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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.


The New York Times: Footsteps by The New York Times

Each of these essays explores a different area—from San Francisco to Chile—through the lens of a literary figure. One author wandered Lake Geneva, following the path of Lord Byron and company, another road-tripped to learn about Nabokov’s inspiration for Lolita. Truly good travel writing mixed with literary musings—what could be better? - Jax

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The New York Times: Footsteps: From Ferrante's Naples to Hammett's San Francisco, Literary Pilgrimages Around the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804189842
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Crown - May 9th, 2017

October by China Mieville

Miéville manages to take a chaotic and confusing moment in history and make it thrillingly present. On this, the hundredth anniversary of the Russian Revolution of 1917, it’s fascinating and instructive to look back at the revolution that continues to have such reverberations around the world. Written with brilliant, illuminating, and immersive prose, October will make you feel as though you jumped on the Trans-Siberian Express to experience the revolution yourself. - Jax

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October: The Story of the Russian Revolution Cover Image
ISBN: 9781784782771
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Verso - May 9th, 2017

The Space Between the Stars by Anne Corlett

If 99.009% of the human race died tomorrow but somehow you survived, what would be your next step? For Jamie, it is a quest through the stars to make it back home. But where is home? And who are the people that make home mean something? I was entranced by this exploration of humanity at its worst and at its finest, and by the questions The Space Between the Stars so unabashedly asked. - Jax

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The Space Between the Stars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399585111
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Berkley - June 13th, 2017

The Book of Joan by Lidia Yuknavitch

Humans have abandoned the toxic Earth for the stars, and in doing so have recreated themselves in some other, grotesque image. One woman, Christine, remembers Joan’s story through gorgeous tattoos. The Book of Joan is a tale of revolution, mystic power, love, and hate, and of how the Earth died. It will shake you and scorch you, and force you to reckon with just what humanity has created. - Jax

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The Book of Joan: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062383273
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Harper - April 18th, 2017

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

This book offers a wealth of information about the African-American female mathematicians working at NASA who went unnoticed for so long. What I found when I delved into Shetterly’s well researched and lovingly written homage to these women was a reminder that not all heroes have plaques, and sometimes it’s just about showing up demanding one more inch of dignity. - Jax

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Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062363602
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - December 6th, 2016

The Summer Before the War by Helen Simonson

This is the perfect book for those looking for something deeper and richer than your average summer read. Set in England on the eve of World War I, it hosts a fascinating cast of characters that worm their way into your heart and refuse to leave. It’s about love and loss, and the ways lives are not only defined but also forged and refined by hardships endured. - Jax

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The Summer Before the War: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812983203
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - February 21st, 2017

The Three Body Problem by Cixin Liu, translated by Ken Liu

I finally picked this book up at the behest of our former Commander-in-Chief, who claimed he read it as a way to escape. While certainly this is an immersive book, it is also one that challenges you, forces you to think and learn every moment you are reading it. It’s intensely smart and fascinating. It completely blew my mind. - Jax

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The Three-Body Problem (The Three-Body Problem Series #1) Cover Image
By Cixin Liu, Ken Liu (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780765382030
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - January 12th, 2016

Mustache Shenanigans by Jay Chandrasekhar

This book delivered exactly what I hoped for from the main creative forces behind Broken Lizard. There are about as many “colorful” jokes as one might imagine, including hilarious misadventures with sex, drugs and the comedy high life. But those jokes are very funny, and his writing is honest, engaging and full of good advice about film, comedy, and just living. 

Check it out, right meow. - Jax

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Mustache Shenanigans: Making Super Troopers and Other Adventures in Comedy Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101985236
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Dutton - March 28th, 2017

Revolution for Dummies by Bassem Youssef

As far as celebrity tell-alls goes, this had way more history lessons than most, but was also much more hilarious (and terrifying). Youssef tells his perspective on Egypt’s revolution(s)/coups/turbulence in the last six years, and if you are at all confused at how all of those words apply, then you need to read this book. I promise it is funny, and painfully biting, as it always is with the best satire. - Jax

How the Irish Saved Civilization by Thomas Cahill

Lest you think that Irish heritage is confined to the madcap experience of St. Patrick’s Day, here is a book that shows Irish spirit, tenacity and love of the written word. The poetry, science and philosophy so hard won by the ancients might have been lost forever, were it not for the daring exploits of the Catholic monks of Ireland. This might sound like the plot of a high action thriller, but the history Cahill recounts is every bit as true as it is fascinating. —Jax


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