The September 2015 Indie Next List Preview

    Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionSend by emailSend by email

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

    Downloadable PDF versions of the list will also be available beginning September 1 on BookWeb.org and IndieBound.org.

    The September 2015 Indie Next Great Reads

    Did You Ever Have a Family: A Novel, by Bill Clegg
    (Scout Press, 9781476798172, $26)
    “It has been some time since a book has affected me quite the way this novel has. I was struck by the authentic portrayal of characters that moved beyond the pages and made me see human beings in a whole new way. A tragedy of great proportion sets in motion an unraveling of lives, an examination of what people hold dear, and a recognition of how relationships with those closest are the most important facets of life. I really lived with these characters for the brief time I was reading this book. The writing is beautiful and the mystery at the heart of the book will keep readers riveted. This is the sort of work scholars are referring to when they explain why literature and the novel is so vitally important to our understanding of the human condition.” —Jenny Lyons, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

    Sweet Caress: A Novel, by William Boyd
    (Bloomsbury, 9781632863324, $28)
    “Boyd’s new novel is the story of Amory Clay, whose father, a troubled World War I veteran, is absent. Amory’s Uncle Greer gives her a camera and teaches her about photography, and it is this gift that allows her to make her own way in the world. As a young woman, she goes to Berlin in the ‘20s, New York in the ‘30s, and then to France during World War II, where she makes her mark as one of the first female war correspondents. Later in life, Amory continues to pursue her passions and dreams as she experiences love, marriage, children, and yet another war. Boyd employs actual photos to accentuate this sweeping tale of a life lived to the fullest, and demonstrates yet again why he is one of our greatest chroniclers of the human heart.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

    In a Dark, Dark Wood: A Novel, by Ruth Ware
    (Scout Press, 9781501112317, $26)
    “This book has all the trappings of a good English mystery — an approaching storm, an isolated house, mysterious footprints, and a group of relative strangers all locked in together. Ware’s characters are playfully crafted, and just as you think they’re becoming a cliché, they do something totally unexpected. In a Dark, Dark Wood is a titillating exploration of the classic tropes, layered with the complex style and hard edges found in the best modern thrillers. Highly recommended!” —Kelsey Myers, Old Firehouse Books, Fort Collins, CO

    Everybody Rise: A Novel, by Stephanie Clifford
    (St. Martin’s Press, 9781250077172, $26.99)
    “In her debut novel, Clifford deftly updates The House of Mirth to show that belonging to the social elite is still not for the faint of heart. Evelyn Beegan has grown up on the fringes of high society, but now a new job at an exclusive social networking website may be her ticket to the lush life. Just as Wharton’s Lily Bart learns the hard way, fitting in with the ‘who’s who’ takes some shrewd negotiation. Is it worth the compromise just to prove you’re worthy to be ‘somebody’? Clifford’s characters are complex and the choices they make follow intriguing paths in this engaging and moving story.” —Kerry Spaulding, University Book Store, Mill Creek, WA

    Girl Waits With Gun: A Novel, by Amy Stewart
    (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544409910, $27)
    “Constance Kopp is 35 years old in 1914. Unmarried, with no job, she and her two sisters survive by selling off parts of the family farm in rural New Jersey. When their buggy is destroyed by a speeding car, the accident sets off a most unlikely chain of events including blackmail, kidnapping threats, gunfights, and stakeouts. Stewart, the author of The Drunken Botanist, tells the Kopp sisters’ story — a tale based on actual events — with humor and a keen eye for the complex relationships between sisters, as they learn to stand up for themselves at last.” —Scott Brown, Eureka Books, Eureka, CA

    Jade Dragon Mountain: A Novel, by Elsa Hart
    (Minotaur, 9781250072320, $25.99)
    “Hart has written an excellent historical whodunit set in a remote province of Imperial China in 1708. Li Du, a librarian in exile, investigates the murder of an old Jesuit priest a few days before the arrival of the emperor. Full of mythological, cultural, and historical details, Jade Dragon Mountain also offers a fascinating analysis of the period when foreign businessmen began coveting China’s riches, in particular its tea. The plot is tight, the characters and suspects are fully developed, and the story keeps readers guessing with a few extra surprises at the end. I highly recommend this book and I am looking forward to reading more adventures featuring Li Du.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

    This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!: A Novel, by Jonathan Evison
    (Algonquin Books, 9781616202613, $25.95)
    “With This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance!, Evison has crafted an instant classic. Recently widowed 78-year-old Harriet embarks on an Alaskan cruise that proves to be the vehicle for her own self-discovery. As one shocking truth after another is revealed about Harriet’s life, readers come to love this woman who is anything but perfect, and whose life is anything but ordinary. With an inventive, addictive structure and prose that surges with life, humor, and compassion, This Is Your Life, Harriet Chance! is one to move to the very top of your reading list.” —Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ

    The Race for Paris: A Novel, by Meg Waite Clayton
    (Harper, 9780062354631, $25.99)
    The Race for Paris is an action-packed tale of courage, friendship, and love during the grim, final days of World War II. Clayton’s triumphant new novel brings to life the intrepid female journalists who sought to break the limits of the times. While soldiers faced the brutal reality of war, women had to also overcome sexism and legal obstacles simply to do their jobs. Based on real characters and events, The Race for Paris brings a unique perspective to a little-known aspect of history. Gather your book club and prepare for an intense conversation as these characters will haunt you long after you turn the final page!” —Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

    In the Dark Places: An Inspector Banks Novel, by Peter Robinson
    (William Morrow, 9780062240545, $25.99)
    In the Dark Places, Robinson’s 22nd Inspector Banks novel, is still rich in the landscape and culture of Yorkshire. Still populated with characters moving through their lives, reacting to events, reaching for experiences, skills, relationships — and justice for victims. Still ingeniously plotted, challenging even the astute reader to keep up through the nerve-racking suspense. Still flush with the musicality of Robinson’s prose and with the love of music that is so much a part of Banks’ personality. And still shaping the story with local history and landmarks so that In the Dark Places, like each Banks novel before it, is unique, yet contributing to a remarkable portrait of modern Britain in all its insularity and diversity.” —Barbara Peters, The Poisoned Pen, Scottsdale, AZ

    House of Thieves: A Novel, by Charles Belfoure
    (Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781492617891, $25.95)
    “The Cross family has it all. Born into the wealthy class in the 1880s and related to the Astors of New York City, their lives are envied. John, the patriarch, is a highly regarded architect; his wife, Helen, a beauty; and his children, George, Julia, and Charlie, each accomplished. But all is not as it seems. George has a gambling problem, and his inability to control himself causes criminals to threaten his family for repayment. Belfoure weaves a fascinating story that reveals the descent of this family into the underworld of crime. The endeavor to save George and the drama that ensues not only captivates the Cross family, but the reader as well. A great read!” —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

    The Hummingbird: A Novel, by Stephen P. Kiernan
    (William Morrow, 9780062369543, $25.99)
    The Hummingbird is a powerful story about the critical role of human empathy in dealing with two important contemporary issues: hospice care and post-traumatic stress disorder. Kiernan’s characters are well-drawn and give unique perspectives on death, trauma, and providing care in difficult times. The Hummingbird is a must-read for all who want to help loved ones die with dignity as well as for those helping veterans achieve normalcy after serving our country.” —Phyllis K. Spinale, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

    A Window Opens: A Novel, by Elisabeth Egan
    (Simon & Schuster, 9781501105432, $26)
    “Alice Pearse has just accepted a job with Scroll, (a forward-thinking bookstore,) but Susannah, her friend who owns the neighborhood bookstore, asks her, ‘Would you really work for an operation that will be the final nail in the coffin for Blue Owl Books?’ On her first day, Alice must set up meetings with 30 agents and editors and assemble 425 top titles to sell in Scroll’s lounges. The job is in addition to having three children, a dog, a husband in the midst of a career change, parents, siblings, and friends. Alice soon realizes this career may not be exactly what she envisioned and must ask herself, what matters the most? — the very question that many of us ask ourselves every day. A delightful, inspiring, and moving tale that will be a top choice for any book group.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

    The Nature of the Beast: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny
    (Minotaur, 9781250022080, $27.99)
    “Penny scores again with this story of the struggle between the forces of good and evil in the tiny Canadian village of Three Pines. Retired homicide chief Armand Gamache must use all of his detective skills and worldly wisdom to solve the murder of a young boy, an investigation that uncovers a threat to global security. The eccentric citizens of this remote outpost add their own color and knowledge to the unraveling of this complex mystery. This book is a pure delight!” —Sarah Pease, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

    Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
    (Spiegel & Grau, 9780812993547, $24)
    “Coates writes about fear and its corrosive effects on our culture from a very personal perspective. He persuades us that we need a new way of understanding American history, a new story, and new names for ourselves and others in order for humanity to survive and thrive. Between the World and Me is urgently needed and should be required reading for everyone in America: high school and college students, church group members, business people, and especially all law enforcement and justice department personnel. This is a book I wish did not need to be written, but I am grateful to Coates for having the courage to share his views.” —Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

    The Girl From the Garden: A Novel, by Parnaz Foroutan
    (Ecco, 9780062388384, $26.99)
    “In her accomplished, arresting debut, Foroutan tells a story almost biblical in its basics. People in a mixed, but very religious, clan-determined society in Iran have their lives and roles set out in firmly dictated ways. Conflict ensues when what is prescribed doesn’t happen as it should and when basic human longings for autonomy and a sense of self start to emerge. Foroutan writes of a family’s unraveling in a powerful story that will vividly live on in the reader’s memory and imagination. Brilliant!” —Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

    Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflection on Race and Medicine, by Damon Tweedy, M.D.
    (Picador, 9781250044631, $26)
    Black Man in a White Coat would be an important book no matter when it was published, but in this season of Ferguson and Charleston, when we must assert more loudly and clearly than ever that black lives matter, the book is essential reading. Dr. Tweedy reflects on the issues faced by black professionals as they confront racism in their careers and black patients as they face the inequities of our health care system. This book is introspective and inspiring in a way that a less personal narrative could not be. We owe the author our gratitude for shining a spotlight on these important issues.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

    The Gates of Evangeline: A Novel, by Hester Young
    (Putnam, 9780399174001, $26.95)
    “Charlie Cates recently lost her young son and the job that she worked so hard for is probably going to be eliminated. When Charlie is offered a chance to write about the Deveau family and their child who went missing over 30 years ago, she jumps at the chance. What she hasn’t told anybody is that she has been seeing visions of children in trouble and is currently experiencing one of a young boy in a rowboat in a Louisiana swamp who she suspects is the missing Deveau child. But what if she has it all wrong? In this excellent thriller, things are really not what they seem to be. A wonderful puzzle with a Southern Gothic feel, this is a definite must-read!” —Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

    Eileen: A Novel, by Ottessa Moshfegh
    (Penguin Press, 9781594206627, $25.95)
    “Psychological thrillers don’t get any better than this. Moshfegh masterfully captures the inner despair of a young mind filled with vitriol. Through atmospheric and unsettling writing, the cold dreariness of small-town New England seeps into readers’ bones even as Eileen’s twisted view of the world — desperate, angry, and vulnerable — seeps into the reading experience. Creepy, but morbidly funny too, Eileen, both the girl and the book, will be with readers long after the last page is turned.” —Christopher Phipps, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

    Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse: A Novel, by Faith Sullivan
    (Milkweed Editions, 9781571311115, $26)
    “Whether you are familiar with the work of P.G. Wodehouse or not, you will want to read his books by the time you have finished this wonderful novel. Returning to Harvester, Minnesota, the location of her best-selling novel, The Cape Ann, Sullivan has provided a tale that will resonate with anyone who has been faced with the loss of a loved one, a challenge of faith, the gossip of a community, or the search for one’s independence. What better place to find grace than in the heart of a good book!” —Betsy Schram, The Bookshelf, Cincinnati, OH

    Best Boy: A Novel, by Eli Gottlieb
    (Liveright, 9781631490477, $24.95)
    “Gottlieb gifts us with the character of Todd Aaron, a middle-aged autistic man whose life in an institution takes a turn from a model of medically controlled routines he readily and ideally adapts to, to a year of disturbing changes with the arrivals of a volatile roommate, a cunning staff member, and a beguiling one-eyed girl, all who threaten his sense of equilibrium and reignite Todd’s desire for the comforts of his original home. Tender and humorous memories linger well after reading this amazingly insightful story.” —Mark Ingraham, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

    The September 2015 Now in Paperback

    33 Artists in 3 Acts, by Sarah Thornton (W.W. Norton, 9780393351675, $15.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Michael Bristow, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

    The Final Silence, by Stuart Neville (Soho Crime, 9781616956158, $15.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Janice Hunsche, Kaleidosaurus Books, Metamora, IN

    Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir, by Charles M. Blow (Mariner Books, 9780544570115, $14.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Chris Crawley, That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR

    The First Bad Man: A Novel, by Miranda July (Scribner, 9781439172575, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Letizia Acosta, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

    Florence Gordon: A Novel, by Brian Morton (Mariner Books, 9780544570245, $14.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Banna Rubinow, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

    Gutenberg’s Apprentice: A Novel, by Alix Christie (Harper Perennial, 9780062336026, $15.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Rod Froke, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Larkspur, CA

    Moriarty: A Novel, by Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial, 9780062377197, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Steven Sautter, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

    Not Fade Away: A Memoir of Senses Lost and Found, by Rebecca Alexander with Sascha Alper (Avery, 9781592409419, $17)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Dana Brigham, Brookline Booksmith, Brookline, MA

    The Paying Guests, by Sarah Waters (Riverhead Trade, 9781594633928, $17)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

    A Sudden Light: A Novel, by Garth Stein (Simon & Schuster, 9781439187043, $15.99)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Andrea Jones, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

    Sweetland: A Novel, by Michael Crummey (Liveright, 9781631491108, $14.95)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books & Music, Raleigh, NC

    Wolf in White Van: A Novel, by John Darnielle (Picador, 9781250074713, $16)
    Recommended in hardcover, by Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI