift and splintering that time deals to even our closest relationships. The Knockout Queen also has pockets of profundity, both in the adolescent narrator’s wise, shattering musings, and in the grim realities this story contains. Thorpe’s skill makes the experience a pleasure: the effortless dialogue, the wry and funny scenes, and the complex, unforgettable characters that are so human (though it may hurt to admit that humanness can contain a person like the Knockout Queen’s father Ray, who is cut from the same cloth as con man-in-chief Donald Trump, utterly self-serving, with a casual brutality that is beyond redemption. Thorpe reflects our world back to us. I was completely captivated by The Knockout Queen—rushing to consume it but wanting at the same time to savor the rare experience of a book this close to perfect. I wanted it to last and last.

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The Knockout Queen: A novel By Rufi Thorpe Cover Image
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9780525656784
Published: Knopf - April 28th, 2020

Essays One: Reading and Writing by Lydia Davis

I first learned about Lydia Davis at one of my favorite bookstores, Dog-Eared Books in San Francisco, when I overheard the booksellers there waxing poetic about her. Reading Break It Down was a revelation, and I’ve been a fan ever since. In Essays One, the first in a two-volume set, Davis has gathered essays dating back to the 1970s, revealing her influences as a reader and an early writer/student and discussing process at length, most deliciously in her “Thirty Recommendations for Good Writing Habits.” There’s a reason Davis is considered a “writer’s writer”—this book is an education you didn’t know you needed. - Chorel

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Essays One By Lydia Davis Cover Image
This item may be available from the publisher! Give us a call or send us an email to find out.
ISBN: 9780374148850
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 12th, 2019

Welcoming the Unwelcome by Pema Chödrön

Pema Chödrön is not afraid of difficult emotions and she wants you not to be, either. In Welcoming the Unwelcome, Chödrön offers an array of insights that blend beautifully with contemporary reality and help us to deepen the experience of living by cultivating regard for those around us and practicing acceptance for things just as they are. This is complex and surprising work, yet at its heart it actually is fresh and simple. You won’t know until you try it, so go ahead—start today, and make the world a better place. - Chorel

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Welcoming the Unwelcome: Wholehearted Living in a Brokenhearted World By Pema Chödrön Cover Image
ISBN: 9781611805659
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Shambhala - October 8th, 2019


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