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.

I found a refracted reflection of myself in the lives of the four 20-something musicians at the center of Aja Gabel’s debut novel, The Ensemble. The alienation, hedonism, love, loss, and beautiful music in their lives is depicted with such ferocity that Gabel’s romantic yet sardonic prose began to whirl around in my head during the day’s quiet moments. If you liked Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere or Nell Zink’s Nicotine, you will like The Ensemble. - Gabe

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The Ensemble Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735214767
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - May 15th, 2018


Set in the steamy, seemingly dangerous landscape of Florida, Lauren Groff’s new stories play on the boundaries of humanity and wildness, the contradictions within human nature, and the conflicts faced by women in the assumed roles of motherhood and marriage. They are dark, exploratory, and as always with Lauren Groff, a thing of literary beauty. - Melinda

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Florida Cover Image
$21.60
ISBN: 9781594634512
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - June 5th, 2018


What I love most about Curtis Sittenfeld is the sly truths she buries just below the amiable surface. These gems abound in her new short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. Whether she is exploring a wronged woman doing wrong and then dwelling on it or the insecurity of being a new mother around the assurance of other new mothers, Sittenfeld writes life that is honestly, refreshingly real, and enjoyable, too. - Melinda

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You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399592867
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Random House - April 24th, 2018


Quite simply, this is a most lovely book. One that will quietly soothe the broken parts of your heart. From 1950 to 1996, from a British working-class town to Italy and back, this is about finding reasons to start living again when everything seems to have been lost. About rediscovering the joys in your past and the hope that there is more to come. Keep this one close and in your heart. - Jocelyn

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Tin Man Cover Image
$23.00
ISBN: 9780735218727
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - May 15th, 2018


Trevor has long been one of my favorite short story writers. Like Thomas Hardy or Alice Munro, two writers he was often compared to, he 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. The stories collected here are the last he ever wrote. Each one makes clear the open-hearted, almost painful, compassion he felt for his characters. If you’ve yet to discover Trevor for yourself, this is a great place to start. - Rico

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


The first novel from Sarah Jessica Parker’s new imprint, SJP for Hogarth, is a deeply moving and resonant story of love, identity, and belonging. “Fatima Farheen Mirza’s A Place for Us, out in June, is far too wise to be a debut novel; I’m not sure I know another book that measures so exactly and compassionately the lines of resentment and love that stitch together a family.” —Garth Greenwell, The Millions

A Place for Us Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781524763558
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sjp for Hogarth - June 12th, 2018


The author of Rich and Pretty returns with a thought-provoking novel about the families we fight to build and those we fight to keep. “A rich, complex, beautifully observed story about the collision of class, race, and family. Motherhood is an overwhelming and joyful job and this book takes on the minutiae of that domestic sphere with quiet, but incendiary power.” —Stephanie Watts, author of No One is Coming to Save Us

That Kind of Mother: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062667601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ecco - May 8th, 2018


I treat this book like I would a religious text, if I were religious; I take it with me every time I leave the house, I write all over it, I quote passages back to people, I read it before bed. Part memoir, part love letter, part queer familial ethnography, and part critical theory, Nelson sets an astounding precedent for the newly emerging genre of auto-theory. - Wren

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The Argonauts Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9781555977351
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - January 26th, 2016


Heschel remains one of the most insightful and progressive spiritual thinkers. This collection, edited by his daughter, excerpts speeches and writings on social justice, prayer and inner life, faith and science, and the spiritual center of tradition in modernity. I recommend Heschel to anyone interested in living mindfully and affecting positive change in their communities. - Clara

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Abraham Joshua Heschel: Essential Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters) Cover Image
$20.00
ISBN: 9781570759192
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Orbis Books - May 18th, 2011


See chronicles her ancestors’ immigrant experience coming from China to California. Spanning 100 years of family history, from dynamiting railroads into mountainsides to rubbing shoulders with the Hollywood elite, See shares the triumphs and the devastations along the way. I was charmed by See’s honest, often emotional rendering of her family’s remarkable journey. - Jade

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On Gold Mountain: The One-Hundred-Year Odyssey of My Chinese-American Family Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307950390
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - February 7th, 2012


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