The February 2011 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a preview of the Indie Next List Great Reads and Now in Paperback titles featured on the February 2011 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 February 1 on and

The February 2011 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 February Pick: West of Here: A Novel, by Jonathan Evison
(Algonquin Books, $24.95, 9781565129528)
"I loved this big, gorgeous novel in which characters and story lines flow, merge, and diverge like the streams and channels of a river. The story spans more than 100 years in the fictional town of Port Bonita, Washington, and its surrounding wilderness. Evison pulls together such grand themes as our relationship to the land, what we make of our past, and what we owe the future. His writing style is unpretentious and delightful, a combination of big ideas and down-to-earth, friendly delivery that's perfectly suited to this quintessentially American novel." -- Christie Olson Day, Gallery Bookshop &, Mendocino, CA

Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal, by Conor Grennan
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780061930058)
"Grennan takes a year off from his job with the EastWest Institute and volunteers for three months in a Nepalese orphanage. He is captivated by his lively and affectionate young charges, but the story grows darker as he learns more about the for-profit traffic in young children stolen from their families and villages. Grennan vows to return to help reunite the children with their families, and the story of his fulfillment of that quest is powerful and moving." -- Sarah Goddin, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

You Know When the Men Are Gone, by Siobhan Fallon
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $23.95, 9780399157202)
"Surprising, get-under-your-skin characters populate the spare landscape of Fort Hood, Texas, in this collection of linked stories that will have a compelling effect on even the most skeptical reader. Fallon opens a window into military base life from the perspective of the quiet supporters -- spouses, children and injured vets -- who stay home when the men deploy. A riveting debut!" -- Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, CO

The Fates Will Find Their Way: A Novel, by Hannah Pittard
(Ecco, $22.99, 9780061996054)
"When Nora Lindell goes missing one Halloween night, the mystery of what happened to her, and why, becomes the obsession of the boys of the neighborhood. Narrated collectively by those boys, The Fates Will Find Their Way is a haunting examination of what we leave behind when we enter adulthood and all the lost aspects of childhood we want so badly to experience again. A bold and innovative debut from a fine, new literary talent." -- Dave Mallmann, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

The Weird Sisters: A Novel, by Eleanor Brown
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $24.95, 9780399157226)
"The sisters in this funny and touching book are not 'weird' in the modern sense of the word; the title refers to the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth. Headed by a father who was a professor of Shakespeare and his loving wife, the Andreas family was certainly unusual, and the three daughters grew up speaking in couplets, quoting Hamlet, and reading constantly. When their mother develops breast cancer, all three sisters return to their Midwestern home to aid in her care -- and end up caring for each other as well. This is a wonderful tribute to literature, the bonds of sisterhood, and the importance of family." -- Ellen Burns, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore: A Novel, by Benjamin Hale
(Twelve, $24.99, 9780446571579)
"The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore is a serious novel that manages to transform an interspecies love story into a journey into language, humanity, life and death. It cleverly challenges the reader to explore ancient philosophical themes while sharing a love story between a woman and a chimpanzee, which includes some very funny moments. The story leaves you thinking deeply about what it means to be human. Open the book -- and your mind -- and let Benjamin Hale take you away." -- Ed Conklin, Chaucer's Books, Santa Barbara, CA

A Discovery of Witches: A Novel, by Deborah Harkness
(Viking Adult, $28.95, 9780670022410)
"I lost a good deal of sleep turning the pages of this tale of adventure, suspense, and romance. Ride along with this witch-in-denial and her guardian vampire prince as she struggles to reclaim her legacy and avoid the terrible fate visited earlier upon her family. The author did her homework and the history rings as true as the passion. I can't wait for the sequel!" -- Annie Leonard, The Next Chapter, Knoxville, IA

The Death Instinct: A Novel, by Jed Rubenfeld
(Riverhead Hardcover, $26.95, 9781594487828)
"The Death Instinct is a breath of fresh air in the historical mystery genre. It's a riveting descent into a forgotten piece of history -- the bombing of Wall Street in 1920 -- an event that has eerie parallels to the present day. Younger and Littlemore, who are essentially a deeper, more layered Holmes and a less passive, more involved Watson, dive headfirst into a thrilling conspiracy set in the ruins of the First World War, just as America is emerging as a world superpower. Rubenfeld has concocted a fast-paced, breathtaking thriller that knows just when to pause for a quiet moment of lyrical contemplation and when to ratchet up its tension to dizzying heights." -- Drew Williams, Little Professor Book Center, Homewood, AL

Agent X: A Novel, by Noah Boyd
(William Morrow, $24.99, 9780061826986)
"The bricklayer is back! Steve Vail is pulled out of retirement again to help uncover double agents working for the Russians. With his clever mind and ability to see clues where no one else can, Vail quickly follows the thread from one traitor to another. But is he uncovering the agents, or are they part of a plot to catch him? Once again, Boyd throws in many twists and turns, and the bricklayer is as hot as the action." -- Laura Lucy, White Birch Books, North Conway, NH

Swamplandia!: A Novel, by Karen Russell
(Knopf, $24.95, 9780307263995)
"Located in the Florida Everglades, the Swamplandia island theme park is also home to the Bigtrees, a family of alligator wrestlers. When the mom and star of the show dies, the Bigtree way of life unravels. Dad heads to the mainland to find investors, while his three teenagers are left to deal with their losses. Kiwi attempts to infiltrate a rival amusement park, Ossie falls in love with a ghost, and the story's 13-year-old narrator, Ava, wrestles with a force more fearsome than gators: the loss of innocence. Karen Russell's sentences are so beautiful and original, they will leave you breathless!" -- Michael Keefe, Annie Bloom's Books, Portland, OR

The Red Garden, by Alice Hoffman
(Crown, $25.00, 9780307393876)
"More than just a book of interconnected stories, The Red Garden is the history of a small mountain town told through the trials and tribulations of the people who founded it and their succeeding generations. Hoffman takes the reader from Blackwell's unhappy and unlikely beginning up to the present day, and in each story the Red Garden is a central character. I loved my visit to the village. The characters are rich, the setting vivid, and your heart aches for all the sorrow that the Red Garden has seen." -- Jessilynn Norcross, McLean & Eakin Booksellers, Petoskey, MI

These Things Hidden, by Heather Gudenkauf
(Mira, $15.95, 9780778328797)
"Allison Glenn has just been released from prison for a heinous crime committed when she was 16. Now 21, she is returning to her hometown, Linden Falls, to try and make reparations with her parents and Brynn, her sister, who was with her the night of the crime. A story too often seen in the news is shared anew in this powerful novel of family responsibility, which demonstrates that the choices one makes will affect oneself and others for a lifetime." -- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Gone, by Mo Hayder
(Atlantic Monthly Press, $24.00, 9780802119643)
"Mo Hayder's gritty, intense thriller series featuring detectives Jack Caffery and Flea Marley is a must for anyone who likes breakneck timing and detectives who walk on the dark side. In Gone, an apparent carjacking turns into a kidnapping, then becomes even more sinister. While the detectives race against time to find the perpetrator before he strikes again, dark events from Flea's past threaten to overwhelm them both." -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Memory Palace: A Memoir, by Mira Bartok
(Free Press, $25.00, 9781439183311)
"This is a beautifully written, heart-stomping, provocative memoir about a daughter's 17-year estrangement from her schizophrenic mother and their rapprochement following the mother's diagnosis of terminal cancer. Just as the daughter tries to recreate her own life after a traumatic brain injury, she is faced with revisiting her broken childhood via a cache of physical mementos saved by her mother. This memoir provokes so many questions, not just about mothers and daughters, but also about genius and sanity, abuse and resiliency, and what family members owe each other." -- Nancy Colalillo, Tome on the Range Books, Las Vegas, NM

The Mistress of Nothing: A Novel, by Kate Pullinger
(Touchstone, $24.00, 9781439193860)
"I read The Mistress of Nothing in one day because I just couldn't put it down. Detailed history, interesting characters, a powerful love story -- everything one could want in a novel. I can't wait to offer it to my customers!" -- Dee Moeller, Volume One Book Shop, Dickson, TN

