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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 is a beautiful story of a woman trying to find her own with powerful prose and captivating descriptions of nature. Auvienen’s metaphorical writing is surprisingly accessible while painting a vivid picture of her process of self-discovery through a Thoreau-esque four years in the woods with just her dog. As a dog mom, I relate to their heartfelt relationship. - R.H.

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Rough Beauty: Forty Seasons of Mountain Living Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781501152290
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Scribner - June 4th, 2019


A short book that posits and answers an immense question. Angela Davis outlines the history of incarceration as the primary form of punishment and asks us to imagine a world interested in rehabilitation more than retribution and in healing rather than perpetuating the cycle of oppression. An absolute must-read from a legend. - Ksenia

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Are Prisons Obsolete? (Open Media Series) Cover Image
$11.95
ISBN: 9781583225813
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Seven Stories Press - August 5th, 2003


First published in 1983, legendary feminist scholar and science fiction writer Joanna Russ’s rigorous review of women writers’ diminished contributions and deliberately neglected works is an absolute must-read that is, maddeningly, still relevant today. - Ksenia

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How to Suppress Women's Writing Cover Image
By Joanna Russ, Jessa Crispin (Foreword by)
$19.95
ISBN: 9781477316252
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: University of Texas Press - April 17th, 2018


This original and bold book is for those who, like me, enjoy enigmas and complex questions. The town of Lucille is free of “monsters” (people who exploit others)—or at least that’s what Jam was taught. When a magical creature called Pet appears, Jam learns otherwise: There’s a monster in Lucille, and it’s in her best friend’s house. Impressively combining mystery with ethics, this story will keep you on the edge of your seat and thinking long after the final page. - Stephanie

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Pet Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780525647072
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Make Me a World - September 10th, 2019


As a teenager, historical fiction got me through some rough times. The Fountains of Silence would have been a panacea to my soul. Ana and Daniel come from very different worlds and Daniel’s lack of cultural understanding puts them both at risk. This story is lush and beautiful but exposes the sharp edges of a part of history. By shedding light on the history of fascism in Spain, Sepetys offers a harsh warning to modern readers. - Ivy

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The Fountains of Silence Cover Image
$18.99
ISBN: 9780399160318
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Philomel Books - October 1st, 2019


The Sweetest Fruits, Monique Truong is a brilliantly fictional retelling of the life of the Greek-Irish writer Lafcadio Hearn told through the stories of the three women, across multiple continents, who changed the direction of his life. This book is the best type of storytelling- one that connects to all senses, through journeys in time and place, and where the decisions and reflections of these women speak to the push and pull of women’s needs throughout time. A creative and beautiful tale. - Casey

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The Sweetest Fruits: A Novel Cover Image
$26.00
ISBN: 9780735221017
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Viking - September 3rd, 2019


Alternating between four different perspectives, The Dearly Beloved delves into the lives of two ministers and their wives, each with different views on religion, family, and purpose. I love a book like this; one that shows the way we are all interpreting (and misinterpreting) our interactions with one another. Though I sometimes wished Wall had just stuck with her delightfully complicated female protagonists, I was fully carried away by this engaging novel. With so many themes to interpret and explore, The Dearly Beloved is the perfect book club pick. - Emma

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The Dearly Beloved: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9781982104528
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - August 13th, 2019


Emma Donohue (best-selling author of Room) proves her prowess as a multi-talented author in her newest novel.  Whereas Room was powerful for its gut-hitting plot and heart-racing psychological story, Akin stands out for its humor and intimate character development. When widowed, elderly Noah gets a call from Social Services, he is thrown overnight into being the sudden guardian for his 11-year old great nephew Michael. Through a series of twists and turns, the two find themselves in Nice, France, Noah’s long ago child hood home. What follows is a delightful tale of intrigue and adventure, but what stands out, is Donohue’s gentle use of humor and heart, as we watch these two, old and young, forge a bond that they are each in desperate need of. - S.M.C.

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Akin Cover Image
$28.00
ISBN: 9780316491990
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Little, Brown and Company - September 10th, 2019


This is the first story to surprise me with a twist in a very long time; the writing is visceral and merciless. It follows multiple storylines, and every character feels fleshed out and real. It’s definitely sci-fi, with a Japanese steampunk-esque twist. You will be confronted with the age-old question: What does it mean to be truly human? And honestly, I don’t think my answer would have been the same before I read it. - MJ

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Automatic Eve Cover Image
By Rokuro Inui, Matt Treyvaud (Translated by)
$16.99
ISBN: 9781974708079
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Haikasoru - August 20th, 2019


This is a novel of urgent and aching beauty. It’s a story about coming of age, triumph in the face of tragedy, and the power of magic, love, and dreams—and holding on to those dreams even when the stately order of the world threatens to crush them beneath its grinding wheels. This is a stunning and gorgeously written debut historical fantasy with a ferociously beating heart, and its fabulously drawn characters, outstanding plotting and pacing, and gorgeous world-building will sweep you effortlessly into its story. - Stuart

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The Ten Thousand Doors of January Cover Image
$27.00
ISBN: 9780316421997
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Redhook - September 10th, 2019


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