The July 2012 Indie Next List Preview

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    Here’s a preview of the titles on the July 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 July 1 on BookWeb.org and IndieBound.org.

    The July 2012 Indie Next List Great Reads

    #1 Pick: Gold: A Novel, by Chris Cleave
    (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781451672725)
    “Cleave is one of the luminaries of modern fiction and his talent shines just as brightly as the title of Gold. In a novel based on the world of competitive cycling, Cleave offers all of the trauma, dedication, and courage of that elite society, but more importantly, shows us those same attributes in the lives of his other characters, particularly eight-year-old Sophie, who suffers from leukemia. This is a novel that both inspires and informs, providing sadness and exhilaration in equal measure and showing empathy for the human condition. Gold is a reading experience not to be missed.” — Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

    Beautiful Ruins: A Novel, by Jess Walter
    (Harper, $25.99, 9780061928123)
    “In 1962, a young Italian innkeeper unwittingly ends up taking part in the Hollywood ‘clean up’ of a love affair on the set for the film Cleopatra. Fast forward to present day Los Angeles; Pasquale Tursi shows up at the studio of a legendary Hollywood producer to find out the fate of the actress he met so briefly, so long ago. The ‘beautiful ruins’ refer not only to the stunning descriptions of the Italian coastline, but also to the winding path a life can take and the sweet middle ground that we sometimes discover when our dreams don’t pan out.” — Sarah Harvey, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

    The Age of Miracles: A Novel, by Karen Thompson Walker
    (Random House, $26, 9780812992977)
    “The end of the world does not come with a bang but with a whisper in Walker’s wonderful debut novel. Earth’s rotation is slowing, the days are becoming longer, gravity mutates, radiation spikes, but still, life must go on. The narrator is 12-year-old Julia, and she chronicles everything she sees happening in the world around her, from shock and panic to people desperate to maintain normal routines. This is not a flashy, bombastic, apocalyptic novel, but rather the story of how a family manages through unimaginable circumstances.” — Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

    The World Without You: A Novel, by Joshua Henkin
    (Pantheon, $25.95, 9780375424366)
    “A year after a young journalist Leo Frankel is killed while covering the war in Iraq, his family gathers at their summer home in the Berkshires for a memorial service. This reunion is told from the perspectives of Leo’s surviving family members: his mother and father, whose crumbling marriage is a casualty of Leo’s death; Thisbe, his young widow, who feels guilty over a new romantic involvement; his sister Lily, who introduced Thisbe to her new lover; another sister, Noelle, a convert to Orthodox Judaism; and Clarissa, the oldest sister, whose desire to become pregnant has become obsessive since Leo’s death. Henkin’s sympathy for his characters is remarkable, as is his ability to capture the complexity and nuance in family relationships — shifting alliances, old resentments, persistent family myths, and most enduring of all, love.” — Ashley Montague, Pennsylvania Book Center, Philadelphia, PA

    Alif the Unseen: A Novel, by G. Willow Wilson
    (Grove Pres, $25, 9780802120205)
    “Alif is an Arab-Indian computer hacker who gets into deep trouble when he tries to erase himself from the web. His troubles only increase when he receives an ancient text — written by the mythological Jinn — that may be the key to unlocking a whole new way of programming. This smartly written, action-packed thriller is reminiscent of the early works of Neal Stephenson and William Gibson. Unpredictable to the very end — I could not put it down!” — James Wilson, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

    Things That Are: Essays, by Amy Leach
    (Milkweed Editions, $18, 9781571313348)
    “This beautifully crafted little book is filled with weird, funny, oddly poignant, and plainly stunning vignettes about the natural world surrounding us. Leach uses words to describe animal and plant life that you swear aren’t real, only to discover, to considerable glee, their veracity. There’s something about the way all of her sentences come together that feels comfortable and almost euphoric. Each essay unfolds as if from the lips of an odd, old-time storyteller sitting at the edge of the firelight — you know all these things to be true, but you’ve just never heard them all put so eloquently.” — Seth Marko, UCSD Bookstore, La Jolla, CA

    Albert of Adelaide: A Novel, by Howard Anderson
    (Twelve, $24.99, 9781455509621)
    “I have read some odd books in my day, but nothing quite like this fable. Set in the Australian Outback and featuring a duck-billed platypus named Albert, a wombat, and a Tasmanian Devil, this is a story of adventure, friendship, finding an inner hero, and ultimately, finding peace. I was completely caught up in Albert’s adventures on his journey from a cage in a zoo in Adelaide to freedom in ‘Old Australia.’ Anderson’s debut novel is filled with very human comedy and very human tragedy, though it contains no humans at all!” — Heather Duncan, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

    15 Seconds: A Novel, by Andrew Gross
    (William Morrow, $25.99, 9780061655975)
    “Fifteen seconds is all it took to cause an innocent man to start running for his life. The train of set-ups is so believable that it is no wonder that the police want to shoot Dr. Henry Steadman on sight. We are taken along for a white-knuckle ride as irrefutable evidence against him piles up and Henry’s only hope to survive and save his daughter is to avoid capture so he can find out who is framing him and why. This is the best yet from Andrew Gross.” — Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

    Monkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety, by Daniel Smith
    (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439177303)
    “This is the kind of memoir you’ve likely never read before. To be human is to understand what anxiety is, but few understand anxiety as a true mental disorder. Smith’s real strength is his ability to provide the reader with very clear descriptions of what it means to suffer from chronic anxiety in ways that are both bracingly honest and self-deprecatingly funny. For readers who suffer anxiety, the world just may feel a tiny less lonely; for others, the hope is that this book will give insight into, and compassion for, those who do.” — Jennifer Wills Geraedts, Beagle Books, Park Rapids, MN

    Miss Fuller: A Novel, by April Bernard
    (Steerforth, $14.99, 9781586421953)
    “One of the great things fiction can do is pluck a historical figure from obscurity and introduce her to a new audience. April Bernard accomplishes this with flying colors when she gives Margaret Fuller, a 19th century transcendentalist and feminist, posthumous life, and modern readers are richer for her efforts.” — Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

    Juliet in August, by Dianne Warren
    (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399157998)
    “This quietly lovely story of people finding joy where they can is set near the Little Snake Hills sand dunes of the Canadian West, where small town lives can be as dry and brittle as the prairie grasses or a rich as the history of the area. Among the characters are a man and a woman with an old drive-in theater and a missing camel named Antoinette; a couple and their children getting deeper in debt; and a lost Arabian horse who helps a man discover what to do with his life. Highly deserving of Canada’s Governor General’s Award.” — Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

    Into the Darkest Corner: A Novel, by Elizabeth Haynes
    (Harper, $25.99, 9780062197252)
    “Catherine Bailey was a vibrant and outgoing young woman until she met Lee — the one she thought was her dream man. After a devastatingly abusive relationship that almost killed her, she became a complete introvert, driven by OCD and scarred by PTSD. Just as she begins a new relationship with her wonderfully understanding neighbor and makes progress dealing with her compulsions, she starts seeing Lee out of the corner of her eye and things in her apartment start feeling out of place. Has he returned, or is she imagining things? A brilliant and exciting thriller!” — Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

    Some Kind of Fairy Tale: A Novel, by Graham Joyce
    (Doubleday, $24.95, 9780385535786)
    “Twenty years ago, 15-year-old Tara Martin disappeared without a trace, until one Christmas morning when she appears out of the blue, looking as though she were still a teenager and claiming she was lured away by ‘the fairies.’ A mysterious and unknown figure with deep insight and untold answers serves as narrator, and readers are kept on edge as they try to answer the question: Where has Tara been? A mind-bending psychological narrative filled with mystery and beautifully written prose.” — Heath Christman, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

    Shadow of Night: A Novel, by Deborah Harkness
    (Viking Adult, $28.95, 9780670023486)
    “How fantastic to find a second book that is every bit as compelling as the first. Harkness follows up A Discovery of Witches with a tale that moves confidently around Europe at the turn of the 16th century, and has readers mingling with Marlow, Shakespeare, John Dee, Raleigh, and, of course, Elizabeth I. Espionage and intrigue tangle with magic, mythology, and religion, while hints at who may become important players in the final book of this planned trilogy left me in happy anticipation of much more intelligent entertainment to come.” — Nicola Rooney, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

    Yes, Chef: A Memoir, by Marcus Samuelsson
    (Random House, $27, 9780385342605)
    “Truly multicultural in the very best sense, Marcus Samuelsson was born and orphaned in Ethiopia, adopted by a Swedish family, and learned to cook in Sweden, Switzerland, Austria, and France. At the age of 24, he became the chef at New York’s Aquavit, then a Top Chef Master, and, finally, opened his own restaurant in Harlem. Samuelsson brings the reader along on his amazing and passionate odyssey in an engaging memoir that is highly recommended, even for non-foodies!” — Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

    Shout Her Lovely Name, by Natalie Serber
    (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780547634524)
    “From the first page, this extraordinary collection of short stories grabbed me by the throat and would not let go. Each one is filled with poignant, thought-provoking observations on the tenuous, yet unbreakable, bond between mothers and daughter. Serber has given readers a remarkable, heartfelt book to be savored, shared, and passed on from one generation to another.” — Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

    Some Kind of Peace: A Novel, by Camilla Grebe and Asa Traff, Paul Norlen (Trans.)
    (Free Press, $24, 9781451654592)
    “The intensity of Scandinavian crime fiction, its intimacy and human scale, is impressively on display in this novel by Swedish sisters Grebe and Traff. I often feel freezing when reading a thriller from the North, but from the very first page, this compelling fiction paints a warm and lively portrait of a Swedish summer, its beauty and lighthearted spirit, its customary celebrations — so ironic a background for a dark, wrenching, and compelling story.” — Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

    The Last Policeman: A Novel, by Ben Winters
    (Quirk, $14.95, 9781594745768)
    “The clichéd plot of the end of the world gets a new look in The Last Policeman. With an asteroid on its way to Earth, normal life has already shut down. Faced with certain doom, people decide working is a fool’s game and head off to fulfill their ‘bucket lists,’ except for a very few, including Detective Hank Palace. His only desire is to be a policeman, so he can’t help trying to solve crimes even though it’s a thankless job. Modern technology is useless with no workers to keep it going, so Hank uses old fashioned footwork and reasoned thinking to find a murderer. If certain doom ever becomes reality, I would include this series in my stack of books to read before the end!” — Ann Carlson, Harborwalk Books, Georgetown, SC

    Growing Up Dead in Texas: A Novel, by Stephen Graham Jones
    (MP Publishing, $14.95, 9781849821544)
    “If Quentin Tarantino and Cormac McCarthy crossed paths in a rundown whiskey bar just north of the Rio Grande, this is the book that connection would produce. It’s a novel wrapped in a mystery and dipped in autobiography with a dash of investigative journalism about Jones’ return to his hometown and the unintended consequences of a fire from his childhood that ripped the community apart. The story of truth being brought to light and ancient skeletons finally being given their proper burial, this remarkable novelized memoir will stay with you.” — Matt Falvey, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

    The Other Woman’s House: A Novel, by Sophie Hannah
    (Penguin, $15, 9780143121510)
    “This psychological mystery is certain to send a mid-summer chill up your spine! Hannah has created a tale of domestic betrayal and terror, where one woman’s search for answers may lead her either to uncovering the identity of a murderer or succumbing to her own madness. Sure to captivate!” — Christine Grabish, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO

    The July 2012 “Now in Paperback”

    The End of Everything: A Novel, by Megan Abbott (Reagan Arthur Books/Back Bay Books, 9780316097826, $13.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

    The Flight of Gemma Hardy: A Novel, by Margot Livesey (Harper Perennial, 9780062064233, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Emily Crowe, The Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

    A Good Hard Look: A Novel of Flannery O’Connor, by Ann Napolitano (Penguin, 9780143121152, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Bill Threlfall, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

    The Little Women Letters: A Novel, by Gabrielle Donnelly (Touchstone, 9781451617191, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

    The Magician King: A Novel, by Lev Grossman (Plume, 9780452298019, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Greg Bruce, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

    The Night Circus: A Novel, by Erin Morgenstern (Anchor, 9780307744432, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

    The Return of Captain John Emmett: A Mystery, by Elizabeth Speller (Mariner, 9780547737409, $14.95)
    Recommended in hardcover by Laura Keys, Blue Elephant Book Shop, Decatur, GA

    Tolstoy and the Purple Chair: My Year of Magical Reading, by Nina Sankovitch (Harper Perennial, 9780061999840, $14.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

    The Train of Small Mercies: A Novel, by David Rowell (Berkley Trade, 9780425247457, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

    A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 9781250007346, $14.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

    Untold Story: A Novel, by Monica Ali (Scribner, 9781451635508, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

    Zone One: A Novel, by Colson Whitehead (Anchor, 9780307455178, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Carol Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA