The April 2011 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a look at the Indie Next List Great Reads and Now in Paperback titles featured on the April 2011 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 2011 Indie Next List Great Reads

Say Her Name: A Novel, by Francisco Goldman
(Grove Press, $24.00, 9780802119810)
"Remembering is sometimes like 'juggling a hundred thousand crystal balls all at once, trying to keep all these memories going,' writes Francisco Goldman in this autobiographical work. This beautifully written book is, at the same time, an elegant, elegiac novel, a brutal and honest memoir, and the longest and most tender love letter in the world. Say Her Name is a gift of love for the author's beautiful young wife, Aura Estrada, who died after an accident in the waves at Mezunte beach in Mexico. Aura's absence is deeply felt throughout the whole book, and the last pages of will take your breath away." -- Aggie Zivaljevic, Kepler's Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, CA

Fire Season: Field Notes From a Wilderness Lookout, by Philip Connors
(Ecco, $24.99, 9780061859366)
"In elegant and measured prose, Connors broadens and enriches the whole tradition of nature writing with his own unique experience in the great wilderness. A fire lookout in New Mexico's Gila National Forest, Connors takes the reader inside his own musings and reveals his intimacy with the remote area, its flora and fauna, and inevitably, with its fires. His larger purpose is to reveal the behavior of fire and its crucial role in a healthy ecosystem, as well as to examine our complex relationship with it. A graceful, memorable book." -- Marie du Vaure, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA

Please Look After Mom: A Novel, by Kyung-Sook Shin and Chi-Young Kim
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307593917)
"When an elderly woman is separated from her husband at a bustling Seoul railway station and is never seen again, it raises real questions for her distraught family. Did they really ever know her? Was her disappearance really all that sudden? Korean writer Kyung-Sook Shin's heartbreaking novel reveals an unseen, under-appreciated, extraordinary, yet ordinary, woman. This book will make readers think about the hidden, mysterious lives lived by their own mothers and the many ways in which people can disappear a little at a time." -- Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Galore: A Novel, by Michael Crummey
(Other Press, $15.95, 9781590514344)
"In this gripping novel, Crummey has created a world rich in mythology and folklore, populated by some of the most memorable characters I've ever been introduced to -- from Judah, the man found alive in the belly of a whale beached on the shore of a Newfoundland fishing village, to Devine's Widow, a powerful woman whose first name has been lost to history. The language is beautiful, and the stories are compelling. A fascinating and memorable read." -- Elizabeth Jordan, Book People, Austin, TX

The Trinity Six, by Charles Cumming
(St. Martin's Press, $24.99, 9780312675295)
"From the dark days of the Cold War to the darker days of Tony Blair's Britain, Trinity Six crackles with intelligence and action. Following in the footsteps of John le Carré and Len Deighton, Cumming creates an intriguing thriller that seamlessly blends history and fiction. Professor Sam Gaddis' bookish life falls away as he attempts to uncover the truth about a dead man who isn't really dead and a parallel reality in which nothing is what seems. Classic, compelling espionage from a new master!" -- Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

The School of Night: A Novel, by Louis Bayard
(Henry Holt & Co., $25.00, 9780805090697)
"This swift, witty mystery moves between Tudor England and the present day as a group of bibliophile treasure-hunters sleuth out the lost discoveries of a secretive academy of Elizabethan intellectuals. Bayard is a master of historical texture and literary suspense!" -- Mark David Bradshaw, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

Night Road: A Novel, by Kristin Hannah
(St. Martin's Press, $27.99, 9780312364427)
"This is the moving story of twins Mia and Zach, their mother Jude, and their friend Lexi, whose lives are forever changed on Night Road. A bad decision involving drinking and driving results in a tragedy that paralyzes them with guilt. Only when they learn to forgive can they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives." -- Fran Wilson, Colorado State University Bookstore, Fort Collins, CO

Deep Future: The Next 100,000 Years of Life on Earth, by Curt Stager
(Thomas Dunne Books, $25.99, 9780312614621)
"Stager, a scientist who drills down into the earth and reads what the layers tell us about the history of the environment and climate change, uses that information to speculate on what the future might be like. The results are not as predictable as one might think. Neither the ardent environmentalists who see the end of life on the horizon, nor the naysayers who think the whole idea of climate change is bunk, will be vindicated. Stager doesn't so much think outside the box as reshape and extend the box and provide a useful additional perspective on a complicated and unavoidable issue." -- Jonathon Welch, Talking Leaves Inc, Buffalo, NY

A Lesson in Secrets: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear
(Harper, $25.99, 9780061727672)
"Put on the kettle, lock all the doors, and settle in for a fabulous read with the newest adventure of the indomitable Maisie Dobbs! It's 1932, and Maisie takes a job with the British Secret Service, going undercover to investigate ties between a small Cambridge college and the rising Nazi Party. When the head of the college turns up dead, Maisie finds herself torn between the Service and Scotland Yard in a complicated case involving echoes of the last war and omens of the next. A Lesson in Secrets confirms Winspear's place at the top of the list of historical mystery writers." -- Kristine Kaufman, The Snow Goose Bookstore, Stanwood, WA

A Covert Affair: The Adventures of Julia Child and Paul Child in the OSS, by Jennet Conant
(Simon & Schuster, $28.00, 9781439163528)
"Long before she could cook, Julia Child and her future husband were stirring up adventure together in the OSS. In A Covert Affair, Jennet Conant uncovers a tale of intrigue and detente, both professional and personal. All the ingredients of a fun thriller are here: plenty of bad guys, lots of Bond-type girls, double-crosses, and threats from everywhere, plus action in jungles, cities, and deserts. The woman who is best known for taking down a chicken with a knife even has a one-on-one unarmed battle with a rogue elephant!" -- Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

The Uncoupling: A Novel, by Meg Wolitzer
(Riverhead Hardcover, $25.95, 9781594487880)
"I loved this story of a suburban high school community -- students, parents and teachers -- who are adversely affected when the drama department decides to stage a production of Lysistrata by Aristophanes, a play in which women withhold sex in order to stop war. Wolitzer turns her sharp, sometimes dark wit on the people of Eleanor Roosevelt High School with both bitingly funny and surprisingly poignant results" -- Terry Lucas, The Open Book, Westhampton Beach, NY

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World's Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler, by Jessica Speart
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780061772436)
"I had certainly heard about wildlife smuggling, but this completely bizarre true-life tale brings the strange black market for insects vividly to life. The cat-and-mouse chase between an intrepid wildlife agent and the notorious and highly unusual Japanese smuggler will shock and amaze you. Movie producers, take note!" -- Julie Arriens, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

The Beauty of Humanity Movement: A Novel, by Camilla Gibb
(Penguin Press, $25.95, 9781594202803)
"A Vietnamese-American woman returns to the land of her birth to discover what she can about her dissident father who was last seen around the time of the fall of Saigon. Befriending an itinerant maker of pho -- a traditional noodle soup -- who may have known him, she slowly learns the fate of the dissidents while rediscovering the culture she was removed from as a child. This is a lovely and touching story that provides a moving portrait of the daily life of the Vietnamese people both during the war and now." -- Sheryl Cotleur, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

It Happened On the Way to War: A Marine's Path to Peace, by Rye Barcott
(Bloomsbury USA, $26.00, 9781608192175)
"Rye Barcott's unstoppable drive to do good in the world leads him to concurrent forms of public service. To serve the Kibera slum of Nairobi, Kenya, he co-founds the organization Carolina for Kibera (CFK). To serve his country, he joins the Marines and trains to be a Human Intelligence Officer. Drawing on his experiences and the people around him, Rye applies what he learns in Kibera to the challenges of the Marines, and vice versa. This book will restore your faith in humanity, and remind you how much impact one person can have." -- Andrea Avantaggio, Maria's Bookshop, Durango, CO

Heads You Lose: A Novel, by Lisa Lutz, David Hayward
(Putnam Adult, $24.95, 9780399157400)
"While the multiple murders and other suspicious activity are the components of a typical crime novel, typical is, of course, not Lutz's MO. This collaborative effort with her ex-boyfriend, the poet Hayward, is no exception. They write alternate chapters, exposing each other's foibles as well as their shared history in notes between the chapters. The result is hilarious, despite a looming conviction that they will never write the solution to the mystery before coming to actual blows off the page. Another fun and genre-bending experience from Lutz." -- Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge, by T.J. English
(William Morrow, $27.99, 9780061824555)
"The Savage City is a fascinating chronicle of a brutal decade in the history of New York City. The story begins in 1963 with a double murder and then continues through the city's difficult struggle with the emerging civil rights movement. Alternating chapters follow a falsely accused black male, a dirty cop, and a rising member of the Black Panther Party, and together portray a time when corruption ruled. Readers are led through 10 years of murder, rape, race riots, and back door deals until, finally, real justice can begin to prevail." -- Daphne Safrit, Literary Book Post, Salisbury, NC

Emily, Alone: A Novel, by Stuart O'Nan
(Viking Adult, $25.95, 9780670022359)
"In this novel -- a sequel to Wish You Were Here -- we follow Emily Maxwell, an aging widow who walks a fine line between loneliness and her newfound independence. O'Nan convincingly portrays the mind, heart, and memory of an elderly woman, evoking her solitude poignantly but without resorting to emotional manipulation or sentimentality. O'Nan is one of the most versatile storytellers, and this book further guarantees his place in the pantheon of contemporary American writers." -- Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Reading Lips: A Memoir of Kisses, by Claudia Sternbach
(Unbridled Books, $14.95, 9781609530372)
"Sternbach shares the stories of all kinds of kisses: the first kiss that didn't even happen; the kiss at the end of a rousingly successful catering event that eventually led her to her life partner; a tragic blind-date kiss that ended in pain; an ever-so-tender goodbye kiss to a deceased cousin; the stolen kiss from the lifeguard at Bible camp. Interconnected essays form a charming and engrossing memoir. After all, 'a kiss is still a kiss.'" -- Nancy Simpson, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Drawing Conclusions: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon
(Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.00, 9780802119797)
"Leon's vivid, atmospheric writing brings the city of Venice and its sights, sounds, and smells to life, and her charming cast of characters and sense of social justice make her novels a delight to read. In Drawing Conclusions, Commissario Brunetti investigates the death of an elderly woman whose suspicious bruises and missing artworks suggest that a simple heart attack was not the real cause of her death. Another suspenseful and satisfying addition to this wonderful series." -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Troubled Man: A Kurt Wallander Novel, by Henning Mankell
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307593498)
"Wallander, coming to an age where retirement becomes inevitable, realizes that life is not without end, that neglect of his physical needs is taking its toll, and that his mind may not be as sharp as before. Amid all these thoughts he gets personally, not professionally, involved in a police investigation of his daughter's father-in-law, a former Swedish Naval officer. Wallander is still a capable, if sometimes wayward, detective, but this novel focuses more on the man himself, as he comes to terms with his age, his past, and his deep love for his daughter and granddaughter." -- Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

The April 2011 Now in Paperback

Ape House: A Novel, by Sara Gruen (Spiegel & Grau, 9780385523226, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Sue Beale, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, by Bill McKibben (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312541194, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Gary Colliver, Windows on the World Books and Art, Mariposa, CA

The Hand That First Held Mine: A Novel, by Maggie O’Farrell (Mariner, 9780547423180, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Jude Sales, Readers’ Books, Sonoma, CA

Hellhound on His Trail: The Electrifying Account of the Largest Manhunt in American History, by Hampton Sides (Anchor, 9780307387431, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Kristin Bates, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

I Thought You Were Dead: A Love Story, by Pete Nelson (Algonquin, 9781616200480, $13.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear (Harper Perennial, 9780061727689, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Book Shop, Damariscotta, ME

A Mountain of Crumbs: A Memoir, by Elena Gorokhova (Simon & Schuster, 9781439125687, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Carla Cohen, Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeeshop, Washington, D.C.

My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel, by Robin Oliveira (Penguin, 9780143119135, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Erin Kurup, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Russian Winter: A Novel, by Daphne Kalotay (Harper Perennial, 9780061962172, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Lianna Nielsen, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO

Seven Year Switch: A Novel, by Claire Cook (Voice, 9781401341640, $13.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karin Beyer, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

The Solitude of Prime Numbers: A Novel, by Paolo Giordano (Penguin, 9780143118596, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

A Visit From the Goon Squad, by Jennifer Egan(Anchor, 9780307477477, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Brett Weinkle, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY