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 came away from this book awed by a master. The chapters reveal the story of a great artist’s life, and show us layers of a personality we can’t quite trust but can’t help empathize with. The book captures a specific historical moment and, at the same time, evokes the dreams we all have of becoming our own people and the consequences of our decisions. - Jocelyn

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An Artist of the Floating World (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780679722663
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 19th, 1989


This book is sublime. Smith processes friendship, stages of life, and Brexit through lyrical, breathless storytelling. Smith captures the stillness and wistfulness of the season beautifully, making Autumn the most healing and invigorating book I've read in ages. - Clara

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Autumn (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781101969946
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Anchor Books - October 17th, 2017


Shapiro makes me want to run to the nearest museum and immerse myself in art. This beautifully crafted page-turner weaves a compelling mystery into the lives of the young abstract impressionists (Rothko, Pollack, Krasner, etc.) during their formative years in New York. Exploring the artists souls and the roots of connection, this is a terrific book. - Clara

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The Muralist Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9781616206437
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Algonquin Books - October 11th, 2016


While Bel Canto is one of Patchett’s more popular works, The Magician’s Assistant is my favorite. The idea that we can be with someone for years and still never know them completely is troubling yet intriguing (at least in fiction). Also I enjoyed that Patchett challenges the concept of what makes a family. The answer? Well, you’ll have to read the book! - Karena

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The Magician's Assistant Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780156006217
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harvest Books - September 17th, 2004


Franzen’s darkly comic masterpiece provides us with a microcosm of American life at the turn of the twentieth century—a culture and an economy in transition—a boom on the brink of bust. Exemplified through the lens of a fractured, Midwestern family—an ailing patriarch, his wife, and their three adult children—The Corrections is as engaging today as it was in 2001. - Aric

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Corrections (Recent Picador Highlights) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780312421274
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador USA - August 27th, 2002


Step into an enchanted land of Middle Eastern mythology and folklore in this remarkable debut by S. A. Chakraborty. Follow the tale of Nahri, a con artist from the streets of 18th-century Cairo, as she is swept into the world of the ancient magical djinn. Complex and mesmerizing, with phenomenal world building, the story’s mythology is vibrant and tangible. This is an exciting read that is impossible to put down. - Trey

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The City of Brass: A Novel (The Daevabad Trilogy) Cover Image
$25.99
ISBN: 9780062678102
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Harper Voyager - November 14th, 2017


Sasha loves Russia, languages that don’t contain binary genders, and the way their skirt feels against their legs. Richard just got back from a juvenile residential program in Redding. He says he never got a childhood, so he’s always making jokes, pulling pranks. His friends and mentors think he might be the one to get out of their rough neighborhood in Oakland. Between their lives runs the 57 bus and a brief encounter that will make their actions erupt onto the world’s screen. The 57 Bus reads like a gorgeous young adult novel—one of the best books I’ve read this year—but it’s based on a true story, heartbreaking, eye opening and, surprisingly, filled with hope. Ages 12 and up. - Tera

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The 57 Bus: A True Story of Two Teenagers and the Crime That Changed Their Lives Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780374303235
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar Straus Giroux - October 17th, 2017


During winter break her college freshman year, alone in upstate New York (instead of home in San Francisco), our hero muses and slowly, gently reveals her past. Here is an exploration of grief, betrayal and, most importantly, reconciliation. Exquisitely written and, for me, one of the year’s most deeply affecting YA novels. Grades 8 and up. - Ga

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We Are Okay Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525425892
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - February 14th, 2017


I would say that I devoured this book about one person’s quest for spirits to stock his San Francisco bar Bar Agricole but I think perhaps it devoured me. Vogler insists on a farm-to-table approach for acquiring his liquors as well as his food, and travels all over the world to find that which feels worth bringing home. It reminds me of bookselling in that way, where you search for the perfect book that is worthy of your customer. I would give this one to someone who consciously labors out of love, who values enthusiasm over perfection, and who, of course, enjoys a good drink. - Jax

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By the Smoke and the Smell: My Search for the Rare and Sublime on the Spirits Trail Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780399578601
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - September 12th, 2017


Unforgettable tells the story of culinary legend and author of nine award-winning cookbooks, Paula Wolfert (Couscous and Other Good Food From Morocco), who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2013. This biographical cookbook, written by Emily Kaiser Thelin, shares more than 50 of Wolfert’s most iconic dishes and explores the relationship between food and memory. “The amount of love, through food, Paula has given so many over the years makes this biography-cum-cookbook a truly wonderful project.” —Yotam Ottolenghi

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Unforgettable: The Bold Flavors of Paula Wolfert's Renegade Life Cover Image
By Emily Kaiser Thelin, Andrea Nguyen (Editor), Eric Wolfinger (Photographer)
$35.00
ISBN: 9781538729885
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Grand Central Life & Style - October 17th, 2017


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