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Rico's Reviews

Rico has had a lot of different jobs over the years--carpenter, office manager, teacher, marketing copywriter--but he's spent most of his adult life selling books, first at Capitola Book Cafe and now at Bookshop Santa Cruz, where he manages the Fiction section. In his spare time he does a lot of birdwatching, backpacking, and woodworking. His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines around the country--one was a Notable Story of the Year in the 2009 Best of the West anthology and two were nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. His essay, "Of Human Carnage," was selected for Best American Essays 2016. Though he mostly reads literary fiction, he also loves outdoor adventure, history and anything about Africa. Aside from being around books all day, his favorite part of the job is making recommendations and turning people on to authors they haven't discovered yet.

 

 

 

 

 

A Thousand Acres by Jane Smiley

Winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, Smiley’s masterpiece tells the story of an Iowa farmer who tries to divide his farm between his three daughters. As you might guess, things do not go as planned. A gorgeously written, sumptuous retelling of King Lear, the book exposes the dark truths in a typical American family. A haunting, unforgettable read. - Rico

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A Thousand Acres: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781400033836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - December 2nd, 2003

The Savage Detectives by Robert Bolaño

This is one of the most beautiful and strangely compelling novels I’ve ever read. Centered around a small group of mostly failed poets in Mexico City in the 1970s, it veers to Spain, Africa, and back to Mexico in surprising and wonderful ways. Part crime story, part hero’s journey, the book is funny, poignant and one hundred percent unique. - Rico

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The Savage Detectives: A Novel Cover Image
By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by)
$20.00
ISBN: 9780312427481
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - March 4th, 2008

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

William Boyd should be as well known as Steinbeck or Dickens. Like them, he does it all: amazing plots, wonderful descriptions and—especially—great characters. Written in the form of journal entries, this book tells the story of an art dealer and sometime-spy whose life is a kind of history of the 20th century. Both intimate and sweeping, this is simply a great old-fashioned read. - Rico

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Any Human Heart (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400031009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2004

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

Imbued with Dewitt’s oddball sensibility, this strange little book tells the story of an extremely wealthy (but growing poorer by the day) widow and her adult son who both absolutely positively refuse to worry about their increasingly precarious finances. Weird in the extreme, they’re sarcastic, rude, dismissive—and still strangely entertaining. An enjoyable romp. - Rico

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French Exit: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062846921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2018

Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi by Geoff Dyer

The first half of this brilliant and intriguing novel takes place at the Biennale in Venice, where a world-weary freelance writer might be falling in love. The second part is set in Varanasi, India, where a world-weary Brit is going mad or finding nirvana, or both. Are the two characters the same guy? Are the stories connected? Dyer lets you come to your own conclusions. - Rico

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Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307390301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 6th, 2010

Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell

Though the movie was universally panned, the book remains one of the best-written, most intriguing works of fiction of the past twenty years. Composed of six connected novellas that take place over vastly different eras, both past and future, each written in a different style, the book is a essentially a brilliant survey of humankind. One of my all-time favorites. - Rico

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Cloud Atlas: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780375507250
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - August 17th, 2004

Let's Go (So We Can Get Back) by Jeff Tweedy

It comes as no surprise that one of the most unique songwriters and best lyricists of the past twenty years is also a damn fine prose writer. Tweedy's book detailing his formative years in the seminal punk-country-folk band Uncle Tupelo and the formation and history of Wilco (one of my favorite bands ever) is funny, sad and deeply honest. For music fans, this is absolutely essential. - Rico

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Let's Go (So We Can Get Back): A Memoir of Recording and Discording with Wilco, Etc. Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781101985267
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - November 13th, 2018

Your Duck Is My Duck by Deborah Eisenberg

A lot less known and heralded than she should be, Eisenberg is one of the finest short story writers working today. Her writing combines the command of character and setting of Alice Munro with the sharp humor and social skewering of George Saunders. Her stories are slyly observant, often edgy, usually funny, and always surprising in their turns and revelations. And they never fail to pack an emotional punch. Because it’s been more than a decade since her last collection of new work—Eisenberg is what is known as a “patient” writer—I, like the rest of her fans, will be lining up for this one. - Rico

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Your Duck Is My Duck: Stories Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062688774
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 25th, 2018

French Exit by Patrick deWitt

When a once wealthy Upper West Side widow and her emotionally childish adult son have, after years of spendthrift foolishness, finally burned through all their money, they head for Paris. They bring Small Frank, their cat, because the widow believes he is animated by the soul of her dead husband—an infamously immoral lawyer. The characters here are awful—narcissistic, cruel, warped by money and privilege—but their story is hilarious and strangely compelling. As always, DeWitt’s writing is crisp and dead-pan witty. He creates a world that is, shall we say, different from the one you and I live in, but still believable—in a totally crazy way. I happily tore through this in a couple days, smiling the whole time. - Rico

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French Exit: A Novel Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062846921
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - August 28th, 2018

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

Stegner’s masterpiece features two plots, one modern-day and the other from the 1800s, as it tells the story of a historian trying to write the biography of his long-dead grandmother. Featuring gorgeous prose and characters as real and tangible as granite, the book is an iconic novel of the west and a deeply moving narrative of one family and our national collective past. - Rico

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Angle of Repose Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101872765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - November 4th, 2014

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