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Jess's Reviews

A colorful mural on a brick wall of William Shakespeare's bust, with a young woman wearing red standing next to it on the left.Jess is a Santa Cruz native, recently returned from a Master’s Degree program in creative writing from the University of Edinburgh. Living in Scotland for a year gave her a deep appreciation for whisky, graveyards, and the California sun, so now she mostly reads outside, sometimes with a dram of Lagavulin in hand (but usually not near any tombstones). She loves to read fiction, and actively seeks new and diverse voices to inform her own experience of the world. In her spare time, she cooks themed treats for her book club and writes.

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

Why do we ignore the realities that upset our ideas of ourselves? What if we were forced to face them? What if you were a brilliant scientist who made a clone of yourself and then your husband started having an affair with that clone? The Echo Wife takes these questions and runs with them, merging Black Mirror’s eerie, science fiction energy with the page-turning thrill of a murder mystery (and don’t forget the strong feminist voice!). A must read for the modern sci-fi enthusiast! —Jess

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The Echo Wife Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9781250174666
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Tor Books - February 16th, 2021

Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

A novel told in prose and poetry, Noopiming is unlike anything I’ve ever read. Steeped in Anishaabeg culture, folklore, and storytelling traditions, it is a unique piece of literature that confronts colonization and does the work of unraveling its legacy. This book will ignite parts of your brain you didn’t even know were dark, and you’ll look at the world differently after reading it. A once-in-a-lifetime read. —Jess

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Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies (Indigenous Americas) Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9781517911256
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Univ Of Minnesota Press - February 9th, 2021

Jack by Marilynne Robinson

Barack Obama’s favorite novelist graces us all once again, this time with Jack, which delves back into the inner lives of the characters Robinson introduced many years ago with Gilead. Jack tells the story of the relationship between ne’er-do-well preacher’s son Jack, and Della, the Black woman he loves, and the complications they face in midcentury America’s racist society. Prepare yourself for the tender, stolid prose that characterizes Robinson’s best work—like a perfectly crafted Arts and Crafts–era table, it’s impossibly elegant in its simplicity. — Jess

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Jack (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374279301
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 29th, 2020

Dearly: New Poems by Margaret Atwood

Last year, Margaret Atwood’s partner of more than 40 years, Graeme Gibson, died at the age of 85. Her new collection of poetry, Dearly, encompasses the grief, beauty, and pain of that loss, with all the wit and skill that she possesses. Who can strike your heart with more efficiency than Margaret Atwood? You probably already know that she’s a brilliant novelist; after reading this book, I bet she’ll also be among your favorite poets. — Jess

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Dearly: New Poems Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780063032491
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Published: Ecco - November 10th, 2020

Summer by Ali Smith

What if I told you that your heart will bloom with the particular fusion of hope and sadness that only the feeling of being seen by a book can produce, when you read Ali Smith’s Seasonal Quartet? Summer is the end of that quartet, and it incorporates a love for the mail, the cyclical atrocities of internment camps, and the effect that political windbags are having on our children, while somehow also re-instilling faith in the power of human connection. —Jess

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Summer: A Novel (Seasonal Quartet) Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781101870792
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Pantheon - August 25th, 2020

The Vegetarian Silver Spoon by The Silver Spoon Kitchen

This cookbook is the perfect addition to any Italian food lover or vegetarian’s culinary bookshelf. With gorgeous photos, user-friendly formatting, and recipes that somehow manage to be both elegant and easy to make, The Vegetarian Silver Spoon contains everything you could ask of a cookbook. Great for vegetarian and vegan chefs as well as anyone looking to try their hand at the perfect contorno (vegetable side dish). 

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The Vegetarian Silver Spoon: Classic and Contemporary Italian Recipes Cover Image
$49.95
ISBN: 9781838660581
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Phaidon Press - April 29th, 2020

Trust Exercise by Susan Choi

It’s all in the title: Susan Choi takes the unreliable narrator to the next level in this book, challenging the reader to suspend all judgment and hang on for the ride. Trust Exercise examines perspective and character in a whole new way, leaving the reader to wonder at the end just what, exactly, they’ve been through. As in life, more questions are generated than answers. A great book to awaken your mind to the possibilities of fiction!

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Trust Exercise: A Novel Cover Image
$15.99
ISBN: 9781250231260
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Published: Holt Paperbacks - May 5th, 2020

Station Eleven

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Station Eleven Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804172448
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Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

This is the one everyone’s been talking about, which makes sense, because it starts at the beginning of a global pandemic. It’s about the importance of art and community for survival, and there are plenty of Shakespeare references. Mandel’s writing is top-notch, lyrical without being overwrought. The first section will haunt you given our current situation, though, fair warning. —Jess

 


Station Eleven

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Station Eleven Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780804172448
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - June 2nd, 2015

This is the one everyone’s been talking about, which makes sense, because it starts at the beginning of a global pandemic. It’s about the importance of art and community for survival, and there are plenty of Shakespeare references. Mandel’s writing is top-notch, lyrical without being overwrought. The first section will haunt you given our current situation, though, fair warning.

 


Grand Union: Stories by Zadie Smith

A collection of short stories written throughout Smith’s career, file Grand Union under Reasons We Revere Zadie Smith, Volume I. She is a master storyteller, and all of her skills are on display in these tales that take on love, immigration, motherhood, and racial identity. Each story contains a whole world of characters and places, and your heart will squeeze with the last line of each one. - Jess

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Grand Union: Stories Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780525558996
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Press - October 8th, 2019

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