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Fiction Recommendations

Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah has written an astonishing novel that looks smartly sideways at the history of British colonialism through the death of 19th-century explorer Dr. David Livingstone and the richly rendered funeral group who endeavors to deliver his body across Africa, sending it home. Two within his entourage, his loyal cook Halima and the Christian freed slave Jacob, narrate this journey through their own complicated perspectives, painting a broader, more nuanced understanding of slavery and colonialism, all while telling an engaging, atmospheric story. - Melinda

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Out of Darkness, Shining Light: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982110338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 10th, 2019

A Single Thread by Tracy Chevalier

Violet is considered a surplus woman, stuck in limbo as a spinster who lost her fiancé in the Great War. In order to find some meaning, she starts a new life in Winchester, living as a single woman. Through a chance encounter, she falls in with a group of broderers, women who embroider kneeling pads for worshippers at Winchester Cathedral, and finds herself joined together with an amazing group of women. This beautiful book resonated with me on a deep level. - Ivy

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A Single Thread: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525558248
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Viking - September 17th, 2019

The World That We Knew by Alice Hoffman

I cannot get over the beauty of this book. It may be one of my favorite depictions of World War II since Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See. This is a book that is hard to review. It starts in Berlin in 1941. There is a golem, a heron, heartbreak, and wrenching loss. There are breathtaking scenes of love and loyalty. There is stunning detail of real and vivid scenery set against the sweeping backdrop of unveiled history and visionary magical realism. Since finishing it, I have gone to it again and again. There is always one book each season that strikes to the core, and this is that book. It is a gift like no other. - S.M.C.

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The World That We Knew: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781501137570
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 24th, 2019

Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

A collection of short stories written throughout Smith’s career, file Grand Union under Reasons We Revere Zadie Smith, Volume I. She is a master storyteller, and all of her skills are on display in these tales that take on love, immigration, motherhood, and racial identity. Each story contains a whole world of characters and places, and your heart will squeeze with the last line of each one. - Jess

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Grand Union: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525558996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 8th, 2019

The Giver of Stars by Jojo Moyes

The Giver of Stars is one of the most satisfying stories I’ve yet read. What more could you ask for: remarkable women during the Great Depression, overcoming personal and social obstacles to deliver library books on pack horses for miles throughout the Kentucky mountains! I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough in my effort to save these beloved characters from their many perils and challenges. To know that this is based on a true story and to think how the impact of their efforts are still felt today is inspirational. - Jenny

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The Giver of Stars: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399562488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pamela Dorman Books - October 8th, 2019

Gun Island by Amitav Ghosh

Ghosh is old-school, a throwback to the 19th century, when novelists wrote sweeping sagas that captured the essence of entire nations and cultures. Here he tells the story Deen Datta, a rare-book dealer who, after hearing a tale of a lost shrine that pays homage to both a Hindi snake goddess named Manasa Devi and a Muslim saint named Ilyas, sets out on a journey that will change his life. The book is about a world on the brink, about loss and displacement, and also about hope. It’s a deeply satisfying read. -  Rico

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Gun Island: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374167394
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 10th, 2019

Frankissstein by Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson draws you into a world split between a life mostly true and one that could be: 18-year-old Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley writing Frankenstein, and young trans Dr. Ry Shelley, in love with Victor Stein, who dreams of breaking death’s hold on humanity. Also, sex dolls, poetry, workers’ rights, AI ethics, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and God—all part of a modern fable on humanity’s fears, Desire, and Love; a wild dream to marvel at. - Jocelyn

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Frankissstein Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780802129499
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - October 1st, 2019

Night Boat to Tangier by Kevin Barry

This is a powerful character novel about two brutal Irish gangsters well past their prime. Maurice and Charlie have long corrupted and harmed themselves and those around them. They are now in search of Maurice’s daughter Dilly at the Spanish ferry terminal in Algeciras. In lyrical prose, Kevin Barry tells the story of how the life, loves, and fraught friendship of these two men brought them to this place. This is writing to savor and linger over with every turn of the page. - Trey

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Night Boat to Tangier: A Novel Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385540315
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Doubleday - September 17th, 2019

The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott

I couldn’t put this book down. Who doesn’t like spies? Especially if they are women trained as secretaries. Sally and Irina are drawn into the world of espionage at the height of the Cold War through the recently formed CIA. Their mission? Smuggling literature into Russia as a way to ignite democracy and a sense of freedom. I was fascinated by how these women moved between two worlds, working as secretaries during the day and involved in clandestine operations after hours. - Laurel Maxwell, Bookshop Santa Cruz Bookshop Ambassador

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The Secrets We Kept: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525656159
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - September 3rd, 2019

The Beekeeper of Aleppo by Christy Lefteri

How do you see? How do you see strength? Evil? Resilience? Tragedy? Hope? Hopelessness? Love? Lefteri asks these questions in The Beekeeper of Aleppo. This story is about a young man, Uri, his wife Afra, and their escape from war-torn Aleppo. They experience the unimaginable loss of war and it’s up to Uri to get all he has left—his wife—to the safety of the UK. Uri and Afra are gentle people and so is the book. It doesn’t hide the horrors the two suffer, but the revelations of these atrocities are veiled and tragic, not bloody or graphic. The text reflects Uri’s spirit and perspective. Lefteri spent time volunteering in refugee camps and has worked with refugees in the UK. Her deep knowledge of their plight, both acute and long term, has produced an empathetic account of survival and love. This is a must-read. - Judi Heher, Bookshop Santa Cruz Book Group Amabassador

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The Beekeeper of Aleppo: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984821218
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ballantine Books - August 27th, 2019

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