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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

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
ISBN: 9781920888107
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
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)
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
ISBN: 9781770890084
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 Days
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
ISBN: 9780312622084
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
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)
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
ISBN: 9781594485183
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
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
ISBN: 9780525478812
Availability: Not On Our Shelves, But Available from Warehouse - Usually Delivers in 3-14 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
ISBN: 9780399157226
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam - January 20th, 2011

his book has it all: mouthwateringly good food writing, exquisite nature writing, including vivid descriptions of fields and forest, snippets of Mark Twain's transcendent musings about American food, and an incredible travelogue that spans many states and takes you back to Twain's childhood. One of my favorite books in recent memory.

Reviewed by: Kat
Twain's Feast: Searching for America's Lost Foods in the Footsteps of Samuel Clemens Cover Image
ISBN: 9780143119340
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Penguin Books - October 25th, 2011

The title of this book is admittedly not very festive, but I promise you, great things await within. It's the incredible story of the birth of modern forensics, told through the story of a particularly twisted serial killer in France, and the brilliant scientist and criminologist who eventually stopped him.

Reviewed by: Kat
The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science Cover Image
ISBN: 9780307279088
Availability: Hard to Find - Contact Store for Availability
Published: Vintage - November 1st, 2011