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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.

Fans of Strout’s Olive Kitteridge will be thrilled with this follow-up. Olive remains as brutally honest and irritable as ever, her world packed with complexities that befuddle and amuse her. The genius of Strout’s juicy prose is found in her characters and how their stories illustrate what it is to be human: vulnerable, sweet, disappointing, heartbreaking, heartwarming. We recognize ourselves and our neighbors in these stories—and maybe our book group members, too! —Jennifer Wood, Bookshop Ambassador

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Olive, Again: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780812996548
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - October 15th, 2019


How do you see? How do you see strength? Evil? Resilience? Tragedy? Hope? Hopelessness? Love? Lefteri asks these questions in The Beekeeper of Aleppo. This story is about a young man, Uri, his wife Afra, and their escape from war-torn Aleppo. They experience the unimaginable loss of war and it’s up to Uri to get all he has left—his wife—to the safety of the UK. Uri and Afra are gentle people and so is the book. It doesn’t hide the horrors the two suffer, but the revelations of these atrocities are veiled and tragic, not bloody or graphic. The text reflects Uri’s spirit and perspective. Lefteri spent time volunteering in refugee camps and has worked with refugees in the UK. Her deep knowledge of their plight, both acute and long term, has produced an empathetic account of survival and love. This is a must-read.  —Judi Heher, Bookshop Ambassador

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984821218
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - August 27th, 2019


This book is devastating and perfect. The small moments and mistakes that ruin a family are masterfully examined in Ng's debut novel. Misunderstandings, expectations and misguided priorities strain the relationships of the Lee family to a breaking point. Ng's portrait of this web of decisions and consequences is so delicate and earned it never feels like it's exploiting its reader. - Tori

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Everything I Never Told You: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780143127550
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - May 12th, 2015


A darkly humorous, compulsively readable exploration of normativity through the eyes of a content but maladjusted young woman who, despite societal pressures, is simply not wired to conform. Perfect for helping anyone who has ever felt they're not living "the right way" become convinced otherwise. - Ksenia

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Convenience Store Woman Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780802129628
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - September 17th, 2019


When the narrator’s friend, another writer, dies suddenly, she inherits his Great Dane. Among many problems, she lives in a tiny New York apartment—that doesn’t allow pets. What follows is a brilliant and moving meditation on friendship, love (both Platonic and romantic), art and grief. I found this a profound and beautiful reading experience. - Rico

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The Friend: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735219458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019


A love story set in the most brutal of times, The Farming of Bones is one of those books you will read in one or two sittings and think about for the rest of your life. Set in Haiti during the Parsley Massacre of 1937, this book will force you to look at one of the worst moments in history. Danticat’s storytelling is so gripping, you won’t be able to look away. - Jess

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The Farming of Bones Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781616953492
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Soho Press - May 7th, 2013


A poetic parable of an occupied town which refuses to hear soldiers, Deaf Republic is the most unique and profound anti-war work I’ve ever read. Kaminsky, himself a hard-of-hearing immigrant from Ukraine, re-envisions disability as a powerful act of defiance and silence as “the invention of the hearing.” - Ksenia

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Deaf Republic: Poems Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555978310
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - March 5th, 2019


In this beautifully written food memoir, Thielen traces her journey from small town Minnesota to New York City. Thielen’s love of food transcends its usual function of taste and satiation, she uses is as a memory anchor and it serves as a deep connection to her family and her broader heritage. Heartfelt and often funny, this is a true love letter to food if there ever was one. - Jade

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Give a Girl a Knife: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307954916
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Clarkson Potter - June 5th, 2018


Most people would not choose to cope with loss by undertaking the training of a goshawk, but Helen Macdonald is not most people. In the aftermath of the sudden death of her father, Macdonald indulges a lifelong love of hawks and purchases a goshawk whom she names Mable. Goshawks are notoriously temperamental and extremely intelligent, so training one is no small feat. Macdonald’s writing is lush and expressive and her portrayal of her relationship with Mable is raw and deeply moving. - Jade

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H Is for Hawk Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802124739
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - March 8th, 2016


This is a beautiful story of a woman trying to find her own with powerful prose and captivating descriptions of nature. Auvienen’s metaphorical writing is surprisingly accessible while painting a vivid picture of her process of self-discovery through a Thoreau-esque four years in the woods with just her dog. As a dog mom, I relate to their heartfelt relationship. - R.H.

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Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501152290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - June 4th, 2019


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