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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.

 

 

 

 

 

Sweet Caress by William Boyd

A famous and treasured writer in Britain but still a relatively unknown in America, Boyd writes intelligent, big-screen novels that stay with you like memories of a great friend. This one tells the story of Amory Clay, a photographer who gets her start covering fascist riots in 1930s London and then goes on to cover World War II and Vietnam. A daughter, mother, lover, and devoted friend, Clay’s life is both representative of her time and truly extraordinary.  —Rico

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Sweet Caress: The Many Lives of Amory Clay Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9781632863324
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 15th, 2015

Keeping an Eye Open by Julian Barnes

The author of more than a couple of the best British novels in recent memory, including Flaubert’s Parrot and The Sense of an Ending, Barnes is also a very serious fan of 19th- and 20th-century art. Here he brings his two passions—painting and writing—together in a series of essays about some of the greatest artists of the last 200 years, including Delacroix, Cezanne, and Magritte, illuminating their process, their often-drama-filled lives, and their towering artistic achievements. —Rico

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Keeping an Eye Open: Essays on Art Cover Image
$30.00
ISBN: 9781101874783
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Knopf - October 6th, 2015

Florence: The Paintings and Frescos, 1250–1743 by Ross King & Anja Grebe

The authors of the best-selling Brunelleschi’s Dome (King) and The Louvre (Grebe) join forces to lead us through the major paintings and frescoes of Florence, Italy, including every single painting in the Uffizi Gallery, the Accademia, and the Duomo, along with important works from 28 other churches. Featuring stunning color plates and insightful commentary, this large-format gift book is simply glorious. Short of an all-expenses-paid trip to Italy, it’s the best holiday gift an art lover could ask for.  —Rico

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Florence: The Paintings & Frescoes, 1250-1743 Cover Image
$75.00
ISBN: 9781631910012
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Black Dog & Leventhal - October 20th, 2015

Purity by Jonathan Franzen

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

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Purity: A Novel Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780374239213
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - September 1st, 2015

Wind/Pinball: Two Novels by Haruki Murakami

Featuring the first two short novels he ever published, Hear the Wind Sing and Pinball, 1973, along with a new introduction in which he describes his early writing days, this book crackles with the off-beat sensibility and mysteriously intriguing storytelling that has made Murakami an international sensation. While these two works stand on their own, part of the fun is recognizing early treatments of scenes and obsessions that show up in later works. If you love wonderful (and compact) literary fiction, this is for you. If you’re a Murakami fan, this is mandatory.  --Rico

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Wind/Pinball: Two novels Cover Image
By Haruki Murakami, Ted Goossen (Translated by)
$25.95
ISBN: 9780385352123
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - August 4th, 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.  --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

Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher

A novel written in the form of letters of recommendation? Sounds like a literary stunt, but Schumacher absolutely nails it. While maintaining her formal conceit she perfectly blends satire and real human emotion, offering a sharp (and 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'll laugh and you’ll cry. I unreservedly recommend Ms. Schumacher for your reading pleasure.  —Rico

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Dear Committee Members Cover Image
$14.95
ISBN: 9780345807335
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Anchor - June 23rd, 2015

Dead Run by Dan Schultz

In Colorado in 1998, three not-very-bright anti-government extremists armed to the teeth stole a water truck, executed a deputy sheriff, and then escaped into the harsh desert back-country of the four corners region. Following years of research and interviews, the author pieces together the story of the killers, their victims, and one of the largest and longest manhunts in American history.
Reviewed by: 
Rico
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Dead Run: The Murder of a Lawman and the Greatest Manhunt of the Modern American West Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250042699
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: St. Martin's Griffin - March 25th, 2014

A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry

I ran a book discussion group for fifteen years. When the members voted for their favorite book over that stretch, this was the winner. Set in India, it’s one of those amazing novels that is both about specific, deeply rendered human beings, and about an entire nation and culture. Think Dickens, think Tolstoy. It’s that good. I don’t cry at the end of books; I did at the end of this one.

Reviewed by: 
Rico
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A Fine Balance (Vintage International) Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9781400030651
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - November 30th, 2001

Independent People by Halldor Laxness

Written by Iceland’s only winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature, this strange and beautiful novel is set on a haunted sheep farm where a prideful man battles brutal winters, pestilence and his own inner demons to survive in a changing world. The book has a subtle magic that builds, page by page, like a terrific dream from which you never want to wake.
Reviewed by: 
Rico
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Independent People (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780679767923
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Vintage - January 14th, 1997

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