The April 2013 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 2013 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: Life After Life: A Novel, by Jill McCorkle
(Algonquin/A Shannon Ravenel Book, $24.95, 9781565122550)
“Let yourself be drawn into the world of Pine Haven Estates in Fulton, North Carolina, and treat yourself to a cast of characters so rich that you will be bereft every time the point of view changes, only to find yourself enchanted anew. Pine Haven Estates is a retirement community, where life and death are inevitable companions. Its inhabitants and the people who care for and about them are at the center of this story that examines the cycle of life — what it means to be alive as well as how one faces the end of life. McCorkle’s first novel in 17 years depicts a community well worth visiting and offers a wonderfully satisfying reading experience.” —Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Books, San Diego, CA

#1 Pick: Life After Life: A Novel, by Kate Atkinson
(Little, Brown/Reagan Arthur Books, $25.99, 9780316176484)
Life After Life is both an engaging puzzle and a meticulously detailed historical novel that spans the two World Wars. With the introduction of Ursula Todd, a woman who lives her life over and over, Atkinson plays with second chances and alternate histories, and poses endless, fascinating questions: What would the world be like if we could start over when things went terribly awry? Could our decisions, big and small, avert wars? Make us happier? Stop death in its tracks? Life After Life is simply a terrific novel, rich with history and possibility, that will leave the reader pondering long after the final page.” —Kat Bailey, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards: A Novel, by Kristopher Jansma
(Viking, $26.95, 9780670026005)
“I started placing special orders for customers who love books that are extremely well done even before finishing this wonderful debut. Some people prefer plot-driven novels. Some can go along with any plot as long as the writing is fantastic. The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards is perfect for either type of book lover and is best described by these lines pulled directly from the book: ‘It is a rare sort of book that resembles nothing else and yet somehow seems intensely familiar. From the first line you feel your own heart begin to beat differently. Once it’s over you want to begin it again. It is a love letter; it is an atom bomb; it is literature we’d forgotten could be written.’” —Beth Golay, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

The Burgess Boys: A Novel, by Elizabeth Strout
(Random House, $26, 9781400067688)
“Relationships between Burgess siblings from Shirley Falls, Maine, have always been as tempestuous as a North Atlantic storm. When Susan’s teenage son instigates a racial incident in the town, she turns to her two lawyer brothers, Jim and Bob, for help. The resulting reluctant partnerships inflame old resentments and the revelation of a dark and terrible secret. Strout creates a memorable story of interwoven lives and destinies and the inescapable bond of family. A worthy successor to the Pulitzer Prize-winning Olive Kitteridge.” —Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Supremes at Earl’s All-You-Can-Eat: A Novel, by Edward Kelsey Moore
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307959928)
“Immerse yourself in the ’60s and the lives of a trio of black women who lived a portion of their days at Earl’s Diner, sharing stories, expressing both joy and sadness, talking about their loves and their pain. This is not an homage to African-American life as much as it is a revelation regarding the lives of these women and their neighborhood in an Indiana town. Sometimes the everyday people around us turn out to be the true heroes. Enjoy!” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Ordinary Grace: A Novel, by William Kent Krueger
(Atria Books, $24.99, 9781451645828)
“Death visits small-town New Bremen, Minnesota, in 1961 and particularly touches 13-year-old Frank Drum and his family. Frank, his Methodist minister father, his “fed up with God” mother, his Julliard-bound older sister, and his inseparable, perceptive, but stuttering 10-year-old brother endure a summer of repeated tragedy that tests their faith and their relationships, both within their family and within the community. Krueger, the author of Cork O’Connor series, expertly weaves this tale of mystery as he always does, but also illuminates characters as never before. I can’t wait to share this amazing book.” —William Bauer, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

Woke Up Lonely: A Novel, by Fiona Maazel
(Graywolf Press, $26, 9781555976385)
Woke Up Lonely is a wild thing of genius, so funny and so smart. Maazel presents us with a warped mirror of our country and the time we live in. The Helix, a cult of the lonely, and its founder, Thurlow Dan, along with his ex-wife, Esme, and their daughter, Ida, head a superb cast of characters. The story unfolds in a winding, fun-house fashion, sporting locales from Washington, D.C. to North Korea to Cincinnati. I envy those who are about to read this truly one-of-a-kind work of fiction.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Edge of the Earth: A Novel, by Christina Schwarz
(Atria Books, $25, 9781451683677)
“In 1897, 19-year-old Trudy Schroeder, inquisitive, opinionated, and ‘her own woman,’ alienates her family by marrying Osker Swann and traveling from her comfortable home in Wisconsin to the desolate coast of central California. The couple begins life as tenders of the Point Lucia lighthouse, trapped between the ocean and the wilderness bordering Big Sur. With vivid descriptions of time and place, this is an unforgettably magical tale of self-transformation and longtime secrets hidden among the ‘morro’ rocks. A mesmerizing read!” —Carol Hicks, Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA

Being Esther: A Novel, by Miriam Karmel
(Milkweed Editions, $22, 9781571310965)
“Esther’s daughter worries about her widowed mother living alone, but Esther resists being ‘sent to Bingoville’ and prefers living in her familiar north-side Chicago apartment building with its mix of neighbors, including her childhood friend. This is a pitch-perfect portrait of a woman reflecting on her past struggles and joys, meeting each day with zest despite her failing health and memory. A gem!” —Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

The Andalucian Friend: A Novel, by Alexander Soderberg
(Crown, $26, 9780770436056)
“Fans of Stieg Larson’s Millennium series, rejoice! A new high-octane thriller — the first in a trilogy — has arrived. Sophie Brinkmann, a single mother and nurse, finds herself in the middle of a war between international drug dealers when she meets and starts dating book publisher Hector Guzman. Sophie turns to an ex-boyfriend for help, but he is an arms dealer whose latest deal has angered his clients, unpredictable Russian mobsters. All these people collide in a tightly woven and highly suspenseful story that will keep you reading long into the night.” —Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Garden, by Matt Wilkinson
(Black Dog & Leventhal, $27.95, 9781579129347)
Though the title can deceive you into thinking this is a cookbook for vegetarians, it isn’t at all. Each chapter is dedicated to a specific vegetable that takes center stage in a glorious recipe. Written in a manner that can be appreciated by the novice cook to the trained gourmet, Wilkinson’s book makes you yearn for fresh produce and the warmth of a well-stocked kitchen. This is a fabulous addition to anyone’s cookbook collection and a perfect gift for a foodie looking for something a bit out of the ordinary.” —Charles Mille, The Quiet Man Bookshop, Canadensis, PA

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel, by Kimberly McCreight
(Harper, $25.99, 9780062225436)
“Throw out all the clichéd superlatives! McCreight’s remarkable debut novel is about Kate Baron, a high-powered lawyer who believes that her daughter Amelia has committed suicide — until she receives the anonymous text — ‘She didn’t jump.’ I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough as Kate races to reconstruct her daughter’s life. This novel will have crossover appeal to fans of Jodi Picoult as well as young adults and is also perfect for discussion groups.” —Jerry Brown, The Bookstore, Radcliff, KY

The Ashford Affair: A Novel, by Lauren Willig
(St. Martin’s Press, $24.99, 9781250014498)
“This is a convincing portrayal of 1920s English society and a family history artfully hidden from the current generation. Snippets of information dropped at her grandmother’s 99th birthday celebration start Clemmie on a search for the truth about her grandmother. Rich details, realistically flawed characters, and a narrative that travels from England to the high life of the ex-pat community in Kenya and finally to present day Manhattan make this a book to remember.” —Nicola Rooney, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Love Water Memory: A Novel, by Jennie Shortridge
(Gallery Books, $24.99, 9781451684834)
“By the end of page one of Love Water Memory, readers will both care about Lucie and want to know why she is standing in frigid San Francisco Bay in an Armani suit. Shortridge’s novel moves like a thriller, as, along with Lucie, we discover what led to her flight from her fiancé, Grady, and her high-powered career. In the hands of a less accomplished author the plot could have become maudlin. Here, its credible; Grady is loving but flawed and Lucie is not always likable, but they fight for understanding and happiness. Readers will be cheering for them all the way.” —Cheryl Krocker McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

The Guilty One: A Novel, by Lisa Ballantyne
(William Morrow Paperbacks, $14.99, 9780062195517)
The Guilty One is a profound, heart-wrenching, thought-provoking, must-read. While it is primarily the story of a little boy accused of murder and his lawyer, it is also a mesmerizing study of the three main characters and how they are each affected by horrible events in their past. It is a compelling story that pulls you into the lives of the characters and won’t let you leave.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The Mothers: A Novel, by Jennifer Gilmore
(Scribner, $25, 9781451697254)
“Waiting. And waiting. Jesse and Ramon, both nearing the age of 40, are waiting for that one magic phone call that will make them parents. The couple has entered the precarious world of open adoption, jumping through all the hoops, attending the classes, filling in all the blanks. And they’re waiting, waiting for the call from a birth mother who will choose them to be the parents of her baby. Gilmore expertly crafts The Mothers with deliberate, steady pacing that will keep the reader flipping pages, eager to learn the outcome. Highly recommended!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Leaving Everything Most Loved: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, by Jacqueline Winspear
(Harper, $26.99, 9780062049605)
“In this, her 10th Maisie Dobbs novel, Winspear gives us all that we have come to expect and more. More time with our favorite characters, more insight into British society post-World War I, and more of Maisie as she struggles to make her way in the world and to always do what is right by those whom she loves. A wonderful new addition to this beloved series.” —Lorna Ruby, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Criminal Enterprise: A Novel, by Owen Laukkanen
(Putnam, $26.95, 9780399157905)
CPA Carter Tomlin losses his job but pretends he is still employed. Desperate for funds, he robs a bank. One bank robbery leads to another, and soon he is shooting and terrorizing people. Introduced in Laukkanen’s first novel, The Professionals, FBI agent Carla Windermere and Minnesota Investigator Kirk Stevens, team up again. Carla knows that it is Carter doing the robberies, but Carter knows Carla has figured it out and he becomes even more violent and brazen. Laukkanen is the new crime writer on the block!” —Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

The Book of My Lives, by Aleksander Hemon
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $25, 9780374115739)
“ Fans of Hemon’s fiction will recognize some of the characters and places depicted in this collection of essays, as well as Hemon’s distinctive wit and dark humor. From his mischievous childhood in Bosnia, the early hints of ethnic tensions, and the full-blown civil war that sent his family into exile, to his difficult adjustment to life in Chicago, his failed first marriage, his happy second one, and the devastating illness of his baby daughter, Hemon’s essays are frank and powerful.” —Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, DC

Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, by Mary Roach
(W. W. Norton & Company, $26.95, 9780393081572)
“Roach has explored the ‘life’ of a cadaver and everything you’d want to know about sex, and has taken us into space. Now, she takes us on an uproarious tour of the last bodily frontier. Think eating is a simple process? Or the process of elimination? From spit to farts — which have more scientists studying them than you’d imagine — and with Elvis and his colon thrown in, you’ll dive into those gastric juices and just go with the flow.” —Rosemary Pugliese, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The April 2013 Indie Next Now in Paperback

Alif the Unseen: A Novel, by G. Willow Wilson (Grove Press, 9780802121226, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by James Wilson,  Octavia Books,  New Orleans, LA

Beautiful Ruins: A Novel, by Jess Walter (Harper Perennial, 9780061928178, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Harvey, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Coldest Night: A Novel, by Robert Olmstead (Algonquin Books, 9781616202774, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Lisa Sharp Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR

Dust to Dust: A Memoir, by Benjamin Busch (Ecco, 9780062014856, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Kate Reynolds, Colgate Bookstore, Hamilton, NY

The Light Between Oceans: A Novel, by M.L. Stedman (Scribner, 9781451681758, $16)
Recommended in hardcover Judy Crosby, Island Books,  Middletown, RI

Love Anthony: A Novel, by Lisa Genova (Gallery Books, 9781439164693, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kathleen Dixon, Islandtime Books and More, Washington Island, WI

Some Assembly Required: A Journal of My Son’s First Son, by Anne Lamott with Sam Lamott (Riverhead Trade, 9781594486678, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Christine Grabish, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO

The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry: A Novel, by Rachel Joyce (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812983456, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Julia MacDonald, The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT

Vengeance: A Novel, by Benjamin Black (Picador, 9781250024183, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Watchers: The Angelus Trilogy, by Jon Steele (Signet, 9780451416797, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Lynn Pellerito Riehl, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail, by Cheryl Strayed (Vintage, 9780307476074, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Deborah Castorina, Waucoma Bookstore, Hood River, OR

The Yard: A Novel, by Alex Grecian (Berkley Trade, 9780425261279, $16)
Recommended in trade by Jennie Turner-Collins Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH