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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.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq is a musical artist in more ways than one. As a world-renowned Inuit throat singer, she has already stunned the world with her powerful songs and lyrics, but now in her first memoir, an explosive combination of narrative, poetry, myth, truth, and ferocity, she weaves the story of a young girl who comes of age in a small Arctic town, bound by boredom and violence, natural wonder and the spirit world. Life is a beautiful and terrifying thing, and Split Tooth contains all of it. - Melinda

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Split Tooth Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780670070091
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking - September 25th, 2018

All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung

Nicole Chung’s clear and introspective memoir brings new light to the search for identity and navigating both the past and the future when surrounded by the complexity of those who love you. As a transracial adoptee, the incongruity of growing up happy yet uncomfortably different leads her to search out the truth about her birth parents when she is on the brink of becoming a parent herself. This unique, difficult, and often surprising journey considers what one needs most in the world to belong. - Melinda

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All You Can Ever Know: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781936787975
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Catapult - October 2nd, 2018

Belonging by Nora Krug

Krug’s graphic memoir packs a powerful historical punch. As a German born two generations after the Holocaust, she struggles with her country’s atrocious past and the ambiguity of her family’s own involvement. Through vivid text and graphics, historical photos and documents, layering memory and story with poignancy, she seeks the truth and delves deep into her family’s history. Krug does the hard work to bring the personal past back to life and ask how one shapes one’s identity and finds one’s sense of home in its midst. Beautifully done in every way. - Melinda

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Belonging: A German Reckons with History and Home Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476796628
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - October 2nd, 2018

That's What I Thought by Gary Young

Gary Young’s prose poems feel like forgotten soulmates. Seemingly unassuming sentences, day-to-day observations, build upon each other, and then in an expert turn, enlightenment takes sudden, luminous flight. Each poem sits with me long after I’ve read it once, twice, more. His new collection, That’s What I Thought, comes out this fall, and I am so looking forward to dipping in and finding new companions. - Melinda

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That's What I Thought: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9780892554942
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Persea - September 25th, 2018

The Carrying by Ada Limón

I want to live my life through the lens of Limón’s poetry. Rooted in the very earth her fingers dig into, she writes her world like a garden full of living things that she carefully observes, naming each plant, each bird, each grief and trial and love. Moving from family issues to social ones, wanting life and watching death, her poems challenge us to see, to feel, and to soldier on: “Look, we are not unspectacular things. / We’ve come this far, survived this much. What / would happen if we decided to survive more? To love harder?” - Melinda           

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The Carrying: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571315120
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Milkweed Editions - August 14th, 2018

Friday Black by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

Friends, this is it. This is the book we’ve been waiting for. And now I can’t get it out of my head, and the pit of my stomach, and my aching heart. It is that good, that gorgeous, that brutal, surreal, tender, enlightening, bitingly funny, and unbelievably truthful. And it’s short stories, so I urge you to savor them one at a time, if you can. Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah is here, and I say not a moment too soon. - Melinda

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Friday Black Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018

If You Leave Me by Crystal Hana Kim

Kim’s emotional debut explores one Korean family’s struggle to survive the civil war and its enduring aftermath. At the novel’s heart is Haemi Lee, a spirited teenager who flees to a refugee camp with her widowed mother and sick brother, and must make difficult choices in the face of unabashed youth. Although satisfyingly steeped in young loves and family loyalties, it is ultimately a tale of identity, how one country and its people endeavor to find their place in a world ripped apart by years of war and occupation. This is a story both well-loved and refreshingly new. - Melinda

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If You Leave Me: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062645173
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: William Morrow - August 7th, 2018

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison

A good Western is all in the telling, and Jessilyn Harney, the young woman at the heart of Larison’s new novel has a voice made for stories. Newly orphaned, she disguises herself as a boy and sets off to find her outlaw brother, to bring him home, reclaim their father’s land and reclaim her sense of family. There are delightfully new threads in this riveting Western yarn, but the adventuring and seeking remain the same, song-like and enjoyable to the end. - Melinda

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Whiskey When We're Dry Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780735220447
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Viking - August 21st, 2018

Small Animals by Kim Brooks

When Kim Brooks was arrested for leaving her child locked in her ventilated car for only 5 minutes, her life changed forever as did her experience with parenting. Small Animals is her emotionally honest, often funny, well-researched, thoughtful response, a deep dive into the complexity of parenting today, when anxiety runs high and there is an underlying competition, often without context, control, or empathy. How is fear guiding us and to what extent is it harmful? I devoured this book, feeling both unnerved and grateful. - Melinda

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Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781250089557
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Flatiron Books - August 21st, 2018

Farsighted by Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson remains one of my favorite nonfiction writers and his new book is a perfect example of why: he asks smart questions in ways somehow different and then searches for answers through wide-ranging disciplines. Here, he explores the big long-lasting decisions we make, those that change whole lives and histories, but it is his curiosity and narrative ease that makes reading it an easy choice for me. - Melinda

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Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594488214
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - September 4th, 2018


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