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.

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 13th, 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: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
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), Martín Sorrondeguy (Afterword by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781629631400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PM Press - May 1st, 2016


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 - 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 Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780312541538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Minotaur Books - 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: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - 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


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