User menu

Shopping cart

0 Items $0.00

 Thank you for shopping online! Due to overwhelming support, orders may take 72 hours+ to process. Your patience is appreciated. 

S.M.C.'s Reviews

Susan McCloskey has worked at Bookshop Santa Cruz since graduating from UCSC in 2000. She is the former Event Coordinator at Bookshop and continues to consult for the store. In her other life, she is a licensed Marriage & Family Therapist. She believes in story, and loves the meld of working with books, narrative, and people.

Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith

This personal political coming-of-age memoir is striking from the beginning. How does one learn to be a black man today? Who are the models? There is Obama and there is Trayvon Martin. You can be a ‘token’ or a ‘martyr’ but how do you just Be? Mychal Denzel Smith is a keen observer of both himself and the world around him. He confronts his own challenges and assumptions about being a young black man today, and does so by exploring the context and complexity involved in growing up in a culture that is filled with prejudice, disregard, and disenfranchisement. Smith’s ability to be so invested, self-aware, and emotionally raw makes this astute and intellectually brilliant memoir powerful and honest. A deep and important book that everyone should read. 

—S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching: A Young Black Man's Education Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9781568585284
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Bold Type Books - June 14th, 2016

Irritable Hearts by Mac McClelland

As a journalist for Mother Jones, Mac McCelland traveled the world covering high crisis politics and world events; she was used to seeing scenes that most of us never encounter. But after witnessing the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, McCelland returned home unable to “recover.” Plagued by nightmares, changes in perceptions, and uncontrollable crying, she was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In Irritable Hearts, McCelland writes with candor about turning her journalistic eyes inward, struggling to research PTSD even has she is held in its grip. The result is an oh-so-readable memoir that is also a portrayal of human character.  —S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Irritable Hearts: A PTSD Love Story Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9781250053503
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - March 22nd, 2016

Pioneer Girl: A Novel by Bich Minh Nguyen

This book is a delightful, immensely readable novel that is more layered than it seems. Written as if it was memoir, Nyguyen introduces us to Lee, a Vietnamese-American who struggles between holding her own identity and staying connected to her mother and grandfather—immigrants that came to America during the Vietnam War. Moving from Vietnam to America, Lee’s mother and grandfather were able to bring very few belongings with them, and yet they held on to one thing: a gold pin with a relief sketching of a small house on it, left behind in their Saigon restaurant by an American reporter named Rose. And so begins the literary mystery that makes this book a page-turner. Following a hunch, Lee begins a journey from the American mid-west, to Vietnam, and back to America again, following the trail that perhaps this pin is somehow connected to the quintessential-American family—that of Laura Ingalls Wilder. What follows is a literary mystery that bears light to the complexity the immigration story—revealing the layered depths that make up the pioneer spirit, family loyalty, and just what it means to call a place home.  —S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Pioneer Girl: A Novel Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780143126225
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Books - January 27th, 2015

Ruby by Cynthia Bond

If you can bear to have lived it, I can at least bear to listen. In some ways this line is the heart of Cynthia Bond’s debut novel, Ruby. Every sentence seems infused with the contradiction of dark history and memory paired with the expansive reach of love and light. Spanning the depth of racial and sexual brutality in a small town in East Texas, we watch Ruby Bell grow from a beautiful child to a feral woman—someone that is plagued by what she has seen. Ruby is haunted. She lives a fever dream where ghosts talk to her, and history assaults her, and yet, there is one person, Ephram, the gentle deeply observant man that has loved Ruby his whole life that may be able to redeem her pain. Bond’s lyricism and talent has been compared to Toni Morrison or William Faulkner, and there is no denying such comparisons, but this book is also a stunning, poetic, part ghost story/part love story that stands fiercely on its own. This is an exquisite lasting read. —S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Ruby (Oprah's Book Club 2.0) Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780804188241
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Hogarth - February 10th, 2015

