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Jess's Reviews

A colorful mural on a brick wall of William Shakespeare's bust, with a young woman wearing red standing next to it on the left.Jess is a Santa Cruz native, recently returned from a Master’s Degree program in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. Living in Scotland for a year gave her a deep appreciation for whisky, graveyards, and the California sun, so now she mostly reads outside, sometimes with a dram of Lagavulin in hand (but usually not near any tombstones). She loves to read fiction, and actively seeks new and diverse voices to inform her own experience of the world. In her spare time, she cooks themed treats for her book club and writes.

Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour by J.D. Salinger

Did Salinger invent wry humor, or just perfect it? Either way, you’re guaranteed to enjoy lots of it in this two-novella collection, which follows a few older siblings of the Glass family (think Franny; think Zooey). Sure to break your heart in the most forgiving of ways. - Jess

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Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters and Seymour: An Introduction Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780316766944
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - January 30th, 2001

Normal People by Sally Rooney

This terrific novel is about communication breakdowns, the insecurities that accompany early love, and the complications of sex and friendship in your early twenties. The relationship between Connell and Marianne will remind you of all you wish you’d done differently in your youth, and the tenderness between them will give you hope. - Jess

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Normal People: A Novel Cover Image
$20.80
ISBN: 9781984822178
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hogarth - April 16th, 2019

I Am I Am I Am by Maggie O'Farrell

Most of us walk through our daily lives without thinking too much about our mortality, but O’Farrell’s connection to life has been more tenuous than most. Over seventeen essays, she examines the experiences that have taught her how thin the membrane between life and death really is. Told in elegant prose that will resonate in your heart, this book is, ultimately, incredibly life-affirming. - Jess

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I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes with Death Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2019

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

The Handmaid’s Tale is the gift that keeps on giving. As a book, it’s set the standard for feminist dystopian literature, and the recent TV show has brought Offred’s story to life on the screen, reminding us how relevant her story still is. Enter this new graphic novel, with astoundingly graceful line work and watercolor images by artist Renee Nault, who creates a juxtaposition of beauty and brutality that will sit with readers for a long time to come.      —Jessica

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The Handmaid's Tale (Graphic Novel): A Novel Cover Image
By Margaret Atwood, Renee Nault (Illustrator)
$22.95
ISBN: 9780385539241
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Nan A. Talese - March 26th, 2019

My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh

How is this possible? How could a book about a woman who chooses to sleep a whole year away be so engrossing, so propulsive, that I could not put it down. Moshfegh’s narrator follows in the footsteps of The Catcher in the Rye’s Holden Caulfield and The Bell Jar’s Esther Greenwood, skewering the phonies of New York and modern consumer culture armed with nothing but her own apathy and acerbic wit. Well, that and an arsenal of prescription sleep aids. - Jess

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My Year of Rest and Relaxation: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525522133
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - June 25th, 2019

There There by Tommy Orange

Believe the hype! This novel is a scorcher. Set around a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum, There There follows a large cast of characters as they navigate their individual experiences as “urban Indians.” With prose that will pound at your heart, Orange brings each character to brutal life and forces readers to confront the darker truths of colonialism’s legacy. Truly a game-changer for American literature.  —Jessica

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There There Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525436140
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2019

Spring by Ali Smith

The third book in her Seasonal Quartet, Spring is full of all the surrealism, gender play, oddball love, and clever puns admirers of Ali Smith have come to expect from her work. Anyone who is desperate for hope in an increasingly hopeless world will find a tonic in Smith’s work; the seeds she planted in Autumn and Winter start to sprout in Spring, as sunlight slowly begins to edge out the night. - Jess

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Spring: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9781101870778
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - April 30th, 2019

Laidlaw by William McIlvanney

A gritty crime novel set in gritty Glasgow, Laidlaw is the book that brought Tartan Noir into existence. As much about gang presence and gang culture as it is about a murderer and his victim, this is a mystery novel for fans of The Wire and The Departed. A psychological and intense detective thriller! - Jess

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Laidlaw Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781609452018
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - June 3rd, 2014

The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen

For cooks who like to be inventive, who require whimsy in their recipes, The Moosewood Cookbook is a necessary and joy-filled resource. Full of delicious vegetarian recipes that will delight your dinner guests, Moosewood will take you on a magical journey to the past, when cookbooks had character and fonts were handwritten. - Jess

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The Moosewood Cookbook: 40th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781607747390
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - November 4th, 2014

Dreyer's English by Benjamin Dreyer

Grammar has never been so fun! This book is both a sensational resource for all your questions about the idiosyncratic laws of the English language, as well as a playful acknowledgement of the fact that these laws are often absurd. You’ll laugh, you’ll learn, and you’ll impress your friends with your new ability to define a comma splice. - Jess

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Dreyer's English: An Utterly Correct Guide to Clarity and Style Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780812995701
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - January 29th, 2019

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