Benediction: A Novel
"Any new novel by Haruf is cause for celebration, but for those of us who have been waiting patiently to reconnect with the Front Range of Colorado and its quirky inhabitants since reading Plainsong and Eventide, Benediction is the answer to our literary prayers. The main character is dying, but that doesn't set a tone of great remorse or regret for a life in its last stages on Earth. Instead, it becomes a reflection of a family, of the place where they live, of the forces that formed them and made them into the strange, angry, resourceful, and engaging people who they have become. Haruf is a wonderful writer, and I can't wait to celebrate the publication of this book with him and with our customers."
— Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ
March 2013 Indie Next List
Inspired Recommendations from Indie Booksellers
Hainey's search for the truth about his father's early death is one of the most compelling memoirs I've read. An insider's tribute to the hard-working and hard-drinking big city newsmen of the 1950s and '60s, After Visiting Friends is also an unsentimental love song to a Chicago of all-night bars, jazz clubs, and three major daily newspapers. I was engaged, moved, and kept guessing (as Hainey was for more than 10 years) until the truth won out. A brave, intimate, and honest portrait of a family and its secrets.
— Linda Bubon, Women & Children First, Chicago, IL
There is a category of memoir that I think of as 'childhood survival story' in which, because of parental failure or absence, the author's youth is so difficult that the reader is amazed that she or he made it to adulthood. Ruta's is such a story, but it's told with such matter of factness, understanding, and humor that one can't help but like her mother, all the while recognizing that the mother was more the child in the relationship. This is a compassionate and eloquent story of twisted love and recovery.
— Lyn Roberts, Square Books, Oxford, MS
This is a slick, fast-paced novel that breaks the bounds of literary convention while immersing readers in the life of a poor young man trying to make his fortune. The characters and places remain nameless, which allows them to represent 'Anywhere, Asia' and yet somehow we come to know them deeply and believe in their specific reality. The young man's fortunes rise and fall through a series of lucky encounters, chances taken, and circumstances both in and out of his control. In the end, this book is less about individual actions and more about the inexorable power and energy of Rising Asia. As in his previous novels, Hamid's writing is taut and beautifully crafted.
— Caitlin Caulfield, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA
Dee is a master at capturing the portrait of a contemporary family on the page. Manhattan attorney Ben, his wife Helen, and their teenager, Sara, live in the New York suburbs. A lust-driven and disastrous misstep on Ben's part destroys his already bedraggled marital relationship. The totally absorbing story of 'what happens next' to all three protagonists is told with riveting intensity by Dee. The emotional credibility of this novel will ensure that it finds a wide audience.
— Marian Nielsen, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA
Retired FBI agent Brigid Quinn is trying to live like a normal person, with a husband, dogs, and quaint domesticity, until one day a man claims to be a serial killer whom Quinn chased but could never catch. Just as the case seems to be finally closing, Quinn finds herself thrown back into the investigation and the apparent target of another murderer. Fast-paced, thrilling, and gritty, this is a tour de force of crime fiction that introduces us to a unique and intriguing female character.
— Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Duck, NC
Vivien, who suffered an incredible loss in the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, helps others cope with their grief by making their lost loved ones come alive on the page. Claire, a young wife and mother in suburban Washington, D.C., who is caught up in the excitement of the 1960 Kennedy inauguration, wants 'more' but she's not quite sure 'more' of what. Theirs are compelling lives of love and loss, romance and friendship, marriage and motherhood, promises made and unreasonable hopes kept alive, and the mystery that is their connection. Literary mystery, love story, and historical fiction -- all beautifully told with expertly drawn characters make this one great novel!
— Judy Crosby, Island Books, Middletown, RI
The Beggar's Opera introduces readers to a once beautiful but now crumbling Havana and a cast of wonderful characters, including the sensitive and cunning Inspector Ricardo Ramirez and medical investigator Hector Apiro. The stark picture of life in modern day Cuba adds atmosphere and interest to the complex criminal investigation of the mystery - the rape and death of an eight-year-old boy. This is a totally captivating debut to a mystery series with an unforgettable setting and compelling characters.
— Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC
Nao, a suicidal Japanese girl, postpones her death as she grows closer to her 104-year-old great-grandmother, a Buddhist nun. Ruth, an American author with writer's block, discovers a diary washed ashore on her remote island in the Pacific Northwest. Ruth becomes obsessed with Nao and her diary, and readers will be drawn in as their stories intertwine. Ozeki's creatively constructed novel, complete with footnotes, Japanese characters, and appendices, will have readers marveling at the leaps in time and connection that bring the two women together in this witty, daring, and thoughtful novel.
— Cheryl Krocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA
This is the story of Mary Mallon - the infamous 'Typhoid Mary' -- who carried the typhus disease to an epidemic level among New York City residents during the first decade of the 1900s. Although perfectly healthy, it was believed that Mary was manufacturing typhoid bacilli inside her body and infecting those with whom she came in contact. She was forcibly hospitalized for three years until being released by the court under the condition she would never cook for hire again. Her Irish upbringing and talent as a cook caused her to defy that order, and she risked a return to the hospital. This is an intimate story and a compelling read.
— Carol Hicks, Bookshelf At Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA
Readers know when they are in the presence of something special and brilliant. It is a voice familiar and kind, a plot careful and unraveling, a set of characters whose hearts pound between the covers. Selasi delivers a powerful debut about family, race. and the nature of story in this contemporary novel, set in neighborhoods from Brookline, Massachusetts, to Lagos, Nigeria. A literary descendant of Zadie Smith and Arundhati Roy, Selasi is a new force in the global community of readers.
— Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO
Renowned Milton scholar David Ullman is offered a huge sum to travel abroad to document a phenomenon. With his personal life in tatters, he and his daughter, Tess, fly to Venice for a brief vacation and this one small project. David returns alone, caught up in the battle of a lifetime to rescue Tess from an enemy he can't touch or see. Following clues from Paradise Lost, the book on which he built his reputation, David undertakes a desperate search to solve the puzzle and fight the unknown powers. Pyper combines non-stop action, metaphysical questions, a touch of conspiracy, and poetic references in a story that leaves readers breathless.
— Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA
This is storytelling that grabs your heart, mind, and soul. Love, family, secrets, betrayals, and the magical power of listening make this a book that will remain with any reader for a long time. Bonaventure is an unforgettable boy, who captures readers from the first page. Pieces of his family's mysteries unfold in the silence, yet no sound or word is ignored by this remarkable boy. Never has silence said or accomplished so much.
— Becky Anderson, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL
If a picture is worth a thousand words, this novel, in turn, speaks volumes about the iconic photograph The Migrant Mother by Dorothea Lange. Silver weaves a tale of human survival, passion, and will spanning several decades and involving Lange, a modern professor of cultural history, and the woman in the photograph she took. Evoking the desperate times of the Great Depression and the lives it affected, Silver brings to life the iconic image of the decade. Written with compassion and insight, Mary Coin deals with the will to survive at all costs.
— Frank Pester, Weller Book Works, Salt Lake City, UT
Do you want to take a trip around the world without leaving your favorite chair? This is your chance! Goodman has created a vivid picture of the race to circumnavigate the globe made by two women journalists who were determined to turn Jules Verne's fictional journey into a reality. This one has it all -- a race between two formidable adventurers, visits to foreign lands, encounters with nature's foibles, and 19th century society in all of its glory, full of hope and clamoring for recognition. A wonderful read!
— Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
The main characters in this lovely gem of a novel are loosely based on Flannery O'Connor and Robert Lowell. The story is told entirely in the form of letters -- not an easy feat, but Bauer makes it work beautifully. Frances and Bernard meet in the late 1950s at a writer's colony, and though they don't immediately click, Bernard sends Frances a letter that begins an intense philosophical, spiritual, and physical relationship. A true treat for readers!
— Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS
I defy any reader to pick up this amazing collection of stories and not want to read every book Jess Walter has ever written. His writing is staggeringly good. I found myself reading long into the night, not wanting to miss a word.
— Suzanna Hermans, Oblong Books & Music, Rhinebeck, NY
Whether you are a fan of memoirs, a fiction reader, or just plain love great writing, this true story of twin sisters separated first by violence and then by tragedy is a must-read. Parravani offers a deep look inside the inner life of twins and shows how addiction can tear at the very heart of a family. A mesmerizing read.
— Laura Hansen, Bookin' It, Little Falls, MN
With her wild and dark imagination, Quatro has crafted highly original, thought-provoking, and deeply moving stories about faith, marriage, infidelity, sex, and death. This is bold, daring fiction that will not leave readers indifferent. Quatro is a very talented author who is willing to take risks, and I am looking forward to reading more by her.
— Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI
This is another strong entry from Crombie that will delight and enthrall readers. Scotland Yard Detectives Duncan Kincaid and Gemma James are once again on the case in the latest in this award-winning series. For all lovers of police procedurals done at the highest level, this is a must-read!
— Susie Wilmer, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO
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