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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Sibley's Guide to the Birds of Western America 2nd Ed. by David Alan Sibley

The gold-standard of birding field guides has been updated. Hurray! The revised edition reflects new species (like Bell's Sparrow, a split from Sage Sparrow, which is now known as Sagebrush Sparrow) and includes updated range maps reflecting current research. Sibley's watercolors are astonishing examples of ornithological art. If you're a birder in the Western U.S., you need this book. —Rico
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The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America: Second Edition (Sibley Guides) By David Allen Sibley Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780307957924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - March 29th, 2016

Zero K by Don Delillo

The author of the masterpieces White Noise and Underworld returns to form with a haunting novel about what it means to die in the age of ultrasophisticated biology and cryogenics. Like a wonderfully intelligent and benevolent alien being, DeLillo brings an outsider’s perspective to modern life, helping us understand and define who we are. As always, his prose is laser sharp, filled with powerful juxtapositions and observations, and he leavens the heaviest of subjects with wry humor.  —Rico

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Zero K: A Novel By Don DeLillo Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781501135392
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Scribner - May 3rd, 2016

Under the Stars by Dan White

A long-time Santa Cruz resident and the author of The Cactus Eaters, White dazzles with this funny and very engaging history of camping in America. From 19th-century woodcraft to backpacking to family tent camping to “glamping” (glamour camping, where your every outdoor need is met—for a price), he covers it all. The chapter in which he rents an RV and tries to drive his family across the backroads of Arizona is worth the price of admission alone.  —Rico

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Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping By Dan White Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781627791953
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - June 14th, 2016

Cities I’ve Never Lived In: Stories by Sara Majka

In this debut collection of stories, Majka shows herself to be a smart and unique new voice in American fiction. Eschewing many of the standard short-story tropes, she moves effortlessly through the life of her main character, a young woman trying to recover her equilibrium following a divorce. With subtlety and grace, Majka connects seemingly small epiphanies to create moments of profound insight and beauty.  —Rico

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Cities I've Never Lived In: Stories By Sara Majka Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977313
Availability: Backordered
Published: Graywolf Press - February 16th, 2016

Night at the Fiestas: Stories by Kirstin Valdez Quade

One of the most highly praised and anticipated story collections of recent memory, Night at the Fiestas is set in northern New Mexico and follows hardscrabble lives haunted by loss and enlivened by dreams of a better future. Quade’s writing is lushly detailed, her characters lovingly drawn, and her stories achieve astonishing emotional power. By turns tragic and very funny, this is a terrific debut.  —Rico

 

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Night at the Fiestas: Stories By Kirstin Valdez Quade Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393352214
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2016

Mating by Norman Rush

The story of a female graduate student in Anthropology who goes to Africa to study a utopian society set up by a charismatic and idealistic outsider, this is one of my favorite books period and definitely one of my favorite books about Africa. Rush’s writing is gorgeous and erudite, and he has deep compassion for his vast panoply of carefully drawn characters.   --Rico

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Mating: A Novel (National Book Award Winner) (Vintage International) By Norman Rush Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780679737094
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1992

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

As a winner of the Nobel Prize, Marquez probably doesn’t need further recommending from the likes of me. But I do want to put in a plug for this, my favorite of all of his books. Though set in a single day, and barely a 100 pages, it nonetheless tells the story of an entire town, indeed an entire culture. Taut, gorgeous, heartbreaking, it’s one of his great artistic achievements.  --Rico

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Vintage International) By Gabriel García Márquez, Gregory Rabassa (Translated by) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400034710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2003

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

Set in Nigeria in the mid-1990s, this terrific debut tells the story of four brothers whose fortunes change for the worse when their father takes a job in a faraway city. The plot feels as solid and classic as something out of the Old Testament--an African version of Cain-and-Abel--and the writing is unique, creating tension in oblique and unexpected ways. I found this a profound and moving reading experience.

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The Fishermen: A Novel By Chigozie Obioma Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316338370
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 14th, 2015

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

If there was still any doubt that Jonathan Franzen is the best living American novelist, this book crushes it. In addition to the wide array of great characters, unsurpassed erudition, and astounding prose that we've come to expect from him, Purity offers a globe-spanning plot. I laughed, I squirmed, and I gasped, but mostly I stayed up into the wee hours greedily turning pages.

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Purity: A Novel By Jonathan Franzen Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374239213
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 1st, 2015

Young Skins by Colin Barrett

Set in a dismal, semi-rural town in the west of Ireland where jobs are few but boredom and idiotic drunken violence are plentiful, this brilliant collection of stories reads like the love child of Dubliners and the first Arctic Monkeys album. Barrett's protagonists are young, male and lost, with dim prospects. He explores their physical and emotional terrain with precise, slightly arch prose filled with spot-on descriptions and fresh turns of phrase. A single collection might be too small a sample size to add Barrett's name to the list of great Irish short-story writers, but Young Skins is one hell of a strong opening argument.

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Young Skins: Stories By Colin Barrett Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780802123329
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - March 3rd, 2015

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