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Kat's Reviews

KatsronautKat first came to Bookshop Santa Cruz by winning the short story contest in 2008. She convinced the management to give her a job, and went on to become an event host, the used book manager and an avid connoisseur of fiction. In her other life, she is often found enjoying tacos. She now works for the Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks managing their ParkStores.

The Dog Stars by Peter Heller

We’ve seen a lot of postapocalyptic novels in the last few years, but The Dog Stars is in a class of its own. Literary and compelling, it tells the story of a pilot who has survived a worldwide plague and the consequences of global warming, and who observes the tattered world from up high, searching for signs of life. This is utterly riveting fiction, perfect for fans of Cormac McCarthy.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Dog Stars (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307950475
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - May 7th, 2013

Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen

I can’t remember the last time I was so riveted by a collection of essays. Franzen’s passionate, intelligent engagement with such a wide scope of topics—from a gripping narrative about songbird poachers in Cyprus to remarks on the death of David Foster Wallace—make Farther Away the kind of book you read for both pleasure and enrichment. And those are the best books to be found, in my opinion.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Farther Away: Essays Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781250033291
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - April 23rd, 2013

What the Robin Knows by Jon Young

The premise of this fascinating book is that birds are acutely aware of their surroundings and are constantly communicating this awareness to one another. Jon Young, a local author and experienced tracker who studied with Tom Brown Jr., argues that humans have much to gain from paying attention to birdcalls. If we dim our own racket, we might begin to hear the conversations taking place in trees and bushes and learn more about our own backyards.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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What the Robin Knows: How Birds Reveal the Secrets of the Natural World Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544002302
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 21st, 2013

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson

Life After Life is an engaging puzzle that spans two world wars. With the introduction of Ursula Todd, a woman who relives her life over and over, Kate Atkinson poses endless, fascinating questions: What would the world be like if we could start over when things went terribly awry? Could our decisions, big and small, avert wars? Make us happier? Stop death in its tracks? Life After Life is rich with history and possibility, and it left my brain humming.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Life After Life: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780316176491
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - January 7th, 2014

A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds

This is my favorite book. I know that’s a big thing to say, but so far no other book has quite matched up. It’s a ghost story, but it’s also unlike any ghost story I’ve ever read—the spirits that inhabit this book are deeply entwined with the natural world, and they are responsible for shifting the weather, ripening tomatoes, and helping snakes shed their skin. Intrigued? You should be. I can’t say enough about this book, but I’ll stick to this: read it.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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A Gracious Plenty Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9781618580313
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Turner - October 2nd, 2012

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

I’m a bit obsessed with Cheryl Strayed. Much like Gabrielle Hamilton of Blood Bones and Butter, Strayed is an incredible writer with a strong voice that will blow you away. Wild is an account of Strayed’s 1,000-mile solo trek on the Pacific Crest Trail, undertaken at age 26 following the sudden loss of her mother. Despite the blood and bruises and the terrible things that happened to her toenails, I couldn’t help but root for her with every sentence, and dream about following in her footsteps.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780307476074
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - March 26th, 2013

Why Does the World Exist? by Jim Holt

In this utterly wonderful book, Jim Holt takes on one of the oldest and most contentious questions that humans have come up with, and he does it with grace, wit and sly humor. Why Does the World Exist? lives comfortably in the area between philosophy and science, and benefits from the insight of many varied and brilliant minds. I ate this book right up; it’s a must-read for curious brains.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Why Does the World Exist?: An Existential Detective Story Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780871403599
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Liveright - April 8th, 2013

Gulp by Mary Roach

Mary Roach has an exceptional talent for finding the fascinating in the disgusting and the taboo. Her latest book is all about the digestive system – from the tip of the tongue to, well, you know where – and it is chock-full of her trademark wit, exhaustive research and fantastic footnotes. Gulp has it all, from a man with a perpetual hole in his stomach to the science behind why crunchy food is so irresistible.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393348743
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - April 1st, 2014

The Newlyweds by Nell Freudenberger

The Newlyweds tells the story of Amina, a young woman from Bangladesh who moves to America to marry a man she met online. As she settles in, Amina struggles to maintain contact with her family, and to merge the practicality of her new marriage with the romanticism she desires. This is a thoughtful, strong debut novel, perfect for fans of Ann Patchett or Alice Munro.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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The Newlyweds (Vintage Contemporaries) Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780307388971
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Vintage - February 12th, 2013

The Dinner by Herman Koch

This is one of the most excruciatingly suspenseful novels I’ve read, and it takes place almost entirely over dinner at a fancy restaurant. Two couples meet for a meal that none of them particularly want to attend, and the reason for their meeting is hinted at slowly over several courses– until suddenly, with a bang, it’s right in front of you. A novel that is sure to spark heated discussion.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
Staff Pick Badge
The Dinner Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780385346856
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Hogarth - October 29th, 2013

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