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Melinda's Reviews

Melinda Powers is the head book buyer at Bookshop Santa Cruz and is therefore responsible for choosing which of the 300,000 titles published each year will make their way to our shelves (not including the children’s section). Formerly at Capitola Book Café, she can’t seem to quit this wonderful community of readers, booksellers, and books. She is okay with this addiction.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle

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Untamed Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781984801258
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: The Dial Press - March 10th, 2020

Glennon Doyle had just published her latest memoir about rehabilitating her marriage with her unfaithful husband when she fell in love with Abby Wambach and everything shifted. What followed was a full shedding of the constructs that had been holding her back from trusting herself: her understanding of marriage, religion, parenting, love, and being good, being enough. Untamed is Glennon’s new memoir, her love story, her journey to her true self, and her gift to us – her writing is so light, so intimate, honest, and available that it becomes all of our journeys, and we are all the better for it. —Melinda


Wow, No Thank You: Essays by Samantha Irby

Wow, No Thank You.: Essays Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780525563488
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 31st, 2020

Samantha Irby’s new collection of hilarious, truth-telling essays has arrived, and not a moment too soon. This is exactly the mirror I need right now, if I dare look in a mirror at all, and I nodded, smiled, and howled my way through her book, basking in the comfort of shared humanity. Whether lamenting middle-aged girls’ nights out, skewering of-the-moment beauty regimens, or critiquing the social media wormhole, Irby has hit her stride; her honesty writ large and funny as hell, her gloriously messy but exactly right observations, her wit and heart, all are balm for our complex, conflicted, all too human souls.  —Melinda


Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington

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Lot: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780525533689
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - March 17th, 2020

Washington’s debut collection of short stories would be an inhalation of brisk air, except the diverse neighborhoods of Houston are so fully realized that the experience is also steamy and thick with atmosphere. Lot is an all-encompassing read, seeking unapologetic truths, following those often forced to society’s margins; here they are centered, not as problems or issues or heartstrings to be pulled, but as people living their own messy, inconsequential, uniquely essential lives. The writing is real, gritty, and can be a challenge, but there is also a lightness to it, a palpable joy, and Washington’s evident intelligence and open gaze at what humanizes a story makes for necessary reading. —Melinda


The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates has already established himself as an important cultural voice on race relations. Now with his first novel, he adds to the conversation in ways best left to provocative fiction, exploring the cascading damage done when enslaved families are sold away from each other. Hiram Walker is an orphan of this crime and this is his remarkable story of deciding to leave his situation and become involved as a singular conductor in a slightly mystical, still historical Underground Railroad. The result is a captivating, resonating read. - Melinda

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The Water Dancer: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780399590597
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: One World - September 24th, 2019

Out of Darkness, Shining Light by Petina Gappah

Zimbabwean writer Petina Gappah has written an astonishing novel that looks smartly sideways at the history of British colonialism through the death of 19th-century explorer Dr. David Livingstone and the richly rendered funeral group who endeavors to deliver his body across Africa, sending it home. Two within his entourage, his loyal cook Halima and the Christian freed slave Jacob, narrate this journey through their own complicated perspectives, painting a broader, more nuanced understanding of slavery and colonialism, all while telling an engaging, atmospheric story. - Melinda

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Out of Darkness, Shining Light: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781982110338
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - September 10th, 2019

Arias by Sharon Olds

When Sharon Olds sings truth, whether on the global or the familiar, in the resistance or in the bedroom, one cannot help but listen. Arias is her 15th collection, and its voice and range speak just as fully to her particular mind and our current humanity (or lack thereof) as ever. Smart, evocative, and exacting, her work is one of my favorite lyrical lodestars, both expanding my boundaries and attending me home. - Melinda

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Arias Cover Image
$18.95
ISBN: 9781524711603
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Knopf - October 15th, 2019

Make It Scream, Make It Burn by Leslie Jamison

I have been ready for this book since devouring The Empathy Exams, Jamison’s first collection of essays that blazed new vistas in the landscape of narrative nonfiction. Here Jamison explores what it means to be wanting, whether as a blue whale, in Second Life, or in our own everyday lives—how do we live with want, how does it haunt, how can it enrich? Make It Scream, Make It Burn does not disappoint; rather it does exactly as the title directs, each of its essays bridging disciplines in astute, thoughtful, urgent ways. A beautiful, mind-reeling pleasure to read. - Melinda

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Make It Scream, Make It Burn: Essays Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316259637
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 24th, 2019

High School by Sara Quin & Tegan Quin

Friends, it’s Tegan and Sara! These twins, Canadian indie pop bandmates and LGBTQ icons, have been creating revelatory music together since the late ’90s, and now they’ve turned to the page, writing a bracing memoir that sends them (and us!) back to high school and all the powerful emotions that lie therein. Told in alternating chapters, each explores her own path of emerging identity and sexuality, isolation, ferocity, and joy, and finally their unifying passion for music. High School is at once deeply personal and achingly universal, just like their songs. - Melinda

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High School Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374169947
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: MCD - September 24th, 2019

Life Undercover by Amaryllis Fox

I came for what Amaryllis Fox could reveal to me about the life of working clandestine CIA missions worldwide but was captivated by the ease of Fox’s writing, the pull of her storytelling, and the giant beating heart amid it all. Fox spent her twenties immersed in post-9/11 surveillance of terrorist groups while also getting married and becoming a mother in the most extraordinary circumstances. Now she’s written a spirited espionage narrative and an insightful memoir, and I am here for every single word of it. - Melinda

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Life Undercover: Coming of Age in the CIA Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525654971
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - October 15th, 2019

Erosion: Essays of Undoing by Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams’s latest work is powerful, poetic, and absolutely necessary—an offering for how to understand, survive, grieve, and challenge our current political and environmental crises, acting as both balm and tonic. Written with an open heart, a seeking mind, and unfathomable honesty, these essays range from conservation activism to life in the desert, from plumbing the depths of personal grief to public outrage. She speaks to the natural erosion of all things, and how in that loss, there is also strength and reformation, a way to hope. - Melinda

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Erosion: Essays of Undoing Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780374280062
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Sarah Crichton Books - October 8th, 2019

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