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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.

Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense Eventually by Meichi Ng

Meichi Ng’s smart, funny, honest book of illustrated personal essays captures all the feels of growing up and finding one’s place in adulthood. Full of absurdity, awareness, and universal truths in all their most comic, most awkward, most endearing forms, this sweet little blue blob of non-gendered protagonist is a great storyteller, an emotional touchstone, and my new best friend. Perfect for fans of Allie Brosh and Jomny Sun or anyone in need of a humorous dose of youthful tenderness. — Melinda

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Barely Functional Adult: It'll All Make Sense Eventually Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062945594
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Harper Perennial - November 24th, 2020

A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection by Steve Martin & Harry Bliss

What do you get when you combine Steve Martin’s quirky humor with New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss’s iconic illustrations? So much joy, a welcome escape, quite literally something for everyone. A Wealth of Pigeons is both a delightful collection of cartoons and the story of their collaboration in comic strip form. It exudes warmth and humanity—a singular treasure to be enjoyed on repeat. — Melinda

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A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection Cover Image
By Steve Martin, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)
ISBN: 9781250262899
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Celadon Books - November 17th, 2020

Let’s Talk About Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Edited by Carmen Boullosa & Alberto Quintero

This necessary anthology of Mexican and Mexico-based writing is crucial to a more complete understanding of the long history of border relations and immigration policies, their past and present effects, and our current exacerbated political crisis. Using Trump’s wall as a launching pad, Boullosa and Quintero provides a platform for more than 20 Latinx writers, including Valeria Luiselli, Yuri Herrera, and Guadalupe Nettel, creating an important resource of diverse voices, experiences, and reports from the other side of the Southern border. 
— Melinda

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Let's Talk about Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Cover Image
By Carmen Boullosa (Editor), Alberto Quintero (Editor)
ISBN: 9781620976180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - October 27th, 2020

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang’s debut novel is delicious to read, equally beautiful and grotesque, harrowing and tender. Told across three generations of Taiwanese American women, Bestiary is intimately recognizable and audaciously new: an immigrant journey, a love story, a family saga, a coming-of-age tale. All are exploded by imagery, mythos, and experimentation, where girls grow tails, damage is done, truths are built and shifted, and the reader is drenched, filled to the brim with wonder. Comparisons to Maxine Hong Kingston and Helen Oyeyemi are apt, but Chang’s promising young voice is all her own. — Melinda

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Bestiary: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593132586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - September 29th, 2020

Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen’s poetic memoir in pieces is a beautiful exploration of her life as a Métis woman, one who is tied deeply to nature, affected by the men around her, and critical of the gun violence that prevails over all. This intersection frames her book and her life, as she reports on trafficked Indigenous women, stands with pipeline protesters at Standing Rock Reservation, and returns to her own family, seeing it all and asking questions with grace and intelligence. Truly a gorgeous and important read. — Melinda

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Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984821188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - September 8th, 2020

Golem Girl: A Memoir by Riva Lehrer

In 1958, Riva Lehrer was born with spina bifida, and has since spent her life as a force to be reckoned with. Golem Girl is her frank, intimate, liberating memoir, spanning her childhood spent largely through a medical lens, her early adult life as a student, creative, and lover, and finally finding her place as a renowned visual artist and disability activist whose collaborative portraits reveal and celebrate people of all shapes and abilities, and whose work explores Disability Culture, gender, queerness, physical identity, and freedom of self. Enhanced with full-color artwork and personal photographs, this book is powerful and a joy to discover. — Melinda

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Golem Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984820303
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - October 6th, 2020

You Belong: A Call for Connection by Sebene Selassie

On the front cover of her life-affirming book, Sebene Selassie self-identifies as Nerdy Black Immigrant Tomboy Buddhist Weirdo and I am all for it. You Belong is the perfect self-help companion in this year of disruption, tumult, tragedy, and disconnection; Selassie does not shy away from the current moment, but meets us in it and provides us with tools. Whether you are just beginning or need a refresher course, Selassie’s thoughtful, joyful, multi-disciplinary work will help you reconnect, and her own personal stories will be a welcomed friend along the way. —Melinda

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You Belong: A Call for Connection Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062940650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - August 25th, 2020

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground by Alicia Elliot

Haudenosaunee writer Alicia Elliott, her family, and her people have experienced depression—what in Mohawk could be described as “a mind spread out on the ground.” In this incisive collection of autobiographical essays, she picks up and names these pieces, historical and current, of harm still being done to Indigenous North Americans. Here, these realities and their effects are explored through the intersections of poverty, politics, racism, and abuse, making for a book that is complex, clear-eyed, and in its truth-telling, full of life, light, and humanity. —Melinda

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A Mind Spread Out on the Ground Cover Image
ISBN: 9781612198668
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - August 4th, 2020

Having and Being Had by Eula Biss

I do not pretend to speak from much experience, but Having and Being Had is the most interesting, most resonant writing about capitalism I’ve ever read. Eula Biss’s personal examination begins after buying her first home, follows the peculiarity and discomfort she finds living within the confines of class, property, and ownership, and expands in fascinating ways from there. Each refreshingly bite-sized essay is equal parts intelligence and personality, like the best late-night conversation with your smartest friend—utterly, brilliantly delightful. —Melinda

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Having and Being Had Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525537458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - September 1st, 2020

Scenic Science of the National Parks An Explorer’s Guide to Wildlife, Geology, and Botany by Emily Hoff & Maygen Keller

With this charming book in hand, you will never experience the National Parks the same way again, even if you don’t leave your house. Hoff and Keller approach the 60 national parks they selected for their guidebook in such a delightful, inquisitive, and responsible way that one can’t help but be fascinated and appreciative all at once. There is so much off-beat information packed into this fully illustrated book that a person can explore the parks to their utter content. There are also passport stamps to be collected for each park, so let the adventuring begin!

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Scenic Science of the National Parks: An Explorer's Guide to Wildlife, Geology, and Botany Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984856302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - March 31st, 2020


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