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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.














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
ISBN: 9780374147938
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
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
ISBN: 9781597096928
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
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
ISBN: 9780465094646
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 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
ISBN: 9780374158378
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 1st, 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
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018

Her Body and Other Parties by Carmen Maria Machado

Reading the stories in Her Body and Other Parties has been among the memorable literary pleasures of 2017. Carmen Maria Machado writes with fearless exploration, precision, and tenderness that would prompt envy if gratitude and admiration weren’t first to arrive on the scene. From the lovely, apocalyptic love story “Inventory” to the dizzying and original “Especially Heinous,” Machado’s work is curious, inventive, and thrilling. It’s feminist and pop culture, classic and weird; the stories are complex and the characters are haunting. What a debut! - Chorel

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Her Body and Other Parties: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977887
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - October 3rd, 2017

She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb

This remains one of my favorite books. We meet Dolores Price at age 13 and stay with her until middle age. Along the way Dolores attempts various personas, deals with or avoids her various traumas, and tries to temper her wise-ass personality with her longing to be loved. Unpredictable, funny, and emotionally wrenching, She’s Come Undone is truly unforgettable. - Chorel

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She's Come Undone Cover Image
ISBN: 9780671003753
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Washington Square Press - December 1st, 1996

Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry by Marcus Thompson

If you’ve watched the Golden State Warriors in the last couple years, it’s likely you have fallen for the charm of Stephen Curry, whose incredible 3-pointers look effortless and whose smile is infectious. In Golden, Marcus Thompson II explores Curry’s rise to the top of the NBA and the ways in which he has changed professional basketball. Thompson moves smoothly from one area of Steph’s life to another: from his youth on the court to his family (his father was an NBA star himself, and his wife Ayesha and their children have their own following), to his ethos as a player. Reading Golden has me watching games differently, more closely attuned to the plays on the court, more appreciative of the players—not just Steph or the Warriors favorites, but also those on other teams and the coaches, too. - Chorel

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Golden: The Miraculous Rise of Steph Curry Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781501147838
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Atria Books - April 11th, 2017

Spoils by Brian Van Reet

The author of this penetrating debut novel about the early days of the war with Iraq is an Army veteran who served there. What you see through the characters’ eyes won’t soon be forgotten: the mundanity and violence of war; the adversity faced by female soldiers within a decidedly male culture. Van Reet’s gift for narrative, his ability to evoke the nuances of place and culture, and his cast of characters create a haunting and tragic story of the dysfunction of contemporary war. - Chorel

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Spoils Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316316163
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Lee Boudreaux Books - April 18th, 2017

Anything is Possible by Elizabeth Strout

For fans of literary fiction, there’s so much to love in Elizabeth Strout’s beautiful and quietly disturbing stories, which trace the secret lives of the residents of a small town in Illinois. The stories in Anything Is Possible are rich variations on several tightly connected themes: poverty, familial bonds and broken marriages, and the mysterious, subtle qualities of forgiveness and acceptance. - Chorel

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Anything Is Possible: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812989403
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Random House - April 25th, 2017


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