December 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
MOONGLOW: A Novel, by Michael Chabon


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“The intersection of world history and family history, the interplay of memory and imagination, a tangle of humor and grief, and the blurred and shifting line that separates sanity and madness all come into play in this stunning book. In the months before his death, Chabon’s grandfather revealed much of his life to his grandson. On that foundation, Chabon has built a novel filled with family stories, World War II episodes — including an appearance by Wernher von Braun — an obsession with rocketry, and a vividly realized, against-all-odds love story. While all the characters are richly developed, the narrator’s grandfather — the brave, eccentric, anger-fueled, and deeply loving center of this novel — will remain with readers forever.”

Banna Rubinow, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Zadie Smith reads from her new novel, SWING TIME, about which Peggy Latkovich (Mac’s Backs in Cleveland Heights, OH) says: "In her gracefully written new work, the author of NW and White Teeth addresses the frustrations of family relations, the complications of race, the tyranny of celebrity, and the travesty of cultural appropriation. Smith looks at the fragile threads that tie friends together and how easily they can snap, and her prose flows without effort, granting even the most flawed characters — and there are many — a modicum of redemption.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Noah’s perspective of growing up as the son of a black woman and white man in South Africa during apartheid, mixed with his trademark humor, is both insightful and poignant. We in the U.S. are often presented with what Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie has termed ‘the danger of the single story,’ which depicts history only from the point of view of the oppressors. It is refreshing and enlightening to learn history from someone directly affected by the heinousness of the apartheid laws."


Karena Fagan, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA


Trevor Noah Says He Grew Up 'In The Shadow Of A Giant' (His Mom)



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



November 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
FAITHFUL: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

Faithful is compulsively readable and includes all of the traits we have come to love and expect from an Alice Hoffman novel. It is a coming-of-age tale of the emotional journey of a girl overcome with heartbreak after a tragic accident, who is now attempting to redefine herself. It is a hopeful lesson in faith, love, friendship, forgiveness, and opening up to new possibilities. A friendly warning: Expect a craving for Chinese food and a desire to adopt a rescue dog after reading.”

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


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Nell Zink talks about her new book, NICOTINE, about which Pierre Camy (Schuler Books & Music in Grand Rapids, MI) says: "When recent college graduate Penny Baker inherits her hippie father’s childhood house, she expects to find an abandoned ruin. Instead, she finds a house renovated and inhabited by squatters and falls desperately in love with one of them, something that does not go over well with her family. This deceptively simple premise allows Zink to return to some of her favorite themes of family and identity, as well as love, activism, and materialism, through the lives of unforgettable characters and hilarious situations. This book is a riot!”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"This is a grueling, soul-searching study of memory and personal pain written in the most soaring prose. To some extent, most of us think we came from dysfunctional families, but this memoir is going to become the calibration standard for dysfunction. How Slouka survived his parents and their scarred Czech pasts, their humiliating years as refugees, and their years of unhappy marriage in America is a small miracle. What’s left are some large emotional holes that Slouka attempts to patch up in front of the reader. An absolutely mesmerizing read."


Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT


'Nobody's Son': A Memoir Of Childhood, Immigration And A Mother's Love



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



October 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE MOTHERS: A Novel, by Brit Bennett


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“The ‘mothers’ of this book’s title refers to the gaggle of elderly churchgoing women who comment on the congregation around them, especially the trio of Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey. But The Mothers is about more than that — it refers to the concept of motherhood, whether biological, lost, aborted, adoptive, or conflicted. The three young people at the heart of this story are all flawed, but their portrayals are realistic and they are easy for readers to support. This is a book about salvation — not the spiritual salvation that the gossiping, but well-intentioned mothers seek, but the kind that comes with self-acceptance and growth. The Mothers is an honest, modern, and triumphant book.”

Jamie Thomas, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Jodi Picoult talks about her new book, SMALL GREAT THINGS: A Novel, about which Michael Hermann (Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, NH) says: "Picoult can be relied upon to find the themes that are most important to our national conversation and then to explore them with wit, warmth, and skill. In Small Great Things, she illuminates the racial divide in our country through the vivid stories of a black nurse, a white supremacist, and the public defender who intervenes when the worst happens. This excellent, timely novel is sure to be loved by Picoult’s fans and is certain to create new ones.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Lib Wright, a protégé of Florence Nightingale and a nursing veteran of the Crimean War, is dispatched from London to a remote Irish village to keep watch on Anna O’Donnell, a young girl who is rumored to have refrained from eating for four months yet continues to thrive. Miracle or hoax? Lib is determined to uncover the truth, but the truth is never simple. In this beautiful, haunting novel, Donoghue weaves a tale of misguided faith and duty, exploited innocence, and redemptive love."


Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO


Emma Donoghue's New Novel Follows "The Wonder" Of Starvation



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



September 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
COMMONWEALTH: A Novel, by Anne Patchett


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Patchett leaves behind the exotic locales and intricate plots of State of Wonder and Bel Canto for an even darker and more difficult place to navigate — the interior of a blended family over the course of several decades. While more domestic than many of her previous novels, Commonwealth offers plenty of intrigue and surprises as Patchett explores the interaction of a group of children forced into each other’s lives because of their parents’ impulsive choices. With keen insight, tears of both sorrow and joy, and some real — if dark — humor, Patchett pulls readers into this complex family’s world, and we are eager for every detail.”

John Christensen, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Affinity Konar talks about her new book, MISCHLING, about which Kelly Pickerill (Lemuria Bookstore in Jackson, MS) says: "Sisters Stasha and Pearl are accustomed to the imaginative interior life they share as twins, but in Josef Mengele’s ‘Zoo’ at Auschwitz they must find refuge in that life in order to survive. Readers descend into the violence and despair of the Holocaust as experienced through the eyes of the twins but are protected by an innocence that is also urbane and by a sardonic playfulness that does not shy from horrors but transforms them into fortitude and resilience. Konar has achieved the unlikely — Mischling simultaneously haunts and inspires.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Whitehead’s new novel is much more than the story of a runaway slave, Cora, who fights her way to the North; it is also a phantasmagorical look at race in America. In this instance the railroad is literal — a train roaring through tunnels constructed like a subway, leading Cora to several unlikely destinations. Like the travels of Gulliver, each of Cora’s stops on the railroad is a different version of America, displaying the varied ways in which Americans view race and manifest destiny. With exquisite prose, Colson digs deep into the troubled heart of America, exposing prejudice, tolerance, hatred, violence, and love as readers stop at each distinct station."


William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA


Colson Whitehead's 'Underground Railroad' Is A Literal Train To Freedom



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



August 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
ANOTHER BROOKLYN: A Novel, by Jacqueline Woodson


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“National Book Award-winning author Jacqueline Woodson has crafted a beautiful, heart-wrenching novel of a young girl’s coming-of-age in Brooklyn. Effortlessly weaving poetic prose, Woodson tells the story of the relationships young women form, their yearning to belong, and the bonds that are created — and broken. Brooklyn itself is a vivid character in this tale — a place at first harsh, but one that becomes home and plays a role in each character’s future. Woodson is one of the most skilled storytellers of our day, and I continue to love and devour each masterpiece she creates!”

Nicole Yasinsky, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


B.A. Paris talks about her new book, BEHIND CLOSED DOORS, about which Stephanie Crowe (Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL) says: "Jack is charming and handsome, but underneath his cool exterior is a brutal psychopath who thrives on terrifying others. His wife, Grace, found out too late that he is a monster who seeks to control everything she does. Even her sister, Millie, a handicapped young woman who depends on Grace, is part of Jack’s vicious plan. Paris has crafted a riveting, intense tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats until the last page.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Dark Matter is equal parts science fiction, thriller, and theoretical self-examination, complete with an overarching love story. Crouch does a fantastic job of keeping readers grounded while traveling through multiple dimensions, and he offers introspection on how each of the life choices a person makes recreates that person in a new and profound way. I tore through this, waiting for — and finding — a spectacular conclusion. A must-read!"


Ed White, Hudson Booksellers, Marietta, GA


What If You Hadn't Gotten Married? 'Dark Matter' Imagines An Alternate Life



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



July 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
UNDERGROUND AIRLINES: A Novel, by Ben H. Winters


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Winters has managed to aim a giant magnifying glass at the problem of institutionalized racism in America in a way that has never been done before. This Orwellian allegory takes place in the present day but in a United States where Lincoln was assassinated before he ever became president, the Civil War never took place, and slavery still exists in four states, known as the Hard Four. In agile prose that manages to convey the darkest of humors, Winters tackles the most sensitive of issues such as the motivations of misguided white liberals involved in racial politics, the use of racial profiling, and the influence of racism on the very young. Underground Airlines is the most important book of the summer. Read it.”

Kelly Justice, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Blair Braverman talks about her new book, WELCOME TO THE GODDAMN ICE CUBE: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North, about which Katie McGrath (Arcadia Books in Spring Green, WI) says: "The brilliant and engaging writing in this memoir belies the author’s young age. Braverman offers a taut and honest recounting of a young woman fiercely chasing down her dream and confronting myriad dangers — both natural and man-made — with intelligence and grit. This white-knuckle read left me in awe of Braverman’s conviction, and her lyrical rendering of the landscape of Alaska took my breath away.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"This multigenerational saga follows the fortunes of the Sel and Duke families from early Colonial days to the present, spanning centuries and continents as they make their living not only from the bounty of the land but also from the ravaging and destruction of it. As always, Proulx is brilliant at creating a story that flows impeccably, and her nature writing is some of the most beautiful and evocative to be found in modern literature. This novel is an epic work, a fictional Silent Spring that will linger with readers long after completion."


Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS


Annie Proulx's Bloody New Novel 'Barkskins' Is About More Than Deforestation



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



June 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE GIRLS: A Novel, by Emma Cline


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Evie Boyd is a lonely 14-year-old adjusting to her parents’ recent divorce and an emotional break with her childhood best friend. She encounters a wild and enchanting group of girls and is immediately drawn into their world of reckless abandon. Seduced by their thrilling, cult-like family hidden in the California hills, Evie finds herself pulled into events that will lead to unspeakable violence. Cline’s captivating prose strips bare the deep desires and vulnerability of teenage Evie as she struggles for acceptance. The Girls is an enthralling and haunting novel that will linger with readers long after the last page.”

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


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Yaa Gyasi talks about her new book, HOMEGOING: A novel, about which Nichole McCown (Bookshop Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, CA) says: "Homegoing is an epic narrative that is sure to become a treasured staple. Two sisters in Ghana are marked by fiery tragedy: one is married off to an English slave trader, and the other is sold to be a slave in America. The story follows their descendants generation by generation. Homegoing will break your heart over and over, impress you with the resilience of the human spirit and the amazing power of forgiveness, and leave you optimistic and in awe.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Imagine a world where every dark thought you possessed was revealed by a wisp of smoke. And what if a portion of society could hide their darkness, while others were forever stained by their sins? Set in an alternative England, this tale reveals what really lies behind this sinful soot through the eyes of three teenagers who begin to question all they have been told. Smoke is a brilliant combination of fantasy and historical fiction, where layers of mystery and glimmers of truth will keep readers feverishly turning pages until the very end."


Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA


In An Alternate 19th Century London, Sins Are Marked With 'Smoke'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



May 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE ATOMIC WEIGHT OF LOVE: A Novel, by Elizabeth J. Church


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Church deftly traces the life of Meridian Wallace, an intelligent young woman who is searching for who she is and what she wants to become. As America braces for entrance into WWII, Meri falls for the ambitious Alden Whetstone, a much older but brilliant scientist. Aspiring to be a ‘good wife,’ Meri abandons her own academic pursuits in ornithology to follow Alden to Los Alamos, but the years that follow are filled with dashed hopes and compromises. Over the decades of her marriage, Meri attempts to fill the void of unrealized dreams by making a home and reclaiming her sense of self. Filled with sharp, poignant prose, the novel mimics the birds Meri studies, following her as she struggles to find her wings, let go, and take flight. Church gives readers a thoughtful and thought-provoking examination of the sacrifices women make in life and the courage needed for them to soar on their own.”

Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Louise Erdrich talks about her new book, LAROSE, about which Peter Sherman (Wellesley Books in Wellesley, MA) says: "When a hunting accident results in the death of his neighbor’s son, Landreaux Iron follows native tradition and offers his own son, LaRose, to the bereaved family. Thus begins a powerful story of anger, love, hurt, and joy among a group of families and neighbors living in a small community in the North Dakota hinterland. Erdrich’s luminous prose captures each character’s struggle to overcome their worst impulses – whether it’s a handicapped man’s long-nurtured quest for revenge, or the pain of a mother withholding her love from her daughter – and reaches into the distant past to reveal the story of the young boy’s namesake, the original LaRose.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"It is a universally acknowledged truth that a retelling of Pride and Prejudice must be cleverly written and wickedly funny. Sittenfeld has accomplished that and more with her fantastic new novel. The Bennet sisters have been transported to modern day Cincinnati. Jane is a yoga instructor, Liz, a writer for a women’s magazine, Lydia and Kitty do nothing but work out, and Mary spends most of her time in her room. The two older sisters live in New York, but have come home to check on Mr. Bennet who is recovering from a heart attack. The storyline is one that will be familiar to most Austen readers, but with some extremely funny twists."


Sharon Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI


Curtis Sittenfeld: Fifty Shades Of Jane



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



April 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE NEST: A Novel, by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Welcome to the strikingly dysfunctional Plumb family: four siblings connected by little more than ‘The Nest,’ a joint trust fund that each has earmarked to support their unrealistic lifestyles. When Leo, the older brother and the center of the Plumb family universe, injures himself and a 19-year-old waitress in a scandalous car accident and endangers ‘The Nest’ just months before the funds are to be made available, the siblings come together for damage control. Sweeney artfully touches on each family member as they scramble to save the precarious lives they have built for themselves, bringing light and humor to her characters’ various plights. Funny, thoughtful, and filled with unique and complex characters — this book is a must-read.”

Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Molly Prentiss talks about her new book, TUESDAY NIGHTS IN 1980, about which Richael Best (The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, WA) says: "A synesthetic art critic rises to prominence by capturing the je ne sais quoi of great new paintings in terms of sound, aura, and taste. A young painter escapes war in his native Argentina to bring his unusual portraits to New York. A wide-eyed farm girl leaves home for the gritty promise of the big city, destined to become a muse of the art scene. The web between these characters becomes increasingly tangled as 1980 progresses in all its dark glamour. Prentiss captures raw ambition, startled joy, and aching tragedy equally well to produce a thought-provoking, originally textured novel that both transports and awes.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
"Robert Goodenough was born in Ohio’s Black Swamp. The youngest of 10 children, he was the only one with any interest in his father’s obsession of buying seedlings from John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and trying to cultivate and perfect his apple orchard in the inhospitable black muck. Family tragedy sends Robert running west to California and the Gold Rush, where he finds solace in the redwoods and sequoias and meets a naturalist who recognizes his love of botany. But Robert is reluctantly forced to face his past and must decide to either claim it or set out on his own path. Chevalier’s tale is a thoughtfully crafted and vivid slice of pioneer life."


Jody Misner Chwatun, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI


'I Ate A Lot Of Apples': Tracy Chevalier On Writing Her 'Orchard' Novel



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



March 2016 Indie Next List #1 Great Read


On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is
THE OPPOSITE OF EVERYONE: A Novel, by Joshilyn Jackson


View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Paula Vauss, née Kali Jai, is complicated, with every right to be so. When she was a young girl, her mother landed in prison and Paula spent time in foster care. Kai, Paula’s Southern, bohemian, Hindu story-telling, boyfriend-hopping mother, loves her, but circumstances surrounding the separation permanently alter their unique love and each spends time trying to make life work again. This is a poignant story of hurt and forgiveness, of secrets and courage, and ultimately of allowing love and family to make one whole again. Jackson’s The Opposite of Everyone will remain in readers’ hearts long after the last line is read.”

Annell Gerson, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Jacquelyn Mitchard talks about her new book, TWO IF BY SEA: A Novel, about which Stephanie Crowe (Page & Palette in Fairhope, AL) says: "Mitchard has woven a gripping narrative of a family borne out of tragedy. Frank loses his wife and unborn son to a tsunami, and in the midst of rescuing others saves a small boy. This child, Ian, possesses a special gift that impacts those around him in powerful ways. As Frank tries to form a new family, there are repercussions from Ian’s past that put them both at risk. This is the marvelous story of Frank and Ian’s journey as both try to handle the pain of the past and accept the joy of new beginnings. I loved it!”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“In A Doubter’s Almanac, Milo Andret’s mathematical genius is as much a burden as it is a gift. He makes a series of choices — damaging to both himself and his family — that would seem to unravel any empathy readers might have for him, but Canin’s eloquent prose brings out the humanity in even the most flawed individuals. This is a novel filled with characters whose struggles with intellect, family, and vulnerability I won’t soon forget.”


Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS


'Doubter's Almanac' Is A Family Saga, Plus Algebraic Equations



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



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