The April 2019 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the April 2019 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 flier also features an ad encouraging customers to pre-order The Guest Book by Sarah Blake (Flatiron Books, 9781250110251, $27.99, May 7) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the preorder flier ads here.

# 1 Pick: I Miss You When I Blink: Essays by Mary Laura Philpott
(Atria Books, 9781982102807, $26)
“Mary Laura Philpott writes about today’s American woman in her marvelously frank and witty book of essays, I Miss You When I Blink. Women of all ages will nod their heads when reading about the decision to have babies (or not), the pitfalls of volunteering, the difficulty of getting a cat out from under the bed, the reward of crossing things off ‘the list,’ the challenge of finding time for relaxation, and, above all, the acceleration of time as we age. Philpott shares pivotal moments from her life in such a relatable way that, through both laughter and tears, readers will exclaim, ‘Yes, yes, this is ME!’ Don’t miss this gem!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Women Talking: A Novel by Miriam Toews
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635572582, $24)
Women Talking is an eloquent exploration of how a group mind coalesces — as a kind of vision that comes in fits and starts, arguments and digression — to finally arrive at a decision. Or, read another way, it’s a compelling examination of the opposing voices in our own heads as we wrestle with impossible choices between the known and the unknown. What’s most compelling about Toews’ novel is its lack of sensationalism and how it shows real people struggling through the aftermath of devastating violence. Grounded in a religious culture where suffering and obedience are an expectation, these women grapple with uneasy answers to what’s best for themselves and their children. Women Talking is the quiet, startling story of coming to terms with how, or if, we save ourselves.” —Steve Mitchell, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, NC

Greek to Me: Adventures of the Comma Queen by Mary Norris
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9781324001270, $25.95)
“What a pleasure to again spend a few hours with Mary Norris. The author of Between You & Me is back with a second book, and this time her subject is all things Greek — the language, the people, the mythology, and the culture. Greek to Me recounts Norris’ experiences learning Greek and traveling the country while putting her new skills to the test. As in her first book, Norris is excellent company, spinning tales and charming readers. Blending memoir, history, and travel, all topped off with heaps of wordy nerdiness, Greek to Me is a joy to read.” —David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Lot: Stories by Bryan Washington (Indies Introduce)
(Riverhead Books, 9780525533672, $25)
“This is such a phenomenal book by a writer who should be on everyone’s radar for 2019. Washington has a detailed and poignant style that reveals the tender soul within all of his characters. None of the characters that we meet in Lot are strangers — they are our mothers, brothers, lovers, and friends. Washington pulls them all together through interlocking stories, taking us in between the cracks and revealing how these characters feel and what drives them (and what doesn’t). This series of stories, told with no agenda, explores sexual awakening and identification, gentrification and its victims, and the power of family to both save us and fail us.” —Allie Bangerter, hello hello books, Rockland, ME

Lights All Night Long: A Novel by Lydia Fitzpatrick (Indies Introduce)
(Penguin Press, 9780525558736, $27)
“The courage of youth and the beauty of faith are crystallized in this story of love, loss, and acceptance. Ilya and his older brother, Vladimir, may have been thick as thieves, but while Ilya’s high marks in school offered him a way out of their depressing Russian town, Vladimir’s path has led to more illicit activities. Now, as Ilya navigates his new life in Louisiana, he is determined to save his brother, who is accused of murder back in Russia. Lydia Fitzpatrick’s stunning debut brings these vastly different cultures to life and imbues every scene with empathy and understanding. A brilliant and thrilling novel that shouldn’t be missed!” —Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Girl He Used to Know: A Novel by Tracey Garvis Graves
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250200358, $26.99)
The Girl He Used to Know is a charming, engaging, and uplifting love story told from the perspective of Annika, who from childhood has struggled to fit in, and Jonathan, who is facing his own life challenges. I found myself rooting for these two characters throughout the novel, from their initial introduction at a college chess club meeting to experiencing the inescapable horror of the 9/11 attacks. This book is a must-read in that it celebrates differences in a realistic and believable way.” —Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

The Light Years: A Memoir by Chris Rush
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374294410, $27)
“Rush’s memoir depicts the wild, drug-filled days of his youth with such luminous prose it feels as though we’re with him, careening from one adventure to another. That this book exists is proof that Rush makes it through every situation he encounters, and he brings such generosity to those who were alongside him that it’s impossible not to care about him or his family and loved ones. The Light Years offers a perfect glimpse into the counterculture of the ’60s and ’70s, and that time came alive for me through his writing. A perfect pick for those who lived through that time and those who wish they could.” —Katie Orphan, The Last Bookstore, Los Angeles, CA

