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Melinda's Reviews

Melinda Powers is the head book buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz and is therefore responsible for choosing which of the 300,000 titles published each year will make their way to our shelves (not including the children’s section). Formerly at Capitola Book Café, she can’t seem to quit this wonderful community of readers, booksellers, and books. She is okay with this addiction.

Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth by Chris Burkard

Surfers, nature photographers, adventure travel enthusiasts, take a look—Distant Shores is a gift book worth reveling in! Few people have traveled to such remote corners of the world in pursuit of their passion, and Chris Burkard seems to have found them all, bringing back dramatic landscape photography of perfect waves with a single surfer and an empty lineup. From Chile to Iceland, Christmas Island to Russia, these shots are an inspiration and an instant armchair adventure. — Melinda

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Distant Shores: Surfing the Ends of the Earth Cover Image
ISBN: 9781623261177
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Chroma - September 22nd, 2020

World of Wonders by Aimee Nezhukumatathil

I do not know if I learned more about Nezhukumatathil or the intriguing plants and animals she so delightfully connects to her own life (the corpse flower! the axolotl!) but I am delighted to not care either way. Already renowned as a gifted Filipina-Indian poet, her ability to detail, celebrate, and use the natural world to bring nuance to social issues and the personal puts this lovely illustrated book in that beautiful blend of science, memoir, and truth—for me, that’s nature writing at its best. — Melinda

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World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313652
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - September 8th, 2020

When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through Edited by Jo Harjo

Organized by geographic location of the poets’ Nations, the poems in this wide-ranging anthology run from the 17th century to the present day, some in English, some bilingual (translated from Native Nations languages), varying in form and content from traditions Eastern, Western, and Indigenous. Each section is preceded by editors’ essays which give context and appreciation, guiding you as the reader on a tour of American literature that may lead you to your next favorite poet. — Jocelyn

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When the Light of the World Was Subdued, Our Songs Came Through: A Norton Anthology of Native Nations Poetry Cover Image
By Joy Harjo (Editor), LeAnne Howe (With), Jennifer Elise Foerster (With)
ISBN: 9780393356809
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - August 25th, 2020

Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Herrera

As the recent US poet laureate, Juan Felipe Herrera traveled the country, listening and engaging with its communities, particularly those marginalized and endangered. His newest collection of poems, some written while on the road, captures what he found, who he met, what is felt. Lyrical, indicting, hopeful, Herrera plays lightly with language, finding new ways to see America and his place in it: “used to think I was not American enuf / now it is the other way around”. — Melinda

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Every Day We Get More Illegal Cover Image
ISBN: 9780872868281
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: City Lights Books - September 22nd, 2020

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine

I cannot wait to return to this incredible book over and over again—there is so much to consider and enjoy. Curious and unerring, Just Us is a work of art that delves into a thoughtful, personal, and profound exploration of whiteness. Elevated to high form in essay, poetry, and visual playfulness, yet easily relatable, it truly is an American Conversation, one that Rankine breaks wide open, asking us to think, and then to think again, to make the conversation matter, and then to keep it going. What an exquisite and important gift. — Melinda

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Just Us: An American Conversation Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450215
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 8th, 2020

Garner’s Quotations: A Modern Miscellany by Dwight Garner

If you enjoy the wit, pleasure, and bite you find in Dwight Garner’s New York Times book reviews, you’ll delight in his commonplace book, but be forewarned, it’s anything but common, thank goodness! Like a conversation, a friendly repartee, a poem, this collection of quotes, culled from almost 40 years of word-capture, is both an (often profane) celebration of the turn of phrase and a newfound book list. Read it straight through or dip in for a spell, and let yourself be entertained. — Melinda

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Garner's Quotations: A Modern Miscellany Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374279196
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - November 10th, 2020

Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West by Lauren Redniss

In this richly illustrated work of visual nonfiction, Redniss bears witness to the years’-long fight of San Carlos Apache tribal members to protect Oak Flat, their sacred land, from Resolution Copper, a multinational mining conglomerate. Within this narrative lie many others, the oral history of three generations of an Apache family, the history of the land itself, the effects of copper mining, its promise to a mining family nearby— this reporting, illuminating, and understanding are Redniss’s true genius, unfolding a powerful, complex story, one that is still in play. — Melinda

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Oak Flat: A Fight for Sacred Land in the American West Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399589720
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - November 17th, 2020

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

Acho has given us quite a gift, both in the form of his viral hit video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and his new book of the same name, a companion to or a continuation of these vital conversations. Each chapter addresses a key question about race relations, racial injustices, and systemic racism. Acho gives frank, thoughtful answers, provides historical context, encourages further self-examination, and offers steps for moving forward. It is an important, hopeful, necessary antiracist resource. — Melinda

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Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250800466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book - November 10th, 2020

Decoding “Despacito” by Leila Cobo

Don’t let the title fool you. Leila Cobo’s rich oral history of Latin music in the United States goes far beyond the 2017 hit song, covering the past 50 years of progress and influence in the global music market. Cobo, the Latin music lead at Billboard, uses her knowledge and access to select 19 landmark songs for which she interviews the artists, musicians, and players, allowing them to tell the story of the song’s moment. Decoding “Despacito” is a triumph and a celebration—one that should be read with each song playing in the background. — Melinda

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ISBN: 9780593081334
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - March 2nd, 2021

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Lucky for us, Jerry Seinfeld has been meticulous about saving his written comedy bits over the course of his career and he’s selected his favorites for this generous collection. Organized by the five decades that his time doing Seinfeld and stand-up spans, it treats us to gem after gem of observational humor, as well as inside moments of the life and process of one of our greatest performers. A perfect gift—this book could not come at a better moment. — Melinda

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Is This Anything? Cover Image
ISBN: 9781982112691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 6th, 2020


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