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

I am in awe of this novel—its language, the cavernous take it has on love and commitment and what it means to maintain a marriage. Monsters of Templeton, Groff’s first book, is one of the most impressive debuts I’ve read, but Fates and Furies is Groff at a genius level. It is difficult to define—a Greek drama, a love story, a telling and untelling of a marriage between a playwright and his wife. The sentences hum, the characters pull, and the story rises and falls in a breathless pace. If you can only read one novel this fall—this is it. Unbelievable.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Staff Pick Badge
Fates and Furies: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Backordered
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

The Art of Memoir by Mary Karr

This is a wonderful book for both writers and readers of memoir. Mary Karr, otherwise known as the queen of memoir for her best-selling books Liar’s Club, Cherry, and Lit, has written a brilliant book that celebrates the genre. With her characteristic wit and insight, Karr discusses her own writing process, focusing on unearthing one’s life story as well as taking us through excellent lessons and exercises on the mechanical how-to’s of writing autobiographical content. This inspiring book is one that you will continue to refer to. Make room on your shelf next to Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird and Steven King’s On Writing; Karr has taken on the genre of memoir and gifted us all.

Reviewed by: 
S.M.C.
Staff Pick Badge
The Art of Memoir Cover Image
$24.99
ISBN: 9780062223067
Availability: Backordered
Published: Harper - September 15th, 2015

Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff

I am in awe of this novel—its language, the cavernous take it has on love and commitment and what it means to maintain a marriage. Monsters of Templeton, Groff’s first book, is one of the most impressive debuts I’ve read, but Fates and Furies is Groff at a genius level. It is difficult to define—a Greek drama, a love story, a telling and untelling of a marriage between a playwright and his wife. The sentences hum, the characters pull, and the story rises and falls in a breathless pace. If you can only read one novel this fall—this is it. Unbelievable.  —S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Fates and Furies: A Novel Cover Image
$27.95
ISBN: 9781594634475
Availability: Backordered
Published: Riverhead Books - September 15th, 2015

Thirteen Ways of Looking by Colum McCann

This collection of shorter fiction from Colum McCann (who won the National Book Award for Let the Great World Spin) is made up of a novella and three short stories. McCann’s talent is as evident in his shorter writing as it is in his novels and the reader gains a surprisingly deep understanding of and empathy for each of McCann’s characters. Whether a judge who feels particularly nostalgic on what turns out to be a monumental day, or a mother whose gift to her son unleashes a tragedy, McCann’s characters make us think about the upending themes of chance, compassion, and fate. This is a terrific read from one of our best contemporary authors.  —S.M.C

Staff Pick Badge
Thirteen Ways of Looking: Fiction Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780812996722
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Random House - October 13th, 2015

Later Poems: Selected and New by Adrienne Rich

This collection of Adrienne Rich’s poetry highlights some of the poems that Rich wrote during the 1970s—a time of political turmoil and cultural shifts that marked Rich not only as a poet of huge talent, but also a poet whose voice extended into the realms of politics and activism, filling in some of the void around silence and truth. The later and last poems that Rich wrote focus on the intimate—the poetics of relation, the importance of the craft—and provide a mirror for the nuances of the world in which we live. This is a splendid collection from one of the most important poets of our time.  --S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
Later Poems: Selected and New: 1971-2012 Cover Image
$19.95
ISBN: 9780393351835
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - November 23rd, 2015

The Givenness of Things by Marilynne Robinson

Marilynne Robinson, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Gilead, has a new collection of essays focusing on our modern culture and the mysteries of faith. Whether she is drawing on the likes of Calvin or Shakespeare or commenting on the privilege of the American elite, her precision and insight are evident in her prose. With chapter titles like “Memory, Grace, Theology or Fear,” Robinson’s essays reveal her belief in humanity despite our flaws, and the kinship of Robinson and her own protagonist, Gilead’s Reverend John Ames, seems deliciously close.  --S.M.C.

Staff Pick Badge
The Givenness of Things: Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780374298470
Availability: Backordered
Published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux - October 27th, 2015

Pages

Make a donation to our Holiday Book Drive:

THANK YOU FOR SUPPORTING LOCAL PUBLIC SCHOOLS!

Subscribe to RSS - S.M.C.'s Reviews