The April 2018 Indie Next List Preview

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Indie Next List logoHere are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the April 2018 Indie Next List flier, which is on its way to stores in the IndieBound movement.

Beginning April 1, these titles will be featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The April 2018 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: Tangerine: A Novel, by Christine Mangan (Indies Introduce)
(Ecco, 9780062686664, $26.99)
Tangerine is one of the best debut novels I’ve read in a long time. Thanks to her exquisite writing, Christine Mangan manages to create a lush, vivid picture of Tangier in the 1950s and bring to life a complicated and very dark friendship between two young women. Lucy and Alice are former college roommates whose relationship has long since gone sour. When they reunite in Tangier, Mangan milks the delicious tension for all it’s worth and brings their story to a shocking conclusion. This book is an absolute stunner!” —Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

Circe: A Novel, by Madeline Miller
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316556347, $27)
“This remarkable journey into mythology brings the ancient gods directly and viscerally into the present. Circe is a perfect mashup of elegant language, glorious storytelling, and exquisitely modern sensibilities. Miller’s telling left me awed and moved by Circe and her story, all while wishing I could invite her over for a glass of wine on the porch. How this amazing author so perfectly melds the human and the divine, creating a story both immediate and epic, is dazzling.” —Beth Albrecht, The Magic Tree Bookstore, Oak Park, IL

The Female Persuasion: A Novel, by Meg Wolitzer
(Riverhead Books, 9781594488405, $28)
“I never could have anticipated this book, and now I can’t imagine a world without it, especially at this moment in American history. The Female Persuasion follows the ambitious but shy Greer Kadetsky, her boyfriend, her best friend, and the feminist icon who launches her into the world. Through these vivid, complex, and lovable characters, Wolitzer explores both the principle and reality of feminism, as well as the desire to become our fullest selves and the twists and turns that journey can take. My heart raced while reading this book, and I never wanted it to end. The Female Persuasion is powerful, generous, smart, and deeply kind; I can’t wait for the world to meet it.” —Megan Bell, Underground Books, Carrollton, GA

And Now We Have Everything: On Motherhood Before I Was Ready, by Meaghan O’Connell
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316393843, $26)
“Times have changed, women have changed, and, naturally, the experience of young(ish) motherhood has changed as well. I often tell people that becoming a mother was equal parts wonderful and abysmally dark and get blank stares, but here it is: a tale like mine, articulated with clarity and wit! I’m excited to be able to recommend this honest and relatable account of modern pregnancy and motherhood.” —Cristina Russell, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

The Oracle Year: A Novel, by Charles Soule
(Harper Perennial, 9780062686633, $21.99)
“One hundred and eight: That’s how many seemingly random predictions come to Will Dando one night in a dream. When they actually begin to occur, he starts selling his critical economic predictions to international interests and makes mountains of money. In the process, though, he also makes powerful enemies — not least of which is the U.S. government. When Will realizes that the dream wasn’t as random as it seemed and is forced into hiding, what was almost a lark becomes deadly as he tries to survive long enough to counter the global chaos he’s caused. With enough humor to lighten the seriousness of Will’s predicament, this debut novel keeps readers guessing right to the surprising end.” —Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

The Overstory: A Novel, by Richard Powers
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393635522, $27.95)
The Overstory, which contains an energy like that of the trees that link its intertwining stories, is nothing short of stunning. Such links between the human and non-human are mostly hidden to us, but only because we tend not to look very closely (or prefer not to see). Powers’ most beautiful sentences are also the most devastating, which hints at the novel’s hope that death — whether of a person or a plant — is never quite the end that it seems. Until, that is, we look, or prefer, finally, to see. As we are instructed near the novel’s end, ‘What you make from a tree should be at least as miraculous as what you cut down.’ Plainly put: The Overstory is perhaps as close to such a miracle as we currently deserve.” —Brad Johnson, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath, by Leslie Jamison
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316259613, $30)
“I’ve loved everything Leslie Jamison’s written, but best of all so far is The Recovering, a memoir/history/criticism-hybrid that takes addiction and recovery as its subject. Every time I sat down with this book, I felt like I was in the company of my smartest friend, someone who knew all the right words for life’s greatest pleasures and pains. Her book moves fluidly from personal remembrances to perfectly synthesized research into how and why people (herself and artists and others) elect to warp their consciousness with substances. The Recovering is a thorough and thoughtful look at many of our worst and some of our best tendencies, and Jamison’s continually compelling style makes it a delight to read.” —John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Varina: A Novel, by Charles Frazier
(Ecco, 9780062405982, $27.99)
“In the elegant and compelling prose that made Cold Mountain an award-winning bestseller, Charles Frazier brings to life Varina Howell Davis, the wife of the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis. Varina is told in two voices: Varina’s and Jimmie Limber’s, the black boy she raises as a son and is forced to abandon as she and her children flee Richmond while the Confederacy crumbles. When Jimmie and Varina reunite years later and relive the cataclysmic events of the war years, they examine the morality and consequences of Varina’s — and a nation’s — choices. As great literature often does, this novel forced me to look at my own actions and attitudes with a more critical eye.” —Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

The Italian Teacher: A Novel, by Tom Rachman
(Viking, 9780735222694, $27)
“The same kinds of beautifully drawn, charming-but-flawed characters that made The Imperfectionists so wonderful also fill this novel, which follows Pinch (aka Charles), the son of famed painter Bear Bavinsky, as he grows up and struggles to make a name for himself. The book begins with Pinch and his mother, a failed potter, living in Rome in the 1950s in the shadow of Bear’s celebrity and forceful personality. With evocative descriptions of the various cities in which it’s set, The Italian Teacher is perfect for readers who want to be drawn into the lives of vivid characters and explore the meaning of art, family, and one’s personal legacy.” —Laura Tischler, Solid State Books, Washington, D.C.

Country Dark: A Novel, by Chris Offutt
(Grove Press, 9780802127792, $24)
Country Dark spans 1954 to 1971, opening with Tucker’s return home from the Korean War, where he had special training in killing other men, to rural Kentucky near the Ohio border, where he takes up a job as a driver in a bootlegging operation. Tucker is devoted to his rural home life and to his young wife and children, and once their way of life is threatened, he understands he may have to employ his wartime skills to keep it together. Chris Offutt’s new novel is almost impossible not to race through, but it also must be savored for its artful but unpretentious phrasing, and for its many surprises, which we won’t talk about here.” —Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Italian Party: A Novel, by Christina Lynch
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250147837, $25.99)
“Chris Pavone’s The Expats meets Amor Towles’ A Gentleman in Moscow in this delightful novel. Scottie and Michael Messina are newlyweds when they arrive in Italy in April of 1956, where Michael is supposed to head up a new division of Ford. There is so much unknown between any typical pair of newlyweds, but Michael and Scottie harbor deeper secrets from each other, among them Michael’s true occupation as a spy for the American government. Lynch evokes the period of the 1950s — Betty Crocker, Wonder Bread, and an entrenched distrust of Communism — in a story that froths with gossip and is sweetened by intrigue, stirred with the complex history of Italian and American relations. Delicious and positively drinkable.” —Becky Petterson, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

Stray City: A Novel, by Chelsey Johnson
(Custom House, 9780062666680, $25.99)
“A coming-of-age story about Andrea, a Midwestern, Catholic, artistic lesbian who escapes her family to try and find herself. After moving to Portland, Oregon, in the ’90s, Andrea gets involved in printmaking and music, meets a circle of people she depends upon, experiences a breakup, and finds a new friend. I could not put this novel down once I started it. When I was down to the last 10 pages, I read as slowly as I could, savoring every last word about the people I had come to know in Stray City. Such a good story!” —Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

Lawn Boy: A Novel, by Jonathan Evison
(Algonquin Books, 9781616202620, $26.95)
“Mike Muñoz is a broke, unemployed, sexually confused 22-year-old Chicano man living in Washington State, just trying to find the right path to his American dream. One setback after another is laid in front of him, and Mike wonders if he will ever make the leap from survival mode to working toward his goals. I loved this book for the sincere, engaging way the author addresses the issues of class distinction and cultural discrimination, and Mike is such a funny, tenacious, lovable human that you can’t help but ache for his disappointments and cheer for his victories. I hope everyone reads this inspiring novel.” —Cassie Clemans, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

Every Note Played: A Novel, by Lisa Genova
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781476717807, $26)
“In a tightly composed piece of writing, novelist Lisa Genova carries the reader through the grim melody and turbulent sequencing of ALS while expertly relaying the gradual impact of the disease on the lives of patients and caregivers. With medical details balanced against the raw manifestation of the human experience, Every Note Played explores the cruel effects of loss and the profound effects of compassion and forgiveness. Richard and Karina are voluntarily alone, yet uncomfortably united by a sense of need and duty. Genova holds nothing back, producing a story that resonates with meaning and builds to a keen point of understanding.” —Joan Gallagher, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

After Anna: A Novel, by Lisa Scottoline
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250099655, $27.99)
“The twists and turns of Scottoline’s new family thriller kept me captivated as a reader, spouse, and parent. After Anna is the story of a family torn apart by the return of the wife’s beautiful teenage daughter, Anna, who then is brutally murdered. With this event, Maggie not only loses her daughter, but her world is turned upside down by the possibility that her husband might be the killer. After Anna kept me guessing about who was telling the truth in this once-normal marriage. Scottoline is a master thriller writer, and her dazzling prose breathes life into her vibrant characters. Not only will the author’s extensive fan base love After Anna, but new readers will enjoy it as well. I cannot wait to put it in their hands!” —P.K. Sindwani, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, PA

Blue Self-Portrait, by Noémi Lefebvre, Sophie Lewis (Transl.)
(Transit Books, 9781945492105, trade paper, $15.95)
“I’m not sure I can prepare you for this book. I thought I knew what I was getting into, and a mere 140 pages later I landed on a different continent altogether. Noémi Lefebvre has produced a riveting story in Blue Self-Portrait, one that investigates the many variations of a thought, of a memory. Our narrator looks at her exchange with a pianist from every possible vantage point, arriving at both confusion and conclusion within the same second. Lefebvre is a master of the sentence, and some of these passages unfurl with all the introspection and music of Marcel Proust. Sophie Lewis’ translation is a most welcome import into our canon that will be appreciated for its poetry and its audacity.” —John Gibbs, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA

Waiting for Tomorrow: A Novel, by Nathacha Appanah
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978037, trade paper, $16)
“This haunting novel tells the story of a couple — two outsiders who find each other and fall in love —  and the life they build as artists. After their daughter is born, a woman comes into their life to care for her, a woman whose life story is so poignant and heartbreaking that the couple cannot help but be inspired by it. But then boundaries are crossed, trust is betrayed, and lives are changed. This is a gorgeous, devastating book about belonging, art, and the choices we make.” —Stef Schmidt, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, NH

Wade in the Water: Poems, by Tracy K. Smith
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978136, $24)
“In Wade in the Water, Smith masterfully makes herself into a medium through which the voices of other (forgotten) people can become poetry. ‘I Will Tell You the Truth About This…’ is a haunting and beautiful poem written using the letters and statements of African-Americans who enlisted as soldiers in the Civil War. Here, Smith is simultaneously the declarer and the creator of a space wherein others may be given room to declare. It is this balancing act that brings out the heart and beauty of Wade in the Water. The impersonal is made intimate, the world is made individual, and through it all, Smith guides us with true poetic sense. Wade in the Water is a necessary, beautiful book!” —Eli Sorich, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN

Paris by the Book: A Novel, by Liam Callanan
(Dutton, 9781101986271, $26)
“In Paris, there is a bookstore called The Late Edition, where books are shelved geographically, and while readers can find any book by its story’s setting, the store’s proprietor Leah cannot locate her missing husband and searches for him throughout the city. In Paris by the Book, Paris is equal parts Madeline and The Red Balloon, the children’s books that shape Leah’s view of the City of Light. I’d compare Callanan’s engrossing third novel to The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry and The Little Paris Bookshop, but with its confounding but ultimately loveable heroine, there’s a bit of Where’d You Go, Bernadette in the story as well. This captivating novel is filled with rich characters, a twisty plot, a bit of mystery, and a heaping dollop of joie de vivre.” —Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

I Was Anastasia: A Novel, by Ariel Lawhon
(Doubleday, 9780385541695, $26.95)
“By far the best historical fiction title I’ve read in a long time! Not only is the story historically accurate, but the way it unfolds is unique and significantly adds to the plot and character development. Even though most readers today probably know how the book ends before they even start it, Ariel Lawhon’s masterful storytelling will leave you cheering for or jeering at one of the Anastasias — which one is up to you!” —Kari Erpenbach, University of Minnesota Bookstores, Minneapolis, MN

The April 2018 Indie Next List “Now in Paperback”

Anything Is Possible, by Elizabeth Strout (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812989410, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Zimmerman, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

The Baker’s Secret: A Novel, by Stephen P. Kiernan (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062369598, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Patricia Worth, River Reader Books, Lexington, MO

Chemistry: A Novel, by Weike Wang (Vintage, 9780525432227, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Laurie Greer, Politics & Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.

The Force: A Novel, by Don Winslow (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062664433, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Patrick Millikin, The Poisoned Pen Bookstore, Scottsdale, AZ

Girl in Snow: A Novel, by Danya Kukafka (Simon & Schuster, 9781501144387, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Hourglass: Time, Memory, Marriage, by Dani Shapiro (Anchor, 9781101974261, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Cristina Nosti, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI, by David Grann (Vintage, 9780307742483, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Steven Shonder, Anderson’s Bookshop, Naperville, IL

Magpie Murders: A Novel, by Anthony Horowitz (Harper Perennial, 9780062645234, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Ken Favell, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Miss You: A Novel, by Kate Eberlen (Harper Paperbacks, 9780062460233, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Kelly O’Sullivan, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone: A Novel, by Phaedra Patrick (Park Row, 9780778330899, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Shadow Land: A Novel, by Elizabeth Kostova (Ballantine Books, 9780345527875, $18)
Recommended in hardcover by Dianne Patrick, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI

The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane: A Novel, by Lisa See (Scribner, 9781501154836, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Elizabeth Merritt, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA