The April 2012 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the titles on the April 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 2012 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheyrl Strayed
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307592736)
“The inspiring story of Strayed’s solo journey on the Pacific Crest Trail snags you from the beginning and keeps you engaged the whole way through. It was a bold move considering that she had no backpacking experience prior to her trip, but in the years following her mother’s death and the subsequent dissolution of her family, Strayed was no stranger to bold moves. The challenges, both external and internal, that she endures while on the trail are balanced with stories about her life leading up to her brave decision to hike alone for months in the rugged Western wilderness. This is a story of survival in every sense of the word, and one that will stick with you long after you finish reading.” —Deborah Castorina, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

The Cove: A Novel, by Ron Rash
(Ecco, $25.99, 9780061804199)
“Laurel Shelton and her brother live in a cove considered by many to be cursed. Crops fail, untimely deaths occur, and little light ever trickles down onto their plot of land. Their lives are largely isolated until Laurel discovers a mysterious and mute stranger playing the flute in the nearby woods. Set during the final months of WWI in the Appalachians of North Carolina, The Cove is a book that reveals the nature of humans to quickly ostracize those not like themselves and how easily people will demonize a group of people amidst the fever of war.” —Eon Alden, City Lights Bookstore, Sylva, NC

The Book of Jonas: A Novel, by Stephen Dau
(Blue Rider Press, $24.95, 9780399158452)
“This debut deals with the aftermath of acts of war, told from the perspective of Jonas, a war orphan, relocated to the states, and Rose, the mother of the American soldier who aided him. Spare and moving, the story details the confusion and fear of both the soldiers and the civilians in an unnamed Muslim country. Tension builds as Jonas reveals more about the event that destroyed his home, and the inclusion of journal entries by Rose’s son, Christopher, serves to add yet another view of the consequences of battle. Believable, intelligent, and ultimately redeeming, The Book of Jonas demonstrates the lasting impact of relationships even — maybe especially — in a time of war.” —Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Sacre Bleu: A Comedy d’Art, by Christopher Moore
(William Morrow, $26.99, 9780061779749)
“Moore is easily the most humorous author around, but what is often missed in all the laughter is just how talented a writer he truly is. Sacre Bleu starts with the murder of Vincent van Gogh and as Lucien Lessard and Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec try to track down the mysterious Colorman, Moore takes the reader on an informative tour through the Impressionist era. The research is exhaustive, the observations pungent, and the characters, both real and imagined, distinctive. Enjoy the read, but beware the wrath of Mere Lessard!” —Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Angelmaker: A Novel, by Nick Harkaway
(Knopf, $26.95, 9780307595959)
“Joe Spork actively resists becoming a gangster like his dad. He knows he’s missing something in his life as a law-abiding clockmaker, but can’t quite put his finger on it. Reluctantly, he agrees to do a job for a friend from the shadier spots of his past and unknowingly turns on a machine that just might end the world as we know it. What follows is an escalating escapade into a world of mad scientists, a religious cult, secret agents, a death czar, covert government bureaucrats, swarms of golden bees, and gangsters galore. Angelmaker is an imaginative romp, another delightful story from the curious mind of Nick Harkaway.” —Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

The Gods of Gotham: A Novel, by Lyndsay Faye
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399158377)
“It is 1845 in New York City and its first police force has hit the streets at the same time the potato famine has hit Ireland. As the Irish pour into the city so does the hatred, bigotry, and violence that Timothy Wilde, a newly hired copper star, is expected to eradicate. The Gods of Gotham transports the reader back to the sights, smells, sounds, and lingo of 1840s New York City utilizing vivid characters, a stunning setting, and language that will grab you and not let go.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

The Beginner’s Goodbye: A Novel, by Anne Tyler
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307957276)
“Tyler writes about love, loss, and grieving in this beautiful new novel. After a childhood illness left him with a crippled right arm and leg, Aaron always fought to be self-reliant. He finds the love of his life in an equally self-sufficient woman, Dorothy. After 10 years of marriage, Dorothy is killed in a freak accident and as Aaron grieves and tries to put his life back together, he begins to learn the true cost of his independent ways.” —Nancy Drott, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Book of Madness and Cures: A Novel, by Regina O’Melveny
(Little, Brown & Company, $25.99, 9780316195836)
“Gabriella lived in Venice, where women in the 16th century had roles strictly limited by the church and custom. Gabriella was her father’s protégé, however, and he taught her to follow in his footsteps as a physician, a role usually not allowed women. Then her father disappeared. After awaiting his return and forbidden to practice in his absence, Gabriella follows in her father’s footsteps once again, this time on an epic adventure across Europe and into Africa to bring him home. An unforgettable debut!” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The Sleepy Hollow Family Almanac: A Novel, by Kris D’Agostino
(Algonquin Books, $13.95, 9781565129511)
“Kris D’Agostino has penned a modern, dysfunctional family classic that tears away the melodrama that is found too often in the genre. The story of the Morettis’ triumphs and tragedies is written with such a gritty, raw, visceral style, it leaves the reader shaken. Seldom does a book paint such a bleak picture of modern American home life while still, at its core, such a warm and caring heart and soul. Much like Calvin Moretti as the result of his trials and tribulations, this book will change you in ways you never expected.” —Matt Falvey, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, by Anne Lamott, Sam Lamott
(Riverhead Hardcover, $26.95, 9781594488412)
“In a brilliant return to memoir, Ms. Lamott shares her ongoing story of motherhood and now unexpected grandmotherhood. You’ll laugh out loud as Anne and Sam share the trials and terrors this life-altering event brings. Knowing someone as accomplished as Lamott still struggles daily to be good, to tame her controlling streak and her chocolate consumption is a true comfort. That she does so with the help of faith, humor, reflection, and a circle of friends is truly inspiring.” —Christine Grabish, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO

The Lifeboat: A Novel, by Charlotte Rogan
(Reagan Arthur Books, $24.99, 9780316185905)
“Grace is the 22-year-old narrator of this terrifying, tightly told tale of the sinking of an ocean liner crossing the Atlantic from England in 1914. Few escape onto the small overcrowded lifeboats, Grace being one. With little food and drink, paranoia and power struggles surface, and The Lifeboat becomes a study of human nature and who has a stronger will to survive under extreme conditions. As Rogan writes in the end, ‘It was not the sea that was cruel, it was the people.’ A brilliant and harrowing story of a struggle for survival as well as a profound look at the complexities of human nature at its core.” —Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Professionals: A Novel, by Owen Laukkanen
(Putnam Adult, $25.95, 9780399157899)
“This is a top-notch debut thriller with an unusual plot, terrific characters, and non-stop action. It has been a while since I started a book and couldn’t stop until it was finished. The Professionals is one of those books. The bad guys don’t seem too bad at first and the cops chasing them don’t seem to be too capable. That all changes by the end of the book when both the criminals and those enforcing the law show that they are true professionals — willing to sacrifice everything.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Grace: A Novel, by T. Greenwood
(Kensington, $15, 9780758250926)
“I dare you to read the first chapter of this book and then try to set it aside. It’s impossible not to devour the mystery of why Kurt aims his rifle at the back of his only son’s head. As their story unfolds you will understand and sympathize with each character. Grace is a thriller, a heartbreaking account of bullying, and a beautiful story about an imperfect family and the love that must save them all.” —Cathy Allard, BayShore Books, Oconto, WI

Elegy for Eddie: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear
(Harper, $25.99, 9780062049575)
“Winspear’s latest may be her best, as the indomitable Maisie Dobbs takes on a case dear to her heart. When simple and kind Eddie is killed, his friends refuse to believe his death was accidental and they hire Maisie to get to the bottom of the matter. Maisie knew them all, including Eddie, as a child, and she feels compelled to help. As she delves deeper into the mystery of who would want to kill a gentle horse whisperer, she finds herself brushing up against some of the highest political powers and following leads that get more and more personal.” —Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Dust to Dust: A Memoir, by Benjamin Busch
(Ecco, $26.99, 9780062014849)
“In this powerful memoir, Busch muses on life both concrete and abstract. He traces his life —  as a boy, a marine, a son, a father, an actor —  through a prism of materials: stone, ash, water, blood, and bone. Each chapter is a different view into the same life, taking us deeper and deeper, letting us up to breathe, then pulling us back down to the heart of things. No matter if he’s rebuilding a farmhouse in Michigan or training marines in North Carolina, Busch focuses completely on the moment and takes us there, and then connects us back to the wide world. A book to savor, to appreciate, and to be changed by.” —Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

The Good Father: A Novel, by Noah Hawley
(Doubleday, $25.95, 9780385535533)
“How much does divorce really affect a child? How responsible is a parent for the acts performed by his adult child? Is the unconditional love of a parent for a child truly unconditional? Paul Allen is a respected doctor living the American dream in Connecticut with his second wife and their twin sons. Daniel is the 19-year-old product of his first failed marriage. When Daniel is accused of shooting the Democratic candidate for president at a rally, things begin spiraling out of control. When Paul tries to rush to his son’s side, he learns that not only does no one care that he is a doctor, but he is also viewed with suspicion because he is Daniel’s father. Hawley has written a psychological thriller about the modern American family in a situation that is only too possible in today’s society.” —Sharon Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Beastly Things: A Commissario Guido Brunetti Mystery, by Donna Leon
(Atlantic Monthly Press, $25, 9780802120236)
“When Brunetti begins to investigate a murder, the corpse turns out to have been a veterinarian beloved by all whose animals he treated. Why, then, did such a man work in a slaughterhouse? And what exactly was his role there? As in many of the excellent Venetian mysteries of Leon, ethics are the true subject under investigation: the ethics of the abattoir and of the consumption of meat; the ethics of decent people who, when threatened, test the waters of illegality; and the ethics of the police — always a subject for dissection in the mind of Brunetti. This may be Leon’s best yet —  high praise indeed.” —Betsy Burton, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

The Coldest Night: A Novel of Love & War, by Robert Olmstead
(Algonquin, $23.95, 9781616200435)
“In The Coldest Night, Olmstead tells the story of Henry Childs and his first love, his run from its failure into the brutality of the Korean War, and his scarred return home. Reading Olmstead is like eating a meal put together with a minimum number of ingredients that have lovingly been transformed into something amazing and truly satisfying. Olmstead is an author every lover of words should read, and this new novel is a great place to start.” —Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR

The Red Book: A Novel, by Deborah Copaken Kogan
(Voice, $24.99, 9781401340827)
The Red Book is the story of four Harvard college roommates heading back to Boston for their 20th reunion. The plot details friendship, love, sexuality, parenting, careers, education, and more, but ultimately this is a book Centered on sex and love, the two essential elements of any human relationship, Kogan’s tale confirms that successful relationships cannot have one without the other regardless of how hard one tries to make it work when an element is missing. The reader is forced to see the results of the desire and longing that leads to affairs and heartbreak in order to witness the richness that we all search for in our relationships. And here’s hoping that we all find it!” —Kerri Childs, Kerri’s Korner Bookstore, Fairmont, WV

Drop Dead Healthy: One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection, by A.J. Jacobs
(Simon & Schuster, $26, 9781416599074)
“Anyone yearning to pursue a healthier lifestyle should read this book first! Jacobs spent two years on a quest to improve his health, one body part at a time. Besides being very funny — who knew there was a surgical procedure to change the timbre of your farts? — this book is a fount of useful information as Jacobs tries out all of the crazy medical advice so you don’t have to. PS: Laughing at this book will make you healthier. (See Chapter 10.)” —Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

The April 2012 Now in Paperback

Best Staged Plans: A Novel, by Claire Cook (Voice, 9781401341855, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

Clara and Mr. Tiffany: A Novel, by Susan Vreeland (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812980189, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Hicks, Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA

The Coffins of Little Hope: A Novel, by Timothy Schaffert (Unbridled Books , 9781609530686, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Julia MacDonald, Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT

The Dovekeepers: A Novel, by Alice Hoffman (Scribner, 9781451617481, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Anne Holman, The King’s English Bookstore, Salt Lake City, UT

It Happened on the Way to War: A Marine’s Path to Peace, by Rye Barcott (Bloomsbury, 9781608194315, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Andrea Avantaggio, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

The Northwest Angle: A Novel, by William Kent Krueger (Atria, 9781439153963, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Kristin Hurlin, The Cottage Book Shop, Glen Arbor, MI

Please Look After Mom: A Novel, by Kyung-Sook Shin (Vintage, 9780307739513, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Maeda Allman, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, by Alice Ozma (Grand Central Publishing, 9780446583787, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover By Lisa Stefanacci, The Book Works, Del Mar, CA

The Savage City: Race, Murder, and a Generation on the Edge, by T.J. English (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061824586, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Daphne Safrit, Literary Book Post, Salisbury, NC

Say Her Name: A Novel, by Francisco Goldman (Grove Press, 9780802145802, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Aggie Zivaljevic, Kepler’s Books and Magazines, Menlo Park, CA

The Trinity Six: A Novel, by Charles Cumming (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250004628, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

Winged Obsession: The Pursuit of the World’s Most Notorious Butterfly Smuggler, by Jessica Speart (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061772443, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Julie Arriens, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT