February 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE SWANS OF FIFTH AVENUE: A Novel, by Melanie Benjamin


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Are you interested in the lifestyles of the rich and famous? Arrange your hair and makeup, darlings, and get ready to dish about the dirty little secrets in 1950s high society. Truman Capote collected ‘swans’ — rich and glamorous women who floated through life pampered and indulged. This fictionalized account of the meteoric rise and very public fall of Capote, entwined with his deep friendship with Babe Paley and his ultimate betrayal of her and the rest of the swans, will slake your thirst for gossipy, breezy, scandalous details. Take off your wrap, pour a highball, and enjoy!”

Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Julia Claiborne Johnson talks about her new book, BE FRANK WITH ME: A Novel, about which Bess Bleyaert (McLean & Eakin Booksellers in Petoskey, MI) says: "When reclusive novelist Mimi Banning loses her fortune and must quickly write a second novel, her publisher sends a young publicist to oversee the efforts and make sure their huge investment is secure. Alice Whitley arrives and is put to work as a caregiver to Mimi’s eccentric nine-year-old son, Frank. Frank is a diamond in the rough, and as Alice gets to know him and the mysterious characters in his life, she becomes all-consumed with discovering his paternity.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“This fascinating memoir of Offutt’s difficult relationship with his father is complicated by the realization that his father was a prolific writer of pornography. Author Andrew Offutt was known as a science fiction writer, but, with his death, his son discovers that his family’s income was due to the astounding abundance of writing in this other genre. As he catalogs his father’s library of writings, drawings, and more, Offutt tries to understand the man that kept his family walking on eggshells.”


Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY


Chris Offutt Reveals A Family Secret In 'My Father, The Pornographer'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



January 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL RECOMMEND, by Katarina Bivald


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“One of the conundrums facing a true bibliophile has always been: books or people? Sara has spent her entire life in Sweden working in a bookshop and her answer has always been obvious: books. An unexpected pen pal relationship with Amy — an older book lover from Iowa — challenges that easy answer and forces her to reconsider her view of herself and the world. After months of corresponding, trading books and sharing details of one another’s lives, Amy invites Sara to come visit her one-stoplight town, Broken Wheel, for a summer of reading and getting to know small-town America. However, when Sara arrives, she is greeted by Amy’s funeral procession. Thousands of miles from home, with a return ticket dated two months hence, Sara is at a loss for what to do. So, naturally, with Amy’s collection of books, she opens a bookstore. Filled with familiar literary references, charming and quirky townsfolk, and plenty of scheming, plotting, and shenanigans that could only occur in a place like Broken Wheel, Bivald’s feel-good novel explores that ever-present question: books or people?”

Erin Figel, pages: a bookstore, Manhattan Beach, CA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Mitch Albom talks about his new book, THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO: A Novel, about which Karen Briggs (Great Northern Books & Hobbies in Oscoda, MI) says: "According to the Spirit of Music, the narrator of Albom’s latest novel, everyone joins a band in life — some of them play music, while others can be in a band of friendship, romance, or career. Frankie’s music is so powerful that he can actually affect people’s futures with the six magic strings on his guitar, but this gift becomes a burden for Frankie, impacting his loves and friendships, and, ultimately, his life.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“The author of The Hours gives us a modern take on classic fairy tales, from a sympathetic Rumpelstiltskin to a jaded but content Steadfast Tin Soldier. Cunningham is not shy with his characters: he strips away sentimentality like an old Band-Aid, tearing through the romanticism that these tales usually inspire. Each story is less a retelling and more an unflinching dissection of human nature—our base needs and urges, our raw fears and joys. Shimizu’s haunting illustrations give the book a classic feel, and make it a perfect addition to any fairy tale lover’s collection.”


Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA


'A Wild Swan' Flies Beyond Happily Ever After



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



December 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE SELECTED POEMS OF DONALD HALL, by Donald Hall


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“This is a gift of honesty, intimacy, and the pure genius that is Donald Hall, as he hand-picks what he considers to be the best of his poetry from more than 70 years of published works. From this former U.S. Poet Laureate comes one essential volume of his works, where ‘Ox-Cart Man’ sits alongside ‘Kicking the Leaves’ and ‘Without.’ As he is no longer writing poetry, this ‘concise gathering of my life’s work’ is the perfect introduction to Hall’s literary contributions, as well as closure for his many ardent followers.”

Katharine Nevins, MainStreet BookEnds of Warner, Warner, NH


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Mitch Albom talks about his new book, THE MAGIC STRINGS OF FRANKIE PRESTO: A Novel, about which Karen Briggs (Great Northern Books & Hobbies in Oscoda, MI) says: "According to the Spirit of Music, the narrator of Albom’s latest novel, everyone joins a band in life — some of them play music, while others can be in a band of friendship, romance, or career. Frankie’s music is so powerful that he can actually affect people’s futures with the six magic strings on his guitar, but this gift becomes a burden for Frankie, impacting his loves and friendships, and, ultimately, his life.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“The author of The Hours gives us a modern take on classic fairy tales, from a sympathetic Rumpelstiltskin to a jaded but content Steadfast Tin Soldier. Cunningham is not shy with his characters: he strips away sentimentality like an old Band-Aid, tearing through the romanticism that these tales usually inspire. Each story is less a retelling and more an unflinching dissection of human nature—our base needs and urges, our raw fears and joys. Shimizu’s haunting illustrations give the book a classic feel, and make it a perfect addition to any fairy tale lover’s collection.”


Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA


'A Wild Swan' Flies Beyond Happily Ever After



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



November 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE MURALIST: A Novel, by B.A. Shapiro


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“With the same level of intrigue and attention to detail that drew readers to The Art Forger, The Muralist focuses on the early days of WWII and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism. Shapiro brings to life New York City artists Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, who are both inspired by the novel’s brave and talented protagonist, Alizee Benoit. As these struggling artists find traction within their trade, Benoit attempts to bring awareness to the plight of European refugees and to defuse anti-Semitic politics in the U.S. through her art. Moving from past to present, readers will cheer for Benoit’s grandniece, Danielle, who is researching her family history to find the truth about Alizee’s mysterious disappearance and shed light on the sacrifices and contributions she made through art.”

Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Gregory Maguire speaks on his new book, AFTER ALICE, about which Coleen Colwell (BookSmart in Morgan Hill, CA) says: "Maguire, the fairy tale spin doctor, here takes on Wonderland. The heroine is not Alice, but rather her playmate Ada, a sheltered and lonely girl with a twisted spine. Ada inadvertently follows Alice into Wonderland, and her perceptions and experiences are marvelous and fresh, with her dry wit, pragmatism, and imagination enlivening and dominating the scene. Back at home, Alice’s sister Lydia offers readers a glimpse into Victorian times as Maguire’s prose gives a mystical glow to landscapes, personalities, and everyday life.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“Before Portlandia, before Sleater-Kinney, there was a girl living in the Pacific Northwest with big ambitions, desperately yearning for an identity all her own. In Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Brownstein strays from the normal parameters of memoir to give readers an insightful, raw look into the moments that shaped her into the person who would later co-found one of the world’s most influential rock bands. Navigating a past fraught with family turmoil, rejection from the music industry, and an unwavering determination to succeed, Brownstein shares the power of rock and roll, both as her catalyst to success and as a cultural barometer of our times.”


Zack Ruskin, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA


'Modern Girl' Carrie Brownstein Describes Finding (And Hiding) Herself In Music



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



October 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is FATES AND FURIES: A Novel, by Lauren Groff

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

Fates and Furies is an engrossing and complex novel about a seemingly perfect marriage of beautiful people, told in two parts. The first is a gentle introduction to Lotto and Mathilde, their marriage, and their friends and family; the second, a violent storm to wash away all you thought you knew. Groff crafts amazing, shocking sentences and brilliantly reveals the lies and deceit hiding behind the perfect façade. It’s a book you will finish too quickly and then want to tell your friends about. Very highly recommended.”

Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Jenny Lawson reads from her new book, FURIOUSLY HAPPY: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, which Marita Rivir (Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Cincinnati, OH) calls Lawson's "catalogue of the wonderful, ridiculous adventures that she has gone on in an effort to make the good times overshadow the bad. By fearlessly embracing her weirdness and being open about her experiences with mental illness in a culture that still largely stigmatizes and misunderstands such disorders, Lawson shines a light on what it’s like to live with depression, OCD, insomnia, and anxiety.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“Karr, a professor of literature at Syracuse University and the author of three memoirs, provides readers and writers with background, insights, hints, history, and humor related to both her own writing and that of other memoirists, past and present. The book is valuable not only to those who aspire to document portions of their own lives, but also to those who find the genre of memoir of interest for casual reading.”


Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA


Mary Karr On Writing Memoirs: 'No Doubt I've Gotten A Million Things Wrong'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



September 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is DID YOU EVER HAVE A FAMILY: A Novel, by Bill Clegg

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“It has been some time since a book has affected me quite the way this novel has. I was struck by the authentic portrayal of characters that moved beyond the pages and made me see human beings in a whole new way. A tragedy of great proportion sets in motion an unraveling of lives, an examination of what people hold dear, and a recognition of how relationships with those closest are the most important facets of life. I really lived with these characters for the brief time I was reading this book. The writing is beautiful and the mystery at the heart of the book will keep readers riveted. This is the sort of work scholars are referring to when they explain why literature and the novel is so vitally important to our understanding of the human condition.”

Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Felicia Day talks about her new book, YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST), about which Anna Eklund from University Book Store in Seattle, WA says: “Day has penned what is sure to be an instant cult classic. By turns funny, insightful, inspiring, and all-too-familiar, she maps her rise from lonely homeschooled girl to internet darling, along the way revealing her struggles, her insecurities, her stubbornness, and, most transparently, her utterly relatable story of finding her way while not fitting in.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“This is an amazingly complex novel that explores humanity, time, memory, communication, love, and the fear of losing what once was. Introducing five different narratives that at first seem unconnected, Hall creates a shimmering spiderweb of a story: delicately crafted, fragile, and infinitely beautiful, uncovering humanity’s most elusive and abstract thoughts.”


Nancy Solberg, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



August 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is CIRCLING THE SUN: A Novel, by Paula McLain

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Reading Circling the Sun reminded me of the deep pleasure of solid storytelling: the vast landscape of colonial Kenya, complicated and compelling historical characters, love, suffering, and adventure combine to create a captivating narrative. McLain imagines the African childhood and early adulthood of real-life horse trainer and pioneering female aviator, Beryl Markham, as well as her social milieu which included Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who, as Isak Dinesen, wrote Out of Africa. Markham lived a fascinating and uncompromising life filled with danger, ill-fated romance, and stunning bravery, and McLain does justice to her memory with this sensitive and beautifully written portrayal.”

Rhianna Walton, Powell's Books, Portland, OR


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Felicia Day talks about her new book, YOU'RE NEVER WEIRD ON THE INTERNET (ALMOST), about which Anna Eklund from University Book Store in Seattle, WA says: “Day has penned what is sure to be an instant cult classic. By turns funny, insightful, inspiring, and all-too-familiar, she maps her rise from lonely homeschooled girl to internet darling, along the way revealing her struggles, her insecurities, her stubbornness, and, most transparently, her utterly relatable story of finding her way while not fitting in.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“This is an amazingly complex novel that explores humanity, time, memory, communication, love, and the fear of losing what once was. Introducing five different narratives that at first seem unconnected, Hall creates a shimmering spiderweb of a story: delicately crafted, fragile, and infinitely beautiful, uncovering humanity’s most elusive and abstract thoughts.”


Nancy Solberg, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



July 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is THE OREGON TRAIL: A New American Journey, by Rinker Buck

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Inspired by a family trip in a covered wagon in the 1950s, Rinker Buck and his brother Nick set out by wagon to discover what remains of the Oregon Trail between Missouri and Oregon. Along the way, readers learn about wagon design, mule heritage, and what pioneers needed to endure traveling west in the 19th century. This is also a moving personal story of brotherhood, endurance, and the kindness of strangers. Buck weaves fact, action, and reflection together into a page-turning delight that history buffs and fans of contemporary nonfiction will not want to miss.”

Dick Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Matthew Quick talks about the topic of his new book, LOVE MAY FAIL, about which Mary Laura Philpott from Parnassus Books in Nashville, TN says: “No one writes quite like Matthew Quick. If you loved The Silver Linings Playbook or The Good Luck of Right Now, you’ll love this, too; if Quick is new to you, Love May Fail is an excellent place to start. As in his other books, there is love, friendship, family, depression, addiction, and a mishmash of literary and musical references. With its all-new cast of quirky characters, Love May Fail should be in every beach bag this summer!”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“This is an amazingly complex novel that explores humanity, time, memory, communication, love, and the fear of losing what once was. Introducing five different narratives that at first seem unconnected, Hall creates a shimmering spiderweb of a story: delicately crafted, fragile, and infinitely beautiful, uncovering humanity’s most elusive and abstract thoughts.”


Nancy Solberg, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

If Robots 'Speak,' Will We Listen? Novel Imagines A Future Changed By AI



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



May 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD: A Memoir, by Elizabeth Alexander

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“It is hard to find the right words to do justice to this very special book. Yes, it is by one of our greatest contemporary poets, Elizabeth Alexander, who wrote ‘Praise Song for the Day’ for President Obama’s first inauguration, so the language is gorgeous. And yes, it is a memoir of losing her husband at a young age and so it is, in parts, gut-wrenchingly sad. And yes, it is an ode to an extraordinary man we come to feel we know as an artist, chef, father, friend, and lover. But, above all, it is as beautiful a love story as I have ever read, and it lifts readers up and gives us hope and makes us believe. I will urge it on everyone I know.”

Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Jon Ronson talks about the topic of his new book, SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED, about which Ann Carlson from Waterfront Books in Georgetown, SC says: “This book both fascinated and terrified me with its insights into the increasing outrage to be found on social media and how careers and even lives can be quickly ruined by public forums. Ronson takes the concept further, exploring the history of public shaming, the nature of crowd ‘madness,’ why some people are unaffected by the process while others are devastated, and how Google searches make it hard to recover from the trauma.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“Ari is the profane, generous, poetic, desperate, loving, and terrified best friend we all hope for. Sleep-deprived and thrumming with the electricity of new motherhood, Ari stumbles upon pockets of community support in places both expected and unexpected that cut through her small-town isolation and the clutch of postpartum depression. Albert wields humor like a blade in relaying Ari’s thoughts, and she is a master of conveying the gorgeous struggle of birth and all that comes after.”


Katie Presley, BookPeople, Austin, TX

'After Birth' Author On 'Mommy Wars': 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



April 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is ORHAN'S INHERITANCE: A Novel, by Aline Ohanesian

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Debut author Ohanesian’s historical novel relives the nearly forgotten tragedy of the Armenian Genocide during and after WWI. Through deportations, massacres, and executions of Christian and Jewish Armenians, the Ottoman Empire and its successors eliminated 1.5 million citizens. Ohanesian’s beautifully written book shares a tale of passionate love, unspeakable horror, incredible strength, and the hidden stories that haunt a family. Highly recommended.”

Doug Robinson, Eagle Eye Book Shop, Decatur, GA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Jon Ronson talks about the topic of his new book, SO YOU'VE BEEN PUBLICLY SHAMED, about which Ann Carlson from Waterfront Books in Georgetown, SC says: “This book both fascinated and terrified me with its insights into the increasing outrage to be found on social media and how careers and even lives can be quickly ruined by public forums. Ronson takes the concept further, exploring the history of public shaming, the nature of crowd ‘madness,’ why some people are unaffected by the process while others are devastated, and how Google searches make it hard to recover from the trauma.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“Ari is the profane, generous, poetic, desperate, loving, and terrified best friend we all hope for. Sleep-deprived and thrumming with the electricity of new motherhood, Ari stumbles upon pockets of community support in places both expected and unexpected that cut through her small-town isolation and the clutch of postpartum depression. Albert wields humor like a blade in relaying Ari’s thoughts, and she is a master of conveying the gorgeous struggle of birth and all that comes after.”


Katie Presley, BookPeople, Austin, TX

'After Birth' Author On 'Mommy Wars': 'It Doesn't Have To Be This Way'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .