The April 2015 Indie Next List Preview

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    Here are the titles on the April Indie Next List flier, on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement.

    A downloadable PDF version of the list will also be available beginning April 1 on and

    The April 2015 Indie Next Great Reads

    #1 Pick: Orhan’s Inheritance: A Novel, by Aline Ohanesian
    (Algonquin Books, 9781616203740, $25.95)
    “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

    The Witch of Painted Sorrows: A Novel, by M.J. Rose
    (Atria Books, 9781476778068, $25)
    “Set in Belle Époque Paris, The Witch of Painted Sorrows features an American socialite fleeing from her husband in New York to the home of her courtesan grandmother in Paris. There, she uncovers family secrets, discovers both her talent as an artist and her own erotic nature, and confronts the witch La Lune, an ancestor who threatens to possess her. Rose proves herself once again to be a consummate storyteller in this provocative and entertaining novel.”

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

    At the Water’s Edge: A Novel, by Sara Gruen
    (Spiegel & Grau, 9780385523233, $28)
    “A trio of privileged Philadelphia socialites — Maddie, her husband, Ellis, and their friend, Hank — travel to the Scottish Highlands during WWII to prove the existence of the Loch Ness Monster. There, they find themselves among villagers dealing with the atrocities of a war that they have blithely ignored, and Maddie discovers that both the world and her life are not at all what she had imagined. Full of great period detail and richly drawn settings, At the Water’s Edge is another spellbinding tale from the author of Water for Elephants.” —Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

    World Gone By: A Novel, by Dennis Lehane
    (William Morrow, 9780060004903, $27.99)
    “In the prologue of World Gone By, Lehane describes his main character but certainly captures his own abilities as well: ‘Joe Coughlin had a gift for bringing the beacons of the city into contact with her demons and making it all seem like a lark.’ This is Lehane’s great gift: creating characters with the full scope of human dimensions — our inner angels and devils, our passions and our crimes — and immersing them in the timeless trials of our world while disguising his feat as the entertainment of a ‘good read.’ Lehane is a magician, a maestro, and a master of the written word.” —J.B. Dickey, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Seattle, WA

    What Comes Next and How to Like It: A Memoir, by Abigail Thomas
    (Scribner, 9781476785059, $24)
    “Like an honest talk with your wittiest friend, Thomas’ new memoir will have you both laughing out loud and on the verge of tears. Examining a life that has changed dramatically over the years and the friendship that has endured it all, What Comes Next and How to Like It reveals simple truths we can all recognize in our own lives. Thomas’ gentle humor is evident in every passage as she writes of struggling with aging, loyalty, and drinking after the death of her loving husband. What makes this all the more brilliant are the sparkling moments of insight, full of depth and emotion, that Thomas so beautifully shares with the reader.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

    Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen, by Mary Norris
    (W.W. Norton, 9780393240184, $24.95)
    “I was feeling pretty smug about my word skills until I learned something right there on page 26 of Between You & Me: Confessions of a Comma Queen. I have been mispronouncing ‘elegiac.’ Even so, I didn’t begrudge Norris for taking me on a delightful tour of the offices of The New Yorker, the history of Noah Webster and his dictionary descendents, the city of Cleveland, and the hyphen in Moby-Dick. Between You and Me is a sprightly — not ‘spritely,’ thank you — gambol in the fields of grammar, and I enjoyed every step.” —David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

    Hausfrau: A Novel, by Jill Alexander Essbaum
    (Random House, 9780812997538, $26)
    “In this powerful, affecting novel, Essbaum has written an ode to desire and the destructive choices we make. There is a grace in Essbaum’s writing that leads the reader to love Anna, to befriend her, and to be endlessly protective of her. Whatever it is that a poet does with words — the arranging, the building of something that is more than the sum of its parts — Essbaum, an accomplished poet, does with the emotions and the honesty in this work. It is brave, vulnerable, and filled with love, passion, and the kind of lust that one never speaks about. This is something special.” —Kenny Coble, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

    Inside the O’Briens: A Novel, by Lisa Genova
    (Gallery Books, 9781476717777, $26)
    “Haunted by Huntington’s disease, the O’Brien family members watch as their patriarch slowly loses his physical abilities. Stripped of his policeman’s badge, Joe struggles to find meaning in his life while his children wonder if they, too, will eventually succumb to the degenerative disease that has no cure. Should they get the blood test that will either give them relief or lead to fear and despair? What would you do? This is Genova at her best and a story that will provoke many discussions.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

    A Desperate Fortune, by Susanna Kearsley
    (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492602026, trade paper, $14.95)
    “Kearsley’s latest novel is a thoroughly enjoyable tale of two women brought together by a mysterious journal. Sarah travels to France to break the code of a journal written nearly 300 years ago by Mary Dundas, a young woman unwittingly caught up in the political exile of the Jacobites. As the story shifts between past and present, similar challenges and strengths of character in the two women emerge. A Desperate Fortune provides a satisfying read through a captivating blend of history, intrigue, and romance.” —Laura Schiller, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO

    After Birth: A Novel, by Elisa Albert
    (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544273733, $23)
    “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

    The Children’s Crusade: A Novel, by Ann Packer
    (Scribner, 9781476710457, $26.99)
    “Doctor Bill Blair and his wife, Penny, built a home in a wooded area of California that would later be known as Silicon Valley. It was a time full of hope for the future, but 10 years and four children later Penny has grown resentful of her role as a wife and mother. She finds solace in art, but at a great cost to her family. Thirty years later, the lives of the three oldest Blair children are in upheaval yet again when their youngest brother, the black sheep of the family, returns to the family home and forces them all to confront their past and face their future. Packer’s emotionally gripping story asks just how much our adult lives are determined by the events of our childhood.” —Carson Evans, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

    The Precious One: A Novel, by Marisa de los Santos
    (William Morrow, 9780061670893, $25.99)
    “In The Precious One, de los Santos offers a tale of family secrets, love, rejection, and forgiveness. The point of view shifts between two half-sisters who have met only once in 16 years: Taisy Cleary, now 35, and 16-year-old Willow. Why would their father bring his daughters together now, after he has kept them apart for all these years? The story is both warmly funny and heartbreaking as the two sisters share their perceptions and insights into the man who abandoned his first family. This is a thoroughly enjoyable read!” —Fran Duke, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

    The Sympathizer: A Novel, by Viet Thanh Nguyen
    (Grove Press, 9780802123459, $26)
    The Sympathizer is a fascinating and highly original novel about the Vietnam War and its aftermath. The unnamed narrator, a South Vietnamese captain, works for the Americans while spying for the Viet Cong. After the evacuation of Saigon, he follows an American general to the U.S. and finds himself torn between two worlds: his new life in the West among his fellow political refugees and his sympathies for the Communists back home. Nguyen injects much dark humor into this tragic story, and the narrator’s voice is both subversive and unforgettable. The Sympathizer will be one of the most talked-about novels of the year.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

    The Harder They Come: A Novel, by T.C. Boyle
    (Ecco, 9780062349378, $27.99)
    “If you were up all night reading Lionel Shriver’s We Need to Talk About Kevin, take a nap before starting T.C. Boyle’s new book, The Harder They Come. The novel addresses two difficult and timely topics: gun violence and society’s treatment of the mentally ill. Parents Sten and Carolee Stenson are faced with balancing their love for their unstable adult son, Adam, and the safety of others as his behavior becomes increasingly erratic and threatening. Boyle is a masterful storyteller and this is his best book yet.” —Mamie Potter, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

    A Reunion of Ghosts: A Novel, by Judith Claire Mitchell
    (Harper, 9780062355881, $26.99)
    “‘The sins of the fathers are visited upon the children to the third and fourth generations.’ These are the words that the Alter sisters live by and the reason they have chosen to die at their own hands. Lady, Vee, and Delph Alter have written a suicide note that turns out to be a family history. The sisters are descendants of Lenz, a chemist and the creator of the poison gas that was first used in WWI, and his wife, Iris, the first woman to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry and the first in the family to commit suicide. A Reunion of Ghosts is a captivating chronicle of a family and the weight of consequences that grow heavier with time.” —Jen Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

    Hammer Head: The Making of a Carpenter, by Nina MacLaughlin
    (W.W. Norton, 9780393239133, $25.95)
    “After 10 years working as a journalist in front of a computer screen, Nina knew she needed a career change. An ad on Craigslist caught her eye: ‘Carpenter’s Assistant sought: Women strongly encouraged to apply.’ So begins Nina’s journey, as Mary, her mentor, transforms her from desk sitter to desk maker. Hammer Head not only shows readers how Nina became a carpenter, but also that she can still work wonders with her words.” —Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT

    Our Endless Numbered Days: A Novel, by Claire Fuller
    (Tin House Books, 9781941040010, trade paper, $15.95)
    “Peggy, a highly imaginative and clever eight-year-old, lives in London with her famous pianist mother and survivalist father. Something is a little strange about her parents’ marriage, and Peggy observes the grownups in her life behaving in ways that often perplex and sometimes scare her. When her mother leaves to go on an extended tour, Peggy is left at home with her father who, without warning, changes the course of their lives irrevocably. This is a beautifully written novel that defies categorization, and the ending will knock your socks off!” —Pam Cady, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

    So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, by Jon Ronson
    (Riverhead, 9781594487132, $27.95)
    “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. Not only will I recommend this book, but I will also ask people to come back and tell me what they think about the questions that are raised. This is a dialogue that needs to happen!” —Ann Carlson, Waterfront Books, Georgetown, SC

    The Last Days of Video: A Novel, by Jeremy Hawkins
    (Soft Skull Press, 9781619024854, trade paper, $15.95)
    “For film geeks and lovers of all things going out of style, reading this book feels like sharing an inside joke with the author. Each quirky character fights in their own way to save the independent store they love — Star Video — from both the Blockbuster moving into the neighborhood and a town eager for change. This book hilariously takes on today’s culture, both embracing and mocking its often conflicting ideals of nostalgia and progress.” —Rebekah Arwood, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

    Whisper Hollow: A Novel, by Chris Cander
    (Other Press, 9781590517116, trade paper, $17.95)
    “Set in a small coal mining town, Whisper Hollow explores the complex lives of three very different women: Myrthen harbors a cold heart behind a face of piety; Alta is torn between duty to her family and the man she truly loves; and Lidia is a loving young mother who harbors a dark secret. When town scandals that have been buried as deep as the mines threaten to come to light, each woman must test her courage. This compelling story with its explosive ending makes for a riveting read.” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN

    The April 2015 Now in Paperback

    Blood Will Out: The True Story of a Murder, a Mystery, and a Masquerade, by Walter Kirn (Liveright, 9781631490224, $15.95)
    Recommended in hardcover by Susan Gusho, Watermark Books and Café, Wichita, KS

    Euphoria: A Novel, by Lily King (Grove Press, 9780802123701, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Katie McFougall, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

    The Garden of Burning Sand, by Corban Addison (Quercus, 9781623653866, $14.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA

    Gemini: A Novel, by Carol Cassella (Simon & Schuster, 9781451627947, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

    I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You: A Novel, by Courtney Maum (Touchstone, 9781476764559, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Jesica Sweedler DeHart, Bookpeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID

    Learning to Walk in the Dark, by Barbara Brown Taylor (HarperOne, 9780062024343, $14.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

    Life Drawing: A Novel, by Robin Black (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812980677, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

    Mind of Winter: A Novel, by Laura Kasischke (Harper Perennial, 9780062284402, $14.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

    The Plover: A Novel, by Brian Doyle (Picador, 9781250062451, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

    Ruin Falls: A Novel, by Jenny Milchman (Ballantine Books, 9780345549099, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Linda Dewberry, Whodunit? Books, Olympia, WA

    The Secret of Raven Point: A Novel, by Jennifer Vanderbes (Scribner, 9781439167045, $17)
    Recommended in hardcover by Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

    Troika: A Novel, by Adam Pelzman (Berkley, 9780425275368, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL