Our Winter Reading Program for 2022–2023 has begun!
We are challenging our customers to read at least three of eight great books selected by Bookshop Santa Cruz. Upon completion, adults will receive a $5 gift card to Bookshop Santa Cruz, a cookie from Pacific Cookie Company, and a complimentary tasting flight at the downtown Santa Cruz Birichino Tasting Room.
Click on the covers below to read more about the eight titles selected for this year's program.
Official Winter Reading Program bookmarks are available in the store and can be added to your cart or download a pdf version here.
Don't miss our free Winter Reading Program Mixer on January 11th at Hotel Paradox. Learn more about each book and find your next read! Details here.
Anders, a white man, wakes up one morning to see that his skin is darkening. Soon, it starts happening to everyone and the social and political result confront our deepest conceptions of race, privilege, and fear. Born from his experience as a brown man who was treated differently after September 11th, Mohsin Hamid's novel matches this examination of identity with a deep exploration of our capacity for empathy and humanity—a powerful and important combination. —Casey
Rebecca Makkai’s first novel is an absolute joy, a quirky literary escapade full of heart, wide-eyed curiosity, and good intentions. Lucy is biding her time post-college as a children’s librarian when she finds herself kidnapping her favorite patron, a 10-year-old who is running away from his overbearing, value-driven home. What ensues is a road trip that enlightens both the past and the future. It’s a remarkably smart and thoughtful ode to the human spirit and to the literature that keeps it alive. —Melinda
Navigating the story of love, loss, migration, deportation, and justice, Patricia Engel, the daughter of Colombian immigrants, weaves a heartfelt, beautiful, and haunting novel that speaks truth to our times. Each character embodies the push and pull of immigration—the longing for a sense of home and of belonging and the toll of being shut out from where your heart remains. A powerful novel that will be on everyone's best of list by year's end. —Casey
Beauregard “Bug” Montage managed to defy the odds, leaving a life of crime to start an honest business as a mechanic. But after a series of unfortunate financial setbacks, the stable life he has built for himself and his family begins to crumble around him. Bug sees no option but to return to his past profession: getaway driver. Cosby is a master of characters and his writing is visceral, raw, and evocative. I found that I couldn’t turn the pages of this exhilarating and immediately engaging book fast enough. —Jade
A violin teacher who has sold her soul to the devil, a transgender girl on the run from her abusive family, and an alien refugee of an intergalactic war who has recently purchased a donut shop––Light from Uncommon Stars begins with distant threads and weaves them delightfully together into a tale of found family and the power of music to heal and bring us together. This book left me feeling that the world was a slightly stranger and brighter place than I thought, and really craving a donut. —Zoe
In one essay of this remarkable memoir, actress Constance Wu admits that her first passion was writing before turning to drama, and thank goodness for us that she found she could do both, because she is an excellent writer and so much fun. This is more than an actor’s journey (although there's plenty of that here to satisfy); it’s a work of art and a call to arms for those who struggle to find their spot in the light. Her humor, intelligence, and empathy shine through this wonder of a book—one that is as important as it is enjoyable. —Melinda
The words of Terry Tempest Williams– lyrical, learned, passionate, empathic, insightful – have been a guiding light for most of my adult life, so returning to her 2001 collection of essays is both a balm and a call to action. Red reads perfectly to our current moment, as it invites balance, contradiction, commitment, and deep listening. This is nature writing at its best; Williams bears testimony to the fight for environmental protections and celebrates what stands to be lost. Powerful and personal, it is a collection to be considered, treasured, and if you’re up for it, to be read out loud. —Melinda
Roger Bennett, a Jewish kid growing up in the hard-scrabble environment of 1980's Liverpool, England, had one dream: to finish his grandfather's derailed journey of making it from Ukraine to Chicago. With his grandfather's push to immerse him in the pop culture and mythical lore of all things American—from The Love Boat to Tracy Chapman, Chicago Bears to Miami Vice—he grew up believing that the grass is always greener on the American side. Through humorous storytelling—made famous on Bennett’s laugh-out-loud podcast Men in Blazers—(Re)Born in the USA is a love letter to hope in all forms, a reality check on confronting growing pains, and a heartfelt call to reclaim some unity (even if it was never there to begin with) in our divided America. This book is balm for the soul. —Casey