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.

Joyce Maynard (bestselling of author of At Home in the World) has written a touching and sincere book about finding strength and life in the midst of hardship. In their late 50’s, Joyce and her soon-to-be husband, Jim, met for the first time. Each had been married, had children, and also then subsequently divorced. Neither Jim nor Joyce was particularly looking for love again, but there was a deep connection between the two, that neither could ignore. Maynard writes their story of reclaiming love and romance, getting married, and then dealing with the blow of Jim’s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer. Praised by Anne Lamott for being full of “the tears and joy of life,” Maynard coveys with such clarity not just the honesty about the ugliness of illness, but also the unparalleled bond of intimacy and awareness that springs forth when life is on the line. - S.M.C.

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The Best of Us: A Memoir Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781635570342
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury UK - September 5th, 2017


This coalition of authors have created a moving collection of essays, short stories, poetry and more. The result is as varied and difficult to encapsulate as the American experience itself. From gentrification in the Bay Area, to eking out an existence in rural Michigan, each contribution is unique and powerful, and I was left deeply moved. - Jade

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Tales of Two Americas: Stories of Inequality in a Divided Nation Cover Image
By John Freeman (Editor)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143131038
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - September 5th, 2017


Santa Cruz native Noah Levine couldn’t kick. All the punk life had gotten him was high and behind bars, until his dad (Buddhist teacher Stephen Levine) visited him in jail, and said “learn to meditate.” Since then, this bad-boy-turned-spiritual-Guru has started an international movement of Buddhist-based recovery from drugs and alcohol. - Jason

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Dharma Punx Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9780060008956
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: HarperOne - May 4th, 2004


In this harrowing autobiography, Ali boldly narrates the journey from her violent and impoverished upbringing in Somalia’s capital city, Mogadishu, to a career in Dutch politics. At times horrifying, her tale is especially poignant today, as refugees are so frequently being turned around at the threshold. - Jade

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Infidel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780743289696
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Free Press - April 1st, 2008


Though Claire doesn’t understand what a cult is, she knows her childhood isn’t normal. She learns meditation in school and her mother believes she can fly. Reflecting on her unusual upbringing, Claire Hoffman muses on its influence on her life and struggles to find a balance between the utopia she was conditioned to believe in, and the reality she is ultimately faced with. - Jade

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Greetings from Utopia Park: Surviving a Transcendent Childhood Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062338853
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Paperbacks - June 6th, 2017


Grief has a powerful influence over art. When Tom Hart lost his daughter at a young age, he poured out a gorgeous attempt at healing. Rosalie struck like lightning as her name implies and the following thunder will reverberate in Hart forever. This book got me through a really tough time and opened up much needed flood gates to cry. Have tissues handy. - Ivy

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Rosalie Lightning: A Graphic Memoir Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781250049940
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: St. Martin's Press - January 12th, 2016


This is the optimistic eco-conscious treatise you are looking for. Written by a true radical thinker, and Yale educated philosopher, Eisenstein focuses mostly on the environment and what he calls a societal separation anxiety disorder, offering an alternative of interdependence between humanity and the planet. - Jason

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The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9781583947241
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: North Atlantic Books - November 5th, 2013


This is a spirograph of a story, with genres, storylines, and people weaving in and out with no obvious path in mind. True crime, philosophy, history, poetry: this cannot be contained in a single genre. And then the book ends, loose ends connecting, and you are left with something gorgeous and confusing that needs pondering and admiration in the softest of ways. - Rachel

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At the End of the World: A True Story of Murder in the Arctic Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250111401
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - January 17th, 2017


It's rare to find a memoir that fundamentally changes you. This is undoubtedly one of my favorites. Hope Jahren's enthusiasm about plants and science is infectious. Her expert storytelling—of growing up in Michigan, of motherhood, and especially of her best friend and lab partner, Bill—drew me in the most. You will leave this book fulfilled and inspired. - Natalie

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Lab Girl Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781101873724
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - February 28th, 2017


Guy Delisle is a master of the graphic novel form and this is no exception. When a man working for Doctors Without Borders is kidnapped in Chechnya, what follows is a harrowing tale of solitary confinement. Beautifully rendered, this story breaks down what it means to be human. In my opinion, this volume will be listed among the classics in no time. - Ivy

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Hostage Cover Image
$29.95
ISBN: 9781770462793
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Drawn & Quarterly - April 25th, 2017


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