PROGRAM EXTENDED: We have extended the deadline of our Winter Reading Program until the end of April, so there is still time to participate!
Find more Literary Lifeline resources from Bookshop Santa Cruz here.
We are challenging our customers to read at least three of eight books selected by Bookshop Santa Cruz over four months (December, 2019 - March, 2020). Upon completion, adults will receive a $5 gift card to Bookshop Santa Cruz, a mini cupcake from Buttercup Cakes, and a complimentary tasting flight at the Birichino Tasting Room (located in the heart of downtown, one block west of Pacific Ave on the corner of Cedar and Church at 204 Church Street). View this year's selected book list below or in-store.
Pick up an official Winter Reading Program bookmark in the store, or download one here, to get started!
I have long been a fan of Canadian fiction as the warmth of the people and the vastness of the land always seems to give great depth to the stories I've read. Our Homesick Songs is no exception. The Connor family is grappling with the fragility of their livelihood when the fish disappear from their Newfoundland fishing village. As they struggle with the implications for their family and their community, they work to build a world that makes life worth living, and to somehow still find each other in that world. Infused with folk music from Newfoundland, unforgettable characters, an environmental warning, and an emotional journey, Our Homesick Songs hits all the right chords. - Casey
When Harper Lee learned of the vigilante murder of Reverend Willie Maxwell, the many deaths that preceded his, and the lawyer who both defended him and his assailant, she knew she’d found the story she wanted to write, a true crime narrative with an underlying complexity of race, place, and politics. Almost 50 years later, Casey Cep has realized the same in her first book, a remarkable work of nonfiction that distills extensive research into a broad, insightful exploration of not only the reverend and his lawyer but of Harper Lee, her drive, her demons, and the book she never finished. - Melinda
Hall tackles the elusive story of Oppenheimer—a man so soft-spoken and full of foibles it is nearly impossible to reconcile his personality with his atomic work—through “testimonies” from characters on the fringes of his greatness. There is a bittersweet element to these small stories. What is it to walk into a room with someone you never loved? To ask questions you know are cruel? - Clara
Isaiah Quintabe may seem ordinary from the outside, but underneath he houses a fiery intellect that he uses to solve crimes in his East Long Beach neighborhood. When he takes a case involving an unusual assassination attempt on a semi-crazed rap mogul, he finds himself tangled in far more than he bargained for. Edgy and fun, this introduces a fresh, bold new voice in mystery. I’ll be looking forward to more from Joe Ide. - Flannery
I love fairy tales, and Russian folktales especially, so I was primed to like this book. But I had no idea just how magical this book truly was until I was enveloped in its pages. It is the kind of writing that is so lush, so transportive that you find yourself truly there by a fire in winter, experiencing a tale that you can see so clearly in your mind’s eye. Vasya, the headstrong daughter of a russian lord, must navigate a world that does not understand her gift and the world of the chyerti, the spirits of Slavic folklore. Her struggle to find her own path is one that will resonate deeply with anyone who has ever felt out of place, or has friends in strange places. The medieval russian setting felt so real that it served as a perfect contrast to the fantastical elements, making it perfect for fans of Golem and the Jinni or other folktale flavored historical fiction. Like the best fairy tales, this one left me thinking deeply, particularly about the nature of freedom and the price one pays for it. I can’t recommend it enough. - Jax
This is a beautiful story of a woman trying to find her own, with powerful prose and captivating descriptions of nature. Karen Auvinen’s metaphorical writing is surprisingly accessible and paints a vivid picture of her process of self-discovery through a Thoreau-esque 4 years in the woods with just her dog. As an artist, I particularly enjoyed the collection of watercolor pieces contributed by Auvinen’s partner. - RH
Our world is yearning for immigrant stories that describe the constant push and pull of responsibility, belonging and love inherent in an immigrant's journey. We've found it in the story of Ana, a 15 year old Dominicana who is married to a much older man who takes her to New York in the 1960's to find "the American dream." Ana's coming-of-age story lays bare the plight of women who are the backbone to these stories but whose voices haven't always been heard. - Casey
ine years ago, the British Museum of Natural History was robbed of almost 300 birds from its collection. Two years later, Kirk Johnson heard about it while fly-fishing in New Mexico, and decided to look into it, leading him down a rabbit hole of people’s dark obsession with nature. The Feather Thief falls in the very center of my “Books that make my heart sing” Venn diagram. There are microhistories about feathers and fly-tying, bits of Internet drama and true crime, and exotic wildlife and the search to right wrongs. One of my favorite books this year. - Rachel