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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

This eye-opening book explores the impact of ageism on individuals and society. It's a clarion call for action that changed many of my attitudes and assumptions about aging. Applewhite details how unchallenged ageism negatively impacts health, sex, money, the workplace, and all areas of society. Guaranteed to lead to lively discussions, this is a great book club selection. - Trey

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This Chair Rocks: A Manifesto Against Ageism Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781250311481
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Celadon Books - March 5th, 2019


With poetic irony, Ackerman tells the little-known true story of two zookeepers in 1930s Warsaw, Poland. Their world-view and extraordinary compassion led them to save hundreds of Jews imperiled by the Nazi invasion. This heroic narrative highlights contradictions of vulnerability and strength, good in the face of loss, and the rich compatibility of beauty and sadness. - Kären

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The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story Cover Image
$15.95
ISBN: 9780393333060
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: W. W. Norton & Company - September 17th, 2008


A compelling and carefully crafted blend of memoir and investigative journalism. The author begins with a heinous murder case she stumbled upon as a law intern, and slowly reveals how she uncovered her own deeply traumatic past while researching the murder. Her deft touch with seriously sensitive material finds hope even in the darkest of stories. - Kelly

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The Fact of a Body: A Murder and a Memoir Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781250080554
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Flatiron Books - May 8th, 2018


Refugee stories are massively important right now. This graphic memoir explores connecting the past to the present and the long, intergenerational shadow it can throw. The Buis left the fallout of the Vietnam war, but never imagined the lasting impact such trauma would have on their life in America. Drawn in an intensely personal style, I couldn’t help but be pulled into their story. - Ivy

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The Best We Could Do: An Illustrated Memoir Cover Image
By Thi Bui
$18.99
ISBN: 9781419718786
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harry N. Abrams - April 17th, 2018


These 17 stories, written by contemporary black authors, demonstrate how diverse the teenage black experience can be: a Trinidadian immigrant's guardian angels (her cousins) save her from falling for the wrong guy; a humorous Jason Reynolds story follows four Brooklyn boys walking home after a swim, fantasizing about sandwiches from their neighborhood bodega; a high schooler keeping her application to a historic black college hidden from her father. Both black and non-black readers will benefit from the insights these well-crafted stories provide. - Noreen


In this follow-up to Acevedo’s National Book Award and Printz Medal winning debut, Emoni (like Xiomara in The Poet X) is first-gen American (she’s Afro-Boricua). Emoni is also a teen mom (which Acevedo chooses not to portray as a burden, while also being honest about the challenges it presents) and a gifted chef. Her struggles honing her culinary gift and learning to define life on her own terms make this is a flavorful and compelling read. - Stephanie

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With the Fire on High Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062662835
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Quill Tree Books - May 7th, 2019


Read this chipper, breezy graphic book for daily inspiration; you can open at any page and you'll find brief biographies of women making a difference. Bagieu's accompanying art is the icing on top, deftly communicating each woman's confidence, experience, and story with the perfect blend of cheeky humor and respect. After reading this I immediately bought copies for my best friends. Recommended for book groups of all ages (appropriate for Young Adult readers), busy readers, summer beach reads, Women's History Month, groups who are interested in biographies, groups who've read everything.

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Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9781626728691
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: First Second - March 6th, 2018

Read this chipper, breezy graphic book for daily inspiration; you can open at any page and you'll find brief biographies of women making a difference. Bagieu's accompanying art is the icing on top, deftly communicating each woman's confidence, experience, and story with the perfect blend of cheeky humor and respect. After reading this I immediately bought copies for my best friends. Recommended for book groups of all ages (appropriate for Young Adult readers), busy readers, summer beach reads, Women's History Month, groups who are interested in biographies, groups who've read everything.



A gorgeous collection of autobiographical essays on Oliver's curiosity for her environment and the great writers who kept her company throughout her life. Her vivid descriptions of the natural world are stunning, reminding one to notice and find awe in our surroundings. Few pages were left without folds or underlines and many parts have seldom left my mind. - Natalie O.

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Upstream: Selected Essays Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9781594206702
Availability: Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
Published: Penguin Press - October 11th, 2016


Following characters from Paris, New Orleans and Seattle, Robbins creates a complex and hilarious work of magical realism. Shifting between past and present, our story begins with King Alobar as he defies death and aging in search of eternal life. The story's whimsical nature and Robbins’s quirky wisdom will delight and astound you. - Natalie O.

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Jitterbug Perfume: A Novel Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780553348989
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bantam - April 1st, 1990


Set in Northern Ireland at the height of the Troubles, Milkman confronts the absurdity of political strife and arbitrary borders, never ignoring the extreme violence and heartbreak that can arise from such divisions. Burns’ voice is dryly humorous, even as her narrator struggles with a stalker, harassment, and a war-torn home. - Jess

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Milkman: A Novel Cover Image
$16.00
ISBN: 9781644450000
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Graywolf Press - December 4th, 2018


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