The August 2018 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Indie Next List logo

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

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

The August Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: The Incendiaries: A Novel by R.O. Kwon (Indies Introduce)
(Riverhead Books, 9780735213890, $26)
“R.O. Kwon’s debut knocked me sideways. The Incendiaries is a serious reckoning with the problem of fanaticism and the violence of blind devotion. The story of Will and Phoebe is told with an extraordinarily smart and soulful style. I was amazed at how perfectly Kwon’s spare language fit her novel’s expansive scope. A stunning portrait of what faith can do and undo, The Incendiaries will delight and disturb. But, most of all, it will impress.”
—John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Dear Mrs. Bird: A Novel by AJ Pearce
(Scribner, 9781501170065, $26)
“What initially seems like a breezy career girl story quickly turns into a gripping novel set in the WWII London blitzkrieg. During the nightly bombing runs, Emmeline volunteers at a nearby fire dispatch center. She dreams of becoming a journalist, but instead lands a day job screening advice-seeking letters for a weekly magazine, Women’s Friends. All too soon, she and her friends become victims of the bombings and must deal with losses and new horrors each night. In Dear Mrs. Bird, AJ Pearce has given us a most memorable story about both the visible and hidden casualties of war. Recommended for all, including book clubs!”
—Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Meet Me at the Museum: A Novel by Anne Youngson
(Flatiron Books, 9781250295163, $23.99)
“This charming novel is told entirely in correspondence between Tina, a woman of a certain age in England who is questioning her place in the world after her best friend’s death, and Kristian, a Danish museum curator who is adrift after the death of his wife. As their correspondence evolves and their friendship develops, they realize that the world may have more to offer than they initially thought. Meet Me at the Museum is sweet without being cloying, gentle without insulting the reader’s intelligence, and a completely enjoyable read.”
—Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

Where the Crawdads Sing: A Novel by Delia Owens
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735219090, $26)
“Where the Crawdads Sing is a stunning and beautiful novel that readers will want to simultaneously savor and devour with every luxurious word. You’ll hear the gulls cry on the beach through these pages, you’ll see the light flickering through the marsh trees, you’ll smell the homemade grits sizzling on the stovetop. Your heart will ache for the lonely marsh girl and your wheels will start turning when a body is discovered, but you’ll never regret reading this gorgeous novel.”
—Amanda Zirn, Bethany Beach Books, Bethany Beach, DE

Cherry: A Novel by Nico Walker
(Knopf, 9780525520139, $26.95)
Cherry is a book for our times, a bit like if Jim Carroll, Denis Johnson, and Tim O’Brien had conspired to break your heart. Walker’s writing is bare and essential, direct and unforgiving. Whether or not the reader has any sense of war, PTSD, or addiction, they will have a clearer one by the end of this blistering debut. I can’t wait for an encore.”
—Mathew Clouser, BookPeople, Austin, TX

The Family Tabor: A Novel by Cherise Wolas
(Flatiron Books, 9781250081452, $27.99)
“When you have the most skillfully prepared, decadent dessert placed in front of you, do you plunge in and devour it? Or do you slowly savor it? This is the happy predicament I find myself in when approaching the work of Cherise Wolas. Harry Tabor, a 70-year-old Jewish man living in Palm Springs, is about to receive the ‘Man of the Decade’ award for a lifetime of service to refugees. His beautiful, interesting, and seemingly perfect family is congregating to celebrate. In the span of less than two days, the story of their lives unravels and revelations occur. This brilliantly executed novel is filled with secrets, repressed memories, and unforgettable characters under a blazing California sun.”
—Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Jell-O Girls: A Family History by Allie Rowbottom (Indies Introduce)
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316510615, $28)
“An absolutely fascinating memoir that combines a personal family account with one of America’s most recognizable foods. Seamlessly exploring the foundation of her family’s wealth and the seemingly cursed lives of three generations of women, Rowbottom has written a page-turning cultural history that hits on both the nostalgia many associate with Jell-O and the societal forces that propelled the brand.”
—Kelly O’Sullivan, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

America for Beginners: A Novel by Leah Franqui
(William Morrow, 9780062668752, $26.99)
“A poignant story that confronts cultural, racial, and gender stereotypes through three people who end up on a trip across the U.S. The story revolves around a Bengali widow of means whose gay son was disowned; a young Bangladeshi man who has a job as a tour agent; and a young, white American woman who aspires to be an actress. These three are united in the journey initiated by the widow to tour the U.S., but really to find her son and confront his lover. Courage to face the unknown — whether it is a foreign country or questioning a previously held conviction — shapes the story and shows that we all have the potential to grow and change.”
—Susan Bush, Island Bound Bookstore, Block Island, RI

Baby Teeth: A Novel by Zoje Stage
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250170750, $26.99)
“I am a little afraid to write a review after finishing this book because I have the terrible feeling that I’m being watched, this due to the suspicion that seven-year-old Hannah has jumped from the pages of the book straight into my head — something she undoubtedly planned the entire time, despite the obvious impossibility of it all. I could not put this book down — simply fascinating.”
—Debra Barrett, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

The Reservoir Tapes: A Novel by Jon McGregor
(Catapult, 9781936787913, $22)
The Reservoir Tapes chronicles the disappearance of a young girl in a small English village, with each chapter written from the perspective of a different resident. It’s not an easy writing feat, but Jon McGregor is able to instill a unique narrative clarity for every single character, weaving the young girl’s disappearance with the distinctive stories of each villager. More than a missing persons story, The Reservoir Tapes is about the very universal and human struggle to find meaning and the sacrifices we have to make to feel safe, loved, and truly at home. If you haven’t read anything by Jon McGregor before, make sure not to miss his latest novel!”
—Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

The Third Hotel: A Novel by Laura van den Berg
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374168353, $26)
“Laura van den Berg’s The Third Hotel is sublime and unsettling, haunting and sophisticated. The Havana that serves as the backdrop for this story is as surreal, soaked in perspiration, and capitulated to ruin as the sense of loss that drives the novel. This is one not to be missed. A mesmerizing masterwork.”
—David Gonzalez, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

Goodbye, Paris: A Novel by Anstey Harris
(Touchstone Books, 9781501196508, $24.99)
“When Grace’s quiet existence takes an unexpected turn, she is forced to reevaluate her life and reassess who she is and what she is capable of. Goodbye, Paris is a beautifully crafted, bittersweet tale of one woman who feels her world collapse, but with some help from friends picks herself up, dusts herself off, and discovers that she can become her best self. An engrossing and uplifting story that will appeal to readers of Elizabeth Berg, among others.”
—Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

Fruit of the Drunken Tree: A Novel by Ingrid Rojas Contreras
(Doubleday, 9780385542722, $26.95)
Fruit of the Drunken Tree made me cry at the airport. I was impressed by the small kingdom of women Contreras builds, with violence always threatening to creep in, all seen through the eyes of Chula, the youngest daughter. Contreras made her perspective believably cloistered while masterfully writing all the people around Chula in ways that made them feel real. Also masterful was the way Contreras used Petrona’s narrative throughout and the restraint she showed in dipping into her thoughts; she always left me wanting more. What Contreras chooses not to write has as big an effect as what she does. This novel is a dynamic exploration of what is known and, sometimes willfully, what is left unknown.”
—Lillian Li, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

Poso Wells: A Novel by Gabriela Alemán, Dick Cluster (Trans.) (Indies Introduce)
(City Lights Books, 9780872867550, trade paper, $15.95)
Poso Wells explores the dichotomy between the new and old worlds of Ecuador through an exciting noir about missing women and corrupt politicians. Following a journalist’s attempt to unravel the secrets of the infinitely labyrinthine cityscape of Poso Wells, this is an exciting debut translation of a celebrated Ecuadorian author and one that should lead to more translations of her work.”
—Ely Watson, A Room of One’s Own Bookstore, Madison, WI

The Middleman: A Novel by Olen Steinhauer
(Minotaur Books, 9781250036179, $27.99)
“Two modern-day revolutionaries, one violent and one not, band together to get their message out to the masses. Violence explodes, and the movement is destroyed. Or is it? Two FBI agents who are in the middle of everything — one in seclusion in the mountains and the other just barely having escaped an assassination attempt — must unite to find the real answers to this international conspiracy. With a subtle nod to 1992’s Sneakers, Olen Steinhauer crafts a fast-moving tale of intrigue that has echoes of today’s politics.”
—Cary Shapiro, Plot Twist Bookstore, Ankeny, IA

Kill the Farm Boy: The Tales of Pell by Delilah S. Dawson, Kevin Hearne
(Del Rey Books, 9781524797744, $27)
“Wildly unpredictable, tremendously goofy, and brilliantly inventive, Kill the Farm Boy is a laugh-out-loud fantasy trope extravaganza. A talking goat, a fierce warrior, a bumbling rogue, a wannabe dark wizard, and an enchanted bard set out on a quest full of adventure, mishaps, and lots of cheese. I can’t count the number of times I giggled, snorted, and chuckled at a clever quip or ludicrous joke. Fans of Monty Python and Robin Hood: Men in Tights will definitely find Kill the Farm Boy to their liking.”
—Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Chesapeake Requiem: A Year With the Watermen of Vanishing Tangier Island by Earl Swift
(Dey Street Books, 9780062661395, $28.99)
“I was so impressed with this story of Tangier, an exploration of science, history, religion, and culture driven by emotionally salient commentary from people who live there today. I thought it was particularly interesting to learn that the community is conservative both religiously and politically, but their home is being swept away by rising sea levels thanks to climate change, which is usually a politically charged topic. It was also interesting to have insight into what is likely the United States’ first group of ‘climate refugees’ — terms that are also politically charged. Thoughtfully, lovingly, and intelligently done. An important read!”
—Chloe Groth, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

A Noise Downstairs: A Novel by Linwood Barclay
(William Morrow, 9780062678256, $26.99)
“If you’re looking for a wild ride, look no further, because you’re not going to get wilder than A Noise Downstairs. For a book that seems to have a little of everything — unresolved trauma, untrustworthy characters, a mysterious typewriter, and a hefty dose of the paranormal — Barclay tells his story with a smooth ease that will pull you through the pages at a breakneck speed. And, well, no spoilers, but the ending will blow your socks clean off.”
—Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO

His Favorites: A Novel by Kate Walbert
(Scribner, 9781476799391, $22)
“Kate Walbert is one of my favorite writers and she continues to create memorable novels, as evidenced by this new one. There’s something about the way she tells her story of a young girl struggling to balance a wild energy with a soft heart who is preyed upon by a charismatic and overbearing teacher that makes the novel both sing and pierce the heart simultaneously. I read this in one evening and was completely overtaken by it. It is excellent.”
—Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

Tiffany Blues: A Novel by M.J. Rose
(Atria Books, 9781501173592, $26)
“After spending my vacation reading an entire stack of rather intense psychological suspense novels, I wasn’t sure what kind of book I was ready for next! Alas, I picked up Tiffany Blues and couldn’t stop reading. This book offers the reader so much to think about: it’s a mystery, it’s a love story, it’s historical fiction, and, at the heart of it, it’s art. Rose’s newest follows Jenny Bell, an artist with secrets. The men in her life are domineering and the women can be that way, too. Jenny’s story is as captivating as the backstory of Louis Comfort Tiffany and his art colony. I’ve read many books by M.J. Rose and this is definitely a favorite.”
—Joanne Berg, Mystery to Me, Madison, WI

The August 2018 Indie Next List “Now in Paperback”

American Wolf: A True Story of Survival and Obsession in the West by Nate Blakeslee
(Broadway Books, 9781101902806, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Stephanie Coleman, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Child Finder: A Novel by Rene Denfeld
(Harper Perennial, 9780062659064, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Fierce Kingdom: A Novel by Gin Phillips
(Penguin Books, 9780735224520, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Forest Dark: A Novel by Nicole Krauss
(Harper Perennial, 9780062431004, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY

Guidebook to Relative Strangers: Journeys Into Race, Motherhood, and History by Camille T. Dungy
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393356083, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, CA

The Hidden Light of Northern Fires: A Novel by Daren Wang
(Picador, 9781250166029, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Carl Kranz, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

Improvement: A Novel by Joan Silber
(Counterpoint, 9781640091139, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

Ranger Games: A Story of Soldiers, Family and an Inexplicable Crime by Ben Blum
(Anchor, 9780804169691, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Readymade Thief: A Novel by Augustus Rose (Indies Introduce)
(Penguin Books, 9780735221840, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Jessica Fowle, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

Sunburn: A Novel by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062389985, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

The Talented Ribkins: A Novel by Ladee Hubbard
(Melville House, 9781612197289, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Kathleen Dixon, Fair Isle Books, Washington Island, WI

Touch: A Novel  by Courtney Maum
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735212145, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kristen Beverly, Half Price Books, Dallas, TX