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.

Shared with me by a local writer last winter, this collection offers powerful gifts—from Firoozeh Dumas of Funny in Farsi to Marjan Kamali, whose voice “clicked” in my head like that of a sister. Given trump’s threats on Iran and immigration, I want to see this 2006 anthology in our hands once more as a promise between women: our grace to build and rebuild a life wherever we land should define global history. - a.c.

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Let Me Tell You Where I've Been: New Writing by Women of the Iranian Diaspora Cover Image
By Persis Karim (Editor)
$24.95
ISBN: 9781557288202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Arkansas Press - May 1st, 2006


This author’s quest for happiness takes him across the globe. Everywhere he goes, Weiner poses the same questions to the natives: “are you happy?” Despite being a self-declared grump, Weiner’s narrative is witty and fun and he delves into some fascinating cultural analyses. A great read for anyone in need of a good laugh. - Jade

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The Geography of Bliss: One Grump's Search for the Happiest Places in the World Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780446698894
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Twelve - January 5th, 2009


Berkowitz approaches issues of gender, race, and sexuality through the lens of law and reveals the underpinnings of America’s perspective on sex, social welfare, marriage, immigration, and more. Berkowitz’s writing on the policing of single motherhood, the American eugenics movement, and the social capital of the phrase “welfare queen” is particularly relevant. - Clara

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The Boundaries of Desire: A Century of Bad Laws, Good Sex and Changing Identities Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781619027466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Counterpoint LLC - July 12th, 2016


This book is hard to categorize, but so lovely and fun for the literary/history nerd. We’ll never know much about Shakespeare’s life, so Shapiro instead focuses on the events we know occurred during one of his most prolific years. Showing how those events likely influenced the content of Shakespeare’s plays opens up a whole new way of thinking about art and history. - Jocelyn

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A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare: 1599 Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9780060088743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - June 1st, 2006


In the age of flat-earthers, climate change deniers, and twitter bots, works like this should be required reading for the general population. Told with Sagan’s easily digestible voice and a reverence for science and intellectualism not found in the present, this book is, sadly, more relevant today than it was when it was first published more than twenty years ago. - Aric

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The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780345409461
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - February 25th, 1997


Written by a Pulitzer Prize winning scientist, this book highlights the development of language and the arts in human nature dating back to our earliest stages of development. Wilson describes how our access to creativity sets our species apart from all others and how the sciences are affected by our ability to use our creativity to imagine, predict, and discover. - Grace

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The Origins of Creativity Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781631493188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Liveright Publishing Corporation - October 3rd, 2017


Part memoir, part snapshot of 90s Bay Area punk rock, this book offers a revelatory glimpse into the intersectional experience of a Xicana fem punk rocker creating in a homogenous cis-white scene. For those that are queer, brown, or any other oppressed identity in a punk-rock scene, this book is for you. The Spitboy Rule sparked in me a sense of belonging that I hadn’t felt in a long time. - Gabe

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The Spitboy Rule: Tales of a Xicana in a Female Punk Band Cover Image
By Michelle Cruz Gonzales, Mimi Thi Nguyen (Foreword by), Martin Sorrondeguy (Afterword by)
$15.95
ISBN: 9781629631400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: PM Press - May 1st, 2016


In a far dystopic future that includes desert villages and a city seething with corruption, the main character, Onyesonwu (“Who Fears Death”) fights on in spite of persecution and hardship. The author builds a beautifully nuanced world filled with real people of diverse perspectives who must face the same dangers—both outside and within—to survive. - Jocelyn

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Who Fears Death Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780756406691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Daw Books - June 7th, 2011


This book is beautifully crafted, drawing you in through multiple layers of community, family, art, literature, and life—even while circling death. The beginning of a series that’s become a modern classic, the story pulls you in so strongly you find yourself wanting to linger in the Quebec village where it’s set. A murder mystery with a deeply human core, it’s a great escape. - Jocelyn

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Still Life: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel (Armand Gamache Mysteries) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780312541538
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Griffin - September 30th, 2008


Though Lahiri has written other critically acclaimed and well-known books, this one, her first, is still my favorite. With its focus on people in transition, the stories collected here capture the promise, as well as the sense of dislocation and sadness, of those who try to pick up stakes and build a better life elsewhere. The prose is stunning, the characters heartbreaking. - Rico

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Interpreter of Maladies Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780395927205
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - June 1st, 1999


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