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2018 Winter Recommended Fiction
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2018 Winter Recommended Fiction

Holiday Gift Books & Winter Reading: Some of Bookshop Santa Cruz's favorite fiction titles of the season.

Alice Isn't Dead

A Novel

By: Joseph Fink
Narrated by: Jasika Nicole
Length: 8 hours 43 minutes

“Joseph Fink is my hero for making extreme anxiety a superpower and something from which a person can draw strength. Like the Welcome to Night Vale novels, Alice Isn’t Dead evinces a gentleness throughout the story, but as with Keisha, the protagonist, don’t mistake that for weakness. This novel is a road trip into the depths of human love even... Read more

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Melmoth

A Novel

By: Sarah Perry
Narrated by: Jan Cramer
Length: 10 hours 39 minutes

Melmoth is evocative and atmospheric, the perfect book for a chilly night and the turning of the seasons. Through diaries, letters, and narration, we are introduced to the legendary Melmoth, who is cursed to wander the world alone and watch humans destroy themselves over and over. This quintessential gothic tale is set against the vivid backdrop... Read more

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Your Duck Is My Duck

Stories

By: Deborah Eisenberg
Narrated by: Deborah Eisenberg, Wallace Shawn, Julianne Moore & Josh Hamilton
Length: 6 hours 55 minutes

“A lot less known and heralded than she should be, Eisenberg is one of the finest short story writers working today. Her writing combines the command of character and setting of Alice Munro with the sharp humor and social skewering of George Saunders. Her stories are slyly observant, often edgy, usually funny, and always surprising in their turns... Read more

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The Labyrinth of the Spirits

A Novel

By: Carlos Ruiz Zafon
Narrated by: Daniel Weyman
Length: 27 hours 53 minutes

“The Cemetery of Forgotten Books series is the stuff of dreams. I’ve read this book twice now (it came out in Spanish in 2016) and the character, drama, and wry humor still entrance me. Reading/remembering the earlier books is not required to enjoy this story, set amongst the political intrigues and maneuverings of Franco’s Spain. Secret agent... Read more

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Trinity

A Novel

By: Louisa Hall
Narrated by: Cassandra Campbell, David Colacci, Saskia Maarleveld, John Lee, Brittany Pressley, Yetta Gottesman, Charlie Thurston & Amy Landon
Length: 9 hours 9 minutes

“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?... Read more

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Unsheltered

A Novel

By: Barbara Kingsolver
Narrated by: Barbara Kingsolver
Length: 16 hours 38 minutes

“A new Barbara Kingsolver novel is always a gift but this time her fictional journey feels even more powerful as she asks, “Can history help us navigate an impossible-looking future?” Unsheltered tells the stories of two families from different centuries living under the same roof, reeling from turbulence on both a national and a familial scale.... Read more

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November Road

A Novel

By: Lou Berney
Narrated by: Johnathan McClain
Length: 9 hours 49 minutes

“This deliciously nuanced and layered mystery is a terrific book for Lou Berney fans and thrill-seekers. Set days after JFK’s assassination, November Road follows two people who are on the run from a diabolically evil hitman and have no choice but to do what comes unnaturally for both: trust each other. Berney’s latest masterpiece will have you... Read more

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The Feral Detective

A Novel

By: Jonathan Lethem
Narrated by: Zosia Mamet
Length: 8 hours 52 minutes

“Lethem’s latest is a treat for fans and new readers alike. His personal brand of detective fiction (shrewd character descriptions, razor-sharp dialogue, and scene-setting that engages all five senses) has always been indebted to the (wild) West Coast — Hollywood specifically — so it’s unsurprising that The Feral Detective is as satisfying as his... Read more

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Vita Nostra

A Novel

Vita Nostra: Book #1

By: Marina & Sergey Dyachenko
Narrated by: Jessica Ball
Length: 18 hours 21 minutes

“One part coming-of-age parable, one part psychological horror, this book combines dark fantasy with contemporary magical realism. Beautifully translated from its original Russian, Vita Nostra brilliantly explores the period in early adulthood in which we consider the price we’re willing to pay to discover our full potential and learn how we make... Read more

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Killing Commendatore

A novel

By: Haruki Murakami
Narrated by: Kirby Heyborne
Length: 28 hours 24 minutes

“Part ghost story, part fairy tale, wholly human, Haruki Murakami’s new novel is a quiet burn of redemption and rebirth and the stories that cannot be told. An unnamed artist is asked by a faceless man to paint his portrait, a culmination of 9 months lost in art and music, loss and sex, the memories of love and empathy of men. Once you accept the... Read more

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The Proposal

Reese's Book Club

By: Jasmine Guillory
Narrated by: Janina Edwards
Length: 8 hours 58 minutes

The Proposal is a smile in book form. When I realized it was about Carlos, the best friend from Guillory’s The Wedding Date, I smiled. Carlos is fun, smart, and loves to cook — he’s also not perfect, not horrible, just the normal quirks. Nikole has some issues too. The two meet, enjoy each other’s company, and try to make their quirks fit... Read more

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An Absolutely Remarkable Thing

A Novel

The Carls: Book #1

By: Hank Green
Narrated by: Kristen Sieh & Hank Green
Length: 9 hours 24 minutes

“Brilliant! Hank Green has written an engrossing debut novel with a fun, vibrant, emotionally powerful and completely non sequitur plot. In a New York crosswalk, protagonist April May’s discovery of giant, sentient, maybe even alien omnipotent robots completely upends her life, both professionally and romantically. Through the eyes of this young,... Read more

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Washington Black

A novel

By: Esi Edugyan
Narrated by: Dion Graham
Length: 12 hours 18 minutes

“From sweltering Barbados to London streets, Arctic ice to Moroccan heat, skies above to depths below, fear to love and back again, again, again. Esi Edugyan’s epic new historical novel follows the young Washington Black from the unrelenting brutality of slavery to the edges of the world as he searches for freedom, finding the complexities of the... Read more

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Fox 8

A Story

By: George Saunders
Narrated by: George Saunders
Length: 37 minutes

“Another charming, inventive, and bizarre short story from a master of the form, Fox 8 will pinch your heart and make you cackle with laughter. With gorgeous illustrations by Chelsea Cardinal, this is an Aesop’s fable for the modern era. As with all of George Saunders’s other work, Fox 8 will leave you feeling like you’ve ridden a roller coaster... Read more

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The Craftsman

A Novel

By: Sharon Bolton
Narrated by: Nathalie Buscombe
Length: 11 hours 55 minutes

“Sharon Bolton’s latest gothic-tinged crime fiction The Craftsman is set at the edge of the Yorkshire Dales, where the UK’s largest witch trial was held. Assistant Commissioner Florence Lovelady attends the funeral of a child murderer whom she arrested 30 years before, only to find evidence all these years later that the case isn’t closed after... Read more

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Zero Sum Game

Cas Russell: Book #1

By: S. L. Huang
Narrated by: Lauren Fortgang
Length: 11 hours 42 minutes

“A fun, fast-paced action thriller featuring a snarky math superhero who has some serious character flaws. Cas Russell is good at math, so good that she intuitively performs vector calculus at lightning speed, allowing her to dodge both incoming fists and bullets. She’s a mercenary “retrieval expert” with ambiguous morals, available for hire in... Read more

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In the House in the Dark of the Woods

By: Laird Hunt
Narrated by: Vanessa Johansson
Length: 5 hours 20 minutes

“Gothic and atmospheric, this book is a terrifying fever dream, an extended waking nightmare. It follows Goody, our unreliable narrator, as she gets lost in the woods and discovers what lies beyond the veil. Lurking behind Laird Hunt’s lush and evocative prose is a sense of dread that creeps up your spine as the story twists and writhes. It’s a... Read more

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The Widows of Malabar Hill

Perveen Mistry Mysteries: Book #1

By: Sujata Massey
Narrated by: Soneela Nankani
Length: 14 hours 34 minutes

“I loved this novel! Sujata Massey is a strong, confident storyteller and this captivating mystery, set in 1920s Bombay, features superb world-building, a riveting plot, and great characters. Perveen Mistry is a richly written protagonist: By turns confident and conflicted, she strives to do the right thing and is more than capable of getting... Read more

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Transcription

A Novel

By: Kate Atkinson
Narrated by: Fenella Woolgar
Length: 11 hours 9 minutes

“While World War II isn’t my usual era of interest, Juliet’s hilarious inner monologue about everything that happens around her won me over. There is espionage and intrigue, and twists and turns emerge where you least expect them. I can see the 1940s so clearly, thanks to Atkinson’s fantastic writing. This is a book that will be a hit for a lot... Read more

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Red Moon

By: Kim Stanley Robinson
Narrated by: Maxwell Hamilton, Joy Osmanski & Feodor Chin
Length: 16 hours 46 minutes

“Given Robinson’s pedigree, there was little doubt I would like this book. If you enjoy intrigue and action in the low gravity of our closest neighbor, Red Moon will draw you in. Despite the lightness of the setting, it pulls its weight. Similar to last year’s Artemis. Read more

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