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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.

Waves and Beaches: The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast by Kim McCoy & Willard Bascom

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect book for ocean-loving Santa Cruzans. Part coffee-table piece in a lovely package and with full-color images throughout; part scientific primer on water, shore, wind, and waves; part firsthand accounting and personal experience, this Patagonia publication is a treat from cover to cover. Updated from the 1963 original, it also has much to say on climate change and its effects today, making it a key read for environmental activists as well as for our surfers, sailors, and ocean enthusiasts. — Melinda

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Waves and Beaches: The Powerful Dynamics of Sea and Coast Cover Image
ISBN: 9781938340956
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Patagonia - March 16th, 2021

Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss by Margaret Renkl

Late Migrations is everything I want nature writing, memoir, and essay to be: gorgeous, contemplative, connective. Renkl weaves her own family’s story into the fabric of the living world around her, marking love, loss, and the passage of time in ways both heartbreakingly real and refreshingly expansive. Her brother's accompanying illustrations further encapsulate all the wonder. — Melinda

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Late Migrations: A Natural History of Love and Loss Cover Image
ISBN: 9781571313836
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Milkweed Editions - March 30th, 2021

Becoming Wild by Carl Safina

By spending deep time with Carl Safina and the sperm whales, scarlet macaws, and chimpanzees he studies, we become armchair travelers, delighting in his knowledge and wonder for these animals. Becoming Wild explores the ways sperm whales care for their young, macaws use beauty, and chimpanzees relate to one another. It reminds us that we cannot trademark these aspects of culture, we are not unique; more importantly, it returns us to our own better natures and asks us to care for the world we’re missing when we center ourselves. — Melinda

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Becoming Wild: How Animal Cultures Raise Families, Create Beauty, and Achieve Peace Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250787613
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - April 6th, 2021

Rockaway: Surfing Headlong into a New Life by Diane Cardwell

Diane Cardwell was a recently divorced, career New Yorker in her late 40s when she caught the surfing bug and began spending her weekends in Rockaway, just outside the city. Soon, she committed for good, bought a bungalow, and had just finished renovations when Hurricane Sandy hit. Her journey to happiness and her newfound community’s character and spunk through disaster is a joy to read. Perfect for those who are surf-curious, at the start of their own obsession, or invigorated by secondhand inspiration—this book is life-affirming. — Melinda

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Rockaway: Surfing Headlong into a New Life Cover Image
ISBN: 9780358561965
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - May 25th, 2021

AFROSURF by Mami Wata

Afrosurf is a dynamic collection of surf photography, essays, poems, recipes, profiles and so much more. Its immersive experience celebrates the wide swath of African surf culture, featuring 18 coastal African countries and exploding Western stereotypes of the sport—a joyous and much needed revelation. Compiled and designed by Mami Wata, a Cape Town surf company with African-produced goods and a philanthropic mission, Afrosurf is beautiful to behold and even harder to put down. — Melinda

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Afrosurf Cover Image
By Mami Wata, Selema Masekela (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781984860408
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ten Speed Press - June 15th, 2021

Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America by Julie DiCaro

Julie DiCaro’s frank indictment of sports broadcasting and its history of sexism is both unsurprising and eye opening. From hosting her own sports talk radio show, working as a sports journalist, and practicing law, she has plenty of tools to lay it all out: discrimination, toxicity, and harassment in the workplace, the protection of problematic athletes and its complexity, and pay disparity among athletes. This book is not an easy read, but it is important to understanding this part (and all) of American culture and how it must change. — Melinda

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Sidelined: Sports, Culture, and Being a Woman in America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781524746100
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - March 16th, 2021

My Broken Language: A Memoir by Quiara Alegría Hudes

Of no surprise, award-winning playwright Quiara Alegría Hudes’s memoir is a work of lyrical genius. It is a full sensory reading experience—the lilt and flow, the words that pop off the page, infusing a richness and ease into her ’80s Philly childhood, her path to adulthood, and her Puerto Rican family of strong women, these same words that honor the struggles. My Broken Language is a coming-of-age story, of finding one’s voice; it is the voice itself. And like a song, I could listen on repeat. — Melinda

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My Broken Language: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399590047
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - April 6th, 2021

Officer Clemmons: A Memoir by Dr. François S. Clemmons

What a thoughtful, joyous memoir by Officer Clemmons of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood fame. In companionable prose, Clemmons gives us an intimate glimpse of his relationship with Fred Rogers, and of his own fascinating story, from a childhood in a troubled home, through his career in music, to an authentic spiritual practice. He addresses the complexity of being the first Black cast member on a national children’s show and a gay man cautioned to remain closeted, wielding these truths with a grace and compassion worthy of Mr. Rogers himself. — Melinda

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Officer Clemmons: A Memoir Cover Image
ISBN: 9781646220571
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Catapult - May 4th, 2021

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

The Anthropocene Reviewed, both in podcast and expanded essay form, is equal parts quirky factoids on quirky topics and elegant memoir in short form, and it is 100% John Green–level honesty and levity, and eye-opening, heart- warming introspection on how we affect each other and the natural world. Rating very human things from Diet Dr. Pepper to the Internet on a scale of one to five stars, this book is for fans of John (and Hank!), for Nerdfighters young and old(er), and for anyone who feels enlivened by seeing the world with both wonder and dismay. — Melinda

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The Anthropocene Reviewed (Signed Edition): Essays on a Human-Centered Planet Cover Image
ISBN: 9780525555216
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Dutton - May 18th, 2021

Wild Rain: Women Who Dare by Beverly Jenkins

In her latest historical novel, Beverly Jenkins writes a love story that is as satisfying as it is rebellious, giving us Spring Lee, a fiery rancher in Wyoming, and the thoughtful reporter who travels from DC for a story only to be captivated by the landscape, the rural living, and the independent Lee. Centering Black experiences in the post-Civil War American West, Wild Rain does not shy away from issues of race and class, even as it propels forward with the refreshing, sensuous storytelling one expects from a Jenkins novel. — Melinda

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Wild Rain: Women Who Dare Cover Image
ISBN: 9780062861719
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Avon - February 9th, 2021


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