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Rico's Reviews

Rico has had a lot of different jobs over the years--carpenter, office manager, teacher, marketing copywriter--but he's spent most of his adult life selling books, first at Capitola Book Cafe and now at Bookshop Santa Cruz, where he manages the Fiction section. In his spare time he does a lot of birdwatching, backpacking, and woodworking. His short stories have appeared in dozens of magazines around the country--one was a Notable Story of the Year in the 2009 Best of the West anthology and two were nominated for the 2014 Pushcart Prize. His essay, "Of Human Carnage," was selected for Best American Essays 2016. Though he mostly reads literary fiction, he also loves outdoor adventure, history and anything about Africa. Aside from being around books all day, his favorite part of the job is making recommendations and turning people on to authors they haven't discovered yet.

 

 

 

 

 

Leaving the Atocha Station by Ben Lerner

Lerner’s literary gifts are many: a poet’s command of language, a brilliant eye for detail, and, above all, an open-hearted, essentially child-like compassion for his characters. Telling the story of a drug-addled and socially awkward American poet spending a year abroad in Spain when the Atocha train station is bombed by Al-Qaeda, the book is a grown-up Catcher in the Rye for our time.
Reviewed by: 
Rico
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Leaving the Atocha Station Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781566892742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Coffee House Press - August 23rd, 2011

Ablutions by Patrick DeWitt

This book is utterly depraved & also brilliant. Dewitt’s narrator is a bartender in a very unhip dive bar. As he shares his attempts to escape his circumstances, he captures the world of the bar and its inhabitants in all their dysfunctional alcoholic glory. Think Bukowski, but from the bartender’s point of view. You will be disgusted and you will laugh like a hyena.
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Rico
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Ablutions: Notes for a Novel Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780547335711
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Mariner Books - April 8th, 2010

Any Human Heart by William Boyd

If it were up to me, Boyd would be as well-known as Steinbeck or Dickens. He does it all: amazing plots, wonderful descriptions and—especially—great characters. Written in the form of journal entries, this book tells the story of an art dealer and sometime-spy whose life is a kind of history of the 20th century. Both intimate and sweeping, this is simply a great old-fashioned read.
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Rico
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Any Human Heart (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400031009
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2004

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

A novel in the form of recommendation letters? Sounds like a literary stunt but Schumacher absolutely nails it. While maintaining the book’s formal conceit, she perfectly blends satire and genuine human emotion, offering a hilarious commentary on modern academia through one professor’s tired pen and fading sanity. If you’ve ever needed a letter of recommendation or written one, you will laugh and you will cry. I unreservedly recommend (!) Ms. Schumacher for your reading pleasure.
Reviewed by: 
Rico
Dear Committee Members Cover Image
$22.95
ISBN: 9780385538138
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Doubleday Books - August 19th, 2014

10:04 by Ben Lerner

This amalgam of fiction and autobiography is filled with profound observation, gorgeous prose and a narrative structure recalling the best of Nabokov or W. G. Sebald. With a childlike sense of wonder (and a healthy dose of dismay), Lerner reveals the connective tissue between the Challenger disaster, contemporary art, the film Back to the Future, Superstorm Sandy, a plagiarized poem that shows up (re-plagiarized) in a Reagan speech, and a popular dinosaur that never actually existed. Brilliant work.
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Rico
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10:04: A Novel: A Novel Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780865478107
Availability: Out of Print
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 2nd, 2014

Dear Life by Alice Munro

The very deserving recipient of last year’s Nobel Prize for Literature delivers another beautiful and heartbreaking collection of stories. Filled with simple, honest moments that reveal the depths of her all-too-human characters, Munro’s writing appears effortless, but the casual asides, detours, and odd details are the precise and compassionate brushstrokes of a master painting tableaus of uncanny artistry and power. The book is simply dazzling.
Reviewed by: 
Rico
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Dear Life: Stories (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780307743725
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - July 30th, 2013

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