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.

I treat this book like I would a religious text, if I were religious; I take it with me every time I leave the house, I write all over it, I quote passages back to people, I read it before bed. Part memoir, part love letter, part queer familial ethnography, and part critical theory, Nelson sets an astounding precedent for the newly emerging genre of auto-theory. - Wren

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The Argonauts Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016


Heschel remains one of the most insightful and progressive spiritual thinkers. This collection, edited by his daughter, excerpts speeches and writings on social justice, prayer and inner life, faith and science, and the spiritual center of tradition in modernity. I recommend Heschel to anyone interested in living mindfully and affecting positive change in their communities. - Clara

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Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781570759192
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbis Books - May 18th, 2011


See chronicles her ancestors’ immigrant experience coming from China to California. Spanning 100 years of family history, from dynamiting railroads into mountainsides to rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite, See shares the triumphs and the devastations along the way. I was charmed by See’s honest, often emotional rendering of her family’s remarkable journey. - Jade

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On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307950390
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 7th, 2012


A book about the past mixed with the politics of the today, all told through captivating reporting. It celebrates the true thrilling story of the people who smuggled old, rare books and scripts out of West Africa as they confront the new dangers of the present. Badass Librarians is both inspiring and page-turning. - Ian

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The Bad-Ass Librarians of Timbuktu and Their Race to Save the World's Most Precious Manuscripts Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781476777412
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - April 4th, 2017


This is the book that keeps resurfacing in my mind and in my conversations. I can’t stop talking about it! My personal understanding of “belonging” and my cultural understanding of “belonging” have been given a new language and a new mission. I think this shift in thinking has unlimited potential and such hope for better conversations with friends and foes, alike. - Jenny

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Braving the Wilderness: The Quest for True Belonging and the Courage to Stand Alone Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780812995848
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - September 12th, 2017


Desmond, a Harvard sociologist, lived in low-income neighborhoods for three years, recording this true story of people in the slums of Milwaukee, as they struggled (and failed) to keep a roof over their heads. Evicted engages the topic of income inequality with honest reportage and real solutions to ensure that everyone has a place to call home. - Jason

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Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553447453
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Broadway Books - February 28th, 2017


You might think you're not interested in orchids, or the Hoover Dam, or in Caltrans' creation of the "diamond lane" in LA, but that's because you haven't talked to Joan about it. Insightful, poetic critiques of class and socio-political events combine with compelling portraits of California in the 70's and of Didion herself in this informative and entertaining read. - Wren

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The White Album (FSG Classics) Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780374532079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - November 10th, 2009


I’m pretty sure I read this with my jaw clenched. Wariner tells a difficult story about being raised in a polygamist colony by her mother along with several siblings. Wariner’s stepfather is particularly hard to read. It is a survival tale that you makes you rage at times and sob in others, but in the end will make you all the more better for reading it. - Karena

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The Sound of Gravel: A Memoir Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250077707
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - April 25th, 2017


Historians often portray Europe and the Middle East as adversarial, but Brotton highlights another story. After much of Europe turned its back on England, Queen Elizabeth sought new allies and opportunities and found them among the Ottomans. In illuminating this influential relationship, Brotton broadens our history in a welcome antidote to creeping islamophobia. - Ian

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The Sultan and the Queen: The Untold Story of Elizabeth and Islam Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143110620
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 5th, 2017


Poverty, racism, and a violent stepfather; comedian Trevor Noah faced many challenges growing up under Apartheid. Born to a black mother and white father, his very existence broke several laws. Noah flits seamlessly between cheeky humor and raw emotion in snapshots of his life from childhood to present day. His story is poignant, inspiring and yes, it’s funny, too. - Jade

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Born a Crime: Stories from a South African Childhood Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399588174
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - November 15th, 2016


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