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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

A beautiful French novel exploring the difficult subject of mental illness. Written to the soundtrack of Nina Simone singing Mr. Bojangles, this is a magical love story. A young boy tells the story of watching his parents dance their way through life even as his mother descends into madness. This is a book that will make you laugh and cry. An international bestseller. - Trey

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Waiting for Bojangles Cover Image
By Olivier Bourdeaut, Regan Kramer (Translated by)
$23.99
ISBN: 9781501145919
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Simon & Schuster - March 19th, 2019


This is one of the most beautiful and strangely compelling novels I’ve ever read. Centered around a small group of mostly failed poets in Mexico City in the 1970s, it veers to Spain, Africa, and back to Mexico in surprising and wonderful ways. Part crime story, part hero’s journey, the book is funny, poignant and one hundred percent unique. - Rico

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The Savage Detectives: A Novel Cover Image
By Roberto Bolaño, Natasha Wimmer (Translated by)
$21.00
ISBN: 9780312427481
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Picador - March 4th, 2008


William Boyd should be as well known as Steinbeck or Dickens. Like them, he does it all: amazing plots, wonderful descriptions and—especially—great characters. Written in the form of journal entries, this book tells the story of an art dealer and sometime-spy whose life is a kind of history of the 20th century. Both intimate and sweeping, this is simply a great old-fashioned read. - Rico

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Any Human Heart (Vintage International) Cover Image
$17.95
ISBN: 9781400031009
Availability: Usually Ships in 1-5 Days
Published: Vintage - January 6th, 2004


This sweeping, gorgeously written novel follows the dynastic Forster family, who in Wright’s telling are the first family in America to invent and popularize soda pop. Wright follows each family member across decades and continents, and they are by turns troubled, ambitious, humorous, heroic, and tragic, but all are written with incredible sympathy and humanity. I adored it. - Stuart

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American Pop: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062697745
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - February 5th, 2019


In case you haven't heard, Ferrante is brilliant and you should read everything she's written. Troubling Love is a whirlwind mystery that delves deep into my personal favorite topic, the relationship between a mother and daughter. Ferrante's use of language is unparalleled as she writes of a daughter obsessed with finding out who her mother really was in the days following her death. - Emma

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Troubling Love Cover Image
By Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Translated by)
$15.00
ISBN: 9781933372167
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Europa Editions - September 1st, 2006


Theoharis established herself as the writer of the long civil rights era (extending our views of the historical forces and outcomes of the civil rights movement beyond the small window of the 1960s). In this book she explores how the legacy of civil rights has been reshaped, used, and invoked to paint a fuller picture of national identity and where the struggle for equality is headed. - Clara

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A More Beautiful and Terrible History: The Uses and Misuses of Civil Rights History Cover Image
$18.00
ISBN: 9780807063484
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Beacon Press - February 12th, 2019


Chast paints a portrait of her aging parents' final days through four-color cartoons, short narratives, family photos, and original documents like her mother's handwritten poetry. Chast's colorful, often hilarious drawings are the perfect contrast to the darkness of oncoming loss and looming grief. This book will make you laugh and cry—sometimes simultaneously. - Kristi

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Can't We Talk about Something More Pleasant?: A Memoir Cover Image
$19.00
ISBN: 9781632861016
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Bloomsbury USA - September 13th, 2016


In 1857, a child was convicted of murdering his mother after her body was found decomposing in their home. This lurid point of entry belies a fascinating and surprisingly compassionate examination of a crime that gripped Victorian London. Like the best crime narratives, its focus is not on the crime itself, but on the extraordinary ways it shaped the lives left in its wake. - Katherine

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The Wicked Boy: An Infamous Murder in Victorian London Cover Image
$17.00
ISBN: 9780143110460
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Penguin Books - July 4th, 2017


A delightful sci-fi adventure,The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet is the first in the Wayfarers series by Becky Chambers. This is a great “gateway” book for those looking to either fall in love with the genre or re-discover it. The author has a real talent for world building that doesn’t feel overwhelming while still being rather wide in scope. It explores a multitude of themes: gender fluidity, unconventional relationships and sentient artificial intelligence to name a few.  It’s funny, heart-wrenching and charming all at once. If you want something fun that also makes you think – this is perfect.

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The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) Cover Image
$17.99
ISBN: 9780062444134
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: Harper Voyager - July 5th, 2016


After the four Skinner siblings’ father suddenly dies, their mother retreats to her own world during a 2-year span that they call The Pause. The children run wild and in the process forge unusually close bonds. The book starts when the youngest Skinner Fiona is a 102-year-old famous poet in the year 2079 and in it she tells the story of the Skinner family. This novel is a rich family epic full of love and heart, grief and challenge, and ultimately redemption.

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The Last Romantics: A Novel Cover Image
$26.99
ISBN: 9780062358202
Availability: On Our Shelves Now
Published: William Morrow - February 5th, 2019


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