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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.

Following characters from Paris, New Orleans and Seattle, Robbins creates a complex and hilarious work of magical realism. Shifting between past and present, our story begins with King Alobar as he defies death and aging in search of eternal life. The story's whimsical nature and Robbins’s quirky wisdom will delight and astound you. - Natalie O.

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Jitterbug Perfume: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553348989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - April 1st, 1990


Set in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, Milkman confronts the absurdity of political strife and arbitrary borders, never ignoring the extreme violence and heartbreak that can arise from such divisions. Burns’ voice is dryly humorous, even as her narrator struggles with a stalker, harassment, and a war-torn home. - Jess

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Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018


Hilarious and poignant, the fascinating novel brings us into the strange world of Cheryl Glickman, whose awkward, anxiety-fueled tendencies make us cringe in discomfort--or from the realization that we see ourselves in her thoughts and behaviors. The prose is smart and evocative, leaving the reader with new insights about what it means to love and be loved. - Kristi

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The First Bad Man: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781439172575
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 8th, 2015


The first half of this brilliant and intriguing novel takes place at the Biennale in Venice, where a world-weary freelance writer might be falling in love. The second part is set in Varanasi, India, where a world-weary Brit is going mad or finding nirvana, or both. Are the two characters the same guy? Are the stories connected? Dyer lets you come to your own conclusions. - Rico

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Jeff in Venice, Death in Varanasi Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307390301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 6th, 2010


Lucia Berlin's 43 captivating short stories are a sucker punch to your heart. Each one is alluring and provides an intimate insight into Berlin's life full of loss, heartbreak, and addiction. I have fallen in love with her writing and savored this collection with all of its tragedy, humor, and unpredictability. - Natalie O.

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A Manual for Cleaning Women: Selected Stories Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250094735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - August 2nd, 2016


This lovely and lyrical novel circles around a village tavern along the Thames after the mysterious happenings of a stormy night. An ensemble of unique characters reckon with the impossible, the power of storytelling, and the complexities of family in this warm feel-good tale. Brilliant use of folklore. - Clara

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Once Upon a River: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780743298070
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Atria/Emily Bestler Books - December 4th, 2018


Set at a summer sleep-away camp, this debut novel explores the complexities of female friendship over time from adolescence through early adulthood. Perennials offers readers a unique look at the bliss and beauty of girlhood, as well as the grief of growing up and remembering when and where you lost your innocence. - Kristi

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Perennials: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399589331
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - June 12th, 2018


The stunning follow up to her 2005 memoir in verse, Jane, this book's form is what makes it so powerful. Part true crime, part memoir, The Red Parts is most interesting when the moving personal story of grief at its core becomes a cultural critique of America's obsession with violence against women. - Kristi

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The Red Parts: Autobiography of a Trial Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977368
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - April 5th, 2016


A gorgeous collection of autobiographical essays on Oliver's curiosity for her environment and the great writers who kept her company throughout her life. Her vivid descriptions of the natural world are stunning, reminding one to notice and find awe in our surroundings. Few pages were left without folds or underlines and many parts have seldom left my mind.

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Upstream: Selected Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594206702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 11th, 2016


I experienced every emotion I’ve ever experienced, plus maybe one or two new ones, while reading this book. “Dirty River” is about a queer, disabled, woman of color building community, facing her trauma, and building a better life for herself. A clever voice and an incredible life makes for a great read. - Wren

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Dirty River: A Queer Femme of Color Dreaming Her Way Home Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781551526003
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Arsenal Pulp Press - November 3rd, 2015


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