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S.B.'s Reviews

Stef has been the cookbook buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz for over 25 years and credits her love of good food (and good times) to being born in New Orleans. Her favorite thing in the world is to cook for family and friends.

A Renaissance of Our Own by Rachel E. Cargle

I am so inspired by activist, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Rachel Cargle’s new book and its powerful message: The pursuit of purposeful lives that align with our authentic selves—whether or not they fit the expectations of our loved ones or follow the scripts given to us by society—will lead to true freedom and possibility for all. Cargle shares her own journey from small–town Christian wife to outspoken feminist trailblazer and provides prompts and exercises for readers to foster transformation in their own lives and communities. A phenomenal read!  —S.B.

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A Renaissance of Our Own: A Memoir & Manifesto on Reimagining By Rachel E. Cargle Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593134733
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - May 16th, 2023

I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan by Katie Porter

Representative Katie Porter, now running for US senator, is well known in Congress for speaking her mind. A progressive and single mother of three who flipped a seat in conservative Orange County, she came to national attention for drawing on whiteboards to simplify complex issues (and sometimes call out dodgy colleagues). I Swear takes us behind the scenes of her fight against corporate corruption in the often elitist and out-of-touch congressional world. “The job sucks,” Porter says, “but the work is amazing.”  —S.B.

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I Swear: Politics Is Messier Than My Minivan By Katie Porter Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593443989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Crown - April 11th, 2023

The Body Liberation Project by Chrissy King

Former fitness coach Chrissy King has written a fantastic and emphatic book about body liberation with the goal of finding actual freedom in our bodies—not through willpower and the “body positivity” movement of today, but by decolonizing our ideas and understanding that at our essence we are so much more than our physical bodies. King challenges us to understand that body positivity isn’t about just loving your body, but should be about demanding justice for all bodies, especially the most marginalized. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has found themselves on the margins or who wants to work toward collective liberation. “We are inherently worthy because we exist, not because of what we look like.”  —S.B.

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The Body Liberation Project: How Understanding Racism and Diet Culture Helps Cultivate Joy and Build Collective Freedom By Chrissy King Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593187043
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tiny Reparations Books - March 14th, 2023

Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit by Abra Berens

Abra Berens, author of two of my favorite books on vegetables and grains (Ruffage and Grist), turns her attention to fruit in her new cookbook. Like her previous works, Pulp is an absolute beauty and is filled with delicious, approachable recipes and great advice about selection, storage, and technique. In dishes both sweet and savory, she shows the versatility (and scrumptiousness) of berries, apples, peaches, melons, and all kinds of fruit, by grilling, roasting, poaching, preserving, and more. Pulp strikes the ideal balance of familiar (Cherry Pie) and creative (Apricot Grilled Cheese Sandwich) recipes. Another winner from Berens!  —S.B.

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Pulp: A Practical Guide to Cooking with Fruit By Abra Berens Cover Image
ISBN: 9781797207148
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chronicle Books - April 4th, 2023

Ever-Green Vietnamese by Andrea Nguyen

In award-winning (and local!) culinary writer Andrea Nguyen’s fantastic new cookbook, plants from land and sea are the stars of the dishes. Recipes for great sauces, colorful salads, delicious rice paper rolls, and veggie-packed main dishes showcase plants’ exciting textures and flavors, and Nguyen’s notes and tips throughout are terrific. If you want to eat more vegetables—and love pho, bao, and banh mi as much as I do—don’t miss this accessible and inviting book!  —S.B.

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Ever-Green Vietnamese: Super-Fresh Recipes, Starring Plants from Land and Sea [A Plant-Based Cookbook] By Andrea Nguyen, Aubrie Pick (Photographs by) Cover Image
By Andrea Nguyen, Aubrie Pick (Photographs by)
ISBN: 9781984859853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - April 25th, 2023

Tenderheart by Hetty Lui McKinnon

Hetty Lui McKinnon has followed up her acclaimed and beloved cookbook To Asia, with Love with an equally fantastic collection. An ode to vegetables as well as to her tenderhearted father—a Chinese immigrant in Australia who worked at a wholesale produce market—Tenderheart weaves personal stories with recipes using hard–working, dependable veggies (including peas, potatoes, eggplant, squash, spinach, and kale), noting that seasonality can be a luxury. Packed with delicious dishes (the Carrot Peanut Satay Ramen is so, so good!), it is also a celebration of the many ways that food connects us to loved ones even when they are no longer with us.  —S.B.

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Tenderheart: A Cookbook About Vegetables and Unbreakable Family Bonds By Hetty Lui McKinnon Cover Image
ISBN: 9780593534861
Availability: Not Yet Published - Available for Pre-Order; Please See Publication Date Below Before Ordering
Published: Knopf - May 30th, 2023

Flavor+Us: Cooking for Everyone by Rahanna Bisseret Martinez

Young and supremely talented, Oakland’s Rahanna Bisseret Martinez wants to teach home cooks “global techniques that influence Northern California cooking.” She does just that with her fun and delicious collection of recipes that reflect her Black, Haitian, and Mexican heritage, California sensibilities, and more. Martinez’s enthusiasm throughout Flavor+Us makes me excited to not only cook but also to celebrate the personal and cultural connections that are possible through sharing food.  —S.B.

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Flavor+Us: Cooking for Everyone [A Cookbook] By Rahanna Bisseret Martinez Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984860569
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: 4 Color Books - May 16th, 2023

Love Is a Pink Cake by Claire Ptak

California native Claire Ptak, a Chez Panisse alum who now runs Violet Bakery in London, shares her love of seasonal produce and baked goods in Love Is a Pink Cake. I happily baked my way through her last book and can’t wait to do the same with this beautiful new collection of scones, muffins, cakes, brownies, and buns. (And I might even tackle the Lemon and Elderflower Cake that she made for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s wedding!) Ptak firmly believes that baking is an act of love that keeps us connected to home—what could be more wonderful? —S.B.

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Love Is a Pink Cake: Irresistible Bakes for Morning, Noon, and Night By Claire Ptak Cover Image
ISBN: 9780393541113
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - May 2nd, 2023

Africana: More than 100 Recipes and Flavors Inspired by a Rich Continent by Lerato Umah-Shaylor

This gorgeous and welcoming book showcases the diversity and deliciousness of cuisines from the vast African continent, including soups, stews, salads, curries, rice dishes, roasts, and sweets. The food in Africana is enticing, seasonal, and sustainable, and vegan and vegetarian variations are provided for most of the meat and fish recipes. Author Umah-Shaylor’s “undying love for Africa, passion for adventure and discovery, and desire to share the beauty and generosity of African hospitality” come bursting through the pages, and I found myself swept up in her writing as well as her recipes. —S.B.

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Africana: More than 100 Recipes and Flavors Inspired by a Rich Continent By Lerato Umah-Shaylor Cover Image
ISBN: 9780063277496
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - March 7th, 2023

A Cook’s Book: The Essential Nigel Slater by Nigel Slater

I was drawn to Nigel Slater because of his passion for gardening and food then discovered what a lovely writer he is and now cannot pass up any of his books. Did I mention that his recipes are wonderful, too? (So many from Tender and his Greenfeast series are in my regular rotation.) In A Cook’s Book, Slater shares stories and reflections, photos of his home and garden in London, and more great food, including a Tart of Leeks and Cheddar, Soft Rolls with Feta and Rosemary, and Marsala Chocolate Almond Slice. —S.B.

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A Cook's Book: The Essential Nigel Slater [A Cookbook] By Nigel Slater Cover Image
ISBN: 9781984861696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - March 7th, 2023


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