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Jax's Reviews

Jax Caldwell-Dunn is a bookseller and buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz who loves table-top roleplaying in addition to books. She cannot resist the urge to make something (like a staff profile) more nerdy when given a chance.

 

Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories by Kelly Barnhill

This collection of short stories is by turns whimsical, bizarre, and deeply moving. I have been absolutely salivating for Barnhill’s first offering for adult readers, and it was well worth the wait; I was blown away and enthralled by these stories. I can’t promise that they will all (or even most) end happily, but if you enjoy beautiful writing and thought provoking supernatural weirdness, this is the book for you. - Jax

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Dreadful Young Ladies and Other Stories Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781616207977
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Algonquin Books - February 20th, 2018

By the Smoke and the Smell by Thad Vogler

I would say that I devoured this book about one person’s quest for spirits to stock his San Francisco bar Bar Agricole but I think perhaps it devoured me. Vogler insists on a farm-to-table approach for acquiring his liquors as well as his food, and travels all over the world to find that which feels worth bringing home. It reminds me of bookselling in that way, where you search for the perfect book that is worthy of your customer. I would give this one to someone who consciously labors out of love, who values enthusiasm over perfection, and who, of course, enjoys a good drink. - Jax

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By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399578601
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Ten Speed Press - September 12th, 2017

Literary Witches by Taisia Kitaiskaia

The witch aesthetic has been on the rise, with women looking to this enduring symbol of feminine power to inspire everything from hairstyles to literature. I can’t wait to get my little black-magic hands on Literary Witches, with its great combination of witchery and fantastic female authors. If black cats and writers like Butler, Woolfe, and Dickinson are your jam, then you gotta check this out. - Jax

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Literary Witches: A Celebration of Magical Women Writers Cover Image
By Taisia Kitaiskaia, Katy Horan (Illustrator)
$20.00
ISBN: 9781580056731
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Seal Press - October 10th, 2017

Soonish by Kelly & Zach Weinersmith

This book is like the ultimate party companion: it’s funny and smart and it feeds you lines that will make you seem funny and smart. From the creator of the web comic Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (and his super-cool wife) comes a book that will tell you everything you need to know to explain to your smarmy friend why certain technologies aren’t here (yet). Perfect for anyone who loves Bill Nye or just loves looking to the future. - Jax

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Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That'll Improve and/or Ruin Everything Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9780399563829
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Penguin Press - October 17th, 2017

Artemis by Andy Weir

It’s a heist. On the moon. And it’s hilarious, with a story that feels fresh and new. Do you love the science in science fiction? Weir skillfully combines the realities of living on a lunar base with the excitement and thrill of the scope of human ingenuity. It’s hard to follow a smash hit like The Martian, but Artemis does it so well. - Jax

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Artemis: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780553448122
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - November 14th, 2017

Wonder Valley by Ivy Pachoda

This novel is a take on the family drama, with a certain something that only Los Angeles can bring. Drugs, cults, and crushing poverty all make appearances, but so do the human goodness and chance encounters that also pervade the City of Angels. Pochoda navigates these waters with grace and skill, leaving me feeling deeply connected to her characters even as I wondered how human connection is even possible. Is there anything more L.A. than that? - Jax

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Wonder Valley: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062656353
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Ecco - November 7th, 2017

Provenance by Ann Leckie

I am not shy about being a fan of Leckie’s, and I’m happy to say that although Provenance is very different from her other books, it is still very good. It has the same sense of exploration, politics, and self-discovery that I love so much about her writing. Ingray’s story has a more intimate feel, a story of family and finding one’s place rather than the grand epic. But I found I enjoyed it all the same, and I think you will, too. - Jax

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Provenance Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316388672
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Orbit - September 26th, 2017

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

I missed this one growing up, and worried that the book wouldn’t hold up to the off-the-charts hype. I’m happy to say this gorgeous, absolutely mesmerizing book is as relevant and engrossing today as ever. Offred’s story is so touching (and terrifying), because the world she inhabits feels so close to our own, with diction that feels positively poetic. - Jax

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The Handmaid's Tale: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780385490818
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - March 16th, 1998

Borderline by Mishell Baker

This book is what you get if you add fae magic to “Kiss Kiss Bang Bang.” Millie is a delight, with all her dysfunction and her very real struggles with various disabilities. L.A. looms large as a character in its own right; the book is a kind of love/hate letter to the entertainment industry. I enjoyed the snark, loved the characters and was thrilled by the mystery. - Jax

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Borderline (The Arcadia Project #1) Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781481429788
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - March 1st, 2016

The Refrigerator Monologues by Catherynne M. Valente

These are the stories of the comic book women whose storylines were hijacked, waylaid or destroyed by or in service to the men they love. I found myself drawn into each-and-every one of these, including one of the most fascinating looks at a Harley Quinn-esque character. Valente’s work is never for the faint of heart, but as always you will find it deeply moving and rewarding if you give it a try. - Jax

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The Refrigerator Monologues Cover Image
By Catherynne M. Valente, Annie Wu (Illustrator)
$19.99
ISBN: 9781481459341
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery / Saga Press - June 6th, 2017

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