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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Under the Stars by Dan White

A long-time Santa Cruz resident and the author of The Cactus Eaters, White dazzles with this funny and very engaging history of camping in America. From 19th-century woodcraft to backpacking to family tent camping to “glamping” (glamour camping, where your every outdoor need is met—for a price), he covers it all. The chapter in which he rents an RV and tries to drive his family across the backroads of Arizona is worth the price of admission alone.  —Rico

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Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781627791953
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Henry Holt and Co. - June 14th, 2016

Cities I’ve Never Lived In: Stories by Sara Majka

In this debut collection of stories, Majka shows herself to be a smart and unique new voice in American fiction. Eschewing many of the standard short-story tropes, she moves effortlessly through the life of her main character, a young woman trying to recover her equilibrium following a divorce. With subtlety and grace, Majka connects seemingly small epiphanies to create moments of profound insight and beauty.  —Rico

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Cities I've Never Lived In: Stories Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781555977313
Availability: Backordered
Published: Graywolf Press - February 16th, 2016

Night at the Fiestas: Stories by Kirstin Valdez Quade

One of the most highly praised and anticipated story collections of recent memory, Night at the Fiestas is set in northern New Mexico and follows hardscrabble lives haunted by loss and enlivened by dreams of a better future. Quade’s writing is lushly detailed, her characters lovingly drawn, and her stories achieve astonishing emotional power. By turns tragic and very funny, this is a terrific debut.  —Rico

 

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Night at the Fiestas: Stories Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393352214
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - March 7th, 2016

Mating by Norman Rush

The story of a female graduate student in Anthropology who goes to Africa to study a utopian society set up by a charismatic and idealistic outsider, this is one of my favorite books period and definitely one of my favorite books about Africa. Rush’s writing is gorgeous and erudite, and he has deep compassion for his vast panoply of carefully drawn characters.   --Rico

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Mating: A Novel (Vintage International) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9780679737094
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Vintage - September 1st, 1992

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

As a winner of the Nobel Prize, Marquez probably doesn’t need further recommending from the likes of me. But I do want to put in a plug for this, my favorite of all of his books. Though set in a single day, and barely a 100 pages, it nonetheless tells the story of an entire town, indeed an entire culture. Taut, gorgeous, heartbreaking, it’s one of his great artistic achievements.  --Rico

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Vintage International) Cover Image
$14.00
ISBN: 9781400034710
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - October 7th, 2003

The Fishermen by Chigozie Obioma

Set in Nigeria in the mid-1990s, this terrific debut tells the story of four brothers whose fortunes change for the worse when their father takes a job in a faraway city. The plot feels as solid and classic as something out of the Old Testament--an African version of Cain-and-Abel--and the writing is unique, creating tension in oblique and unexpected ways. I found this a profound and moving reading experience.

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Rico
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The Fishermen: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780316338370
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Little, Brown and Company - April 14th, 2015

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

If there was still any doubt that Jonathan Franzen is the best living American novelist, this book crushes it. In addition to the wide array of great characters, unsurpassed erudition, and astounding prose that we've come to expect from him, Purity offers a globe-spanning plot. I laughed, I squirmed, and I gasped, but mostly I stayed up into the wee hours greedily turning pages.

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Rico
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Purity: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374239213
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 1st, 2015

Young Skins by Colin Barrett

Set in a dismal, semi-rural town in the west of Ireland where jobs are few but boredom and idiotic drunken violence are plentiful, this brilliant collection of stories reads like the love child of Dubliners and the first Arctic Monkeys album. Barrett's protagonists are young, male and lost, with dim prospects. He explores their physical and emotional terrain with precise, slightly arch prose filled with spot-on descriptions and fresh turns of phrase. A single collection might be too small a sample size to add Barrett's name to the list of great Irish short-story writers, but Young Skins is one hell of a strong opening argument.

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Rico
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Young Skins: Stories Cover Image
$15.00
ISBN: 9780802123329
Availability: Backordered
Published: Grove Press, Black Cat - March 3rd, 2015

The Story of the Lost Child by Elena Ferrante

Between glowing reviews everywhere and multiple articles in The New Yorker and virtually every European newspaper speculating about her true identity (she writes under a pen name and does zero publicity), the last twelve months have been Ferrante’s year—deservedly so. This, the fourth and final book in her excellent Neapolitan series, completes the saga of bookish Elena and strong-willed Lila, childhood friends who’ve spent their lives navigating friendship, womanhood, and family in the violent world of working-class Naples, Italy.

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Rico
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The Story of the Lost Child: Neapolitan Novels, Book Four Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$18.00
ISBN: 9781609452865
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2015

The Blue Guitar by John Banville

One of the greatest literary stylists of our time, the Man Booker Prize–winning John Banville has written a dark masterpiece about art and greed. His narrator, Oliver Ormy, a successful painter who also enjoys stealing things, suddenly finds himself caught out, both as a thief and as a human being. Fleeing everything he knows and loves in life, he hides himself away and tries to discover the cause (and possibly a cure) for the sickness of his soul.  —Rico

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The Blue Guitar Cover Image
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385354264
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Knopf Publishing Group - September 15th, 2015

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