The December 2013 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the titles on the December 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 December 1 on and

The December 2013 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick:  Someone Else’s Love Story: A Novel, by Joshilyn Jackson
(William Morrow, 9780062105653, $26.99)
“Jackson is a phenomenal novelist, whose feisty, unforgettable characters wrestle their way through complicated lives with grit and good humor, while she takes readers on a wild, nail-biting, and thoroughly enjoyable ride. With rich dialogue, vivid scene-setting, edge-of-your-seat plotting, and one-of-a-kind characters, Jackson’s novels entertain thoroughly and stay on your mind long after you have turned the last page. In Someone Else’s Love Story, a chance encounter during a convenience store robbery shakes up a number of lives. Assumptions about relationships — with family, friends, lovers, and perceived enemies — are shattered, and something new and surprising emerges. I loved this book!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Death Comes to the Village: A Kurland St. Mary Mystery, by Catherine Lloyd
(Kensington, 9780758287335, paper, $15)
“The Battle of Waterloo left Major Robert Kurland a broken man both in body and spirit. Now he spends his days lying in bed in his ancestral home in a quiet village, where Lucy Harrington, the eldest daughter of the widowed rector, is tasked with caring for her many siblings. A variety of incidents conspire to shatter the tranquil village: from his window the major sees a man scurrying away carrying something heavy, Lucy’s maid goes missing, and odd items are stolen from homes around the village. What dark truths lurk in the village shadows?” —Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Tuscan Rose, by Belinda Alexander
(Gallery Books, 9781451679076, paper, $16)
“Epic in scope, but also warm and intimate, Tuscan Rose is the story of Rosa, a young Tuscan woman who makes her way from the convent where she was raised and educated to the treacherous world beyond, where she must learn to support herself in a city teeming with Fascists and dissidents, aristocrats and trades people. Rosa is a wonderful, open-hearted character who endures all the hardships of the first half of the 20th century, from Fascism to the Nazi terrors, with courage and grace, never losing hope or giving up on the people she loves.” —Annie Leonard, The Next Chapter, Knoxville, IA

Stop Here: A Novel, by Beverly Gologorsky
(Seven Stories Press, 9781609805043, paper, $16.95)
“A seemingly unassuming little novel with a huge heart, Stop Here captures you from page one. Gologorsky, the author of The Things We Do to Make It Home, once again expertly portrays the impact of war on the lives of working class families. I got so involved in the lives of the characters working at Murray’s Diner that when my basset hound chewed up the last 25 pages of the manuscript, I had to call my sales rep to get another copy ASAP!” —Flossie McNabb, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

Brown Dog: Novellas, by Jim Harrison
(Grove Press, 9780802120113, $27)
“I’ve been reading Jim Harrison since I was 16 years old and always look forward to another of his books. Brown Dog is an especially big treat since it brings together five previously published novellas as well as a sixth one never before published entitled, ‘He Dog.’ Reading all of the novellas, one realizes that the portrait of the travails of Brown Dog is one of the greatest literary journeys of our time.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Jeeves and the Wedding Bells: An Homage to P.G. Wodehouse, by Sebastian Faulks
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250047595, $25.99)
“Dash it all! Jeeves and Bertie Wooster return in Faulks’ homage to Wodehouse. Jeeves seems to interfere with Bertie’s plans to save the engagement of a friend. Georgiana, a right smashing gal by any standard and the cousin of Woody’s fiancée, dives right into the bumbles and misguided efforts that seem to surround any Wooster plan. Jeeves impersonates a lord while Bertie becomes his butler — and a thief — but all in a good cause, of course. Great fun and a wonderful entrée in to the world of Wodehouse!” —Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

At Night We Walk in Circles: A Novel, by Daniel Alarcón
(Riverhead, 9781594631719, $27.95)
“Set in an unnamed South American country years after a protracted civil war has ended, At Night We Walk in Circles chronicles the life and dark fate of Nelson, a bright and promising young man who joins a small guerrilla theatre group. Nelson and the group’s two founders, one of whom is a psychically battle-scarred casualty of the political conflict, bring their play, The Idiot President, to villages in the countryside and mountains, looking for escape, renewal, and perhaps redemption. The village that is the troupe’s final destination holds deep secrets, and an innocent and kind act results in a shocking outcome. Alarcón is a genius, and this novel is a work of brilliance.” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson/Russ Van Alstyne Mystery, by Julia Spencer-Fleming
(Minotaur, 9780312606848, $25.99)
“Police chief Russ Van Alstyne and Episcopal minister Claire Fergusson attempt to take their long-awaited honeymoon, only to become embroiled in a murder and child kidnapping case in upstate New York. A blizzard cuts off most normal means of communication as well as the roads, and the clock ticks as they attempt to locate the missing girl who won’t survive if she doesn’t get her medication in time. A wonderful addition to this outstanding series!” —Connie Brooks, Battenkill Books, Cambridge, NY

A Reader’s Book of Days: True Tales From the Lives and Works of Writers for Every Day of the Year, by Tom Nissley, Joanna Neborsky (Illus.)
(W.W. Norton, 9780393239621, $24.95)
“This book goes everywhere with me. I read it aloud at the front counter of our store. I read it silently to myself. Filled with fascinating and interesting stories and excerpts from literature, the pages of this beautiful book overflow with rich nuggets of information. A wonderful gift for readers, teachers, lovers — and yourself!” —Tracy Taylor, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

Chickens in the Road: An Adventure in Ordinary Splendor, by Suzanne McMinn
(HarperOne, 9780062223708, $28.99)
“All those interested in sustainable agriculture, living off-the-grid, dwelling in yurts, organic farming, backyard foraging, beekeeping, cheesemaking, etc., will love this inspiring memoir. It’s also a great gift for rural-wannabes, as it’s filled with the details and dialogues of McMinn’s challenging pursuit of a natural lifestyle.” —Susan Thurin, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

Princesses Behaving Badly: Real Stories From History Without the Fairy-Tale Endings, by Linda Rodriguez McRobbie
(Quirk Books, 9781594746444, $19.95)
“Everyone knows that princesses are lovely beings who live fairy-tale lives. Unless, of course, they are real people. Then it’s a bit messier. McRobbie has written a fascinating account of real princesses who didn’t live happily ever after. Starting in antiquity, she describes the legend that has surrounded each princess, and then attempts to ascertain the truth of what the princess was really like and the reality of her situation. This book is a though-provoking addition to feminist literature.” —Janice Hunsch, Kaleidosaurus Books, Fishers, IN

The Housemaid’s Daughter, by Barbara Mutch
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250016300, $26.99)
“In 1919, Cathleen Harrington, a young woman from a poor Irish family, emigrates to South Africa to marry a man unknown to her. She befriends the black housekeeper and her baby and makes them both feel that her home is their home, while ignoring the rules of apartheid-era white society where the power of skin is greater than the closest ties of blood. Cathleen teaches Ada, her housekeeper’s daughter, to read and play the piano, and Ada becomes a woman with wisdom and intelligence to rival that of any educated child. The Housemaid's Daughter is a novel to cherish and share with all ages.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel, by Ari Shavit
(Spiegel & Grau, 9780385521703, $28)
“I have watched Israel experience both peace and violence all my life — we were both born in 1947 — and have wondered why the conflict there can’t find resolution. Shavit has written a wonderful history of the area, beginning in 1897 when his great-grandfather made a trip to Jaffa to get an idea of what might greet any Jewish immigrants who decided to settle there. I still can’t totally understand why differences can’t be settled, but I certainly understand the people living there a lot more thanks to this outstanding book.” —Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

The Hen Who Dreamed She Could Fly: A Novel, by Sun-mi Hwang, Nomoco (Illus.), Chi-Young Kim (Trans.)
(Penguin Books, 9780143123200, paper, $15)
“You will not soon forget the impact of this modern Korean fable. The values of hope, determination, faithfulness, and sacrifice are exemplified by the hen named Sprout. She hopes for freedom and motherhood and finds much more in the world beyond her cage. This English translation of the bestselling book, illustrated charmingly throughout, will become a classic.” —Paula Steige, MacDonald Bookshop, Estes Park, CO

For All of Us, One Today: An Inaugural Poet’s Journey, by Richard Blanco
(Beacon Press, 9780807033807, paper, $15)
“Blanco’s book is truly for all of us. His heartwarming memoir — complete with humility, awe, joy, and hope — allows readers an intimate peek into his world to share one man’s realization of his American Dream. The three poems Blanco wrote for consideration by the 2013 Presidential Inaugural Committee are accessible to even the most lay readers of poetry. This is a book to read and re-read, and to share with family and friends. A lovely gift, it both aspires and affirms.” —Dawn Rennert, The Concord Bookshop, Concord, MA

My Mistake: A Memoir, by Daniel Menaker
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547794235, $24)
“Being a longtime reader of the New Yorker, I found Menaker’s behind-the-scenes account of his career there absolutely riveting. The literary life is gutted and splayed for all to see. Menaker’s professional story is interspersed with his personal life, and both fed his writing career. His years at Random House and HarperCollins are also included, with fascinating details about contemporary authors and how a book is created. This is a must-read for booksellers and serious readers.” —Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Report From the Interior, by Paul Auster
(Henry Holt, 9780805098570, $27)
“Auster’s newest memoir is both unusual and beautiful. I was captivated by his odd mixtape of memories, his blunt honesty, and his comforting tenderness. Whether describing his two favorite films in charming detail or deconstructing his experience with first love, Auster stokes flames of wonder at each turn. It is as though he is reliving each new experience and, to some extent, relearning from each as well. Highly recommended!” —Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Lonely Planet: A Fork in the Road: Tales of Food, Pleasure & Discovery on the Road, James Oseland, Ed.
(Lonely Planet, 9781743218440, paper, $15.99)
“The tastes of new places — from the sublime to the ridiculous — are the ingredients of these essays. Writers as varied as Padma Lakshmi and Frances Mayes consider a pivotal meal or taste that simultaneously brings a place and a moment to vivid life and makes it live forever in memory. With tales about fishheads and Twinkies and dishes more exotic still, these essays will stir wonderful personal memories for every reader. Bon appétit!” —Michael Barnard, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

This Is Between Us: A Novel, by Kevin Sampsell
(Tin House Books, 9781935639701, paper, $15.95)
“Sampsell’s This Is Between Us is a tangible, breathtaking work of writing. This is a love letter laced with hope, pain, doubt, intoxication, apprehension, and a veritable ocean of feeling, navigated with impeccable skill and grace. Wonderful!” —Jim Brimble, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Recipes From an Edwardian Country House: A Stately English Home Shares Its Classic Tastes, by Jane Fearnley-Whittingstall
(Atria Books/Marble Arch Press, 9781476730332, paper, $16)
“For lovers of Downton Abbey and the Edwardian era, what fun to have a peek into the kitchens of the time and access to period recipes that have been modified for the present, including instructions for using food processors to simplify preparation. Just think, you can have an Abbey viewing party and serve your guests an authentic dinner to boot!” —Kathy Ashton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

The December 2013 Now in Paperback

The Andalucian Friend: A Thriller, by Alexander Soderberg (Broadway Books, 9780770436070, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel, by Melanie Benjamin (Bantam, 9780345528681, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, Saint Charles, MO

Being Esther: A Novel, by Miriam Karmel (Milkweed Editions, 9781571311054, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Ellen Sandmeyer, Sandmeyer’s Bookstore, Chicago, IL

The Carrion Birds: A Novel, by Urban Waite (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062216892, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Pamela Pride, Kerri’s Korner Bookstore, Fairmont, WV

Criminal Enterprise: A Stevens and Windermere Novel, by Owen Laukkanen (Berkley, 9780425264706, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

The Great Pearl Heist: London’s Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard’s Hunt for the World’s Most Valuable Necklace, by Molly Caldwell Crosby (Berkley Trade, 9780425253731, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Little Wolves: A Novel, by Thomas Maltman (Soho Press, 9781616953430, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Bev Denor, LaDeDa Books, Manitowoc, WI

Marmee & Louisa: The Untold Story of Louisa May Alcott and Her Mother, by Eve LaPlante (Simon & Schuster, 9781451620672, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Rose, Andover Books, Andover, MA

NOS4A2: A Novel, by Joe Hill (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062200587, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Robert McDonald, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

A Possible Life: A Novel in Five Parts, by Sebastian Faulks (Picador, 9781250037855, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jenny Lyons, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Raised From the Ground: A Novel, by José Saramago, Margaret Jull Costa (Trans.) (Mariner, 9780544102736, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, DC

Reconstructing Amelia: A Novel, by Kimberly McCreight (Harper Perennial, 9780062225443, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jerry Brown, The Bookstore, Radcliff, KY