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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.

World Class by Grant Wahl

The world lost beloved sports journalist Grant Wahl too soon when he died unexpectedly during coverage of the 2022 World Cup, but now we have this definitive collection of his writing, spanning from his college days to his time at Sports Illustrated and within his own Substack. Included are landmark pieces on LeBron, Pinoe, soccer politics, and women’s sports, with plenty more to discover. All contain his intelligence, companionship, and commitment to using sports as a lens to see ourselves and to aim for better. — Melinda

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World Class: Purpose, Passion, and the Pursuit of Greatness On and Off the Field By Grant Wahl, Dr. Céline Gounder (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Grant Wahl, Dr. Céline Gounder (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780593726761
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - June 4th, 2024

Hoop Atlas by Kirk Goldsberry

Kirk Goldsberry is back with his follow-up to Sprawlball and it’s just as fascinating. An eye-pleasing blend of graphics and deep analysis, Hoop Atlas charts the rise of the modern NBA, beginning with Jordan’s revolutionary play in the ’90s, providing a roadmap for the next 30 years. Goldsberry identifies key players like James, Curry, and Jokic who continue to evolve the game, pulling data and providing stories that give fans much to consider. —Melinda

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Hoop Atlas: Mapping the Remarkable Transformation of the Modern NBA By Kirk Goldsberry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063329621
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 7th, 2024

Walk in the Park by Kevin Fedarko

Kevin Fedarko’s incredible book on the Grand Canyon and his year-long adventure hiking its 750-mile transect exceeds all expectations. Inspiring but grounded, grueling but funny, exhilarating, informative, personable, lovely, he’s captured it all, with special care given to the landscape, its history, and the Indigenous tribes who belong there. This is seminal reading on the Grand Canyon, and every page is a pleasure. I cannot recommend it highly enough.  —Melinda

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A Walk in the Park: The True Story of a Spectacular Misadventure in the Grand Canyon By Kevin Fedarko Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501183058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 28th, 2024

Long Island by Colm Tóibín

First, you don’t have to read Brooklyn before enjoying this novel, but we are returned to the world of Eilis Lacey, now twenty years older and in a different moment of her life. When pivotal circumstances send her home to Enniscorthy, Ireland, old relationships force her to examine her choices and how she might determine her future. Though I am vague, rest assured that Colm Toibin is not, and the astuteness with which he weaves the lives and inner turmoil of everyday people is as quietly momentous as always. —Melinda

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Long Island (Eilis Lacey Series) By Colm Toibin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476785110
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024

The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye by Briony Cameron

Who doesn’t want to read a reimagined historical novel about women pirates of color on the 17th century Caribbean seas? While factual origins of the legendary Jacquotte Delahaye may be contested, Brioney Cameron takes all the inspiration, bravery, and delight from this little-known figure to create a dashing life for the mixed-race shipbuilder-cum-pirate. This is good summer fun, complete with queer love, political intrigue, and plenty of swashbuckling. I’m pretty sure this is how piracy should have been!  —Melinda

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The Ballad of Jacquotte Delahaye: A Novel By Briony Cameron Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668051023
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria Books - June 4th, 2024

Aguas de estuario Escrito por Velia Vidal, traducido por Annie McDermott

Aguas de estuario es una hermosa novela epistolar, la cual dentro del santuario mágico de la correspondencia, le permite a Velia Vidal explorar el viaje de una escritora afrocolombiana hacia su lugar en las artes, en su comunidad, y dentro de sí misma. Al regresar a su hogar inicia un programa de literatura juvenil en las zonas rurales y comunidades negras de la costa pacífica de Colombia. Delicada, confesional, y llena del mar, es a la vez sobre la amistad y la conexión, sin importar cómo la encontremos. Una joya resonante e inspiradora. —Melinda

Tidal Waters
Graceful, confessional, and full of the sea, Tidal Waters is also about friendship and connection, however we may find it. 

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Aguas de Estuario By Velia Vidal Cover Image
ISBN: 9781913867782
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Charco Press - May 14th, 2024

My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music’s Black Past, Present, and Future by Alice Randall

Alice Randall has been one of the only Black female songwriters on Nashville’s Music Row for decades, and while we know her songs (“XXX’s and OOO’s”), we have not fully appreciated her place in the long line of Black creators and influencers in country music, until now. Her memoir explores this fascinating part of American history, as well as her own incredible life, celebrating a joyous note to country music that has always been there and is continuing to make itself heard.  —Melinda

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My Black Country: A Journey Through Country Music's Black Past, Present, and Future By Alice Randall Cover Image
ISBN: 9781668018408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Atria/Black Privilege Publishing - April 9th, 2024

Mirror in the Sky: The Life and Music of Stevie Nicks by Simon Morrison

Whether you are a lifelong fan of Stevie Nicks, curious about the stretch of her musical and songwriting career, or drawn to the 1970s California sound garden she played in, there is much to love and learn in Simon Morrison’s biography about the cultural icon and incredible musician. Deeply researched and never straying into untenable territory, this book is an enjoyable entry into the life of Stevie Nicks, from Fleetwood Mac and beyond, and it just feels like summertime.  —Melinda

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Mirror in the Sky: The Life and Music of Stevie Nicks By Simon Morrison Cover Image
ISBN: 9780520401266
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of California Press - March 19th, 2024

Going to See: 30 Writers on Nature, Inspiration, and the World of Barry Lopez Edited by Kurt Caswell & James Perrin Warren

When Barry Lopez died in 2020, we lost a monumental voice in environmental literature, one that has inspired many to go out and see the world, to be in it, of it, and to return with greater understanding. This collection reflects his impact, with pieces from friends and some who only know his words, from Rick Bass and Terry Tempest Williams to J. Drew Lanham and Stephen Graham Jones, each celebrates his work and continues his curiosity through connection. A lovely tribute, primer, and companion as you (re)read his canon.  —Melinda

Staff Pick Badge
Going to See: 30 Writers on Nature, Inspiration, and the World of Barry Lopez By Kurt Caswell (Editor), James Perrin Warren (Editor) Cover Image
By Kurt Caswell (Editor), James Perrin Warren (Editor)
ISBN: 9781680516616
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mountaineers Books - May 1st, 2024

Little Seed by Wei Tchou

Finding literary gems from small presses like this quasi-nature-writing-memoir is one of the best parts of bookselling, sharing them is even better. Little Seed begins with Wei Tchou’s concern for her ailing house fern as her brother falls into crisis. What follows is a deep dive into fern knowledge, interspersed with an intimate exploration of race, identity, and her immigrant family, all of which culminates in a Oaxacan cloud forest, as she searches for giant “helechos” and herself. This is brave new literature, unfurling.  —Melinda

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Little Seed By Wei Tchou Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646053360
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Strange Object - May 14th, 2024


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