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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.

 

 

 

 

 

My Dark Places by James Ellroy

When the writer James Ellroy (L.A. Confidential, American Tabloid) was ten years old, his mother was found murdered in a Los Angeles suburb. The police could not solve the case. Not surprisingly, this event haunted Ellroy and, in a way, shaped his entire life. As an adult, he enlists the help of a retired L.A. County Sheriff and sets out to find his mother’s killer.  

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My Dark Places: A True Crime Autobiography By James Ellroy Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679762058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 19th, 1997

How To Sell by Clancy Martin

This book is deranged, mean-spirited, brilliantly written and funny as hell. Set in the jewelry business, it’s about a rivalry between two brothers but also about capitalism and self-interest run amok. It’s one of the most surprising and enjoyable books I’ve read in the last few years. (But a sick sense of humor is definitely required.)

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How to Sell: A Novel By Clancy Martin Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9780312429645
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
(Please note: This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - April 27th, 2010

On Beauty by Zadie Smith

Long a huge fan of E.M. Forster, Smith pays homage with this modern retelling of Forster’s masterpiece Howards End. The results are terrific—a big, old-fashioned novel about class and family. Smith’s writing appears effortless; the plot is just as pertinent now as it was in Forster’s day, and her characters live and breathe like members of your own family. 

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On Beauty: A Novel By Zadie Smith Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143037743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 29th, 2006

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Simply put, this is the very best book (among many strong contenders) about the American experience in Vietnam. It’s part autobiography, part history, part novel and all masterpiece. O’Brien’s experience as a soldier clearly haunted him and the book is a kind of sentence-by-sentence exorcism that, in turn, haunts you, the reader.

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The Things They Carried By Tim O'Brien Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780618706419
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books Classics - October 13th, 2009

Old School by Tobias Wolff

As readers of Wolff’s great memoir This Boy’s Life know, young Toby conned his way into an elite East Coast prep school. This novel is the fictionalized version of Toby’s experience there. The writing is finely honed, the story funny, sad and deeply honest about the world of competitive young “men” trying to find their way through adolescence.

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Old School (Vintage Contemporaries) By Tobias Wolff Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780375701498
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - August 31st, 2004

The Last of Her Kind by Sigrid Nunez

Telling the story of a good, middle-class girl who grows up to be a strident radical (think Kathleen Soliah of the SLA or Bernadine Dohrn of the Weather Underground), Nunez captures a powerful, unrelenting personality, as well as the mood and events of the 1960s and 70s. The writing is somehow both relaxed and urgent, conversational and polished. A great book.

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The Last of Her Kind: A Novel By Sigrid Nunez Cover Image
$21.00
ISBN: 9780312425944
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
(Please note: This book cannot be returned.)
Published: Picador - December 12th, 2006

All the Birds Singing by Evie Wyld

Wyld’s novel starts on a cold and desolate English island, where the main character—Jake, the only young and female shepherd for miles—is trying figure out what is killing her sheep. It then moves back and forth in time, revealing Jake’s previous life in Australia and the gruesome events that drove her to such an isolated place. The writing is beautiful, the structure dazzling. 

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All the Birds, Singing: A Novel By Evie Wyld Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780345802507
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: Vintage - January 6th, 2015

The Dog by Joseph O’Neill

The story of a newly-single attorney who takes a job in Dubai working for an obscenely wealthy family, this novel is a meditation on loneliness and dislocation. Though there's very little in the way of plot, the book never drags; the writing is so crisp, the physical and cultural setting so different from nearly everything else you've ever read, the pages turn themselves.

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The Dog By Joseph O'Neill Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780307378231
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: Pantheon Books - September 9th, 2014

10:04 by Ben Lerner

This scintillating amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure recalling the best of Nabokov. While Lerner’s curiosity stretches to the horizon in every direction, the book is taut and precise—a masterwork of literary engineering. It is among the smartest, most compelling novels I’ve ever read.

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10:04: A Novel: A Novel By Ben Lerner Cover Image
$25.00
ISBN: 9780865478107
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 2nd, 2014

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