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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

Set twenty years later after the end of Toibin's best-selling Irish immigrant love story, Brooklyn, Long Island gives voice to our beloved protagonist Ellis once again, this time in middle age as she faces an expected rupture in her marriage, and in turn, her American dream. To recover and reflect, she goes back to the Ireland she left behind, where she grapples with competing identities and new choices in putting her life back together. Told with the warmth and honesty that Toibin is known for, Long Island thrusts you happily back into a cherished story to meet old friends once again.

— Casey

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Long Island (Eilis Lacey Series) By Colm Toibin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781476785110
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 7th, 2024


If you need a book that breaks your heart wide open, this book is for you. Sipsworth is a mouse adopted by a lonely woman who needs something unexpected in her life to help her remember all the ways she is not alone. Much like Man Called Ove or Remarkably Bright Creatures, Sipsworth is a surprising story filled with heart that uses unforgettable characters and great storytelling to remind us about our shared humanity.

— Casey

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Sipsworth By Simon Van Booy Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9781567927948
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: David R. Godine Publisher - May 7th, 2024


Did you know divorce wasn't legal in Ireland until the 1990s? Murrin's fantastic novel tells the story of multiple women facing crossroads in their marriages and their sense of self in a small town in Donegal. As these women chart their path, you witness their strength in their desire for independence. It is a fascinating piece of history mixed with a suspenseful plot and well-defined characters. A great debut.  

— Casey

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The Coast Road: A Novel By Alan Murrin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780063336520
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperVia - June 4th, 2024


This intergenerational, intercultural epic instantly became one of my favorite books upon finishing it. This expansive story features Smith’s characteristically complex and lively characters with scenes in modern day London, World War II Europe, and 19th century Jamaica and India. It’s hard to believe this is Zadie Smith’s debut novel! - Lizzie 
 

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White Teeth: A Novel (Vintage International) By Zadie Smith Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780375703867
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 12th, 2001


Written as a semi- autobiographical account of Tim O’Brien’s time in the Vietnam war, The Things They Carried follows a platoon of young soldiers while they grapple with the everyday realities of war: losing friends, moral quandaries, and adjusting back to civilian life. While the Vietnam war slowly falls out of public memory, this book keeps those memories alive and brings humanity to all of those involved. - Lizzie 

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The Things They Carried By Tim O'Brien Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780618706419
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books Classics - October 13th, 2009


Set in a Black Southern Californian religious beach community, The Mothers focuses on three young people, Nadia, Luke and Aubrey, who find themself in a love triangle while contending with their own fraught relationships with their parents, their hometown, and the church. This book is understated in setting and writing style, while conveying a powerful message about motherhood and religion. - Lizzie 
 

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The Mothers: A Novel By Brit Bennett Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780399184529
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - October 10th, 2017


If I had to pick my favorite novel of all time, I'd have to pick Tess. Hardy's beautiful prose illuminates the tragedy of Tess's life in the most heartbreaking way. This is a must read for fan's of classic literature, nature-lovers, and anyone looking to lose themselves in an old, blighted world. - Nikole
 

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Tess of the D'Urbervilles (Vintage Classics) By Thomas Hardy Cover Image
$10.00
ISBN: 9780345803986
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: Vintage - March 3rd, 2015


Killingly sends you on a somber journey to recover Bertha Mellish, an odd, promising student at Mount Holyoke College, who disappeared out of thin air. This novel is full of shocking reveals, ulterior motives, and beautiful literary prose. Katharine Beutner based this dark academia mystery off of a real disappearance in the winter of 1897, and the tragic scenario resonates now, in the aftermath of Roe v. Wade being overturned, more than ever. - Nikole
 

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Killingly By Katharine Beutner Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781641295710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Crime - May 7th, 2024


Kazuo Ishiguro's Remains of The Day is a classic. Surprisingly philosophical, it explores the world of a Butler who tackles questions like what does it mean to be great at something, and dignity, an exploration of character in which we convey ourselves. The intangible yet perceivable standard to which we hold ourselves is conveyed beautifully within a dream-like narrative. Short, sweet and full of wisdom. - Morgan
 

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The Remains of the Day: Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature (Vintage International) By Kazuo Ishiguro Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679731726
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 12th, 1990


This book stuck with me long after putting it back on the shelf. After a major tragedy wipes out most of the world’s population, Station Eleven follows a traveling symphony bringing music and performances to whoever is left. Mandel reminds us how art can bring us hope, connection, and community even in the most difficult times. - Parker
 

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Station Eleven: A Novel (National Book Award Finalist) By Emily St. John Mandel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015


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