The July 2016 Indie Next List Preview

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    The July Indie Next List flier, now on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement, features the month’s Indie Next Great Reads, Now in Paperback titles, and Revisit & Rediscover backlist favorites.

    Beginning July 1, titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on BookWeb.org and IndieBound.org.

    The July 2016 Indie Next List Great Reads

    #1 Pick: Underground Airlines: A Novel, by Ben H. Winters
    (Mulholland Books, 9780316261241, $26)
    “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

    Barkskins: A Novel, by Annie Proulx
    (Scribner, 9780743288781, $32)
    “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

    All Is Not Forgotten: A Novel, by Wendy Walker
    (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250097910, $26.99)
    “This powerful and intense psychological thriller explores the memory of trauma and how it affects our very being. When 16-year-old Jenny Kramer is brutally raped and then given a controversial drug to erase her memory of the event, her parents think it will allow them all to return to their normal, idyllic life in an affluent small town in Connecticut. But that is far from the truth. What ensues is a fascinating look at psychiatric treatment and the lies people tell themselves and others in order to feel whole. Secrets are revealed and integrity is tested as, indeed, all is not forgotten.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

    Miss Jane: A Novel, by Brad Watson
    (W.W. Norton, 9780393241730, $25.95)
    “At first, I was uncomfortable reading about the life Jane Chisolm has to lead due to a genital birth defect and assumed that I would be sad for her throughout the book, but this is so beautifully written and unsentimental in its depiction of Jane’s quiet strength and courageous acceptance of her life that I fell in love with her quite quickly. While all the supporting characters have their own peculiarities, they are tender and endearing to Jane and that helped me to understand how she endured and was loved so fully. Everyone should read this extraordinary book and feel, as I did, the joy of this remarkable woman.” —Nancy Banks, City Stacks Books and Coffee, Denver, CO

    How to Set a Fire and Why: A Novel, by Jesse Ball
    (Pantheon, 9781101870570, $24.95)
    “On page one of Ball’s new novel, 16-year-old Lucia Stanton gets kicked out of school for stabbing the star basketball player in the neck with a pencil. Lucia is a delinquent, a philosopher, a shard of glass. She’s also an aspiring arsonist and an iconoclast, who is vibrant, alive, and charming in a misanthropic way. Ball’s prose is precise and deceptively spare, his message dynamic in what he doesn’t write. Enlightenment thinkers used the symbol of the flame to represent the power and transmission of knowledge. It’s in this tradition that How to Set a Fire and Why becomes Ball’s pyrotechnic masterpiece.” —Matt Nixon, The Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

    Pond, by Claire-Louise Bennett
    (Riverhead, 9780399575891, $26)
    “A brilliant and captivating debut, Bennett’s Pond is a strange, beautifully layered work of fiction, from its quirky and contemplative narrator’s interior life to the vivid and charming descriptions of rural Irish life. Perhaps the most surprising aspect of this book is its warm invitation to celebrate solitude. Bennett writes as if in a lush, landscaped dream, each story chapter going forward, circling back, and ending in the middle of the protagonist’s musings upon her everyday experiences. Pond is utterly original, by turns hilarious and poignant, a refreshing and simply delightful read.” —Angela Spring, Politics & Prose, Washington, DC

    If I Forget You: A Novel, by Thomas Christopher Greene
    (Thomas Dunne Books, 9781250072788, $24.99)
    “Twenty years ago, Margo and Henry fell in love, lost each other to a fierce misunderstanding, and went their separate ways — to marriages, children, and a second-best kind of happiness. Now, a chance encounter holds out hope for reconciliation and the joy of true love. Greene tells this story by jumping back and forth in time and between narrators, while readers wonder ‘will they or won’t they?’ Read this one for the story and the superb style. One of the best books I have read this year.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

    A Certain Age: A Novel, by Beatriz Williams
    (William Morrow, 9780062404954, $26.99)
    “Open the pages of A Certain Age and be drawn into Williams’ rich, atmospheric world of Manhattan in the 1920s — a world where society pages hint at gossip, speakeasies tease with gin, and secrets and hidden desires lie just below the polished veneer of the fashionably dressed and well-bred families of the city. This deft retelling of Richard Strauss’ comic opera Der Rosenkavalier is simply exquisite.” —Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

    Look: Poems, by Solmaz Sharif
    (Graywolf Press, 9781555977443, trade paperback, $16)
    “Sharif’s first poetry collection tells the story of the punishing legacy that enduring warfare can have on a family. She expertly utilizes language lifted from the Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms to demonstrate how we have sanitized the language of warfare into something more benign and seemingly less deadly. The essential task of poetry is to engender empathy and to speak truth to power; to that end, Look succeeds in spades.” —Matt Keliher, SubText: A Bookstore, St. Paul, MN

