User menu

Shopping cart

Julia's Reviews

Julia is a 2011 Santa Cruz transplant (from the woods of Pennsylvania) and a yoga teacher who-- surprise!--was a Creative Writing and Film Theory major. She reads a lot of fiction and a little non-fiction, and just got into graphic novels, and can't read super scary mysteries because she's afraid of the dark. But she likes her fiction "kinda gritty," not fluffy. She's the Events Coordinator. Besides books, she likes bikes, gardens, and being active in every way possible; she would love to learn how to surf and is ashamed she hasn't yet.

Barbarian Days by William Finnegan

Longtime New Yorker staff writer William Finnegan lends his reporting to his own life store—his childhood in Hawaii, where surfing captivated him; his wanderings from Australia to Thailand to South Africa in search for the perfect wave; and his inclination into journalism after observing the prevalence of social injustice. Barbarian Days is a panoramic, enchanting look at passion, adventure, and growing up.

Reviewed by: 
Staff Pick Badge
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life By William Finnegan Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594203473
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - July 21st, 2015

I Crawl Through It by A. S. King

Early on in A.S. King’s brilliant, surreal new novel, I surrendered: I stopped trying to figure out whether a scene or character was real, imagined, or something in between. So it goes with the four teenagers in I Crawl Through It as they struggle through trauma and stress by using their imagination, their emotional shields, and each other. King boldly disregards the rules of reality, balancing just on the edge of what we understand, so that when the friends fly away in an invisible helicopter or turn inside out (literally), it hardly feels far-fetched. It feels like shame, confusion, anxiety, and real emotion, and commands complete attention until the last page is turned.  —Julia

Quicksand by Steve Toltz

Aldo has failed at everything he’s ever tried: countless outlandish entrepreneurial schemes, his marriage, even suicide attempts. When he takes his most downward turn yet, his old friend Liam sets out to write Aldo’s biography, reviving his abandoned dream of authorship. Through flashbacks, police interviews, and court testimony, Liam tries to make sense of the bizarre misfortunes and delusions of his pathetic yet magnetic frenemy. Depressing in the funniest way and with loopy momentum, Quicksand tugs a reader into this complex, hilarious friendship.  —Julia

Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert

You don’t have to be a professional artist to want to nurture curiosity, creativity, and courage. Interested in the playful, un-jaded side of yourself? Perhaps you’re ready to cut out the (obnoxious, by the way) “tortured artist” act and create joyfully? Elizabeth Gilbert’s unpretentious manifesto/guidebook on creativity, inspiration, and work encourages a life-changing dive into “fierce trust,” “stubborn gladness,” and permission to explore. With her delightful humor and wisdom shining, Gilbert is honest about her convictions, candid about her failings and doubts. Standing out from the sea of self-help shticks, Big Magic is beyond refreshing.  —Julia

Staff Pick Badge
Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear By Elizabeth Gilbert Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634710
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 22nd, 2015

SuperBetter by Jane McGonigal

What if we could harness the best qualities we use when we play games—creativity, courage, focus—to make the real world a better place? Renowned game designer Jane McGonigal wondered that after a severe concussion led her to depression and thoughts of suicide. She created SuperBetter, a web game that saved her life. This hopeful, research-packed book (which includes challenges to get you “superbetter” as you read) traces the surprising science behind how games can help us improve memory, mood, resilience, and compassion—even minimize physical pain and protect against posttraumatic stress disorder.  —Julia

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Alice Hoffman’s newest creation is a striking dream of a novel based on the life of Rachel Pomie Petit Pissarro, and her favorite son—who would become the famed father of impressionism. Growing up in a Jewish refugee community on tropical St. Thomas in the 1800s, strong-willed Rachel dreams of the cool, rainy streets of Paris. Raised by a stern mother and a kind-hearted father, her best friend is the mixed-race daughter of her family’s servant; she is uninterested in the proper ways of womanhood and society’s expectations of her. She is arranged to marry a widower to save the family business (and to become the mother of his three children), and later follows forbidden passions that strike up scandal that turns her community against her. As Hoffman fills the page with the island’s magic and color, she laces this winding familial tale of wanderlust into a backdrop of what it means to walk the tightrope between tradition and independence, love and logic.  --Julia

Staff Pick Badge
The Marriage of Opposites By Alice Hoffman Cover Image
ISBN: 9781451693591
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 4th, 2015

Wolf in White Van by John Darnielle

Decades after a self-inflicted injury horribly disfigures his face, Sean is a recluse who runs an antiquated mail-based role-playing game. When two teenagers follow the fantasy dangerously far, Sean is held accountable for the damages—and remembers when his own dark, adolescent imagination spun out of control. Between poetic flashbacks of Sean’s “accident” and his gut-wrenchingly empathetic reflections as an adult, Darnielle (singer/songwriter of The Mountain Goats) weaves a chilling (yet somehow un-morbid) depiction of the mind’s monsters—an exquisite fiction experience you will not soon forget.  --Julia

Wolf in White Van: A Novel By John Darnielle Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250074713
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
(Please note: This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - September 1st, 2015

The Dog by Joseph O'Neill

A New York lawyer immigrates to Dubai to work for the tremendously rich family of a college friend. As the “family officer” in this bizarre desert wonderland, our narrator navigates the strange conflicts signature to modern life. Is his addiction to Googling and Facebooking and Wikiing any more obsessive than all of ours? Is his attachment to his Pasha massage chair so wrong? The Dog is fantastically funny with deep heart. Comically philosophical, smart and minimally sarcastic, it solidifies O’Neill’s place among the literary elite.  —Julia

Staff Pick Badge
The Dog: A Novel (Vintage Contemporaries) By Joseph O'Neill Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307472946
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Vintage - June 9th, 2015

Lucky Us by Amy Bloom

This novel follows the adventures, lovers and mistakes of two sisters—ambitious, fickle Iris, and mature, practical Eva—through 1940s Hollywood, wealthy and working-class suburbs of New York, and Germany at the end of World War II. Bloom’s unpretentious, effortless writing is quick-paced yet profoundly moving, magical yet matter-of-fact.  —Julia

Staff Pick Badge
Lucky Us: A Novel By Amy Bloom Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812978940
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - July 7th, 2015

Shop Class as Soulcraft by Matthew Crawford

A philosopher-turned-mechanic spectacular manifesto in defense of manual labor is disconcertingly pertinent as our lives become more digitized and our minds more numbed—and lost is the ability to make or repair anything tangible. Working with one’s hands, Shop Class demands, is the key to intellectual stimulation, economic independence, and human flourishing.

Reviewed by: 
Staff Pick Badge
Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work By Matthew B. Crawford Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143117469
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 27th, 2010


Subscribe to RSS - Julia's Reviews