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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

Munro is my favorite short-story writer of all time and this is probably my favorite of her collections. As with all of her collections, her writing is somehow both casual in feel but devastatingly precise, and her emotional register never fails. Three or four of the stories here are among the best written by anybody anywhere. - Rico

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Friend of My Youth: Stories (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679729570
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 1991

Elaine Mokhtefi’s Algiers, Third World Capital is a staggering portrait of a life spent in revolution. From her beginnings with the Algerian National Liberation Front to her work with the international wing of the Black Panther Party, Mokhtefi chronicles her extraordinary life in elegant, engaging prose. Featuring a slew of heavy-hitters, like Frantz Fanon and Eldridge Cleaver, Algiers is a must-read for any student of anticolonialism, antiracism, and revolutionary history. - Travis

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Algiers, Third World Capital: Freedom Fighters, Revolutionaries, Black Panthers Cover Image
ISBN: 9781788730037
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Verso - March 24th, 2020

This timeless classic about an American bombardier in WWII fighting a system in which everything is against him is perfect for those of us who have felt trapped in an endless cycle of defeat this past year. Confusing and frustrating in the most coherent way possible, Catch-22 excellently embodies the absurdity of trying to navigate between survival and duty. - Magnolia

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Catch-22: 50th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By Joseph Heller, Christopher Buckley (Introduction by)
ISBN: 9781451626650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 5th, 2011

This incredible novel examines the complexity of the universe and the lives of two teens—immigrant and child of immigrants, both American—on a single day in NYC. A story of love and choices, this book is more consequential than most you’ll ever read, no matter your age. Natasha and Daniel and all the lives they intersect made my breath catch and my mind soar. - Jocelyn

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The Sun Is Also a Star Cover Image
ISBN: 9780553496710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ember - March 5th, 2019

Be prepared to stay up all night reading Carmen Maria Machado’s latest masterpiece. How can a book about abuse be so beautiful? Part memoir, part poem, part fever dream, In the Dream House contains so much searing honesty, such heart-crunching truth, that it will never leave you once you’ve read it. - Jess

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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781644450383
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 1st, 2020

This immersive dive into our protagonist's psyche while she’s at a party reveals a judgmental, self-aware, and acerbically observant woman. This book of contradictions pulls you in and alters your awareness. A fantastic addition to the growing canon of autistic characters by autistic writers, it pushed the margins of my comfort zone and left a deep impression. - Celeste

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A Room Called Earth: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143135456
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - August 18th, 2020

I will never be able to write a 60-word review that does this book justice, but here I am trying. Morrison is probably the greatest writer of all time, and this book is layered with symbolism, magic, and hard brutal truths about how Black people have always been treated in this country. The main character’s name is Milkman Dead; if that doesn’t sell you on it, I can’t help you. - Jess

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Song of Solomon (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781400033423
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - June 8th, 2004

Baldwin has bravely constructed a world in which love can and must overcome the traumas of racial injustice. His characters are created not from his imagination, but from a personal, genuine and vibrant world of neighbors and family. A relevant and important read that feels like a story from a friend. And that's what it's like to read Baldwin: to become like old friends. - Juj

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If Beale Street Could Talk (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307275936
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 10th, 2006

In a world eerily similar to our own, kentukis live in nearly everyone's home. Little stuffed animals on wheels with cameras for eyes, you can adopt one and be its "keeper," or you can live in one and be its "dweller." The locales are international and the inhabitants lonely geriatrics, hyperactive kindergarteners, or heroic scammers. Confronting the morality of voyeurism, anonymity behind technology, and intimacy, this smart book asks all the rigjht questions and leaves the readers to other answers. -Celeste

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Little Eyes: A Novel Cover Image
By Samanta Schweblin, Megan McDowell (Translated by)
ISBN: 9780525541363
Availability: Hard to Find - Believed to be Out of Stock Indefinitely
Published: Riverhead Books - May 5th, 2020

If you loved The Nightingale, you'll love The Alice Network.

The Alice Network: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062654199
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 6th, 2017