    Disappearance at Devil’s Rock: A Novel, by Paul Tremblay
    (William Morrow, 9780062363268, $25.99)
    “When a young boy goes missing, his mother and sister begin finding pages from his diary revealing secrets they had never suspected. Where did he go, and why won’t his friends tell anyone the truth? Tremblay peels back the layers of a quaint New England town to expose the ugly underbelly of family life in the U.S. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock is a shocking, scary, and disturbing read, the result of a powerful storyteller at work, and it solidifies Tremblay’s reputation as a master of psychological suspense.” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

    So Much for That Winter: Novellas, by Dorthe Nors
    (Graywolf Press, 9781555977429, trade paperback, $15.99)
    “Inventive and emotionally charged, the two novellas in So Much for That Winter bridge the gap between melancholy and humor. Told in a series of lists and headlines, these stories of the aftermath of two relationships are witty examinations of love and heartbreak in an age of technological detachment and shortened attention spans. Nors’ relentlessly paced vision of modern life should not be missed.” —Emily Ballaine, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

    My Last Continent: A Novel, by Midge Raymond
    (Scribner, 9781501124709, $26)
    “Suspense and love intertwine against the starkly beautiful backdrop of Antarctica in this wonderful debut. Deb is a researcher devoting her life to the magnificent penguins that populate this remote corner of the world, where the ice-choked waters set the stage for the tragic collision of a supersized cruise liner and mountainous iceberg. When Deb discovers the man she loves is aboard the doomed ship, the poles of her world shift, as she must now focus on rescuing the one person who has saved her from her self-inflicted solitude. Raymond does a masterful job building the tension while the dramas of both the past and present unfold.” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

    Soft in the Head, by Marie-Sabine Roger
    (Pushkin Press, 9781782271581, trade paperback, $14.95)
    “Two disparate individuals pass the time counting pigeons in the town park and finally make each other’s acquaintance: Marguerite, a retired and lonely 80-something plant scientist, and Germain, an unemployed, undereducated, dim-witted 45-year-old who lives in a trailer behind his mother’s house. Soon, Marguerite is reading to Germain, who eventually overcomes his childhood aversion and begins to read himself. This is a lovely story of the redeeming qualities of civil conversation, the possibility of friendship bridging many years and inquiring minds, and the worlds opened up through reading.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

    Vinegar Girl: A Novel, by Anne Tyler
    (Hogarth, 9780804141260, $25)
    “Tyler’s latest offering is part of the Hogarth Shakespeare Project, in which Shakespeare’s works are retold by contemporary authors. In this retelling of The Taming of the Shrew, Kate Battista keeps house for her scientist father and her younger sister, Bunny. When Dr. Battista’s lab assistant, Pyotr, is in danger of being deported, a plan is hatched to marry him to Kate so he can stay in the country. The story that follows is a thought-provoking look at the role of women in society, with questions that are just as relevant today as they were more than 400 years ago, all addressed with the same insightful humor that readers have come to expect from Tyler.” —Sharon Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

    Brighton: A Novel, by Michael Harvey
    (Ecco, 9780062442970, $27.99)
    “Gritty, thrilling, and full of twists, Harvey’s first novel to be set in his hometown of Boston is cause for celebration. Its namesake neighborhood is as richly textured as the characters in this deeply moving crime story about two friends haunted by their shared past of violence. While it will certainly appeal to fans of Dennis Lehane’s Mystic River, Brighton sings with a fresh Bostonian voice that is all its own.” —Thomas Wickersham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

    The Heavenly Table: A Novel, by Donald Ray Pollock
    (Doubleday, 9780385541299, $27.95)
    “After murdering the tyrannical owner of the land they farmed on the Georgia/Alabama border, three brothers make a desperate run for Canada and manage, along the way, to acquire national reputations as the kind of ruthless outlaws who are immortalized in dime store novels. This is a rollicking and ribald adventure story, populated with shady characters and told in vivid, sparkling prose reminiscent of Patrick DeWitt’s The Sisters Brothers — and there is hardly a higher compliment.” —Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

    The Trouble With Goats and Sheep: A Novel, by Joanna Cannon
    (Scribner, 9781501121890, $25)
    “Best friends Grace and Tilly spend England’s sweltering summer of 1976 sleuthing for clues to uncover the reason for their neighbor’s disappearance. They go from house to house, neighbor to neighbor, investigating as only guileless little girls can do. While they’re at it, they also look for god in the most unusual places. As the mystery of the neighborhood is slowly revealed, so are the many secrets behind every door on the avenue. If you loved A Man Called Ove, you will love The Trouble With Goats and Sheep. Funny, quirky and profound!” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

