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Bookshop Santa Cruz staff recommendation:

The following books are recommended by our staff as great choices for book groups. Sign up for our Book Ends email newsletter to receive more great book group recommendations.

Looking for more book group recommendations? Find curated book lists for the following categories:

Surviving 2020: Books That Will Make You Believe in Humanity
Strong Women Through the Ages
Book Group Sleepers: Great Books Your Group May Have Missed

If you loved The Nightingale, you'll love The Alice Network.

The Alice Network: A Novel Cover Image
$16.99
ISBN: 9780062654199
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow Paperbacks - June 6th, 2017


If you liked The Island of Sea Women, you'll love The Henna Artist.

The Henna Artist Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780778309451
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mira Books - March 3rd, 2020


If ever you need to leave behind the fast-paced, app-filled, droning noise of this time, open up the world of Simon the Fiddler. This meandering story, set at the end of the Civil War, follows Simon, his fiddle, his dreams for a simple, peaceful life, and his quest to marry the Irish lass he fell in love with at first sight. There are saloon fights, friendships, alligators, hoop skirts, letter writing, and tragic loss. I’m telling you, I thought the music and the Southern scenes were all going to just fade into the Texas sunset, until I got to the final chapters—plot twist!

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Simon the Fiddler: A Novel Cover Image
$27.99
ISBN: 9780062966742
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - April 14th, 2020


Enchanting and tender, this slim novel manages to hide a deeply political cautionary tale in a hopeful, reflective fable that never feels too heavy-handed or moralizing. Reading this book was like wrapping myself in a warm blanket; I was absolutely entranced by it until the very last page. - Ksenia

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The Emissary Cover Image
By Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translated by)
$14.95
ISBN: 9780811227629
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: New Directions - April 24th, 2018


It's hard to talk about this book without drawing comparisons to Daniel Wallace's Big Fish, and that's a great thing! The story travels back and forth through time in telling the multigenerational story of a family and their land in Alabama. This history is being passed from one generation to the next in this hodgepodge storytelling that captivates as much as it obfuscates. - Clara

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Treeborne: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781250169105
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Picador - May 7th, 2019


Friday Black is the best book of short stories I've read this year. At times I felt like I was reading horror, while other times I was laughing out loud. Adjei-Brenyah's stories are crazy, radical and not recommended for the faint of heart. It's a book that will stick with me for years to come. - Ashley

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Friday Black Cover Image
$14.99
ISBN: 9781328911247
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Mariner Books - October 23rd, 2018


When two young sisters disappear, the entire Kamchatka Peninsula goes on high alert. But as the months drag on and no leads materialize, hope wears thin. Told from the perspective of a variety of characters, this is a story about family, identity, grief, and the ways those themes connect us. Phillips’ debut is a stunning portrait of an isolated, rarely discussed corner of the world. - Jade

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Disappearing Earth: A novel Cover Image
$26.95
ISBN: 9780525520412
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Knopf - May 14th, 2019


A remarkably touching magical-realist young-adult novel about a boy and a girl (who are, refreshingly, not a couple but best friends!) that explores social issues such as race, sexuality, and class with humor, heart, a touch of magic, and a sprinkle of apocalypse. - Ksenia

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The Boy and Girl Who Broke the World Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9781481481762
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Simon Pulse - July 9th, 2019


When the narrator’s friend, another writer, dies suddenly, she inherits his Great Dane. Among many problems, she lives in a tiny New York apartment—that doesn’t allow pets. What follows is a brilliant and moving meditation on friendship, love (both Platonic and romantic), art and grief. I found this a profound and beautiful reading experience. - Rico

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The Friend: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9780735219458
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Riverhead Books - February 5th, 2019


In the Dream House is an incredible follow-up to the glorious Her Body and Other Parties. Carmen Maria Machado has written an honest and harrowing memoir about her psychologically abusive relationship. Machado contrasts her memories with true examples of oppression in queer history and with narrative tropes. A beautiful exploration of the reality of abuse in queer relationships and a necessary account that subverts any idea of what a memoir can be. - Natalie O.

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In the Dream House: A Memoir Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781644450031
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - November 5th, 2019


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