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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

This is one of the most lushly imagined books I’ve read in a long time, and it also happens to be one of the best love stories I've read in awhile as well. It’s about a tortured young woman named Briony who is convinced that she is a witch, and that she was somehow responsible for her stepmother’s untimely death. The language is an incredible blend of old-world English and modern-day poetry.
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Chime By Franny Billingsley Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780142420928
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Speak - April 12th, 2012


We think this terrific novel should have won the Newbery Award. “Set during a pivotal moment [the summer of 1968] in African American history (the setting and time period are as vividly realized as the characters), this vibrant novel shows the subtle ways that political movements affect personal lives; but just as memorable is the finely drawn, universal story of children reclaiming a reluctant parent’s love.” —Booklist

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One Crazy Summer: A Newbery Honor Award Winner By Rita Williams-Garcia Cover Image
$9.99
ISBN: 9780060760908
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Quill Tree Books - December 27th, 2011


Enormous traction cities are preying on the land, pillaging smaller municipalities and dismantling them for parts in A Darkling Plain, the explosive conclusion to the Hungry City Chronicles. Tom and Wren have lived in the cities’ shadows their entire lives, but deep in the heart of radioactive London lies a secret that may stop the marauding—and possibly safeguard the future of the human race. A thrilling series four years in the making comes to an exhilarating climax in this post- apocalyptic fantasia from master storyteller Philip Reeve. It was worth the wait.
Predator Cities #4: A Darkling Plain By Philip Reeve Cover Image
$8.99
ISBN: 9780545222143
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Scholastic Press - June 1st, 2012


In A Brief History of Montmaray, Cooper introduced us to a (fictional) island kingdom where the royalty outnumber their subjects. Now in The FitzOsbornes in Exile, the royal family is stranded in pre–World War II England and Sophie, second princess, finally has her chance to indulge in fancy dress balls and flirting. And yet the currents of war are sweeping over Europe, and even Sophie may have a role to play in saving her kingdom. A sly tale of growing up in circumstances both ordinary and extraordinary. I can’t wait for the next book (coming in October).
The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals #2) By Michelle Cooper Cover Image
$11.99
ISBN: 9780375851551
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Ember - March 13th, 2012


Hazan Family Favorites celebrates delicious Italian recipes from generations of the Hazan family (including the incomparable Mama Marcella), prepared just as Giuliano makes them for his own family today. Marcella is deservedly a culinary icon, but Giuliano more than holds his own: His books are delightful, his recipes are not complicated, and his teaching skills shine through on every page.

What food is more universal than pizza? I can’t think of a single person I know who doesn’t love this dish. So, what makes a great pizza? According to Jim Lahey, the secret to an amazing pizza is in the crust. Filled with 192 pages of culinary insight, Lahey shares his knowledge of pizza making, appetizers, and desserts. Are you hungry?
My Pizza: The Easy No-Knead Way to Make Spectacular Pizza at Home: A Cookbook By Jim Lahey, Rick Flaste Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780307886156
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Clarkson Potter - March 20th, 2012


For Peltre, to cook is to delight in the best of what life has to offer—the people and the places we love. That is clearly evident in her delightful new cookbook, which is bursting with flavor and stories and joie de vivre. “Everything is charming: the writing, the photographs, and the bright, fresh recipes for food you’ll want to make every day.” —Dorie Greenspan
La Tartine Gourmande: Recipes for an Inspired Life By Beatrice Peltre Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781590307625
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Roost Books - February 7th, 2012


I’m a big fan of Stéphane Reynaud’s previous book, Pork & Sons, which is packed with so many incredibly delicious recipes that even after cooking from it for the past five years, I have yet to find a clunker in the book. I suspect I’ll feel the same about his latest tome, dedicated to grilling and barbecue. (Lest you be intimidated by the fact that the author is French, know that Reynaud’s style is just honest, simple cooking.) From seafood to meat, side dishes to sauces, with this book by my side, it’s going to be a scrumptious summer.
Stephane Reynaud's Barbecue & Grill By Stephane Reynaud, Marie-Pierre Morel (Photographer), Jose Reis de de Matos (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Stephane Reynaud, Marie-Pierre Morel (Photographer), Jose Reis de de Matos (Illustrator)
$27.95
ISBN: 9780762778959
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Lyons Press - April 1st, 2012


If you’re trying to kick the pre-packaged food habit, are on a tight budget, or simply want to try your hand at making delicious yogurt, cheese, hummus, jerky, mustard, pickles, toaster pastries, and much more, this is the book for you. Chernila’s fun recipes and great photos show that nothing’s as good as homemade—especially when the results are well-stocked cupboards and freezers!
The Homemade Pantry: 101 Foods You Can Stop Buying and Start Making: A Cookbook By Alana Chernila Cover Image
$29.99
ISBN: 9780307887269
Availability: This item is likely out of print! We may be able to order it from the publisher. If it's unavailable, we will refund you ASAP.
Published: Clarkson Potter - April 3rd, 2012


I blame Sandor Katz for all the smelly lactobacilli experiments I have growing in the corner of my kitchen. Ever since poring through his cult fermentation book, Wild Fermentation, I’ve been shredding, pounding, and brining cabbage with the feverish abandon of a sailor stricken with scurvy. Wild Fermenation is a witty and pungent introduction to the art of DIY fermentation, but the more comprehensive Art of Fermentation is anticipated to be the bible on the subject, a kind of How to Cook Everything/On Food and Cooking for the world of pickling/fermenting/rotting enthusiasts.
The Art of Fermentation: New York Times Bestseller By Sandor Ellix Katz, Michael Pollan (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Sandor Ellix Katz, Michael Pollan (Foreword by)
$39.95
ISBN: 9781603582865
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Chelsea Green Publishing Company - May 14th, 2012


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