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.

Megan Hunter is a new force to be reckoned with and celebrated. In her beautiful, spare novel, climate crisis floodwaters force an exodus of London and we follow the story of one woman, her husband R, and her newborn son Z, as it is laid out in poetic captures, each word carefully placed. This is a haunting exploration of motherhood, its foreignness, its innate strength, and its parallels to survival in an upturned land. - Melinda

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The End We Start from Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9780802126894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grove Press - November 7th, 2017


Having binge-watched the television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, coupled with current politics, I swore off dystopian stories for the time being just so I could catch my breath. Until, of course, I caught word that my favorite author’s new title was just that. Future Home of the Living God tells the story of one woman, Cedar, who at four months pregnant, is suddenly thrown into a fight for survival when the state of genetic evolution starts to reverse itself. Plants and animals are reproducing species that have long been extinct and there are whispers that the children being born aren’t surviving or if they are, something is very wrong with them. The government responds by gathering genetic data and institutionalizing pregnant women. As Cedar’s pregnancy progresses, we watch the journey that she must endure to protect her unborn child. While this genre is a departure for Erdrich, Future Home of the Living God explores themes familiar to her other books, examining self-identity, loyalty, and the importance of redemption within family. This is a taut and intense whirlwind of a read—whew. - S.M.C.

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Future Home of the Living God Cover Image
$28.99
ISBN: 9780062694058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper - November 14th, 2017


Manhattan Beach is stunning. Read the first page and sigh with immense pleasure at having started something magnificent. Set in Brooklyn around the Great Depression and WWII, we follow young Anna Kerrigan, one of the first female Naval Yard divers, as she seeks to unravel her father’s mysterious disappearance. This may seem a straightforward historical novel, but with Egan’s peerless writing and keen emotional intelligence, it plumbs the depths of human will, connection, and reinvention. - Melinda

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Manhattan Beach Cover Image
$22.40
ISBN: 9781476716732
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner Book Company - October 3rd, 2017


This novel is a take on the family drama, with a certain something that only Los Angeles can bring. Drugs, cults, and crushing poverty all make appearances, but so do the human goodness and chance encounters that also pervade the City of Angels. Pochoda navigates these waters with grace and skill, leaving me feeling deeply connected to her characters even as I wondered how human connection is even possible. Is there anything more L.A. than that? - Jax

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Wonder Valley Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062656353
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco Press - November 7th, 2017


This novel is simply exquisite. I loved every quiet, joyous, heart-bursting, heart-breaking, contemplative moment of it. Deeply immersed in turn of the 20th century Catholic Brooklyn, McDermott unspools and weaves together the lives affected by one man’s life-ending decision, as his widowed wife, their infant daughter, and the Little Nursing Sisters of the Sick Poor come to understand the power of friendship and loyalty, and the nuances of faith and forgiveness. - Melinda

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The Ninth Hour Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374280147
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus and Giroux - September 19th, 2017


When the author moves his family to Salem, MA for the month of October in order to research and explore the town’s dark history and its current culture, he finds a place unlike any other. Ocker has a playful approach to the subject (think Bill Bryson), and this book is a fun, lighted hearted look at a not so fun or light hearted period in our country’s history. - Jade

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A Season with the Witch: The Magic and Mayhem of Halloween in Salem, Massachusetts Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781581573398
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Countryman Press - October 4th, 2016


If you value hard work and enjoy new insight into humanity, read this memoir! With an easy style, Murphy is an indulgent and intelligent storyteller who makes me laugh, puzzle, and question. He’s whip-smart, and fun—a necessary, distinctive voice on the foibles of modern America. - a.c.

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The Long Haul: A Trucker's Tales of Life on the Road Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780393608717
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - June 6th, 2017


Badass and gripping, this memoir feels like the most honest conversation you’ve ever had with a best friend about the important topics of your lives. Captivating whether you know Union or not, I want to hand this to every feminist with a reading list. Union’s transparency, intensity, and grace merit both awe and a prodigious red wine toast. - a.c.

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We're Going to Need More Wine: Stories That Are Funny, Complicated, and True Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062693983
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dey Street Books - October 17th, 2017


My favorite novel by Faulkner, and the most accessible of his major works, Light in August is a flat-out masterpiece of style, structure and storytelling. Following the fates of many characters at once, all of them swirling around and toward each other, the sense of tragic menace is palpable. For my money, this is the quintessential Southern Gothic novel. - Rico

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Light in August Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780679732266
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 30th, 1991


This book broke my heart, put it back together, then repeated the process, in the best way possible. Homegoing follows two sisters and their descendants for 200 years, from Ghana to the United States, with some of the most powerful writing in the last few years. - Karena

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Homegoing Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101971062
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 2nd, 2017


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