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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.

Historic injustices are often treated as lacking any contemporary impact, but this book disabuses anyone suffering under that delusion. In modern-day Silicon Valley, the internment of their Japanese-American ancestors affects protagonist CJ Katsumaya and her family, though they (believably) don’t see eye to eye about it. This historical interconnectedness coupled with CJ’s evolution from an apathetic antihero (wave goodbye to the “model minority” myth) into a woke person of action, makes this book a compelling and thought-provoking read. - Stephanie

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This Time Will Be Different Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062473448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperTeen - June 4th, 2019


In the nine expansive, searching stories of A Lucky Man—a finalist for the National Book Award—fathers and sons attempt to salvage relationships with friends and family members and confront mistakes made in the past. “With equal parts precision and poetry, these nine audacious stories step into the minefields awaiting boys of color as they approach manhood in Brooklyn and the Bronx—testing the limits of relationships, social norms, and their own definitions of masculinity.”

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A Lucky Man: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978433
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - June 4th, 2019


This is my favorite flavor of Ondaatje. Atmospherically reminiscent of The English Patient, Warlight stands on its own as a uniquely great coming-of-age story wrapped in a riveting spy mystery. Immerse yourself in London’s criminal underworld and the shadowy figures of postwar espionage. Taking you from the depths of the Thames to the heights of London’s rooftops, Warlight takes you on a delicious journey.  —Clara

 

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Warlight (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780525562962
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - April 2nd, 2019


Julia Phillips is an author to watch. She beautifully transports us to a region of the world, the Kamchatka Peninsula in Northern Russia, that I had never heard of and now can’t stop thinking about. The stories of the women there—their family dynamics, their hopes and fears, the economic and cultural divide of various communities—are not only about this place but ultimately about the universal struggle women have in determining how to live with the expectations placed on them as women. A remarkable debut. - Casey

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Disappearing Earth: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525520412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019


I will read anything and everything that Jaswal (Erotic Stories for Punjabi Widows) writes. This fantastically written book about three sisters on a journey arranged by their recently deceased mother charmed me. Within a story of sisterhood and family, Jaswal explores an immigrant experience as well as the complexities women go through in different ways. Sisterhood isn’t always about getting along and having everything in common, and Jaswal dives into that in this novel. I will be thinking about the Shergill sisters for a while, finding new things to love about them. - Karena 

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The Unlikely Adventures of the Shergill Sisters: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062645142
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - April 30th, 2019


Ocean Vuong’s gorgeous debut expands our notion of the Great American Novel, speaking to our shared experience through exquisite lyricism, unforgettable story, and the voice of the narrator Little Dog, who attempts to write the letter of their life to his mother, even as she is unable to read it. In telling their story, a bigger picture is revealed, one of war, survival, identity, sexuality, and addiction, all through the eyes of raw, bursting youth. The result is fierce, loving, and resplendent. - Melinda

Don’t miss our event with Ocean Vuong on June 17th.

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On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525562023
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - June 4th, 2019


Two Irish families, living side by side in suburban New York, are tied by the similarities of their path into the neighborhood and by a tragic event of a single night that reverberates across multiple generations for decades. Mary Beth Keane paints a subtle portrait of families dealing with mental health issues and long-held secrets, and the desire for connection across those divides. The result is a deeply felt and immersive novel, one that ties you not only to the characters but ultimately to their lessons for life. Perfect for fans of Ann Patchett and Celeste Ng and one of my favorite reads this year. - Casey

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Ask Again, Yes: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982106980
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 28th, 2019


This is a delightful, moving read for fans of Ann Patchett, Celeste Ng, or Alice McDermott. As the story weaves in and out of a narrative that covers 40 years, the reader gets an intimate view of a Chicago couple and their four daughters and of what happens when a family secret resurfaces. There is such realness in each character that it is impossible not to find yourself simultaneously exasperated and in love with each family member. The novel explores the complex ties of parenting and sisterhood, and how love can be a weight as well as salvation. This is a wonderful, amazing debut. - S.M.C.

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The Most Fun We Ever Had: A Novel Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780385544252
Availability: Coming Soon - Available for Pre-Order Now
Published: Doubleday - June 25th, 2019


Reading this book put flesh and bones and heart and layers to this merry-go-round of world issues and the people who are along for the ride. Sarah Blake has brought together history and story in a way that made me love people who were easy to hate and question traditions that seemed lovely. We see the lives of three generations of one family unfold and grow in their time, in their surroundings, and in the changing world around them. World War I, the Great Depression, World War II, the ‘60s and ‘70s—what can one family maintain and what does it cost them? What do we all try to maintain and why? - Jenny

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The Guest Book: A Novel Cover Image
$22.39
ISBN: 9781250110251
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - May 7th, 2019


Seeing few examples in literature, Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love; The Signature of All Things) set out to write a book about promiscuous girls “whose lives are not destroyed by their sexual desires.” Meet Vivian Morris, a naïve 19-year-old, dropped into the middle of the New York City theater scene in the 1940s. The drama, energy, and spirit of the city weaves into the unfolding of her identity. You’ll never forget this cast of characters or the ways in which Vivian struggles to claim her life as her own. This will be one of the most talked-about, big-hearted, immersive novels of summer. - Casey

Don’t miss our event with Elizabeth Gilbert on June 12th at the Rio Theatre!

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City of Girls: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781594634734
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 4th, 2019


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