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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.

Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man by Emmanuel Acho

Acho has given us quite a gift, both in the form of his viral hit video series Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man and his new book of the same name, a companion to or a continuation of these vital conversations. Each chapter addresses a key question about race relations, racial injustices, and systemic racism. Acho gives frank, thoughtful answers, provides historical context, encourages further self-examination, and offers steps for moving forward. It is an important, hopeful, necessary antiracist resource. — Melinda

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Uncomfortable Conversations with a Black Man Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9781250800466
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Flatiron Books: An Oprah Book - November 10th, 2020

Decoding “Despacito” by Leila Cobo

Don’t let the title fool you. Leila Cobo’s rich oral history of Latin music in the United States goes far beyond the 2017 hit song, covering the past 50 years of progress and influence in the global music market. Cobo, the Latin music lead at Billboard, uses her knowledge and access to select 19 landmark songs for which she interviews the artists, musicians, and players, allowing them to tell the story of the song’s moment. Decoding “Despacito” is a triumph and a celebration—one that should be read with each song playing in the background. — Melinda

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Decoding
$16.95
ISBN: 9780593081334
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Vintage - March 2nd, 2021

Is This Anything? by Jerry Seinfeld

Lucky for us, Jerry Seinfeld has been meticulous about saving his written comedy bits over the course of his career and he’s selected his favorites for this generous collection. Organized by the five decades that his time doing Seinfeld and stand-up spans, it treats us to gem after gem of observational humor, as well as inside moments of the life and process of one of our greatest performers. A perfect gift—this book could not come at a better moment. — Melinda

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Is This Anything? Cover Image
$35.00
ISBN: 9781982112691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - October 6th, 2020

Barely Functional Adult: It’ll All Make Sense Eventually by Meichi Ng

Meichi Ng’s smart, funny, honest book of illustrated personal essays captures all the feels of growing up and finding one’s place in adulthood. Full of absurdity, awareness, and universal truths in all their most comic, most awkward, most endearing forms, this sweet little blue blob of non-gendered protagonist is a great storyteller, an emotional touchstone, and my new best friend. Perfect for fans of Allie Brosh and Jomny Sun or anyone in need of a humorous dose of youthful tenderness. — Melinda

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Barely Functional Adult: It'll All Make Sense Eventually Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062945594
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - November 24th, 2020

A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection by Steve Martin & Harry Bliss

What do you get when you combine Steve Martin’s quirky humor with New Yorker cartoonist Harry Bliss’s iconic illustrations? So much joy, a welcome escape, quite literally something for everyone. A Wealth of Pigeons is both a delightful collection of cartoons and the story of their collaboration in comic strip form. It exudes warmth and humanity—a singular treasure to be enjoyed on repeat. — Melinda

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A Wealth of Pigeons: A Cartoon Collection Cover Image
By Steve Martin, Harry Bliss (Illustrator)
$28.00
ISBN: 9781250262899
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Celadon Books - November 17th, 2020

Let’s Talk About Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Edited by Carmen Boullosa & Alberto Quintero

This necessary anthology of Mexican and Mexico-based writing is crucial to a more complete understanding of the long history of border relations and immigration policies, their past and present effects, and our current exacerbated political crisis. Using Trump’s wall as a launching pad, Boullosa and Quintero provides a platform for more than 20 Latinx writers, including Valeria Luiselli, Yuri Herrera, and Guadalupe Nettel, creating an important resource of diverse voices, experiences, and reports from the other side of the Southern border. 
— Melinda
 

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Let's Talk about Your Wall: Mexican Writers Respond to the Immigration Crisis Cover Image
By Carmen Boullosa (Editor), Alberto Quintero (Editor)
$25.99
ISBN: 9781620976180
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Press - October 27th, 2020

Bestiary by K-Ming Chang

K-Ming Chang’s debut novel is delicious to read, equally beautiful and grotesque, harrowing and tender. Told across three generations of Taiwanese American women, Bestiary is intimately recognizable and audaciously new: an immigrant journey, a love story, a family saga, a coming-of-age tale. All are exploded by imagery, mythos, and experimentation, where girls grow tails, damage is done, truths are built and shifted, and the reader is drenched, filled to the brim with wonder. Comparisons to Maxine Hong Kingston and Helen Oyeyemi are apt, but Chang’s promising young voice is all her own. — Melinda

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Bestiary: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780593132586
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - September 29th, 2020

Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land by Toni Jensen

Toni Jensen’s poetic memoir in pieces is a beautiful exploration of her life as a Métis woman, one who is tied deeply to nature, affected by the men around her, and critical of the gun violence that prevails over all. This intersection frames her book and her life, as she reports on trafficked Indigenous women, stands with pipeline protesters at Standing Rock Reservation, and returns to her own family, seeing it all and asking questions with grace and intelligence. Truly a gorgeous and important read. — Melinda

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Carry: A Memoir of Survival on Stolen Land Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781984821188
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Ballantine Books - September 8th, 2020

Golem Girl: A Memoir by Riva Lehrer

In 1958, Riva Lehrer was born with spina bifida, and has since spent her life as a force to be reckoned with. Golem Girl is her frank, intimate, liberating memoir, spanning her childhood spent largely through a medical lens, her early adult life as a student, creative, and lover, and finally finding her place as a renowned visual artist and disability activist whose collaborative portraits reveal and celebrate people of all shapes and abilities, and whose work explores Disability Culture, gender, queerness, physical identity, and freedom of self. Enhanced with full-color artwork and personal photographs, this book is powerful and a joy to discover. — Melinda

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Golem Girl: A Memoir Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781984820303
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: One World - October 6th, 2020

You Belong: A Call for Connection by Sebene Selassie

On the front cover of her life-affirming book, Sebene Selassie self-identifies as Nerdy Black Immigrant Tomboy Buddhist Weirdo and I am all for it. You Belong is the perfect self-help companion in this year of disruption, tumult, tragedy, and disconnection; Selassie does not shy away from the current moment, but meets us in it and provides us with tools. Whether you are just beginning or need a refresher course, Selassie’s thoughtful, joyful, multi-disciplinary work will help you reconnect, and her own personal stories will be a welcomed friend along the way. —Melinda

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You Belong: A Call for Connection Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062940650
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: HarperOne - August 25th, 2020

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