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. . .



March 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is THE FIFTH GOSPEL: A Novel, by Ian Caldwell

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“One of the great mysteries of the Catholic Church, The Shroud of Turin, has inspired one of the great writers of our time to create this masterful thriller. Two brothers — Alex, a Greek Catholic priest, and Simon, a Roman Catholic priest — are drawn into the intrigue surrounding the Shroud and the origins of the Church following the murder of their friend Ugo, an eccentric curator obsessed with the Shroud who was preparing a major exhibit in the Vatican Gallery. Alex and Simon are dedicated brothers and priests, yet as different in temperament and faith as they are similar in conviction and loyalty. Caldwell unveils much about the world behind the Vatican walls, even as the intricate plot builds to a climax. A spectacular achievement!”

Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Kazuo Ishiguro talks about his new book, THE BURIED GIANT: A Novel, about which Rick Simonson from The Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle, WA says: “Ishiguro’s new novel is a work of wonder, transport, and beauty. A recurrent theme in his earlier books, always shown with great originality, is the matter of what happens after we have lost our way. In The Buried Giant, Ishiguro explores losing direction, memory, and certainty, as the primary characters cling to remnants of codes of behavior and belief.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“An employee at a mundane office in Sweden, Bjorn knows that he is better than his contemporaries and does whatever it takes to get the recognition he feels he deserves. He finds that recognition in ‘the room,’ an otherwise unremarkable space between the elevators and the toilets, except for the fact that it seems to exist only for him. In ‘the room,’ Bjorn feels more powerful, more attractive, and able to take control of the work environment he finds upsettingly sloppy. Unfortunately for Bjorn, his coworkers only see him as a man staring at a wall for inordinate periods and try to keep him from this unsettling behavior. Brilliantly crafted and sharply funny.”


Kelsey Myers, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

'The Room' Offers An Escape From The Office — Or Does It?



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



February 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is THE NIGHTINGALE: A Novel, by Kristin Hannah

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Filled with sacrifice, betrayal, suspense, courage, and ultimately, forgiveness, The Nightingale offers a haunting glimpse of what it was like for women to survive during WWII. Set in a small town in France, The Nightingale tells the alternating stories of two sisters, their father, and the friends and enemies that occupy their lives during this tragic period of history. Based on a true story, The Nightingale weaves a riveting tale around the heroism of Isabelle, a young woman who serves as a key player in the underground Resistance, and her sister, Viann, who is back home under German occupation, near starvation and struggling to save Jewish children. In the end, however, perhaps this novel is more about the sisterly bonds of love that, although stretched to the limit, still endure.”

Marnie Mamminga, Redbery Books, Cable, Wisconsin


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Emma Hooper talks about her new book, ETTA AND OTTO AND RUSSELL AND JAMES, about which Susan Tyler from The Book Bin in Onley, VA says: “Eighty-three-year-old Etta Vogel quietly sets out one day to walk 3,200 kilometers to the coast of Canada for her first view of the ocean. As Etta travels, author Hooper gently and poignantly reveals a lifetime of morally charged events that shaped Etta as well as her husband, Otto, and her lifelong friend, Russell. This is a beautiful and sometimes hauntingly stark portrait of three WWII-generation lives, sprinkled with the wise counsel of a loyal coyote named James. I loved it!”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“Vaillant has established his reputation as an accomplished writer of nonfiction, and he now brings his considerable talent to this debut novel. There are no easy moments in this story told by Hector, a young man engaged in an illegal border crossing inside a sealed tanker truck. Vaillant uses Hector’s narration to bring the frequent brutality of the illegal immigration experience to light in visceral detail, engaging both the reader’s sympathy and revulsion, which linger long after the last page is turned.”


Fran Keilty, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

'The Jaguar's Children' Is Ripped From Heartbreaking Headlines



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



January 2015 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is THE SECRET WISDOM OF THE EARTH: A Novel, by Chris Scotton

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Struggling to recover from the trauma of his baby brother’s tragic death, Kevin and his broken mother relocate to Medger, Kentucky, for the summer. Their return to the Appalachian coal town in which their family is deeply rooted is intended to heal them both. While Kevin’s grandfather is just the person and the wild hollows surrounding their little town just the place to help him mend, Kevin finds that Medger and its citizens are in need of healing as well.”

Catherine Weller, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, UT


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Andrew Keen talks about his new book, THE INTERNET IS NOT THE ANSWER, about which Linda Bond from Auntie’s Bookstore in Spokane, WA says: “In the midst of celebrating all that the Internet has done for us comes this thoughtful invitation to consider the negative impacts of its presence in our lives. Keen, himself a veteran of the tech industry, reveals the behind-the-scenes workings of the Internet with input from others involved. His best message, however, is that with consideration and the application of care we can still shape a future society that utilizes the strengths of the internet while not allowing it to overwhelm us and turn us into robotic servants of the very technology that was designed to help us gain freedom and growth as human beings.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“This novel tells the story of sisters Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, later to become Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Vanessa, an emerging painter, tells their stories in her journal accompanied by the letters and telegrams of their families, husbands, and the many brilliant artists and painters in their circle. It is a story of art, literature, betrayal, emotional upheaval, and, above all, the many complicated forms love takes. Set against the backdrop of Edwardian England, a time of sweeping social transformations, Vanessa and Her Sister is a moving portrait of a brilliant family.”


Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

Novel Gives Voice To Virginia Woolf's Overshadowed Sister



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



December 2014 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is US: A Novel, by David Nicholls

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“This gorgeous novel manages to be heart-wrenching and hilarious all at once. Connie tells Douglas that she suspects their 20-year marriage has ‘run its course’ right before they’re set to leave on a European tour with their teenage son. Regardless, they take the trip and flashbacks of their more passionate days are interspersed with the narrative of their everything-at-stake adventure. A brilliant and humanizing picture of mature love — and a look at whether or not people truly outgrow each other.”

Mary Cotton, Newtonville Books, Newton, MA


Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Anita Diamant introduces her new book, THE BOSTON GIRL: A Novel, about which Jenny Lyons from The Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury, VT says: “Diamant brings a generation of women to life through the voice of Addie Baum. Born in 1900, Addie tells of her early childhood in Boston as the child of immigrant parents; her formative years as a Saturday Club girl, where she found her lifelong friends; her career path as a typist and journalist; and meeting her husband and finding meaningful work as a social worker. Her story plays out against a backdrop of some of the most basic issues women had to face as they found their places in 20th century America.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“If this book were liquor, I’d buy shots for the whole bar. If it were a YouTube video, I’d be walking around showing it to strangers on my phone. But it’s a book, so I’m going to buy multiple copies and hand them out to everyone I know who loves to read. The combination of irreverent, modern text-speak and classic literary characters makes for one hilarious imaginary conversation after another. The exchange between the husband and wife from Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper had me snort-laughing! Every English major, every bookseller, every reader of any sort needs this book!”


Mary Laura Philpott, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

If Literature's Great Characters Could Text, They'd Charm Your Pantalets Off



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



November 2014 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is NOT MY FATHER'S SON: A Memoir, by Alan Cumming

View this month's complete Indie Next List.


View from a bookseller

“Every so often reading a memoir feels like a conversation rather than a strict narrative or—the death knell for memoir—a self-indulgent romp down memory lane. Cumming's memoir is a gorgeous, intimate conversation and it reads beautifully. The pace is perfect, the presentation truly lovely, and I felt like a close friend rather than an impersonal audience. Cumming's early life was a struggle and he hardly shies from relating details, but the driving force behind this book is the demonstration of the many ways one can bring oneself to peace after hardship. I enjoyed it immensely.”

Demi Marshall, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC




Miami Book Fair International Live Stream, Nov. 21, 22 & 23

View schedule at PBS.org




Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Garth Stein introduces his new book, A SUDDEN LIGHT: A Novel, about which Andrea Jones from The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, VT says: “Stein’s new novel of family relationships and responsibilities explores the connections between the living and the dead, between parents and children, and what it means to be stewards of the land. Two very compelling characters drive the story: a 14-year-old boy trying to patch his family back together and a centuries-old ghost trying to make sure that the wrongs of the past are put right so that a family’s legacy can be maintained. A Sudden Light is a compelling search for faith and meaning in a world where bad things sometimes happen.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“The history of incarceration in America is deeply colored by our history of racism and poverty. Stevenson's work providing legal aid to death row inmates exposes truly inhumane, unjust practices and astonishing legal carelessness often fueled by outright prejudice. JUST MERCY does not stop at reportage, but examines the costs of these practices to the individual, the family, the community, and society at large. This is a powerful book about one man's efforts to address injustice and a clarion call for reform not just for those imprisoned, but for a society that has lost its way.”


Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA

One Lawyer's Fight For Young Blacks And 'Just Mercy'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



October 2014 Indie Next List #1 Great Read

On the cover of this month's Indie Next list is LEAVING TIME: A Novel, by Jodi Picoult

View this month's complete Indie Next List here.


View from a bookseller

“Jenna Metcalf was born into what should have been an idyllic life in a sanctuary where her mother studied grief in elephants. When Jenna was very young, a tragic event occurred and her mother disappeared. As a teenager, Jenna tries to reclaim her past by attempting to discover both who her mother was and what happened to her. Fascinating lore about elephant behavior enhances this tale about grief and the bonds of love between mother and child that persist across time and species. Emotionally wrenching, with an unexpected but transcendent conclusion, this is a great read!”

Deb Fliegel, River Lights Bookstore, Dubuque, IA




Indie Next authors talk about their books...


Garth Stein introduces his new book, A SUDDEN LIGHT: A Novel, about which Andrea Jones from The Galaxy Bookshop in Hardwick, VT says: “Stein’s new novel of family relationships and responsibilities explores the connections between the living and the dead, between parents and children, and what it means to be stewards of the land. Two very compelling characters drive the story: a 14-year-old boy trying to patch his family back together and a centuries-old ghost trying to make sure that the wrongs of the past are put right so that a family’s legacy can be maintained. A Sudden Light is a compelling search for faith and meaning in a world where bad things sometimes happen.”


Indie Next around the web. . .

NPR
“At the end of WWI, 26-year-old Frances and her mother find themselves in dire financial circumstances. Both of Frances’ brothers died in the war, and now her father’s death has left them in debt. Frances and her mother reconfigure their home in a gracious London neighborhood so that they can take in lodgers. From the moment Mr. and Mrs. Barber — the ‘paying guests’— arrive, the young couple pulls Frances out of her staid routine, and before long sexual sparks are flying. Waters is a brilliant writer, a master of the hothouse atmosphere and the slow reveal, and her new novel is utterly absorbing.”
Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

After WWI, A Mother And Daughter Must Take In 'Paying Guests'



Indie Next in Paperback. . .



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