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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.

There But For The by Ali Smith

A guest at a dinner party disappears and locks himself - indefinitely - in the guest room, kicking off a media frenzy that brings together a bunch of lovable outcasts. Smith writes from a place of deep empathy, infusing each page with electric energy and witty wordplay. Reading this book rekindled my fondness for humanity. - Jess

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There But For The: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307275240
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - July 24th, 2012

Milkman by Anna Burns

Set in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, Milkman confronts the absurdity of political strife and arbitrary borders, never ignoring the extreme violence and heartbreak that can arise from such divisions. Burns’ voice is dryly humorous, even as her narrator struggles with a stalker, harassment, and a war-torn home. - Jess

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Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Zadie Smith understands people the way Dostoevsky understood people: the ways in which where they come from and who they come from influence where and how they end up. Reading this book is like joining another family, and though every member is flawed - to say the least - each character feels like a real person. A nearly perfect book. - Jess

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On Beauty: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143037743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 29th, 2006

Deep Creek by Pam Houston

It takes a certain kind of person - animal-lover, star-gazer, adventure seeker - to thrive while living at 9,000 feet. Pam Houston’s full heart and indomitable spirit are on full display in this memoir, which contains all the meditative and hopeful vignettes fans of Houston have come to expect. A great choice for fans of Cheryl Strayed and Terry Tempest Williams! - Jess

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Deep Creek: Finding Hope in the High Country Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780393241020
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - January 29th, 2019

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

If you’ve heard Beyonce’s song “Flawless,” you’ve already been exposed to a sampling of this incredible treatise. Adichie explains feminism in a straightforward way that makes it easy for everyone to claim it. Set this one out in a prominent place in your home and use it as a litmus test for anyone you’re newly dating. If they nod along to it while they’re reading, they’re a keeper! - Jess

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We Should All Be Feminists Cover Image
$8.95
ISBN: 9781101911761
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - February 3rd, 2015

Fox 8 by George Saunders

Another charming, inventive, and bizarre short story from a master of the form, Fox 8 will pinch your heart and make you cackle with laughter. With gorgeous illustrations by Chelsea Cardinal, this is an Aesop’s fable for the modern era. As with all of George Saunders’s other work, Fox 8 will leave you feeling like you’ve ridden a roller coaster through the entire range of human emotions—and isn’t that what literature is for? - Jessica

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Fox 8: A Story Cover Image
By George Saunders, Chelsea Cardinal (Illustrator)
$17.00
ISBN: 9781984818027
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - November 13th, 2018

Lake Success by Gary Shteyngart

The trick of this book is that it stars a character so unlovable, so driven by greed and self-image, that you can’t help but loathe him… and yet! Somehow, you’ll find yourself falling for Barry, a hedge fund manager whose obsession with his past begins to unravel his present. Lake Success is set at the height of American turmoil—pre-election, 2016 ­—and it reveals the beating heart of our country with unflinching satire. - Jessica

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Lake Success: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812997415
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Random House - September 4th, 2018

Fierce Fairytales by Nikita Gill

Full of poems for the bold feminist princess you never knew you were, Fierce Fairytales is the perfect collection for fans of Rupi Kuar and Amanda Lovelace. Nikita Gill turns fairytale tropes on their head and invites new readings of their protagonists, turning helpless maidens into warriors with agency. The women in these poems don’t wait for the prince to come and rescue them - they’ll do it themselves, thank you very much! - Jessica

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Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780316420747
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Hachette Books - September 11th, 2018

Red Clocks by Leni Zumas

If “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is your battle cry, read this book. A Handmaid’s Tale for 2018, Red Clocks follows five women as they navigate private burdens and desires regarding pregnancy, fertility, and motherhood. Set in a world that’s like ours but with even more misogynistic laws, Red Clocks is a book for anyone who worries for the future of this country. - Jessica

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Red Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316434812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 16th, 2018

Autumn by Ali Smith

Set at the moment of the Brexit vote, this book captures the fractured emotions of a post-election world while intelligently playing with reality and language. It’s full of tenderness and darkness, regrets and new opportunities for hope. I get excited whenever Ali Smith produces a new work because her writing reminds me of what a privilege it is to be alive. - Jessica

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Autumn: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - October 17th, 2017

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