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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.

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Season by Eric Blehm

Randy Morgenson spent 28 seasons as a backcountry ranger, helping countless hikers—some lost, some hungry, some hurt—find their way back to civilization. When he himself disappeared, fellow rangers began a desperate search to find him. Well-researched and written with the urgency of a murder mystery, this is one of the best books about the outdoors you’ll ever read. - Rico

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The Last Season Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780060583019
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Perennial - January 30th, 2007

All the Devils are Here by Bethany McLean and Joe Nocera

The reasons for the 2008 housing crisis and ensuing Great Recession are numerous and complicated but McLean and Nocera do an outstanding job of starting at the beginning and telling the story, through all its various strands, in such a way as to make it compelling and comprehensible. I’ve read a handful of books on the financial crisis and this is the best of the bunch. - Rico

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All the Devils Are Here: The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781591844389
Availability: Backordered
Published: Portfolio - August 30th, 2011

The Mighty Franks by Michael Frank

This is one of the strangest—and best-written—memoirs I’ve ever read. It tells the story of Michael’s aunt Harriet who, along with her husband Irving, is a very successful screenwriter. (She and Irving wrote Norma Rae, among other big movies.) Because Harriet has no children of her own, and because she senses “great potential” in Michael, she zeroes in on him when he’s still a very young child and essentially steals him (emotionally speaking) from his own family. Great awkwardness and emotional confusion follows. - Rico

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The Mighty Franks: A Memoir Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780374537807
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - May 29th, 2018

Twilight of the Gods by Steven Hyden

A music journalist and lifelong classic rock fanatic, Hyden takes a sentimental, occasionally quirky trip through the genre he loves, revisiting the bands that have meant the most to him and to millions of other fans. As he says, he learned more about adult relationships from Fleetwood Mac’s album Rumours than he did from his own father. Now himself a husband and father, he ponders the state of classic rock as it enters its twilight years. Will it last after all its stars have passed on? If so, what will it mean to be a fan? - Rico

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Twilight of the Gods: A Journey to the End of Classic Rock Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780062657121
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Dey Street Books - May 8th, 2018

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Kushner’s new novel opens with the main character Romy Hall on the way to prison to serve a life sentence for murder. As much the story of Hall’s life in prison, it’s the story of her past—her childhood on the streets of San Francisco, her experiences as an exotic dancer, and the circumstances surrounding her crime. Kushner writes effortlessly, with compassion for people struggling to survive in modern California’s darkest corners. - Rico

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The Mars Room: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781476756554
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - May 1st, 2018

Last Stories by William Trevor

Trevor has long been one of my favorite short story writers. Like Thomas Hardy or Alice Munro, two writers he was often compared to, he could convey an entire life—its triumphs and sorrows—in a few deft sentences. When he died in 2016, the world lost one of its great artists. The stories collected here are the last he ever wrote. Each one makes clear the open-hearted, almost painful, compassion he felt for his characters. If you’ve yet to discover Trevor for yourself, this is a great place to start. - Rico

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Last Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525558101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - May 15th, 2018

The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner

Kushner’s new novel is, in a word, devastating. It opens as the main character, Romy Hall, is on her way to prison to serve a life sentence for murder. Kushner writes so convincingly, with such compassion for people struggling to survive in modern California’s darkest corners, you’d think she has personally lived the life of her main character—and every other character in the book. - Rico

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The Mars Room: A Novel Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9781476756554
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - May 1st, 2018

Last Stories by William Trevor

Like Thomas Hardy or Alice Munro, two writers he is often compared to, Trevor could convey an entire life—its triumphs and sorrows—in a few deft sentences. When he died in 2016 the world lost one of its great artists. Each of the stories collected here, the last he ever wrote, makes clear the open-hearted, almost painful, compassion he felt for his characters. - Rico

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Last Stories Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780525558101
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - May 15th, 2018

Wilderness Station by Alice Munro

Munro is quite simply the best short-story writer ever. The recent Nobel Prize in Literature is just icing on the cake. This book brings together the best stories from the first half of her career, including my personal favorite “The Albanian Virgin.” Munro’s compassion and honesty will break your heart, and her artistry will leave you in awe. - Rico

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A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968-1994 (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781101970362
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Vintage - September 15th, 2015

The Stranger by Albert Camus

“Mother died today. Or maybe it was yesterday.” It’s one of the most famous openings in world literature, kicking off one very strange (pun intended) and compelling read. Mersault’s life of detached mundanity, and the eventual tragedy he makes of it, is like a train wreck—you can’t look away. I’ve read this book five times and I can’t wait to read it again. - Rico

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The Stranger (Vintage International) Cover Image
$13.95
ISBN: 9780679720201
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - March 13th, 1989

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