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.

Growing up in the United States, the children of immigrants often feel torn between two cultures: the world of their peers and the world of their parents. Amina watches her best friend, Korean American Soojin, struggle to fit into their very American school and Amina wonders if she should be doing the same. Tackling tough questions of racism, faith, and culture, this book sheds light on the hard realities facing immigrant children today. Grades 4–6. - Ivy

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Amina's Voice Cover Image
$7.99
ISBN: 9781481492072
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster Books for You - May 1st, 2018


My hero, culinary and otherwise, is Edna Lewis. Reading her book The Taste of Country Cooking 30 years ago was a total game-changer (and life-changer) for me: It spoke to my heart and gave me a compass in life—along with an abundance of simple, seasonal, and delicious recipes. In this new book, food-world notables such as Francis Lam, Toni Tipton-Martin, Michael Twitty, and Alice Waters reflect on the life and legacy of Miss Lewis, who grew up in a town founded by freed slaves, spent years in New York as a chef and activist, and returned to the South, where she wrote her cookbooks. Miss Lewis had a reverence for food and for the pleasure of a meal; here, the reverence is all ours. - S.B.

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Edna Lewis: At the Table with an American Original Cover Image
By Sara B. Franklin (Editor)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781469638553
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of North Carolina Press - April 13th, 2018


This is my favorite kind of cookbook: personal, welcoming, and absolutely delicious. As much a narrative of Shaya’s life (from Israel to Philadelphia, Italy to New Orleans) as a collection of recipes, the warmth and quality of his writing had me reading this book cover to cover like a novel. That Shaya’s food (Southern-Israeli-Italian) shines even brighter than his exceptional prose is no surprise, as he is an acclaimed restaurateur and a two-time James Beard Award winner. But what has caught me off guard is how much this book lingers in my mind even when I’m nowhere near the kitchen. - S.B.

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Shaya: An Odyssey of Food: My Journey Back to Israel Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9780451494160
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - March 13th, 2018


When Zen practitioner and author Natalie Goldberg (Writing Down the Bones) was diagnosed with a dangerous blood cancer, she was suddenly thrown into the world of hospitals, medical lingo, and life-threatening urgency. Months into her own treatment, her partner was also handed a cancer diagnosis. With her Buddhist practice and steadfast spiritual gaze, Goldberg speaks to the importance of recognizing that it is the dance between the dark and the light, the hard and the easy, that makes life full and worthy of living. - S.M.C.

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Let the Whole Thundering World Come Home: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781611805673
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Shambhala - June 5th, 2018


We all dream big with our friends, of outlandish trips and life-changing goals. But in Shark Drunk Stroksnes and his friend Hugo Aasjord make it happen, setting out to catch a Greenland shark (roughly 26 feet long and weighing about a ton). Balancing the excursion with tales of family and science, etymology and myth, this is a beautiful narrative of our relationships with nature, the world, and ourselves. - Rachel

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Shark Drunk (Vintage Departures) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101972939
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 12th, 2018


Barracoon would be a significant document were it only about Cudjo (Kossola) Lewis, the last survivor of the last recorded slave ship to the United States. His memories, recounted orally, preserve a trans-Atlantic history that has long been suppressed. But Barracoon is also a story about Zora Neale Hurston, the Harlem Renaissance, and the reclamation of African American folklore. Woven throughout Hurston and Lewis’s conversations is a yearning for roots and a fight for identity. - Clara

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Barracoon: The Story of the Last
By Zora Neale Hurston, Alice Walker (Foreword by), Deborah G. Plant (Introduction by)
$19.99
ISBN: 9780062748201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Amistad - May 8th, 2018


Whoever you are, whatever your political leanings, I urge you to read this story of two boys who fled their country, El Salvador, for a better life in the United States. Told with honesty and a lot of heart, The Far Away Brothers chronicles their journey, from their harrowing passage through the desert to their battles with the legal system in order to remain in a country where their lives are unthreatened. - Jax

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The Far Away Brothers: Two Young Migrants and the Making of an American Life Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101906200
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - May 22nd, 2018


This is one of the strangest—and best-written—memoirs I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Michael’s aunt Harriet who, along with her husband Irving, is a very successful screenwriter. (She and Irving wrote Norma Rae, among other big movies.) Because Harriet has no children of her own, and because she senses “great potential” in Michael, she zeroes in on him when he’s still a very young child and essentially steals him (emotionally speaking) from his own family. Great awkwardness and emotional confusion follows. - Rico

The Mighty Franks: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374537807
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 29th, 2018


This book is laugh-out-loud amazing! Ramsey tells her story of being boosted suddenly into the limelight via YouTube and of all of the good (and bad) things she was able to use her platform to discuss. For those who are struggling to learn about the racial morass this country finds itself in, or wanting to find a way to speak compassionately to those who are a little dumb about it, this is the book for you. - Jax

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Well, That Escalated Quickly: Memoirs and Mistakes of an Accidental Activist Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781538761038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Publishing - May 22nd, 2018


Tessa Fontaine’s The Electric Woman is enthralling. Moving between the sustained emergency of a collapse in her mother’s health, the complicated, flawed relationship she has with her mother, and her 5 months as a crew member in the traveling sideshow the World of Wonders, Fontaine writes of the layer after layer of heartache and grind. With lovely, clear prose, she invites the reader in to her attempts to explore and escape reality through the hard and fascinating traveling sideshow life. A tenderly written, captivating memoir. - Chorel

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The Electric Woman: A Memoir in Death-Defying Acts Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374158378
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus and Giroux - May 1st, 2018


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