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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.

Kushner’s new novel is, in a word, devastating. It opens as the main character, Romy Hall, is on her way to prison to serve a life sentence for murder. Kushner writes so convincingly, with such compassion for people struggling to survive in modern California’s darkest corners, you’d think she has personally lived the life of her main character—and every other character in the book. - Rico

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The Mars Room: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781476756554
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - May 1st, 2018


What are the fleeting memories and traumas that shape us? Adrian Tomine follows this question through a collection of tragicomic stories that reflect the humanity in characters that are both flawed and lovable. From the first page to the last, Tomine had me enthralled with both his minimal artwork and poignant prose. - Gabe

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Killing and Dying Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781770463097
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn and Quarterly - February 6th, 2018


Come for the murder mystery, stay for the queer women and a vividly painted portrait of San Francisco in 1876. San Francisco before the 1906 earthquake feels like a fascinating foreign country, offering a setting different from any historical fiction I've read before. I adored the twists and turns through tenements and languages, music and time. - Clara

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Frog Music Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780316324670
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Back Bay Books - February 24th, 2015


Like Thomas Hardy or Alice Munro, two writers he is often compared to, Trevor could convey an entire life—its triumphs and sorrows—in a few deft sentences. When he died in 2016 the world lost one of its great artists. Each of the stories collected here, the last he ever wrote, makes clear the open-hearted, almost painful, compassion he felt for his characters. - Rico

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Last Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525558101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - May 15th, 2018


Is there anything Margaret Atwood can’t do? Part sci-fi, part romance, part mystery, part social commentary, and part historical fiction, The Blind Assassin is a heartbreaking page-turner. It’s also a matryoshka doll of sorts; there’s a story within a story within a story, and somehow all three merge together with a twist that’s both surprising and extremely satisfying. - Jessica

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The Blind Assassin: A Novel Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780385720953
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - August 28th, 2001


Munro is quite simply the best short-story writer ever. The recent Nobel Prize in Literature is just icing on the cake. This book brings together the best stories from the first half of her career, including my personal favorite “The Albanian Virgin.” Munro’s compassion and honesty will break your heart, and her artistry will leave you in awe. - Rico

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A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968-1994 (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101970362
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 15th, 2015


This history of the postal service follows the contours of American history. But sometimes the postal service was the actor directing the flow. From the beginning of our nation to the current day, mail has been the driving force in unexpected areas of the nation’s development and it continues to innovate today despite alarmist detractors and falling prestige. - Ian

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Neither Snow Nor Rain: A History of the United States Postal Service Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780802126405
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - February 14th, 2017


This book reminds me of Jackie Collins back in the day, only in Singapore. Kwan describes the paradox of a culture where people with more money than they know what to do with save the tiniest amount of leftovers but then drop millions on a diamond necklace. Once you get passed their designer clothes, the characters are just as naked as the rest of us. - Karena

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Crazy Rich Asians (Crazy Rich Asians Trilogy #1) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780345803788
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - May 20th, 2014


This is the Native memoir we need to be reading right now, one that does not look so much at the experience as through it, beyond it into a painful, poetic, grippingly real journey through struggle, breakdown, mental illness, relationship, abuse, shame, strength, motherhood and the perseverance to live. Mailhot’s writing is magnetic, propulsive, exquisitely crafted to pinpoint the intensity, confusion and complexity of each moment. - Melinda

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Heart Berries: A Memoir Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9781619023345
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - February 6th, 2018


I have to admit that I have a weakness for family epics. There is something so powerful about connecting to characters’ lives in the place that is most emotional, complex, and personal. So when I read The House of Broken Angels I was not surprised that I fell in love with the extended cast of characters of the Las Cruzes family, but little did I know that their feelings of belonging, loyalty, and forgiveness would deeply permeate and change my own view of humanity. Dave Eggers says that it is “one of the most vivid and engrossing family epics of the last twenty years” and I agree. - Casey

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The House of Broken Angels Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316154888
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - March 6th, 2018


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