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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.

We’re all familiar with Amelia Earhart, but what about Ruth Elder, who was chided by Eleanor Roosevelt for wanting to fly across the Atlantic? There are mothers and divorcees in this book, from all walks of life, brought together in the desire to push boundaries, fly planes, and to not take no as an answer. The only reason I’m not completely fed up with the trend of describing women as “girls” in book titles, is that so many badass women are being introduced to the public eye and having their successes recognized. Shelve this one right alongside Code Girls and Radium Girls and bathe in the illumination these women have brought to the world. - Rachel

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Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328876645
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Eamon Dolan/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt - August 7th, 2018

Karen Piper’s fascinating memoir is a surreal and starkly honest look at growing up on the secretive China Lake military base in the Mojave Desert, where Piper’s parents designed missiles for the U.S. Navy. With wit and humor, she explores the dichotomies of being raised in a strict but loving Baptist household by parents whose day jobs were to create some of America's most fearsome weapons of war. This memoir is perfect for fans of Tara Westover’s Educated. - Stuart

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A Girl's Guide to Missiles: Growing Up in America's Secret Desert Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399564543
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - August 14th, 2018

When Kim Brooks was arrested for leaving her child locked in her ventilated car for only 5 minutes, her life changed forever as did her experience with parenting. Small Animals is her emotionally honest, often funny, well-researched, thoughtful response, a deep dive into the complexity of parenting today, when anxiety runs high and there is an underlying competition, often without context, control, or empathy. How is fear guiding us and to what extent is it harmful? I devoured this book, feeling both unnerved and grateful. - Melinda

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Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250089557
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books - August 21st, 2018

As a bookseller and English major, Nabokov’s Lolita has always been on the edge of my awareness, either through excerpts in class or pop culture references, and I’m happy to stick with just a passing knowledge of the text. I’m more familiar with the variety of true crime reading; despite that, the abduction of Sally Horner was completely unknown to me. It did, however, seem to influence Nabokov and his writing of Lolita (in more ways than some like to admit). The Real Lolita takes on that comparison between the factual and fictional events, but more than that, it gives a voice and identity to Sally Horner, an 11-year-old girl who is kidnapped and held by a Frank La Salle. Incredibly well-written, it strikes a solid balance between historical and case facts and respect for those involved. The Real Lolita is not an easy read, but it is definitely well worth it. - Rachel

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The Real Lolita: The Kidnapping of Sally Horner and the Novel That Scandalized the World Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062661920
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - September 11th, 2018

When Mary Beard writes Art History she writes a history of experiencing art. In this investigation of civilization Beard focuses on the images humans have created of themselves and the divine and how they relate to who those people were. I loved the way this book pushed me to think as creatively about ancient art and sculpture as we are taught to think about modern art. A total joy! - Clara

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How Do We Look: The Body, the Divine, and the Question of Civilization Cover Image
ISBN: 9781631494406
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - September 4th, 2018

Israeli historian Yuval Harari previously examined the past and future of humans in Sapiens and Homo Deus.  He now turns his attention to the immediate present, a time when the world is faced with constant destabilizing change that is increasingly hard to comprehend.  Harari delivers again with the excellent writing, thought provoking insights, unique observations, and big questions that are his trademark in his most personal book to date. - Trey

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21 Lessons for the 21st Century Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525512172
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - September 4th, 2018

If “Don’t Let the Bastards Grind You Down” is your battle cry, read this book. A Handmaid’s Tale for 2018, Red Clocks follows five women as they navigate private burdens and desires regarding pregnancy, fertility, and motherhood. Set in a world that’s like ours but with even more misogynistic laws, Red Clocks is a book for anyone who worries for the future of this country. - Jessica

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Red Clocks: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780316434812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Little, Brown and Company - January 16th, 2018

This is a timely, beautifully written novel that reads like a fragmented memoir. Kimia Sadr fled Iran for France at age 10. She now sits in a fertility clinic recounting her family's history starting with her great grandfather, a feudal lord, and leading on to her dissident parents who protested the Shah's monarchy and then found themselves hated by the Islamists who deposed him. - Trey

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Disoriental Cover Image
By Negar Djavadi, Tina Kover (Translator)
ISBN: 9781609454517
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - April 17th, 2018

More experimental than his other popular novels, Ondaatje's fictionalised account of the life of the legendary founding father of jazz, Buddy Bolden, is a thing of kaleidoscopic beauty. By turns poetic, disorienting, visceral, and erotic, Coming Through Slaughter depicts turn of the century New Orleans, and Bolden's developing schizophrenia, with haunting results. - Ilana

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Coming Through Slaughter (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679767855
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 19th, 1996

Stegner’s masterpiece features two plots, one modern-day and the other from the 1800s, as it tells the story of a historian trying to write the biography of his long-dead grandmother. Featuring gorgeous prose and characters as real and tangible as granite, the book is an iconic novel of the west and a deeply moving narrative of one family and our national collective past. - Rico

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Angle of Repose Cover Image
ISBN: 9781101872765
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - November 4th, 2014