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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.

This powerful short book gives us all more tools to live more kindly. We're reminded to look at others as people who have complex backstories that influence their actions, and that we can never really know those backstories. It provides the background and tools to implement kindness at all levels and with all people - even your own family! “Radical Kindness” resonates at a depth that surprised me! It inspires me and gives me greater motivation to work at being kinder.

Radical Kindness: The Life-Changing Power of Giving and Receiving Cover Image
By Angela Santomero, Deepak Chopra (Foreword by)
$21.99
ISBN: 9780062913364
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - March 5th, 2019


Good historical fiction makes you believe you’re reading a wonderfully written biography. This book does just that. I knew absolutely nothing about Fanny Stevenson and now I want to learn more about the life she shared with Robert Louis Stevenson. Globe-trotting from France to California to the South Pacific, Fanny and RLS were always in search of either health or a great story and sometimes the found both! Fanny broke gender and moral norms as she marched to the beat of her own drummer. We should all be that brave.

Under the Wide and Starry Sky: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345516541
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - September 23rd, 2014


An avid-collector of place-based fiction, I was fortunate to find this book while traveling in the Virgin Islands. But if you aren’t able to visit yourself, Typhanie Yanique will take you there with her storytelling. Land of Love and Drowning follows a family on St. Thomas through the first half of the 20th century. Vivid characters, social commentary, magical realism. Incredibly compelling and unlike anything I’ve read before. My flight home was hours delayed, but reading this book, I barely noticed! Caution: some parts are very uncomfortable—dealing with incest—but if I can handle it you probably can too.

Land of Love and Drowning: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781594633812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - July 21st, 2015


I never took a World Religions class, so I’ve had to piece together my understanding of other religions from conversations and books. From that standpoint, If the Oceans Were Ink is one of the most important books I’ve read. To counter misunderstanding and division after 9/11, American journalist—and secular feminist—Carla Power spent a year studying the Quran with her friend, Shiek Nadwi. Their conversations and travels, relayed in Power’s excellent prose, provide an invaluable introduction to the basic tenets of Islam and the distinctions between its origins and its later cultural trappings. A model for respectful interfaith dialogue.

If the Oceans Were Ink: An Unlikely Friendship and a Journey to the Heart of the Quran Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9780805098198
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Holt Paperbacks - April 7th, 2015


Who Thought This Was a Good Idea? is a funny and smart read by the former deputy chief of staff to President Barack Obama. The author, Alyssa Mastromonaco worked on Barack Obama’s campaigns before being asked to join him at the White House. She writes of the funny albeit frequently stressful behind-the-scenes efforts and gives an intimate and friendly look into the world of Obama and his team. There are hilarious and human moments managed with humor, grit and confidence. Mastromonaco’s book is intimate look at a White House team that seems to be a long way from today.

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Who Thought This Was a Good Idea?: And Other Questions You Should Have Answers to When You Work in the White House Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781455588237
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - March 6th, 2018


Jodi Piccoult is at her best in Leaving Time: A Novel. She drew me in with the story of Jenna Metcalf searching for her mother who vanished after a tragic accident over a decade earlier. Woven into the novel, is her mother’s research on elephants and their grief. Jenna investigates every lead she can find and finds two allies to help with her search. The combination of what they find, Jenna’s memories and the contents of a journal make for an exciting finish. This was a book that I finished and immediately read again…it is that good.

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Leaving Time (with bonus novella Larger Than Life): A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345544940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - April 28th, 2015


Essentially a book about grief and mourning, it is really a love story.  Didion writes analytically and almost antiseptically about death, but shares such a deep and personal experience that any reader who has ever experienced grief and loss will immediately recognize themselves.  It is in this way that the book becomes gentle reassurance for anyone who has felt out of place and misunderstood in the face of loss. A beautiful book about a difficult topic.

 

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The Year of Magical Thinking (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781400078431
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 13th, 2007


Want to understand how the 1% amassed all of their money and power? Want to take power back? Graeber, one of the minds behind Occupy, traces the history of money from the earliest civilizations up to the housing market crash of 2018 and (too big to fail) bail-outs. Graeber introduces new ideas for changing our broken financial system. Viva La Revolution! - Jason

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Debt - Updated and Expanded: The First 5,000 Years Cover Image
$22.99
ISBN: 9781612194196
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Melville House - October 28th, 2014


I had to get my hands on this after seeing Bregman's clear, assured take-downs of wealth inequality at Davos and on Tucker Carlson. His vision for a modern utopia where technological advancements benefit humans rather than oppress them includes universal basic income, a 15 hour workweek, and open borders. This radical, ambitious, and knowledgeable plan is a must read! - Clara

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Utopia for Realists: How We Can Build the Ideal World Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316471916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - March 27th, 2018


For four hundred years to be Irish in Ireland was a crime. Its people, stubborn to a fault, did not take to fetters gently. Thomas Francis Meagher ached for a free Ireland though he spent most of his life in exile. Just in time for the Easter Rising centennial, Egan writes about Meagher with a fervor to match the man’s need for freedom. Meagher’s almost unbelievable life lit a fire in me. - Ivy

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The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780544944831
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - March 7th, 2017


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