Queenie: A Novel by Candice Carty-Williams (Indies Introduce)
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501196010, $26)
“Positively brilliant. I was completely blown away by this debut, in which 25-year-old Queenie Jenkins is navigating a lot. She recently went on break from a long-term relationship, she can’t seem to find her stride at her job with a national newspaper, and she’s constantly trying to figure out how to navigate the various components of her identity. The biggest question of all: Can’t she be loved just because, without her blackness being seen as exotic or a caveat? Candice Carty-Williams’ debut is a completely fresh voice that shines light on a literary perspective frequently overlooked — that of young, black women. An absolute must-read.” —Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

Maybe You Should Talk to Someone: A Therapist, HER Therapist, and Our Lives Revealed by Lori Gottlieb
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9781328662057, $28)
“I was thinking maybe I should talk to someone, and then there was this book. Gottlieb has written a compassionate and entertaining memoir from both sides of the couch, so to speak. She tells the stories of four patients whose lives the reader comes to care deeply about while she herself goes into therapy. Physician, heal thyself? No. Human being, be honest with thyself and do something really difficult. Gottlieb is as fine a writer as she is a storyteller. I was sad our sessions had to end.” —Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Editor: A Novel by Steven Rowley
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780525537960, $27)
“Steven Rowley’s new novel is exactly the balm I needed in today’s climate. Focusing on a young writer who discovers that his editor is none other than Jackie Kennedy Onassis, the book explores both romantic and familial relationships in a humorous and touching manner. Although the writing is wickedly barbed and the zingers fly at the speed of a 1940s rom-com, The Editor is so much more. There is real heart in the writing as well as real love between the characters. It’s a true delight and the kind of book people who loved Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine or Less will truly enjoy. Just be prepared with a box of tissues and your favorite cocktail (Jackie would suggest daiquiris).” —William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees by Meredith May
(Park Row, 9780778307785, $24.99)
“I loved this perfect memoir so much that I read it twice and already know that it will be one of my favorites of the year. Meredith May learns to withstand pain, loss, and grief through the lessons her beloved grandfather teaches her. After her mother moves the family away from her father and shuts down emotionally, Grandpa shows May and her brother love, patience, and understanding using honeybees as an example of how to survive and thrive in a confusing world. I cannot wait to put this moving, emotionally compelling memoir into many hands this spring!” —Diane Grumhaus, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

The Parisian: A Novel by Isabella Hammad
(Grove Press, 9780802129437, $27)
The Parisian, a captivating novel of cultural assimilation, deprivation, and sacrifice in times of war, is quite simply a beautifully vivid, immersive love story. While these attributes alone would make The Parisian a compelling read, it is Hammad’s writing that marks this work as one of the greatest novels I’ve read in recent years. The descriptions are sharp and lush, and her depictions of her characters feel recognizably familiar yet are expressed with a felicity for language that is altogether exceptional. This is a novel for everyone who craves a timeless love story and admires superb writing.” —Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

Brute: Poems by Emily Skaja (Indies Introduce)
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978358, trade paper, $16)
“How can the end of a relationship feel like anything but a gaping wound? Visceral, angry, and honest, Brute will show you how. This is a journey to the heart of loss and back out again, stronger, fiercer. These highly propulsive poems tell a story, but much more than recalling a simple breakup, Emily Skaja explores gender, sexuality, and the strength and wildness in femininity and womanhood. Her poems will slice you open to your very soul and then stitch you back together, and you will thank her for it.” —Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Stay Up With Hugo Best: A Novel by Erin Somers
(Scribner, 9781982102357, $26)
“In her sharply imagined, comedic novel, Somers tackles with effortless finesse the #MeToo issue of sexual misconduct in the entertainment industry. When 29-year-old June Bloom accepts an invitation from comedian Hugo Best, her childhood idol (and recent boss), to spend a long holiday weekend at his country mansion, she finds herself privy to the messy complexities of his personal life. Refusing any facile judgements or conclusions, Stay Up With Hugo Best explores the complexities of people and relationships, and the many shades of gray that make us all human. A fantastic, thoroughly enjoyable debut!” —Michaela Carter, Peregrine Book Company, Prescott, AZ

The Magnetic Girl: A Novel by Jessica Handler
(Hub City Press, 9781938235481, $27)
“We’ve known that Jessica Handler could write the heck out of a sentence since her moving account of surviving the deaths of her sisters in her memoir, Invisible Sisters. What we didn’t yet fully understand is the way that her nonfiction would prepare her so uniquely to write this strange and lovely book about a girl coming into her power — a feminist historical novel of grit and mystery. Handler knows from her own life that the flip side of grief and loss can sometimes be wonder and awe. What a pleasure to have her take us by the hand and show us that truth in the life of Lulu Hurst, who becomes a vaudeville star with ‘magical’ powers but yearns most to heal her little brother back at home.” —Errol Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir by Ruth Reichl
(Random House, 9781400069996, $27)
“In her new memoir, trendsetting food writer and editor Ruth Reichl writes lovingly of the full-blast creativity of her 10 years as editor-in-chief of Gourmet. By book’s end, you’ll miss the storied and groundbreaking magazine, but you’ll be grateful she shared the tale of how its outstanding roster of writers, photographers, designers, and cooks transformed how we look at food. Reichl takes readers behind the scenes as chefs became rock stars, as writers like David Foster Wallace reshaped food writing, and as she fought to save the magazine she adored. A beloved writer with an enviable career, Reichl reminds us that although things may change, simple, honest pleasures — like a perfect plum — endure and make life rich.” —Mary Vermillion, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Trust Exercise: A Novel by Susan Choi
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250309884, $27)
“Set inside the acting program of an elite high school, Choi’s novel seems to consider every major preoccupation of our moment — class, gender, sexuality, race, power, predation, authenticity, ‘genius’ — with language that’s both uproarious and frothing with vital rage. To describe the plot in any detail, though, would reveal too much of Trust Exercise’s inventive, audacious form. Best let this novel sink into your bones with as few spoilers as possible before its final scene seizes your heart. And it will seize your heart. Trust me.” —Samuel Krowchenko, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Lost Roses: A Novel by Martha Hall Kelly
(Ballantine Books, 9781524796372, $28)
“Once in a position of power and prestige but now in peril, the White Russians are fleeing the Bolshevik regime by the thousands, many with only the clothes on their backs, including Sofya, friend of the young Eliza Ferriday. In this prequel to The Lilac Girls, set during WWI, socialite Eliza is frantically fighting to find Sofya and her aristocratic family, who were forced from their homes by gunpoint. From the shores of South Hampton to the tumultuous streets of St. Petersburg, Kelly weaves a narrative full of feeling that is fraught with suspense and so very worth the ride. I loved every minute of it!” —Kristin Bates, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

My Lovely Wife: A Novel by Samantha Downing
(Berkley, 9780451491725, $26)
“It started out as a game, a series of hypothetical questions to liven up their marriage: Who could they hurt? And what could they get away with? With two kids and a mortgage, Millicent and her husband need all the excitement they can find. But soon conversation isn’t enough and their dream life turns into a nightmare. Because the thing about games is there’s always a winner…and a loser. Downing has written the perfect psychological thriller, a shattered scream of a book. Once I picked it up, I didn’t stop reading until I reached the final, stunning sentence. My Lovely Wife is a wholly original and thoroughly terrifying read!” —Lauren Peugh, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

Lost and Wanted: A Novel by Nell Freudenberger
(Knopf, 9780385352680, $26.95)
“Helen is a successful physicist and a single mother, but when her best friend, Charlie, dies, she must confront the limitations of love and science and learn how far each force can be stretched and where they might overlap. As in her previous novel, The Newlyweds, Freudenberger writes with understated authority about grief, motherhood, and coming to terms with the decisions you make throughout your life. Everyone in Helen’s orbit is touched by Charlie’s death, and their grief is as mysterious as the scientific questions Helen grapples with in her work. This is a powerfully beautiful novel.” —Tyler Goodson, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

The April 2019 Indie Next List “Now in Paperback”

Country Dark: A Novel by Chris Offutt
(Grove Press, 9780802129338, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Heart Berries: A Memoir by Terese Marie Mailhot
(Counterpoint, 9781640091603, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Heavy: An American Memoir by Kiese Laymon
(Scribner, 9781501125669, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by E.R. Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

I Am, I Am, I Am: Seventeen Brushes With Death by Maggie O’Farrell
(Vintage, 9780525436058, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Maeve Noonan, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Lawn Boy: A Novel by Jonathan Evison
(Algonquin Books, 9781616209230, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Cassie Clemans, Roundabout Books, Bend, OR

Noir: A Novel by Christopher Moore
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062433992, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Mary McDonald, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Overstory: A Novel by Richard Powers
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393356687, $18.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Brad Johnson, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

Promise: A Novel by Minrose Gwin
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062471727, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Serena Wycoff, Copperfish Books, Punta Gorda, FL

Tin Man: A Novel by Sarah Winman
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735218765, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Wade in the Water: Poems by Tracy K. Smith
(Graywolf Press, 9781555978365, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Eli Sorich, Magers & Quinn Booksellers, Minneapolis, MN

Warlight: A Novel by Michael Ondaatje
(Vintage, 9780525562962, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Chrysler Szarlan, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

Washington Black: A Novel by Esi Edugyan
(Vintage, 9780525563242, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Matt Lage, Iowa Book, Iowa City, IA