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Bookshop Santa Cruz staff recommendation:

The following books are recommended by our staff as great choices for book groups. Sign up for our Book Ends email newsletter to receive more great book group recommendations.

Looking for more book group recommendations? Find curated book lists for the following categories:

Surviving 2020: Books That Will Make You Believe in Humanity
Strong Women Through the Ages
Book Group Sleepers: Great Books Your Group May Have Missed

Marzano pens an absorbing and complex investigation of trauma, truth, and the stories we tell ourselves. As Marzano-Lesnevitch shifts from her own narrative to that of a decades-old murder, her attention to minor, seemingly insignificant details brings the twining narratives to life. This modern true-crime classic is both furious and compassionate, and everything I didn't know I needed in a book! - Brooks

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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250080554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 8th, 2018


From the front lines of the Black liberation struggle to the underground torture chambers of Riker’s Island Correctional facility, Shakur’s harrowing autobiography details the systemic injustice and brutality of American society. Gracefully weaving together poetic brilliance, a pure love for humanity, and an uncompromising commitment to the struggle for liberation, Assata is among the most important books concerning the American experience ever written. - Travis

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Assata: An Autobiography Cover Image
By Assata Shakur, Angela Davis (Foreword by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781556520747
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Lawrence Hill Books - November 1st, 1999


With some of the most beautiful writing I have ever read, Palm tells the story of growing up alongside the Kankakee river in Indiana. Poetically retracing her path to adulthood and escape from her hometown, her tale is countered by that of her childhood love - now serving a life sentence for murder. These two hauntingly distinct narratives serve as a reminder of the impact our geographies forever have on us. - Magnolia

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Riverine: A Memoir from Anywhere but Here Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977467
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - August 16th, 2016


Music is Momo's refuge, a gift that he hopes will shelter Junie through her childhood and an ocean of separation. It's a trans-Pacific love letter set amidst China's cultural revolution. Love exists in the unexpected everyday moments: music drifting from windows, flower bulbs, and hushed hellos. These small moments alter lives in profoundly meaningful ways. - Charlotte

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Swimming Back to Trout River: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781982129392
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - May 11th, 2021


Moreno-Garcia transplants the tropes and trappings of the classic European gothic romance to 1950s Mexico, creating a vivid novel that comments on the genre while standing on its own as a modern fable. Mysterious, lovely, creepily chilling—but driven by the determination of its indomitable heroine to carry through to the last page. Every person I've recommended this to has likewise devoured it, and immediately called me up to discuss it. - Jocelyn

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Mexican Gothic Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525620808
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Del Rey Books - June 15th, 2021


Out is the story of four women working a drab and monotonous graveyard shift at a bento factory in Japan. Kirino explores the desire to escape one’s circumstances and live a truthful life, good or bad, through some seriously twisted, but very human feelings. Follow these characters into the dark—from murder to scattering dismembered body parts to outmaneuvering Yakuza.

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Out: A Thriller (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781400078370
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 4th, 2005


Set in Nigeria, this beautiful and heartbreaking exploration of sexuality and gender identity is a story of family secrets, love, and grief. Vivek Oji is dead, found wrapped in cloth on his mother's doorstep. How this came to be is a riveting tale that Emezi tells with simple, evocative, profound prose. A rich, emotionally rewarding read, I found this difficult to put down. - Trey

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The Death of Vivek Oji: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780525541622
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 25th, 2021


Full disclosure: I used to be a bookseller with Maryse. When she moved on my life got a little less weird. If you, too, are missing a little weird in your life, or feel like you haven't recently read enough books that feature ossophilia and radical environmental activism, then check out this wonderfully strange book. It brought my weird quotient up by seven points! - Dave

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The Seventh Mansion: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374298463
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: FSG Originals - September 8th, 2020


This hilarious and heart-wrenching retelling of Don Quixote follows high-school junior Cameron Smith as he struggles with his recent diagnosis of mad cow disease. Bray blurs the lines between reality and hallucination in this action-packed adventure of self-discovery. From talking garden gnomes to punk guardian angels, this book truly has it all. - Magnolia

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Going Bovine Cover Image
$10.99
ISBN: 9780385733984
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Delacorte Press - September 28th, 2010


This debut space opera makes me remember why I love the genre. Interstellar politics, murder, espionage, and the ethics of empire and technology collide in a fascinating world where memory and heritage are suspect in the face of longing for a culture and place not your own. Martine’s characters pull you into a compelling narrative that’s both philosophical and thrilling. - Jocelyn

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A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9781250186447
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - February 25th, 2020


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