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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

“They seek him here, they seek him there…” so to reveal too much about this book would ruin the mystery. I can’t tell you the identity of the Scarlet Pimpernel who rescues French aristocrats from the jaws of the Guillotine, but I can tell you his story is full of laughs, intrigue, romance, and surprises. My all time favorite swashbuckler!

Reviewed by: Erin
The Scarlet Pimpernel (Dover Thrift Editions) Cover Image
$6.00
ISBN: 9780486421223
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dover Publications - August 6th, 2002


From Scandanavia to Spain, to Ireland, and then some follow Red Orn as he tries to survive his  competely involuntary travels through tenth century Eurpope. Bookgroups will enjoy this epic historical novel rich in detail and pungent with authenticity, and it is made all the more enjoyable by the sutle yet pervasive humor and the action-packed plot line.

Reviewed by: Nici
The Long Ships Cover Image
By Frans G. Bengtsson, Michael Chabon (Introduction by), Michael Meyer (Translated by)
$18.95
ISBN: 9781590173466
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: NYRB Classics - July 6th, 2010


Before he was a revolutionary, a diplomat, or even an image on your
t-shirt, Ernesto Guevara was a young student in need of an adventure. In
1952 he and his friend Alberto Granado embarked on a journey around
South America, inspiring this excellent book.

Reviewed by: Cesar
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey (Che Guevara Publishing Project) Cover Image
$16.95
ISBN: 9781920888107
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Ocean Press - September 1st, 2004


Where do our dreams take us when we decide to truly pursue them? Coelho's tale of a young shepherd off to seek his fortune may be set in the distant past but it feels surprisingly close to today.

Reviewed by: Erin
The Alchemist Cover Image
By Paulo Coelho, Alan R. Clarke (Translator)
$14.99
ISBN: 9780061122415
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: HarperOne - April 25th, 2006


The world lost a powerful and important voice with Hitchens’ passing. In 2010, shortly after his diagnosis with esophageal cancer, Hitchens went toe-to-toe with Tony Blair to debate the role of religion in the world. This is a truly electrifying debate that has now been printed for your reading and referencing pleasure. A perfect companion to Hitchen’s other indispensible books.

Reviewed by: Kat
Hitchens vs. Blair: Be It Resolved Religion Is a Force for Good in the World: The Munk Debates Cover Image
$12.95
ISBN: 9781770890084
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: House of Anansi Press - March 15th, 2011


What a hard-core story! I can't imagine growing up with such violent and brutal expectations placed on you by the man who is supposed to care for you and protect you. The struggles with his abusive father are just heart-breaking but his spirit and his determination are amazing and the book provides a fascinating look inside the Romany Gypsy world.

Reviewed by: Nici
Gypsy Boy: My Life in the Secret World of the Romany Gypsies Cover Image
Email or call for price
ISBN: 9780312622084
Availability: Hard to Find
Published: Thomas Dunne Books - February 14th, 2012


After finding a dusty book lost deep in the Cemetery of Forgotten Books, Daniel becomes obsessed with discovering the authors’ fate. As he delves into the past, he finds himself uncovering a web of deception and lies, all the while falling in love for the first time. This lyrically gothic tale unfolds on the misty streets of Barcelona, and tells of the desperate, heartbreaking madness of love, and more importantly, the thrilling love of books.

Reviewed by: Flannery
The Shadow of the Wind Cover Image
By Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Lucia Graves (Translated by)
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143034902
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - January 25th, 2005


Most people are lucky if they find love that will last them a lifetime. Daniel has been in love for millennia, over the course of dozens of lifetimes. He perpetually seeks Sophia, a girl he rarely finds, who never remembers him, but will always fall in love again. Death, time, even true evil – these are mere obstacles for the love that gives you a reason for living, the love that finds who you truly are.

My Name is Memory Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9781594485183
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Riverhead Books - June 7th, 2011


Hazel isn’t your average 16-year old: goes to community college, recites T.S. Eliot from memory, watches marathons of America’s Next Top Model. And she can’t breath without the oxygen cart wheeling behind her. Augustus Waters, one-legged 17-year old virgin, may see a dead girl in her—or may be the one person to truly see her. This isn’t a story about cancer, or cancer survivors, but about love, in all its beauty, humiliation, pain, and ecstasy.
Reviewed by: Jocelyn
Staff Pick Badge
The Fault in Our Stars Cover Image
$19.99
ISBN: 9780525478812
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Dutton Books for Young Readers - January 10th, 2012


Oh, but for the wonder of dysfunctional families. When a family crisis calls these three sisters to return home, we are suddenly thrown in to the delightful, chaotic, and endearing Andreas family. Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia (three points if you can name the plays) are daughters to a Shakespearean scholar father who breaks into pentameter and a mother who is rightfully determined to live her life independently regardless of her failing health. With leaning towers of books and their own secrets and baggage to back them, we watch as this family yields, rallies, and surrenders to the bonds that tie them together and to the poignant realities that will pull them apart. As the Bard says, all the world’s a stage—and this one is well well worth the read.

Reviewed by: S.M.C.
Staff Pick Badge
The Weird Sisters Cover Image
$24.95
ISBN: 9780399157226
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam - January 20th, 2011


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