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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.

A Gracious Plenty by Sheri Reynolds

This is my favorite book, and when recently it went out of print I actually cried. But it has been rescued! Reynolds’ prose is simultaneously delicate and forceful, and this story about ghosts and graveyards and family secrets will stay with you for a very long time. If I could give a copy to everyone in Santa Cruz, I would.

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

Heft by Liz Moore

Liz Moore’s astonishing debut novel is deft and quiet and packs a completely unexpected punch. The story centers around two characters who need each other, and the events that bring them together. It’s about family, biological and improvised, and it broke my heart and put it back together all at once. Poignant, but never cheesy. A must-read.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Heft: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393343885
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 4th, 2012

Broken Harbor by Tana French

This is French’s fourth mystery, and it’s her most sagacious and political book yet. Wrapped up alongside a genuinely terrifying mystery are issues of economic upheaval and mental health, and how to care for those who might seem beyond help. French’s writing is, as always, lushly atmospheric and addictive as all get out. This was my favorite mystery of the year.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Broken Harbor: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143123309
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - April 30th, 2013

May We Be Forgiven by A.M. Homes

May We Be Forgiven is a family-centric book that sharply and uncomfortably mimics real life, even when the plot is the stuff of lurid headlines. This is smart, black humor with a compassionate twist, and it will keep you up late turning the pages. The words “suburban dystopia” have been used to review this book… really, need I say more?

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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May We Be Forgiven: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780147509703
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Books - September 24th, 2013

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

If you already know all about Kate Atkinson, feel free to skip to the next review. But if you’re like me and you’ve been meaning to read her for years but never seem to get around to it, let me tell you that you MUST read Case Histories. It is by turns hilarious and tragic, with an unexpected existential edge that has lingered ever since.
Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Case Histories: A Novel (Jackson Brodie #1) Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780316010702
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - October 17th, 2005

Mortality by Christopher Hitchens

For years I’ve enjoyed reading Hitchen’s thoughts on a variety of subjects, and I always found something valuable in his words. What topic more important for a mind like his than mortality? Though I am heartbroken at his passing, I am also grateful for this clear-eyed, compassionate book. The afterword, written by his widow Carol Blue, is wrenchingly beautiful. Required reading for searching minds.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
Mortality Cover Image
$22.00
ISBN: 9781455502752
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Twelve - September 4th, 2012

Farther Away by Jonathan Franzen

My favorite essay is “The Ugly Mediterranean”, which is about songbird poaching in Cyprus. There’s a moment where the author describes running full-tilt with an injured songbird in his backpack, trying to avoid the rocks being flung by angry bird poachers, and it was there that I realized how much this guy loves birds. That passion and engagement make this book a delight to read.

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

Joseph Anton: a Memoir by Salman Rushdie

You may have noticed that this book is quite large. Don’t let that scare you - the pages just whip past. Joseph Anton is part memoir, part spy novel. It examines what became of Salman Rushdie’s life after a fatwa was issued against him in 1989, forcing him and his loved ones into hiding for more than ten years. Armed guards, wigs, car crashes, book parties... this memoir has it all! I loved it.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
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Joseph Anton: A Memoir Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780812982602
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 10th, 2013

Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores by Jen Campbell

I should admit right off the bat that I am in this book. And if you are the person who asked me the question that I submitted, sorry, but it was pretty funny. Collected here are hundreds of other priceless questions about everything from signed Shakespeare plays to Tequila Mockingbird. If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to work behind an information desk, now you can find out!

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Weird Things Customers Say in Bookstores Cover Image
By Jennifer Campbell, Greg McLeod (Illustrator)
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ISBN: 9781468301281
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Harry N. Abrams - September 13th, 2012

Heft by Liz Moore

Heft is a novel that slowly brings together two characters: Arthur, a 500 lb professor who hasn’t left his house in ten years, and Kel, the son of one of Arthur’s former students. Each is in desperate need of the other, though it takes them some time to find one another. Ultimately hopeful, and never for a moment saccharine. One of my favorites of the year.

Reviewed by: 
Kat
Staff Pick Badge
Heft: A Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393343885
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 4th, 2012

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