The August 2014 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the titles on the August 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 August 1 on and

The August 2014 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick:  Painted Horses: A Novel, by Malcolm Brooks
(Grove Press, 9780802121646, $25)
“Brooks sweeps post-WWII American prosperity, ancient native traditions, and the rush to tame the still-wild West together in a novel driven by diverse and deeply realized characters that come together in a heart-pounding story. Catherine Lemay is a talented young archeologist defying the traditions of a ‘man’s world’ by accepting the challenge to explore a Montana canyon slated for flooding for hydroelectric power. What she discovers is beauty, history, threats, and John H — a former mustanger, Army veteran, and enigmatic canyon dweller. Far from her comfortable New York home, Catherine embraces Montana’s stark conditions and with John H uncovers both secrets of the region and truths within herself. A breathtaking debut!” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

Lucky Us: A Novel, by Amy Bloom
(Random House, 9781400067244, $26)
“Vivid and satisfying, Lucky Us is the story of two motherless half-sisters thrown together by fate and determined to make their way in a world where the cards are stacked against them. It is a study about the way that ‘family’ is not just something we’re born into, but also something we make for ourselves. Bloom gives us lively, unforgettable characters who are so warm, human, and irrepressible that they transcend even the darkest events of their lives. I loved this novel!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Small Blessings: A Novel, by Martha Woodroof
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250040527, $25.99)
“A cast of quirky characters — a well-meaning but bumbling college professor, his agoraphobic wife, his sitcom-worthy mother-in-law, and a charming itinerant bookseller — is thrown into a whirl when a small ‘orphan’ boy appears in their midst. The power of love and caring lifts everyone above their flaws in a heartwarming story about finding love and family in unconventional ways.” —Jenny Stroyeck, The Homer Bookstore, Homer, AK

A Man Called Ove: A Novel, by Fredrik Backman
(Atria, 9781476738017, $25)
A Man Called Ove by Swedish blogger and columnist Backman is one of those books you read and then want everyone else to read, too. It is also one of those books where you don’t dare go into detail about the main character, the setting, or the plot because that would ruin the experience for others. Suffice it to say that the man whose name is Ove is a curmudgeon. He’s grumpy. He’s cantankerous. And he is a delight! Long may he harrumph!” —Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA

In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette, by Hampton Sides
(Doubleday, 9780385535373, $28.95)
“Sides tells more than a fateful story of exploration, he brings to life an entire era of discovery and the passions that drove it. We meet a wild newspaper magnate who, in addition to racing carriages at midnight in the nude, exiled himself to France after drunkenly urinating in his then-fiancée’s grand piano; an obsessive German cartographer who staunchly believed in a warm, open polar sea at the North Pole; and a strong-willed captain who fell madly in love with the impossible, glaciered grandeur of Earth above the 80th parallel. The meeting of these three eccentric minds led to the voyage of the USS Jeanette, and Sides tells the ship’s tragic story well in cinematic prose with a keen sense of his characters and their changing world.” —Michael Wallenfels, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Home Place: A Novel, by Carrie La Seur
(William Morrow, 9780062323446, $25.99)
“Alma Terrebonne, a rising star in a Seattle law firm, has left behind her complicated family and past tragedies in Billings, Montana, until one morning when a call for help pulls her back. Returning to identify her sister, dead apparently from exposure, and to care for her 11-year-old niece, Alma is overcome by guilt, fragile family relations, powerful memories from the past, and the hold the family homestead has over her. Both a tense, page-turning police procedural and a delightful romance with carefully drawn characters, The Home Place will resonate with the reader long after the book is finished.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Life Drawing: A Novel, by Robin Black
(Random House, 9781400068562, $25)
“In their late 40s and childless, Owen and Augusta move to an isolated farmhouse to pursue their art — he as a writer, she as a painter. When Alison, a divorcée escaping her own demons, unexpectedly moves in next door, the fault lines in all of their lives threaten to break open to reveal layer upon layer of grief, loss, and love. Black is a master storyteller. Her prose is distilled, and again and again she offers a phrase or a sentence that captures a whole life. An extraordinary novel.” —Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

A Colder War: A Novel, by Charles Cumming
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250020611, $26.99)
“This is another smashing tale of spycraft from Cumming. MI6 veteran Thomas Kell, who readers will recall from A Foreign Country, is sent to Istanbul to determine what really happened to a colleague killed in the crash of the small plane he was piloting. Beautiful women and treacherous double agents are present, but more prominently the reader experiences the beginning of the psychological wiles that ushered in the eponymous ‘colder war.’ Cumming’s descriptions are so evocative I felt as if I had actually traveled to the Bosporus and experienced the intrigue firsthand!” —Clay Belcher, Signs of Life, Lawrence, KS

The Mockingbird Next Door: Life With Harper Lee, by Marja Mills
(Penguin Press, 9781594205194, $27.95)
“At long last the reclusive author Harper Lee and her spirited sister, Alice, decided to share the story of their lives, choosing journalist Mills, who became their friend and neighbor in the process, as well as their biographer. Mills has a gift for listening with respect and retelling with careful observation. Her tale unfolds slowly, without drama, revealing the deep, rich lives of the sisters beneath the quiet surface of their small town routines. Immensely satisfying!” —Ellen Davis, Dragonwings Bookstore, Waupaca, WI

The Magician’s Land: A Novel, by Lev Grossman
(Viking, 9780670015672, $27.95)
“In The Magician’s Land, Quentin Coldwater is hitting 30 years old. It’s a bit young to be having a mid-life crisis, but when you’ve been living your dreams as the magician king of a fantasyland and get suddenly deported by the very entities you have just saved from destruction, I suppose it’s understandable. Grossman’s quirky prose, his sense of humor, and his great sympathy for his emotionally flawed characters combine in this wonderful final novel in what has become one of my favorite fantasy trilogies ever.” —Ken White, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

Further Out Than You Thought: A Novel, by Michaela Carter
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062292377, $14.99)
“Like tasting a fruit for the very first time, reading Carter’s novel is an experience both bracing and sumptuous, a challenge and a treat. Readers follow Gwen, who strips at a seedy bar near the airport, her boyfriend Leo, an artist propelled by impulse and oblivious to his obligations, and Count Valiant, an AIDS-afflicted lounge singer whose body ails as the Rodney King riots render LA unrecognizable. Through Carter’s lyrical, sensuous, and empathetic prose, we see how their identities as women, men, drifters, artists, and friends coalesce. Their humanity is the center of this story, the constant pulse that gives the book its prodigious heart.” —Linnie Greene, Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill, NC

Tigerman: A Novel, by Nick Harkaway
(Knopf, 9780385352413, 26.95)
“Harkaway’s books are known for their expansive, fantastical settings and narratives. With Tigerman he creates a quieter, but no less thrilling, novel. It’s a story filled with geopolitical and criminal intrigue and escapades, but at its heart Tigerman is about the friendship between a man and the boy he befriends. This is a deeply emotional book, but with the narrative drive of pulp fiction novels. Extremely satisfying on all levels.” —Vladimir Verano, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

This Is the Water: A Novel, by Yannick Murphy
(Harper Perennial, 9780062294906, paper, $14.99)
“The first thing you notice about Murphy’s new novel is the hypnotic cadence of her prose. It flows like the water, like the young swimmers and their families around whom the story turns. This book is at once a suspenseful murder mystery as well as a meditation on what it means to love fiercely as a parent and what it is like to be female in a body starting to show its age, longing for passion and desire that seems long gone. Murphy has the knack of finding the essence of the thousands of tiny moments and inner thoughts that fill our days, and writes about them with a clarity that makes the reader say ‘Yes, yes, yes!’” —Susan Petrone, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

The Book of Life: A Novel, by Deborah Harkness
(Viking, 9780670025596, $28.95)
“It’s finally here, the book all Harkness’ fans have been waiting for! Matthew and Diana have returned to the future and things have changed, as have they. Surprising twists and turns make this a delightful conclusion to the All Souls trilogy. While Harkness ties up loose ends, her complex characters leave enough room for her to return to this world should she wish to. With history, genetics, and morality all playing out, this is the very best in escapist fantasy for all readers!” —Marika McCoola, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Bad Feminist: Essays, by Roxane Gay
(Harper Perennial, 9780062282712, paper, $15.99)
“Roxane Gay is one of the most important and refreshing voices of this century, and nowhere is this more apparent than in her timely, urgent, and thoughtful essays. She’s already proven herself to be a top-notch novelist; with this collection she takes a seat on the same literary stage as Joan Didion, Susan Sontag, Leslie Jamison, Montaigne, Geoff Dyer, and David Foster Wallace. Her indelible essays will have a tremendous impact on generations of writers.” —Michele Filgate, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

Herbie’s Game: A Junior Bender Mystery, by Timothy Hallinan
(Soho Crime, 9781616954291, $25)
“Amiable burglar Junior Bender is forced to chase down a stolen list of names before everyone on it ends up dead. First to fall is Junior’s mentor and surrogate father, Herbie, who stole the list in the first place. This delightful mystery poses the question: Do we ever really know the people we love, and do we need to know everything in order to love them?” —Lisa Wright, Oblong Books & Music, Millerton, NY

The Mountaintop School for Dogs and Other Second Chances: A Novel, by Ellen Cooney
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544236158, $24)
“In Cooney’s latest, a broken young woman and a sanctuary for broken dogs struggle toward common ground and, in the process, heal one another. Evie is a bright young woman, but often defeated by her demons. Surfing the web one night she spots a school for dog trainers and impetuously enrolls. Determined and inventive, Evie perseveres, learning to love and rehabilitate her tormented canine charges. Cooney’s writing style is completely her own, lively, inventive, and fun to read. Do not miss this remarkable novel!” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The Good Girl: A Novel, by Mary Kubica
(Harlequin MIRA, 9780778316558, $24.95)
“Independent and headstrong, Mia Dennett moves to the beat of her own drum. She has proudly distanced herself from her prominent, wealthy, and uptight Chicago family to teach art at an inner city high school. But, when she is abducted and held captive in a remote cabin in rural Minnesota, she wonders if her estranged family is looking for her or even knows she is missing. With Minnesota’s harsh winter bearing down, Mia and Colin, captive and captor, must forge a peace or succumb to the elements. As Colin’s motives become clear, an emotional entanglement ensues that is provocative, thrilling, and absolutely page-turning!” —Melanie Green, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman, Book III, by Ben H. Winters
(Quirk Books, 9781594746857, paper, $14.95)
“Winters has masterfully concluded one wild ride of a series following retired Detective Henry Palace. Having found peaceful serenity in a wooded New Hampshire sanctuary, Hank feels unsettled and leaves his refuge in search of his sister and only living relative. As the clock winds town to impact with a deadly asteroid on a collision course with Earth, will Henry have enough time to reunite with Nico before time runs out? Filled with twists and turns and mysteries to solve along the way, World of Trouble is an amazing finale to this trilogy!” —Bess Bleyaert, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram, by Paul Ingram, Julia Anderson-Miller (Illus.)
(Ice Cube Press, 9781888160772, paper, $19.95)
The Lost Clerihews of Paul Ingram is a duke’s mixture of titters, chuckles, gasps, and guffaws. Unapologetically blasphemous, once you’ve stopped laughing, you’ll look again to see if he said what you think he said!” —J. Harley McIlrath, Grinnell College Bookstore, Grinnell, IA

The August 2014 Now in Paperback

Alex: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy, by Pierre LaMaitre, Frank Wynne (Trans.) (MacLehose Press, 9781623651244, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Fran Keilty, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the West, by Bryce Andrews (Atria, 9781476710846, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Bitter River: A Novel, by Julia Keller (Minotaur, 9781250048967, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Enon: A Novel, by Paul Harding (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812981773, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Hothouse: The Art of Survival and the Survival of Art at America’s Most Celebrated Publishing House, Farrar, Straus & Giroux, by Boris Kachka (Simon & Schuster, 9781451691917, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Mark LaFramboise, Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, D.C.

How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny (Minotaur, 9781250047274, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Spurling, Bookpeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID

The Illusion of Separateness: A Novel, by Simon Van Booy (Harper Perennial, 9780062248459, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Hannah Hester, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Let Him Go: A Novel, by Larry Watson (Milkweed Editions, 9781571311030, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Lighthouse Island: A Novel, by Paulette Jiles (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062232519, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Resurrectionist: A Novel, by Matthew Guinn (W.W. Norton, 9780393348811, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Thinking Woman’s Guide to Real Magic: A Novel, by Emily Croy Barker (Penguin Books, 9780143125679, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Tonie Lilley, The Regulator Bookshop, Durham, NC

The Valley of Amazement: A Novel, by Amy Tan (Ecco, 9780062107329, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Hicks, The Bookshelf, Truckee, CA