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.

Nottage is one of our contemporary master dramatists, a writer whose work will be (and should be) performed and studied for decades to come. Heartbreaking and true, Sweat frames a truly modern American tragedy that examines generation, race, class, family, and friendship within a real working class town. - Jocelyn

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Sweat (Tcg Edition) Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9781559365321
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Theatre Communications Group - June 13th, 2017


A lawyer and social justice advocate, Stevenson paints a devastating picture of the American criminal justice system and the racial biases that permeate it. Drawing on his experiences as a black man in America and those of his many clients, Stevenson beseeches his readers to try and better understand our fellow humans, and to just show some mercy. - Jade

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Spiegel & Grau - August 18th, 2015


How do we create harmonious, livable, equitable, and resilient cities? Learn about the history of urban life, as well as innovations in cities worldwide to build bike paths, equalize access to health care and mass transit, recycle water and waste in new ways, and more. This book inspired me to make my very own Santa Cruz a more livable, sustainable, and compassionate community. - Natalie

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The Well-Tempered City: What Modern Science, Ancient Civilizations, and Human Nature Teach Us About the Future of Urban Life Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062234735
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Wave - September 12th, 2017


Shared with me by a local writer last winter, this collection offers powerful gifts—from Firoozeh Dumas of Funny in Farsi to Marjan Kamali, whose voice “clicked” in my head like that of a sister. Given trump’s threats on Iran and immigration, I want to see this 2006 anthology in our hands once more as a promise between women: our grace to build and rebuild a life wherever we land should define global history. - a.c.

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Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora Cover Image
By Persis M. Karim (Editor), Al Young (Translated by)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781557288202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Arkansas Press - May 1st, 2006


This author’s quest for happiness takes him across the globe. Everywhere he goes, Weiner poses the same questions to the natives: “are you happy?” Despite being a self-declared grump, Weiner’s narrative is witty and fun and he delves into some fascinating cultural analyses. A great read for anyone in need of a good laugh. - Jade

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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780446698894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - January 5th, 2009


Berkowitz approaches issues of gender, race, and sexuality through the lens of law and reveals the underpinnings of America’s perspective on sex, social welfare, marriage, immigration, and more. Berkowitz’s writing on the policing of single motherhood, the American eugenics movement, and the social capital of the phrase “welfare queen” is particularly relevant. - Clara

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The Boundaries of Desire: A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex and Changing Identities Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781619027466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 12th, 2016


This book is hard to categorize, but so lovely and fun for the literary/history nerd. We’ll never know much about Shakespeare’s life, so Shapiro instead focuses on the events we know occurred during one of his most prolific years. Showing how those events likely influenced the content of Shakespeare’s plays opens up a whole new way of thinking about art and history. - Jocelyn

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A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780060088743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 1st, 2006


In the age of flat-earthers, climate change deniers, and twitter bots, works like this should be required reading for the general population. Told with Sagan’s easily digestible voice and a reverence for science and intellectualism not found in the present, this book is, sadly, more relevant today than it was when it was first published more than twenty years ago. - Aric

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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345409461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - February 25th, 1997


Written by a Pulitzer Prize winning scientist, this book highlights the development of language and the arts in human nature dating back to our earliest stages of development. Wilson describes how our access to creativity sets our species apart from all others and how the sciences are affected by our ability to use our creativity to imagine, predict, and discover. - Grace

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The Origins of Creativity Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781631493188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - October 3rd, 2017


Part memoir, part snapshot of 90s Bay Area punk rock, this book offers a revelatory glimpse into the intersectional experience of a Xicana fem punk rocker creating in a homogenous cis-white scene. For those that are queer, brown, or any other oppressed identity in a punk-rock scene, this book is for you. The Spitboy Rule sparked in me a sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in a long time. - Gabe

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The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band Cover Image
By Michelle Cruz Gonzales, Mimi Thi Nguyen (Foreword by), Martin Sorrondeguy (Afterword by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781629631400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PM Press - May 1st, 2016


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