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Kat's Reviews

KatsronautKat first came to Bookshop Santa Cruz by winning the short story contest in 2008. She convinced the management to give her a job, and went on to become an event host, the used book manager and an avid connoisseur of fiction. In her other life, she is often found enjoying tacos. She now works for the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks managing their ParkStores.

Grunt by Mary Roach

Oh, the places Mary Roach has gone! She’s floated in zero gravity, she’s stuck her hand inside a cow, and she’s gotten busy in an MRI machine. Now she’s on to something completely different: the military. Turns out there is a lot of science that goes into equipping our men and women in uniform, and much of it is quite bizarre. I cracked up twice during the first chapter alone. Don’t miss our event with Mary Roach on June 24th. See page 17.  —Kat


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Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393245448
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 7th, 2016

Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt

One of the things that’s so frustrating about the lack of female representation in the hard sciences is that women have actually always been there. We just haven’t heard their stories. Rise of the Rocket Girls is the perfect antidote to this phenomenon, chronicling the women who tirelessly calculated, designed, and tested the machinery that brought humans to the moon. A must-read for anyone interested in women’s history and the history of spaceflight.  —Kat


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Rise of the Rocket Girls: The Women Who Propelled Us, from Missiles to the Moon to Mars Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316338929
Availability: Backordered
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 5th, 2016

One Wild Bird at a Time by Bernd Heinrich

We tend to think about birds and their habits on the level of species, but I can’t think of any other book that looks so intimately at the lives of individual birds and what we might learn from them. Heinrich is one of the best nature writers working today, and this book in particular is such a treat. It made me look at my feathered neighbors in an entirely new way.  —Kat

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One Wild Bird at a Time: Portraits of Individual Lives Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544387638
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - April 12th, 2016

Skyfaring by Mark Vanhoenacker

I admit that I picked this book up in part because I’m afraid of flying, and I’m so glad I did. Reading Vanhoenacker’s literary memoir reminded me of the way being on a plane can feel like hovering between two worlds. Skyfaring has a lot to offer, both for aviation buffs and for those who tense up during turbulence. It might just make you rethink that upcoming business trip. —Kat


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Skyfaring: A Journey with a Pilot (Vintage Departures) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780804169714
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - May 3rd, 2016

When Books Went to War by Molly Guptill Manning

A fascinating and unusual story of World War II, told through the perspective of…books. Desperate for diversion, and fighting an enemy who burned books publicly, American soldiers wanted to read. Publishers came together to produce cheap, portable paperbacks of bestselling and classic titles that fit the pockets of a soldier. The effect that those books had on the war and on an entire generation of soldiers cannot be overstated. I promise you’ve never read a history book like this before. —Kat

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When Books Went to War: The Stories That Helped Us Win World War II Cover Image
ISBN: 9780544570405
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - October 27th, 2015

The Story of Land and Sea by Katy Simpson Smith

Set before and after the Revolutionary War, the Story of Land and Sea is an unusual and immersive novel. There is a gentleness to this story that makes you forget you’re reading about a war, and much of the story is intimately removed from the front lines. Instead we see the people – husbands and wives, fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, quiet, steadfast, and ordinary lives that might otherwise be forgotten. —Kat

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The Story of Land and Sea: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062335951
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Harper Perennial - July 21st, 2015

The Portable Veblen by Elizabeth McKenzie

The Portable Veblen is the story of a dreamy young woman who falls in love with an ambitious scientist, and struggles to know how much of herself she must hide or give up in order to be truly, happily married. Veblen is a thoroughly smart and entertaining novel about identity, family, and squirrels. —Kat

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The Portable Veblen: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206856
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Press - January 19th, 2016

Tales of Accidental Genius by Simon Van Booy

How do I talk about Simon Van Booy’s short stories? They feel like well-loved coins that I refuse to remove from my pockets, talismans that provide comfort even when I’m not actually reading them. I’ve been thinking about these stories everywhere I go—in traffic, at work, waiting to cross the street, even sometimes when I’m reading someone else’s book. For me it’s not just the immediate, hypnotic lyricism of his work that makes these stories so special, but the way they linger.  —Kat

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Tales of Accidental Genius: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062408976
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Harper Perennial - November 10th, 2015

Dreaming Spies by Laurie R. King

In King’s fine mysteries involving Sherlock Holmes and Mary Russell, Russell never seems to get a chance to catch her breath, and for that I am grateful. Dreaming Spies takes place in two countries and in two timelines —we see Russell and Holmes travel to Japan just after the events of The Game, hoping to take a vacation (yeah, right), but a year later, back in England, they discover that the events of that trip are still very much with them. Though she must be getting tired, I for one hope that Ms. Russell never decides to retire.  --Kat

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Dreaming Spies: A novel of suspense featuring Mary Russell and Sherlock Holmes Cover Image
ISBN: 9780345531810
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Bantam - October 6th, 2015

Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights by Salman Rushdie

A beautiful, mystical creature meets a rational-thinking human man, and their children—who are legion—awaken suddenly to seemingly magical powers. This is the (very basic) outline of Rushdie’s latest novel, a rhapsodic and thrillingly old-fashioned story that steals from the heart of many different genres. Like so many of Rushdie’s novels, it’s a book person’s book, the kind that reminds you how lucky you are to be able to read it.  --Kat

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Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812998917
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Random House - September 8th, 2015


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