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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 Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami

Murakami has written many strange and wonderful books but this one is definitely my favorite. Starting with a strange phone call on an otherwise uneventful day, it pulls its main character into a surreal world in which all is not what it seems. Moving back and forth in history, and filled with compelling, startling turns, it comes together in brilliant and unexpected ways. - Rico

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The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle: A Novel (Vintage International) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780679775430
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1998

Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

When this book was published twenty years ago, the impact was so powerful we’re still feeling the reverberations today. The most flat-out brilliant book of the 1990s, by a mile, it offers amazing erudition, terrifically sympathetic characters, and a mind-bending structure. And footnotes—lots and lots of footnotes. It’s also the funniest book I’ve ever read. - Rico

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Infinite Jest: A Novel -- 20th Anniversary Edition Cover Image
By David Foster Wallace, Tom Bissell (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780316306058
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Back Bay Books - February 23rd, 2016

BORN TO RUN by Bruce Springsteen

Here, for the first time, the Boss tells his own story, from growing up Catholic in Freehold, New Jersey, to becoming the brightest light on the mid-Atlantic bar-band scene, to finding monster success with the E Street Band. The struggles, the triumphs, the divorce, the deaths of band members—it’s all here. And not surprisingly, one of the greatest songwriters of all time is also an enviably terrific prose stylist. If you read one rock-and-roll biography this decade, it should probably be this one.      —Rico

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Born to Run Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501141515
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon & Schuster - September 27th, 2016

Upstream by Mary Oliver

It turns out that Mary Oliver’s essays are almost as poetic as her poems. Fans of her deep powers of observation, love of nature, and carefully crafted phrases will find themselves well cared for by these pieces. Covering a variety of subjects but never far from the subject of artistic creation, Oliver shares her deepest thoughts on the life of the poet in the modern age.  —Rico


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Upstream: Selected Essays Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594206702
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 11th, 2016

Swing Time by Zadie Smith

For my money, Zadie Smith is one of the best novelists working today. Smart, funny, and honest, she describes the world and its inhabitants with the eye of an anthropologist and the pen of an artist. So I can’t wait for her new book, the story of two mixed-race girls growing up in London. They both dream of becoming dancers and find, as time goes by, that only one of them has the necessary talent. —Rico

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Swing Time Cover Image
ISBN: 9781594203985
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - November 15th, 2016

Nutshell by Ian McEwan

Before gaining global success with books like Atonement and Saturday, McEwan was an ultra-smart and very literary writer of creepy, somewhat gothic novels. With his new book, he returns to his diabolical roots, telling a story of deception and murder from the point of view of a soon-to-be-born child. As always, his prose is sharp and evocative, his characters troubling but sympathetic, his plot the work of a master engineer.  —Rico


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Nutshell: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385542074
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Nan A. Talese - September 13th, 2016

A Gambler's Anatomy by Jonathan Lethem

Alexander Bruno is a backgammon shark who makes a living traveling the globe trouncing lesser players who have more money than skill. All is well until a run of bad luck in Singapore is followed by the development of a strange occlusion—a “blot”—on his eye that forces him to look at the backgammon board askance (metaphor alert!). Lethem, the author of Motherless Brooklyn and countless other works, is a genre-crossing literary chameleon who has written books in just about all the fictions (crime, literary, science, etc.). In this one he spices his always witty and erudite prose with a dash of the gothic supernatural, creating a strange and riveting story about the games people play and the fate of one man who is learning he may not always win.  —Rico


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A Gambler's Anatomy: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9780385539906
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Doubleday - October 18th, 2016

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

With his first story collection in 12 years, McCann reaffirms his place as one of the great writers of our time. Deeply sympathetic to his characters and subversively funny, he tells quirky and powerful stories that slyly achieve great emotional power. If you’re already a fan, you know you need this. If you’ve yet to discover him, this is a great place to start.  —Rico


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Thirteen Ways of Looking: A Novella and Three Stories Cover Image
ISBN: 9780812986587
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Random House Trade Paperbacks - September 20th, 2016

Sibley's Guide to the Birds of Western America 2nd Ed. by David Alan Sibley

The gold-standard of birding field guides has been updated. Hurray! The revised edition reflects new species (like Bell's Sparrow, a split from Sage Sparrow, which is now known as Sagebrush Sparrow) and includes updated range maps reflecting current research. Sibley's watercolors are astonishing examples of ornithological art. If you're a birder in the Western U.S., you need this book. —Rico
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The Sibley Field Guide to Birds of Western North America: Second Edition (Sibley Guides) Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307957924
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Knopf - March 29th, 2016

Zero K by Don Delillo

The author of the masterpieces White Noise and Underworld returns to form with a haunting novel about what it means to die in the age of ultrasophisticated biology and cryogenics. Like a wonderfully intelligent and benevolent alien being, DeLillo brings an outsider’s perspective to modern life, helping us understand and define who we are. As always, his prose is laser sharp, filled with powerful juxtapositions and observations, and he leavens the heaviest of subjects with wry humor.  —Rico

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Zero K: A Novel Cover Image
ISBN: 9781501135392
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Scribner - May 3rd, 2016


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