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.

In a far dystopic future that includes desert villages and a city seething with corruption, the main character, Onyesonwu (“Who Fears Death”) fights on in spite of persecution and hardship. The author builds a beautifully nuanced world filled with real people of diverse perspectives who must face the same dangers—both outside and within—to survive. - Jocelyn

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Who Fears Death Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780756406691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Daw Books - June 7th, 2011


This book is beautifully crafted, drawing you in through multiple layers of community, family, art, literature, and life—even while circling death. The beginning of a series that’s become a modern classic, the story pulls you in so strongly you find yourself wanting to linger in the Quebec village where it’s set. A murder mystery with a deeply human core, it’s a great escape. - Jocelyn

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Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Armand Gamache Mysteries) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780312541538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Griffin - September 30th, 2008


Though Lahiri has written other critically acclaimed and well-known books, this one, her first, is still my favorite. With its focus on people in transition, the stories collected here capture the promise, as well as the sense of dislocation and sadness, of those who try to pick up stakes and build a better life elsewhere. The prose is stunning, the characters heartbreaking. - Rico

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Interpreter of Maladies Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780395927205
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - June 1st, 1999


I came away from this book awed by a master. The chapters reveal the story of a great artist’s life, and show us layers of a personality we can’t quite trust but can’t help empathize with. The book captures a specific historical moment and, at the same time, evokes the dreams we all have of becoming our own people and the consequences of our decisions. - Jocelyn

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An Artist of the Floating World (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679722663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 19th, 1989


This book is sublime. Smith processes friendship, stages of life, and Brexit through lyrical, breathless storytelling. Smith captures the stillness and wistfulness of the season beautifully, making Autumn the most healing and invigorating book I've read in ages. - Clara

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Autumn (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - October 17th, 2017


Shapiro makes me want to run to the nearest museum and immerse myself in art. This beautifully crafted page-turner weaves a compelling mystery into the lives of the young abstract impressionists (Rothko, Pollack, Krasner, etc.) during their formative years in New York. Exploring the artists souls and the roots of connection, this is a terrific book. - Clara

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The Muralist Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616206437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - October 11th, 2016


While Bel Canto is one of Patchett’s more popular works, The Magician’s Assistant is my favorite. The idea that we can be with someone for years and still never know them completely is troubling yet intriguing (at least in fiction). Also I enjoyed that Patchett challenges the concept of what makes a family. The answer? Well, you’ll have to read the book! - Karena

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The Magician's Assistant Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780156006217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvest Books - September 17th, 2004


Franzen’s darkly comic masterpiece provides us with a microcosm of American life at the turn of the twentieth century—a culture and an economy in transition—a boom on the brink of bust. Exemplified through the lens of a fractured, Midwestern family—an ailing patriarch, his wife, and their three adult children—The Corrections is as engaging today as it was in 2001. - Aric

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Corrections (Recent Picador Highlights) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780312421274
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - August 27th, 2002


Step into an enchanted land of Middle Eastern mythology and folklore in this remarkable debut by S. A. Chakraborty. Follow the tale of Nahri, a con artist from the streets of 18th-century Cairo, as she is swept into the world of the ancient magical djinn. Complex and mesmerizing, with phenomenal world building, the story’s mythology is vibrant and tangible. This is an exciting read that is impossible to put down. - Trey

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The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062678102
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Voyager - November 14th, 2017


Sasha loves Russia, languages that don’t contain binary genders, and the way their skirt feels against their legs. Richard just got back from a juvenile residential program in Redding. He says he never got a childhood, so he’s always making jokes, pulling pranks. His friends and mentors think he might be the one to get out of their rough neighborhood in Oakland. Between their lives runs the 57 bus and a brief encounter that will make their actions erupt onto the world’s screen. The 57 Bus reads like a gorgeous young adult novel—one of the best books I’ve read this year—but it’s based on a true story, heartbreaking, eye opening and, surprisingly, filled with hope. Ages 12 and up. - Tera

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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374303235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 17th, 2017


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