    As Good as Gone: A Novel, by Larry Watson
    (Algonquin Books, 9781616205713, $26.95)
    “After the death of his wife, Cal Sidey abandoned his children for the life of a solitary ranch hand in Montana. Years later, in 1963, his son Bill asks his father to return home to look after his grandchildren, while Bill tends to a family emergency. The powerful story of Cal’s visit is a tragedy of narrowly missed moments as he attempts reentry into a world that no longer has any place for his old-fashioned and violent ways. The prose is clear and lovely, every character is strongly drawn, and Cal Sidey captured my heart while breaking it. Watson has given us a grand Western tragedy, spare and harrowing.” —Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

    Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube: Chasing Fear and Finding Home in the Great White North, by Blair Braverman
    (Ecco, 9780062311566, $25.99)
    “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.” —Katie McGrath, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI

    A Hundred Thousand Worlds: A Novel, by Bob Proehl
    (Viking, 9780399562211, $26)
    “Nine-year-old Alex and his mom, Valerie — the ex-star of a superhero TV show — make their way across the country, Comic-Con by Comic-Con, toward a future of inevitable loss. They visit the fallen heroes, wise women, and wizards of pen-and-ink who have all shaped the story of their lives. Pushed and pulled by so many other people’s stories, can Alex and Valerie learn to write their own?” —Cat Nichols, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

    Now in Paperback

    After Alice: A Novel, by Gregory Maguire (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780060859749, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Coleen Colwell, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

    Dancing With the Devil in the City of God: Rio de Janeiro on the Brink, by Juliana Barbassa (Touchstone, 9781476756264, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

    Enchanted August: A Novel, by Brenda Bowen (Penguin Books, 9780143108078, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Rona Brinlee, The Book Mark, Neptune Beach, FL

    Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse: A Novel, by Faith Sullivan (Milkweed Editions, 9781571311122, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Betsy Schram, The Bookshelf, Cincinnati, OH

    The Hand That Feeds You: A Novel, by A.J. Rich (Scribner, 9781476774596, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books and Music, Sunriver, OR

    The Memory Painter: A Novel of Love and Reincarnation, by Gwendolyn Womack (Picador, 9781250095770, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

    Our Souls at Night: A Novel, by Kent Haruf (Vintage, 9781101911921, $15)
    Recommended in hardcover by Mark Ingraham, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

    Slade House: A Novel, by David Mitchell (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812988079, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Adie Smith, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

    Undermajordomo Minor: A Novel, by Patrick deWitt (Ecco, 9780062281227, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Dana Schulz, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI

    Revisit & Rediscover

    Any Human Heart: A Novel, by William Boyd
    (Vintage, 9781400031009, $15.95) Originally published in hardcover in 2003
    “Boyd’s clever Any Human Heart remains a great choice for those in search of a meaty, literary novel. The story unfolds through the journals of the fictionalized British everyman Logan Mountstuart, a writer of minor talent, enabling readers to experience the ups and downs of Logan’s life alongside him. The journal begins in 1923, when Logan is 17, and continues through his death in 1991 at 85, providing a bird’s-eye view of English history in the 20th century as Logan crosses paths with major real-life characters.” —Sally McPherson, Broadway Books, Portland, OR

    In Patagonia, by Bruce Chatwin
    (Penguin Classics, 9780142437193, $17) Originally published in hardcover in 1977
    “Bruce Chatwin’s fascination with Patagonia began as a child, with a hairy piece of prehistoric animal skin that his grandmother kept in a curio cabinet. In Patagonia chronicles his adventure, 30 years later, to Argentina and Chile and to the ‘furthest place to which man walked from his place of origins.’ In a series of vignettes that changed travel writing forever, Chatwin maps his interior landscape while covering the people and places that make up the desolate wonder of Patagonia and the southernmost parts of the peopled world.” —Kelly Estep, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

    The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
    (The New Press, 9781595586438, $19.95) Originally published in hardcover in 2010
    “Using heartrending stories, incendiary court cases, clever parallels, and perfect metaphors, Alexander brings complex issues home for the reader in a way that is impossible to forget. The phrase ‘required reading’ is in danger of being overused, but the truths offered in The New Jim Crow are so revelatory that nothing else will do. This is a book that will forever change readers’ perspectives, and, hopefully, those readers will help change the world.” —Aaron Curtis, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL