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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.

Whiskey When We're Dry by John Larison

A good Western is all in the telling, and Jessilyn Harney, the young woman at the heart of Larison’s new novel has a voice made for stories. Newly orphaned, she disguises herself as a boy and sets off to find her outlaw brother, to bring him home, reclaim their father’s land and reclaim her sense of family. There are delightfully new threads in this riveting Western yarn, but the adventuring and seeking remain the same, song-like and enjoyable to the end. - Melinda

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Whiskey When We're Dry Cover Image
ISBN: 9780735220447
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Viking - August 21st, 2018

Small Animals by Kim Brooks

When Kim Brooks was arrested for leaving her child locked in her ventilated car for only 5 minutes, her life changed forever as did her experience with parenting. Small Animals is her emotionally honest, often funny, well-researched, thoughtful response, a deep dive into the complexity of parenting today, when anxiety runs high and there is an underlying competition, often without context, control, or empathy. How is fear guiding us and to what extent is it harmful? I devoured this book, feeling both unnerved and grateful. - Melinda

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Small Animals: Parenthood in the Age of Fear Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250089557
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Flatiron Books - August 21st, 2018

Farsighted by Steven Johnson

Steven Johnson remains one of my favorite nonfiction writers and his new book is a perfect example of why: he asks smart questions in ways somehow different and then searches for answers through wide-ranging disciplines. Here, he explores the big long-lasting decisions we make, those that change whole lives and histories, but it is his curiosity and narrative ease that makes reading it an easy choice for me. - Melinda

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Farsighted: How We Make the Decisions That Matter the Most Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594488214
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - September 4th, 2018

Men in Blazers Present Encyclopedia Blazertannica

Sad that the U.S. Men’s Team didn’t make the World Cup? Spend some time with Rog and Davo, the two hilarious, knowledgeable, self-deprecating expat Brits behind the podcast and show Men in Blazers. Their encyclopedia of soccer and MiB history combines their enthusiasm for the sport, its glories and defeats, personalities and hairstyles, with their own personal anecdotes. If you are a Great Friend of the Pod, you will love this book. And if you aren’t one, you soon will be. - Melinda

The View from Flyover Country by Sarah Kendzior

Although collected from essays Kendzior wrote for Al Jazeera between 2012 and 2014, they are just as timely and important today. Her book addresses the post-employment economy, race and religion, higher education, and the media with a fresh eye from living in Middle America. Her pieces are brief yet impactful, told up close and personal, making it an essential read in our efforts to truly understand each other and what makes up these United States today. - Melinda

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The View from Flyover Country: Dispatches from the Forgotten America Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250189998
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - April 17th, 2018

The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives edited by Viet Thanh Nguyen

Viet Thanh Nguyen, a Pulitzer Prize–winningauthor and refugee himself, has brought together a powerful collection of essays from writers with a myriad of immigrant experiences. Twenty pieces explore the complexities of leaving, of arriving, and of the barriers both seen and unseen that exist far beyond the actual crossing. Reyna Grande, Joseph Azam, Fatima Bhutto, Vu Tran—their stories demand that we see the refugee crisis for what it is, the real lives of so many affected, persevering and thriving in spite of it. - Melinda

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The Displaced: Refugee Writers on Refugee Lives Cover Image
By Viet Thanh Nguyen (Editor), David Bezmozgis (Contributions by), Thi Bui (Contributions by), Reyna Grande (Contributions by), Aleksandar Hemon (Contributions by), Vu Tran (Contributions by)
ISBN: 9781419729485
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Abrams Press - April 10th, 2018

How to Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee

It is a treat to come upon writing so lovely and wise as Alexander Chee’s in his new essay collection. Chee’s subjects range from the writing life to tarot readings, a teenage summer in Mexico, and activism during the AIDS crisis, but always they are a thoughtful, personable consideration of being and becoming, of being a gay Korean American in white America and becoming the artist he is today, and it is deliciously well written. - Melinda

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How to Write an Autobiographical Novel: Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781328764522
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - April 17th, 2018

So Lucky by Nicola Griffith

Griffith’s newest novel explores the experience of sudden Otherness with searing intensity when her young, successful, self-assured protagonist Mara is diagnosed with multiple sclerosis right after her wife of 14 years has left her. Feeling betrayed by her body and alienated by her friends, she must come to terms with her new reality and forge a new path. Griffith’s sharp writing is emotional, truthful, powerful, and makes for a compelling, heart-baring, important read. - Melinda

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So Lucky: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780374265922
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: MCD x FSG Originals - May 15th, 2018

Florida by Lauren Groff

Set in the steamy, seemingly dangerous landscape of Florida, Lauren Groff’s new stories play on the boundaries of humanity and wildness, the contradictions within human nature, and the conflicts faced by women in the assumed roles of motherhood and marriage. They are dark, exploratory, and as always with Lauren Groff, a thing of literary beauty. - Melinda

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Florida Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594634512
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Riverhead Books - June 5th, 2018

You Think It, I'll Say It by Curtis Sittenfeld

What I love most about Curtis Sittenfeld is the sly truths she buries just below the amiable surface. These gems abound in her new short story collection, You Think It, I’ll Say It. Whether she is exploring a wronged woman doing wrong and then dwelling on it or the insecurity of being a new mother around the assurance of other new mothers, Sittenfeld writes life that is honestly, refreshingly real, and enjoyable, too. - Melinda

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You Think It, I'll Say It: Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780399592867
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Random House - April 24th, 2018


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