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a.c.'s Reviews

A ladder against a wall of books has two books placed cover-out on each of it's rungs. A woman with long, loose brown hair is hanging from the ladder, looking at the books and smiling.Bookseller Goodbye

Home is where your books are, and none of us ever really say goodbye to Bookshop Santa Cruz. My coworkers, this place, the community surrounding it and the very shelves of it have been home to me for the past four years. I’m braving a new challenge, soon, but I do so in the knowledge that huge pieces of my heart are stored safely in the stacks here. You may notice it sometimes in the rustle of certain pages: the spirit of booksellers past, like me, who never fully leave.

In the skylight room where we host events, and where the rain sounds exquisitely beautiful on winter days, there is a ladder which I have scrambled up over hundreds of times to adjust the sound before author talks. I said goodbye to it this Saturday! And goodbye to my books. Every title in this photo is one that once stopped my heart suddenly, raised my spirits, made me cry, made me pause, made me think or made me hope. I leave them with you! Please take them home. Don’t leave them to linger too long on these shelves, unread. Pass them around. Leave pieces of yourself between the pages.

My love to you always, Bookshop!




Blueprint for Revolution by Srja Popovic

If you feel as I feel about human rights, you’re struggling because we currently live in an age of fear. Please read this? Srja Popovic is a member of the Serbian student group which helped to overthrow Slobodan Milošević with, essentially, some really good pranks. This book is funny, smart, and a bright spark set against the blight of totalitarianism. - a.c.

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

I think this is the most important book to be published in the entire time that I worked as a bookseller. Bryan Stevenson’s work in the criminal justice system made me see the abuses of our prison system so much more clearly, as a part of a dehumanizing whole… and yet his voice in sharing these topics was calm, clear, crystalline and reassuring as well as emotionally affecting. If you’re going to read about the U.S. prison system, this is the book with which to start. - a.c.

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Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812984965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - August 18th, 2015

Erratic Facts by Kay Ryan

This will be the poetry book I read most over the next month. It is about things removed from where they began-- like a tribute to change, and to survival. Each poem is brief, excessively clever, and beautiful. I have more sticky notes in this collection than in any other, because I have marked almost every poem with the specific situation in which it should be read. - a.c.

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Erratic Facts Cover Image
ISBN: 9780802125545
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Grove Press - October 11th, 2016

Imaginary Vessels by Paisley Rekdal

More poetry! Paisley Rekdal created an incredible exploration of theme in this collection: she explores the idea of literal vessels, which contain other items, from glass vessels to expectant mothers… then she parlays into the idea of the cultural vessel, explored through the voice of a feminist, witty, and cutting Mae West… last, Rekdal imagines poetry based around a museum collection of skulls she once visited. - a.c.

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Imaginary Vessels Cover Image
By Paisley Rekdal, Andrea Modica (Photographer)
ISBN: 9781556594977
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Copper Canyon Press - November 8th, 2016

Don't Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Danez is probably my top favorite slam poet currently active on the scene…you could even stop what you’re doing right now, go to Google, and watch the poem “Black Movie” performed by Danez live. This particular collection hushed my very bones when I first read an excerpt-- I think maybe in the New Yorker?-- and it is stunning. “do you know what it’s like to live/ someplace that loves you back?” - a.c.

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Don't Call Us Dead: Poems Cover Image
ISBN: 9781555977856
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - September 5th, 2017

Sorcerer to the Crown by Zen Cho

"These books, I include for the reader who has been stuck for awhile, because we have all had those days. These are the books that have burst me out of a reading funk, because they let me just get caught up in a story without effort or hesitation. Sorcerer to the Crown is light, warm, hopeful, a science fiction and fantasy romp, with a period-literature feel but a contemporary sense of right and wrong. If you like to see the underdog win and you want your protagonists headstrong and charming, read this! Great for the grownup Harry Potter reader. It will give you the joy of reading again." - a.c.

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Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer to the Crown Novel #1) Cover Image
By Zen Cho
ISBN: 9780425283400
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ace - July 12th, 2016

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

"These books, I include for the reader who has been stuck for awhile, because we have all had those days. These are the books that have burst me out of a reading funk, because they let me just get caught up in a story without effort or hesitation....Did You Ever Have a Family? explores loss, difficulty, and the challenge of rebuilding a life after loss and mistake. A fire devastates the main character’s family home, and she has nothing-- this is the initiating point of the story. Even in light of the subject matter, I read it start to finish. Each character was so real that I felt I was living in their bodies, and I read through the darkest moments for the one, perfect promise offered by good contemporary literature: a reason to believe the worth of an individual human life, even after the darkest moments. If your reading funk is related to how you feel in general, read this. The book will understand any darkness in a reader, and help you believe in turning the next page anyway." - a.c.

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Did You Ever Have a Family Cover Image
ISBN: 9781476798189
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Gallery/Scout Press - May 17th, 2016

Look for Her by Emily Winslow

Jane Doe January was the stunning memoir which first hooked me on Emily Winslow's work. As a mystery writer, Winslow delivers! Look For Her orbits the era-defining case of a missing girl from the 70’s. Winslow’s nonlinear narrative builds intense psychological suspense, a cold-case mystery with new threat of active violence, which wraps up neatly into a satisfying, divine-able yet unexpected bow. One of a series, this is also an ideal standalone summer read. - a.c.

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Look for Her: A Novel (Keene and Frohmann #4) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062572585
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - February 13th, 2018

What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky by Lesley Nneka Arimah

Bare, intense, and incredibly beautiful reading. Arimah has a kind of raw and obvious literary talent that seems almost unfair in the world of publishing. These concise and powerful short stories cut deeply without lingering too long over one image, over one characterization... a quiet and harsh exploration of violence, each story flashed like a photograph in the mind, using powerful words touched upon only briefly to vivid effect. Hard to read; worth every word. - a.c.

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What It Means When a Man Falls from the Sky: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735211032
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - April 3rd, 2018

Let Me Tell You Where I've Been by Persis M. Karin

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 M. Karim (Editor), Al Young (Translated by)
ISBN: 9781557288202
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: University of Arkansas Press - May 1st, 2006


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