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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.

 

 

 

 

 

White Tears by Hari Kunzru

When Seth accidentally records an unknown singer in a park, his friend Carter sends it out over the Internet, claiming it’s a long lost 1920s blues recording by a musician called Charlie Shaw. When an old collector contacts them to say that their fake record and their fake bluesman are actually real, the two young white men, accompanied by Carter’s troubled sister Leonie, spiral down into the heart of the nation’s darkness, encountering a suppressed history of greed, envy, revenge, and exploitation. - Rico

The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera

Kundera is one of the great writers of the last half of the 20th century and this, in my opinion, is his masterpiece. His pitch-perfect evocation of the artistic and intellectual life in Czechoslovakia following the Prague Spring, and the story of his very human (i.e. flawed) quartet of main characters, will nourish your mind and break your heart. - Rico

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The Unbearable Lightness of Being: A Novel By Milan Kundera Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780060932138
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial Modern Classics - July 5th, 2005

The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Murakami has written many strange and wonderful books but this one is definitely my favorite. Starting with a strange phone call on an otherwise uneventful day, it pulls its main character into a surreal world in which all is not what it seems. Moving back and forth in history, and filled with compelling, startling turns, it comes together in brilliant and unexpected ways. - Rico

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (Vintage International) By Haruki Murakami Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9780679775430
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1998

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

When this book was published twenty years ago, the impact was so powerful we’re still feeling the reverberations today. The most flat-out brilliant book of the 1990s, by a mile, it offers amazing erudition, terrifically sympathetic characters, and a mind-bending structure. And footnotes—lots and lots of footnotes. It’s also the funniest book I’ve ever read. - Rico

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Infinite Jest (20th Anniversary Edition): A Novel By David Foster Wallace, Tom Bissell (Foreword by) Cover Image
By David Foster Wallace, Tom Bissell (Foreword by)
$22.99
ISBN: 9780316306058
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: Back Bay Books - February 23rd, 2016

BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen

Here, for the first time, the Boss tells his own story, from growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, to becoming the brightest light on the mid-Atlantic bar-band scene, to finding monster success with the E Street Band. The struggles, the triumphs, the divorce, the deaths of band members—it’s all here. And not surprisingly, one of the greatest songwriters of all time is also an enviably terrific prose stylist. If you read one rock-and-roll biography this decade, it should probably be this one.      —Rico

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Born to Run By Bruce Springsteen Cover Image
$32.50
ISBN: 9781501141515
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 27th, 2016

Upstream by Mary Oliver

It turns out that Mary Oliver’s essays are almost as poetic as her poems. Fans of her deep powers of observation, love of nature, and carefully crafted phrases will find themselves well cared for by these pieces. Covering a variety of subjects but never far from the subject of artistic creation, Oliver shares her deepest thoughts on the life of the poet in the modern age.  —Rico

 

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Upstream: Selected Essays By Mary Oliver Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594206702
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 11th, 2016

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

For my money, Zadie Smith is one of the best novelists working today. Smart, funny, and honest, she describes the world and its inhabitants with the eye of an anthropologist and the pen of an artist. So I can’t wait for her new book, the story of two mixed-race girls growing up in London. They both dream of becoming dancers and find, as time goes by, that only one of them has the necessary talent. —Rico

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Swing Time By Zadie Smith Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781594203985
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: Penguin Press - November 15th, 2016

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Before gaining global success with books like Atonement and Saturday, McEwan was an ultra-smart and very literary writer of creepy, somewhat gothic novels. With his new book, he returns to his diabolical roots, telling a story of deception and murder from the point of view of a soon-to-be-born child. As always, his prose is sharp and evocative, his characters troubling but sympathetic, his plot the work of a master engineer.  —Rico

 

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Nutshell: A Novel By Ian McEwan Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780385542074
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: Nan A. Talese - September 13th, 2016

A Gambler's Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem

Alexander Bruno is a backgammon shark who makes a living traveling the globe trouncing lesser players who have more money than skill. All is well until a run of bad luck in Singapore is followed by the development of a strange occlusion—a “blot”—on his eye that forces him to look at the backgammon board askance (metaphor alert!). Lethem, the author of Motherless Brooklyn and countless other works, is a genre-crossing literary chameleon who has written books in just about all the fictions (crime, literary, science, etc.). In this one he spices his always witty and erudite prose with a dash of the gothic supernatural, creating a strange and riveting story about the games people play and the fate of one man who is learning he may not always win.  —Rico

 

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A Gambler's Anatomy: A Novel By Jonathan Lethem Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9780385539906
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: Doubleday - October 18th, 2016

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

With his first story collection in 12 years, McCann reaffirms his place as one of the great writers of our time. Deeply sympathetic to his characters and subversively funny, he tells quirky and powerful stories that slyly achieve great emotional power. If you’re already a fan, you know you need this. If you’ve yet to discover him, this is a great place to start.  —Rico

 

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Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories By Colum McCann Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780812986587
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: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 20th, 2016

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