The March 2016 Indie Next List Preview

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

    The March 2016 Indie Next Great Reads

    The Opposite of Everyone: A Novel, by Joshilyn Jackson
    (William Morrow, 9780062105684, $26.99)
    “Paula Vauss, née Kali Jai, is complicated, with every right to be so. When she was a young girl, her mother landed in prison and Paula spent time in foster care. Kai, Paula’s Southern, bohemian, Hindu story-telling, boyfriend-hopping mother, loves her, but circumstances surrounding the separation permanently alter their unique love and each spends time trying to make life work again. This is a poignant story of hurt and forgiveness, of secrets and courage, and ultimately of allowing love and family to make one whole again. Jackson’s The Opposite of Everyone will remain in readers’ hearts long after the last line is read.” —Annell Gerson, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

    The Passenger: A Novel, by Lisa Lutz
    (Simon & Schuster, 9781451686630, $25.99)
    “Thrilling and impossible to put down, this is the sharp, witty, and often sassy story of a woman, variously known as Norah/Jo/Tanya/Amelia/Debra/et al., on the run from events in her past for which she claims innocence. Her only chance of freedom is to run, and while running she changes identities and adds new troubles almost faster than readers can keep track. A meeting with a mysterious woman named Blue puts her on a new path, one that hopefully will lead her home and give her a chance to finally clear her name. Fast-paced and full of unexpected obstacles, this is a roller-coaster ride of a read you don’t want to miss.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

    What Is Not Yours Is Not Yours: Stories, by Helen Oyeyemi
    (Riverhead, 9781594634635, $27)
    “There is magic in Helen Oyeyemi’s writing. There is magic in the settings, which shift between the conventional and the fantastic as readers devotedly follow her characters down any path they please. There is magic in the tales themselves, as readers recognize a situation only to have it bloom into a flower they have never imagined before, full of beauty or of dread. And, most certainly, there is magic in such breathtaking prose and unimaginable characters. This is a captivating story collection, filled with both fairy tale whimsy and dark, complicated mystery. Highly recommended!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

    The Widow: A Novel, by Fiona Barton
    (NAL, 9781101990261, $26)
    “Readers on the hunt for the newest, hottest thriller can take heart: Barton’s debut novel is impeccably paced and quietly terrifying, sure to fill any void left after reading The Girl on the Train. Jean Taylor is reeling over the loss of her husband, but the man she knows and the man the police know are two very different people. Told in alternating voices, The Widow is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Tana French and will have readers on the edge of their seats.” —Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

    Eruption: The Untold Story of Mount St. Helens, by Steve Olson
    (W.W. Norton, 9780393242799, $27.95)
    Eruption is everything a nonfiction book should be: Marvelous storytelling mixed with a great cast of characters, fascinating science, and little-known history. Anyone with even a passing interest in the Pacific Northwest or volcanoes will love this book. I read it in three long, satisfying gulps, and, like all great books, its stories linger in the mind long after you’ve read the last page.” —Tom Campbell, The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC

    All the Winters After: A Novel, by Seré Prince Halverson
    (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492615354, $24.99)
    “This is the compelling story of a damaged young woman, Nadia, who has taken refuge in a cabin in the Alaskan woods for the last 10 years after escaping an abusive marriage. Kachemak Winkel, the cabin’s owner, returns to Alaska after a long absence, still mourning for his parents and older brother who lost their lives in a plane crash 20 years earlier. Two young, damaged souls are at the heart of this beautifully written novel, and the wild and dangerous beauty of Alaska is present throughout. Perfect for book groups!” —Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

    Margaret the First: A Novel, by Danielle Dutton
    (Catapult, 9781936787357, trade paper, $15.95)
    “Dutton’s novel takes the already extraordinary life of Margaret Cavendish — 17th century natural philosopher, author of The Blazing World, and Duchess of Newcastle — and transforms it into a stunning work of historical fiction. With women in the sciences a hot issue today, Margaret the First satisfies a craving for women’s writing, women’s voices, and women’s stories, painting a portrait of a sensitive, thoughtful woman hungry not just for praise and recognition, but acknowledgment, affirmation, and validation. Margaret the First is a triumph!” —Liz Wright, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

    Two If by Sea: A Novel, by Jacquelyn Mitchard
    (Simon & Schuster, 9781501115578, $25.99)
    “Mitchard has woven a gripping narrative of a family borne out of tragedy. Frank loses his wife and unborn son to a tsunami, and in the midst of rescuing others saves a small boy. This child, Ian, possesses a special gift that impacts those around him in powerful ways. As Frank tries to form a new family, there are repercussions from Ian’s past that put them both at risk. This is the marvelous story of Frank and Ian’s journey as both try to handle the pain of the past and accept the joy of new beginnings. I loved it!” —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

    Blackass: A Novel, by A. Igoni Barrett
    (Graywolf Press, 9781555977337, trade paper, $16)
    “We have seen transformation handled masterfully in literature, and Blackass, with its black, Nigerian protagonist waking up in the body of a white man, immediately calls to mind Kafka’s Metamorphosis. But this is something more, something different. There is a willingness here to confront how we create our identities — racially, politically, and even on social media. Barrett does this with intelligence and a playful humor that is by turns bright and biting. There is an edge to Blackass, a fire, the beginning of trouble. This is Kafka for the Kanye generation.” —Kenny Coble, King’s Books, Tacoma, WA

    Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, by Carlo Rovelli
    (Riverhead, 9780399184413, $18)
    “With a deft sensibility associated more often with poetry than theoretical physics, Seven Brief Lessons on Physics not only makes understandable the transcendent physical discoveries of the past century, but also reveals their powerful relevance to the human spirit. A revelatory and concise account of quantum mechanics, relativity, and the delight in both finding answers and seeking new questions, this jewel of a book lyrically demystifies the extraordinary realities of the cosmos.” —Robin J. Dunn, St. John’s College Bookstore, Annapolis, MD

    A Doubter’s Almanac: A Novel, by Ethan Canin
    (Random House, 9781400068265, $28)
    “I love settling into a novel where I meet smart yet conflicted protagonists and get right into their skin. In A Doubter’s Almanac, Milo Andret’s mathematical genius is as much a burden as it is a gift. He makes a series of choices — damaging to both himself and his family — that would seem to unravel any empathy readers might have for him, but Canin’s eloquent prose brings out the humanity in even the most flawed individuals. This is a novel filled with characters whose struggles with intellect, family, and vulnerability I won’t soon forget.” —Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

    Under the Influence: A Novel, by Joyce Maynard
    (William Morrow, 9780062257642, $25.99)
    “Remembrances from The Great Gatsby ran through my head both as a warning and a promise the entire time I read Under the Influence. I was fascinated by the Havillands, the whirlwind couple at the center of the book, with their wealth, their ease, and their charm. It is easy to see why they appeal to Helen, weary and downtrodden as she is, and why she slips so easily into their embrace. I felt a growing sense of unease as the pages passed, picking up the warning signals Helen ignores, but I was as helpless to escape as she is. I couldn’t stop reading until I reached the bitter end!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

    A Man Lies Dreaming: A Novel, by Lavie Tidhar
    (Melville House, 9781612195049, $25.95)
    “Tidhar’s brilliant novel channels pulp fiction conventions to grapple with the horrors of the Holocaust. In its opening pages, readers are dropped into late 1930s England where Oswald Mosley is about to become prime minister and Hitler, whose Nazi party was defeated by the Communists, is a down-at-the-heels private investigator, a sad and tortured little man. As it turns out, this alternate history is a fever dream of a prisoner at Auschwitz. Who is to say that turning the powerful into the defeated — even as a fantasy — isn’t an important tool in coping with brutality and dehumanization?” —Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Bryn Mawr, PA

    Spill Simmer Falter Wither: A Novel, by Sara Baume
    (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544716193, $23)
    “Baume’s debut novel is a heartbreaking story of loneliness and friendship, depression and pure joy, as revealed through the relationship between a man and the dog he rescues. Baume’s transcendent use of language and utterly original voice had me stopping to read whole sentences — even entire paragraphs — aloud. Spill Simmer Falter Wither is an amazing achievement by a writer who makes her work seem effortless.” —Mary Wolf, Collected Works Bookstore & Coffeehouse, Santa Fe, NM

    Bottomland: A Novel, by Michelle Hoover
    (Black Cat, 9780802124715, trade paper, $16)
    “In the years following World War I, the Hess family settles on Iowa farmland hoping to escape anti-German sentiment. Two of their girls disappear as the U.S. marches towards World War II, and relationships both within and outside of the family suffer. Based loosely on an unearthed family secret, Hoover has written an atmospheric novel evocative of both a time and place.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

    13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl: Fiction, by Mona Awad
    (Penguin Books, 9780143128489, trade paper, $16)
    “For anyone who has ever, at any moment of her life, felt inadequate, insecure, inferior, or inept, and turned to the LifeCycle for a bit of solace only to find herself feeling even worse, 13 Ways of Looking at a Fat Girl will resonate, rattle, and inspire. Mona Awad is an exciting new voice, both honest and hilarious, with the ability to face, with head held high, all of the obstacles we throw at ourselves that often stand in the way of our own happiness.” —Susan Hans O’Connor, Penguin Bookshop, Sewickley, PA

    Hide: A Novel, by Matthew Griffin
    (Bloomsbury, 9781632863386, $26)
    “On the outer edge of a struggling small town in North Carolina lives a long-married — in name, if not in fact — couple, Frank and Wendell. For all the decades they have been together they have hidden from the world to protect themselves, but now Frank’s health is failing. The poignancy of Wendell’s struggle to keep Frank safe is heartbreaking. These are not characters we see often in fiction — poor and rural and gay and old — but Griffin draws them so honestly and well that we quickly know them and come to care deeply for them.” —Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

    The Travelers: A Novel, by Chris Pavone
    (Crown, 9780385348485, $26)
    “Full of twists and turns, secrets and lies, and enough misdirection to keep you guessing, Pavone’s third novel delivers everything readers have come to expect from his thrillers. As in his previous work, the world of publishing takes a central role: This time it’s a fading travel magazine and its companion travel agencies in the midst of an acquisition. Will and Chloe are a young married couple dealing with a home in need of extensive repairs so Chloe decides to take a less active role at Travelers magazine after Will is brought on board as the European correspondent. When Will meets an alluring woman while on assignment, she will change his life in ways he never could have foreseen.” —Billie Bloebaum, A Children’s Place, Portland, OR

    Green Island: A Novel, by Shawna Yang Ryan
    (Knopf, 9781101874257, $26.95)
    “Like Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the Banyan, Ryan’s heartbreaking novel takes readers to an island with a history unknown to many: Taiwan. Rarely portrayed in a work of fiction, Taiwan is an island of complex political relations, families torn apart by political unrest, and a lush and beautiful physical landscape. Told in luscious prose, Green Island teaches readers about the humanity of mankind, the brutality of political power and unrest, and why some secrets are never told. I cannot wait to handsell this!” —Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

    The Madwoman Upstairs: A Novel, by Catherine Lowell
    (Touchstone, 9781501124211, $25.99)
    The Madwoman Upstairs is both a reference to the insane wife of Edward Rochester in Jane Eyre and to Samantha Whipple, who is the last remaining descendant of the Brontë sisters. This exciting literary debut is in part a study of literature, specifically the works of the Brontë sisters, and in part an exploration of the mystery of their legacy. Samantha cannot escape her past with their work, the world’s interest in her inheritance of previously undiscovered family treasures, and the current puzzle of artifacts mysteriously appearing in her room that may or may not answer some of her questions. For mystery and Brontë fans alike, this is a delightful romp by very clever author to watch.” —Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA

    Now in Paperback

    Epitaph: A Novel of the O.K. Corral, by Mary Doria Russell (Ecco, 9780062198778, $16.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Kathi Kirby, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

    Every Fifteen Minutes, by Lisa Scottoline (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250010124, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

    H Is for Hawk, by Helen Macdonald (Grove Press, 9780802124739, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Karen Frank, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

    The Harder They Come: A Novel, by T.C. Boyle (Ecco, 9780062349385, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover by Mamie Potter, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

    Leaving Berlin: A Novel, by Joseph Kanon (Washington Square Press, 9781476704654, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

    Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (Del Rey, 9780804179058, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover by Jennifer Oleinik, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

    Revisit & Rediscover

    Kindred, by Octavia E. Butler (Beacon Press, 9780807083697, $16) Originally published in hardcover in 1979
    “With lively characters and rich narrative, this genre-bending book is a wonderful blend of speculative and historical fiction that takes on the broad issues of power, freedom, gender, and race. A woman suddenly goes back in time to the days of slavery, where she is thrust into plantation life. Viewing her experience through the lens of our contemporary world, she struggles to understand and adapt to her antebellum existence. This book, written nearly 40 years ago, still resonates today.” —Rebecca Fitting, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

    Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family & Place, by Terry Tempest Williams (Vintage, 9780679740247, $16) Originally published in hardcover in1992
    “This is Williams’ memoir about a beloved bird habitat by the Great Salt Lake that is slowly washing away while her mother is dying of cancer, the family’s legacy as Downwinders of atomic-bomb testing in the 1950s. This is a moving narrative that balances grief against a deep wonder and appreciation both for the natural world and Williams’ family history.” —Jeanne Costello, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

    The Salter Eaters, by Toni Cade Bambara (Vintage, 9780679740766, $15.95) Originally published in hardcover in 1980
    “‘Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well?’ So opens Bambara’s vibrant, Afrocentric novel about a group of black activists in the 1970s as they strive to hold onto a pure vision for liberation even as their group begins to splinter into fractious debates about ideology and method. Bambara was an early radical feminist and black activist whose work was brought to the attention of Nobel Prize recipient Toni Morrison when she was an editor at Random House. Anyone with more than a passing interest in the Black Lives Matter movement — participant, supporter, or just curious — should read this masterpiece.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books. St. Louis, MO