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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.

I kind of have an obsession with books where a woman is raised in extreme religious families. This fictional tale of a girl raised on TV with her preacher father, machinating mother, and five siblings fit the bill perfectly. I love the way Essie figures out how to escape by  using the rules and restrictions her parents set up against her. It is fantastically written. - Karena

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The Book of Essie: A novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780525520313
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 12th, 2018


Believe the hype! This novel is a scorcher. Set around a powwow at the Oakland Coliseum, the book follows a large cast of characters as they navigate through their individual experiences as “urban Indians.” With prose that will pound at your heart, Orange draws us into the world of each character, and ultimately forces us to confront the darker truths of colonialism’s legacy. - Jessica

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There There: A novel Cover Image
$20.76
ISBN: 9780525520375
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - June 5th, 2018


If you loved The Historian or People of the Book, this should be your next read. Dr. Voth, a modern-day historian, faces relationship troubles while researching a unique manuscript from 18th century London. Part counter-history, part historical-thriller, Rosenberg tackles transgender history and incarceration in this deeply satisfying mystery. - Clara

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Confessions of the Fox: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399592270
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - June 26th, 2018


This quiet, unassuming novel has a strange power that grows with every page. Putatively telling the story of a meek academic beset by seemingly small setbacks, it captures, in heartbreaking detail, the story of a human life—flawed, poignant and ultimately tragic. Once out of print, it’s now more popular than ever, and will likely be around for a very long time to come. - Rico

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Stoner Cover Image
By John Williams, John McGahern (Introduction by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9781590171998
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: NYRB Classics - June 20th, 2006


Following the careers, love affairs, and spats among the members of a string quartet, The Ensemble is about the ways time and circumstance conspire to push people together and tear them apart. The prose reads like the music it describes, seducing you into the competitive world of chamber musicians—a far sexier and more dramatic world than you might imagine. - Jessica

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The Ensemble: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735214767
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 15th, 2018


This memoir is an ode to clever, curious girls who strain against the path. Dillard approached childhood with a furious joy, consuming everything her quiet upbringing offered with an infectious vitality. "I read some few books with such reverence," Dillard writes, "I didn't close them at the finish, but only moved the pile of pages back to the start." I felt the same. - Katherine

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An American Childhood Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780060915186
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - October 15th, 2013


In 2016, fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad became the first hijab-wearing Muslim American woman to compete -and medal- in the Olympics. Her inspiring memoir details how she challenged stereotypes surrounding black and Muslim woman in America, and how she overcame self-doubt, racism, misogyny, and Islamophobia to proudly represent the United States on the world stage. - Stuart

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Proud: My Fight for an Unlikely American Dream Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316518963
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Hachette Books - July 24th, 2018


This history book was written for anyone who loves true crime or scandalous drama. The narrative follows Nicolas de la Reynie, the man appointed by Louis XIV to clean up crime-ridden Paris as the city’s first chief of police. La Reynie’s investigation into the twisted “Affair of the Poisons” takes us deep into a thrilling story of murder, witchcraft, intrigue, sex, and revenge. - Clara

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City of Light, City of Poison: Murder, Magic, and the First Police Chief of Paris Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393355437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 10th, 2018


Once a person is evicted, they often fall prey to the vicious cycle of eviction and homelessness, perpetuated by a slew of absurd laws and inadequate safety nets. Desmond follows families as they struggle to hold down jobs, provide for their children, resist addiction, and evade eviction in a housing system seemingly pitted against them. Heart-wrenching and insightful - a must-read. - Jade

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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


The reasons for the 2008 housing crisis and ensuing Great Recession are numerous and complicated but McLean and Nocera do an outstanding job of starting at the beginning and telling the story, through all its various strands, in such a way as to make it compelling and comprehensible. I’ve read a handful of books on the financial crisis and this is the best of the bunch. - Rico

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All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781591844389
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Portfolio - August 30th, 2011


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