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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.

Prelude to Bruise by Saeed Jones

In his first book of poetry, Jones blazes forth, his voice new, potent, lyrical, and deadly beautiful. Enveloping his words in the body, its politics, its genders and colors, the legacy of its trials and abuse, Jones sings truths from the perimeter, the disenfranchised, the ready to be heard. “Listen to my darkness, my half-eclipsed notes,” Jones writes, and there is nothing we want more than to obey.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Prelude to Bruise Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781566893749
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Coffee House Press - September 9th, 2014

Windows on the World by Matteo Pericoli

What a delightful literary treat! Pericoli draws the views from writers’ windows across the world, evoking such a sense of place that only writing it can rival. Lovelier and more nuanced than a photograph, then paired with essays by the writers themselves, this collection makes you want to read the world through each destination, and is a reminder of how vast and rich our literary landscape is.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Windows on the World: Fifty Writers, Fifty Views Cover Image
By Matteo Pericoli, Lorin Stein (Preface by)
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594205545
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Press - November 13th, 2014

The Republic of Imagination by Azar Nafisi

Reading Azar Nafisi is like coming home. Part literary treatise, part history lesson, and part memoir, The Republic of Imagination is a tea-infused midmorning conversation with your best friend, your book group, or your professor. Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran) effortlessly fills all of these roles, using key books from America’s history to remind us that as readers we are not alone and our role is integral to a functioning free-thinking democracy.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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The Republic of Imagination: America in Three Books Cover Image
$28.95
ISBN: 9780670026067
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Viking Books - October 21st, 2014

All the Truth Is Out by Matt Bai

Bai turns a fresh eye on Gary Hart’s infamous fall from grace in 1987, and in so doing explores the pivotal moment when reporting became story-making and we turned away from serious public discourse, replacing it with sound bites and a rapacious appetite for all things personal. A read both compelling and graceful, Bai shows us just how much we have lost, not only in the brilliance of a public servant wasted but in the aftermath that is our political landscape today.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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All the Truth Is Out: The Week Politics Went Tabloid Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780307273383
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 30th, 2014

Harlow & Sage by Brittni Vega

Okay, so there are “dog” books and then there are books that just so happen to be best told by dogs. This is an example of both, and it is irresistible. Combining photos, hilarious and tender, with the touching story of these canine besties, Harlow & Sage (and Indiana) finds the joyful heart of family and friendship, whether between dogs or humans. Give this book to the Harlow or Sage (or Indiana) in your life.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Harlow & Sage (and Indiana): A True Story About Best Friends Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780399172878
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: G.P. Putnam's Sons - October 2nd, 2014

The Story of My Heart: As Rediscovered by Brooke Williams and Terry Tempest Williams

This perfect little package of a book reads like a hymnal, a philosophical treatise, a love story, and a meandering walk up a grassy knoll. When the Williamses happened upon a rare copy of Jefferies’ memoir, it sparked in them an obsession with the little-known 19th-century British nature writer. What resulted is his original text set alongside their own musings and journeys, a balanced meditation on how one is to find a “soul-life” in the natural world, as it ever changes and disappears.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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The Story of My Heart Cover Image
$21.95
ISBN: 9781937226411
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Torrey House Press - November 4th, 2014

On Immunity by Eula Biss

On Immunity is literary nonfiction at its best, an all-encompassing exploration of a socially divisive subject, intelligent, contemplative, beautifully written, and utterly mind blowing. Using mythology, philosophy, literature, medical histories, and cultural constructs, Biss teases apart every thread that makes up the fabric of the immunization controversy and presents us with an honest and important look at why we stand where we do and how we can thoughtfully move forward together.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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On Immunity: An Inoculation Cover Image
$24.00
ISBN: 9781555976897
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Graywolf Press - September 30th, 2014

Love Me Back by Merritt Tierce

I will be the first to admit that this book is not for everyone—Tierce pulls no punches in her novel of a twenty-something waitress sexing and drugging her way towards adulthood. What I will also say is that Tierce’s writing is a thing unto itself, each sentence unique, not all put together, and exactly perfect. In this beautiful, stripped-raw story, there exists real heart and a desperation to survive in spite of one’s self.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Love Me Back Cover Image
$23.95
ISBN: 9780385538077
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - September 16th, 2014

Frances and Bernard by Carlene Bauer

Inspired by the friendship of Flannery O’Connor and Robert Lowell, this novel imagines two new characters and captures the writer’s life of the late ‘50s, complete with artist colonies, East Village life, and a martini or two. Written entirely in letters, Frances and Bernard ruminates on art, religion, faith, and friendship in a way that only the correspondence between a novelist and a poet could.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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Frances and Bernard Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780544105171
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - January 7th, 2014

A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik

In writing immediate and stripped to its necessity, Maksik gives us Jacqueline, an unknown woman, homeless and bereft, struggling to survive on some Greek island. Slowly, her story of escaping devastation and fleeing Liberia is revealed as she searches for shelter, food, and safety. How does one choose to survive amidst absolute horror and grief? What does it mean to survive, when so much has already been lost? These are the questions at hand, powerfully at hand.
Reviewed by: 
Melinda
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A Marker to Measure Drift Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780345803863
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Vintage - June 3rd, 2014

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