Blind Your Ponies: A Novel, by Stanley Gordon West
(Algonquin, $14.95, 9781565129849)
"Blind Your Ponies is a book about basketball like Moby Dick is a book about a whale. Yes, there's basketball in the rundown town of Willow Creek, Montana, and a coach whose team has a dismal record of zero wins and 93 losses. When two new kids show up, they give Coach Sam Pickett and everybody else new hope, despite adversities galore. Humor, compassion, and perseverance rise from every page as these all too real people grow in trust, confidence, and understanding. The story is triumphant but never schmaltzy, preachy or satisfied with the cheap heartstring tug. The writing is pure and beautiful." -- Valerie Ryan, Cannon Beach Book Company, Cannon Beach, OR

Ghost Light: A Novel, by Joseph O'Connor
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $24, 9780374161873)
"Occasionally, a novel will come along that breaks the bounds between fact and fiction, romance and reality, to create a story so insightful and true that the scenes come to life before your eyes. Ghost Light is the fictionalized account of the famed Irish playwright J.M. Synge and his lover, the actress Maire O'Neill. Alternating with the Dublin tableaux is the tale of Maire's later life as a poverty-stricken alcoholic in 1952 London, where she haunted by the memories of both her days with Synge and her acting career, and struggling to make her way, day by day. Bravo!" -- Carl Hoffman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Anatomy of Ghosts: A Novel, by Andrew Taylor
(Hyperion, $24.99, 9781401302870)
"I was blown away by the novel set in 1780s Cambridge. Filled with intriguing characters, sharp and witty dialogue, and a plot that keeps you guessing, Taylor's novel is a gem. This is a must for historical fiction fans and mystery enthusiasts. Happy reading!" -- Ken Favell, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

The Illumination: A Novel, by Kevin Brockmeier
(Pantheon, $24.95, 9780375425318)
"Brockmeier's latest novel weaves together disparate voices in a stunning meditation on pain and beauty. Like the best speculative fiction, it wields the paranormal to show us a very present truth. The Illumination is a reminder that, no matter how dramatically the world changes around us, people are and always will be people -- and that there is a brightness in that, regardless of our failings." -- Jenn Northington, WORD, Brooklyn, NY

The Storyteller of Marrakesh: A Novel, by Joydeep Roy-Bhattacharya
(W. W. Norton & Company, $24.95, 9780393070583)
"Come sit around the circle as master storyteller Hassan beguiles his audience with the tale of two beautiful strangers who enchanted Marrakesh for a day -- a day that left his brother Mustafa jailed for their murder. As Hassan draws you into his story, he turns the telling over to audience members, each of whom remembers something different about the strangers and that fateful day. Magical!" -- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The February 2011 Now in Paperback

Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine, by Max Watman (Simon & Schuster, 9781416571797, $15)

The Devil’s Star: A Harry Hole Novel, by Jo Nesbo (Harper Paperbacks, 9780061133985, $14.99)

The Dream of Perpetual Motion: A Novel, by Dexter Palmer (Picador, 9780312680534, $16)

I Know I Am, But What Are You?, by Samantha Bee (Gallery, 9781439142745, $15)

The Invisible Bridge: A Novel, by Julie Orringer (Vintage, 9781400034376, $15.95)

Lunch in Paris: A Love Story With Recipes, by Elizabeth Bard (Back Bay Books, 9780316042789, $13.99)

One Good Dog: A Novel, by Susan Wilson (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9780312662950, $14.99)

The Postmistress: A Novel, by Sarah Blake (Berkley Trade, 9780425238691, $15)

Shadow Tag: A Novel, by Louise Erdrich (Harper Perennial, 9780061536106, $14.99)

Skin: A Novel, by Mo Hayder (Grove Press, 9780802145178, $13)

Union Atlantic: A Novel, by Adam Haslett (Anchor, 9780307388292, $15)

The Vows of Silence: A Simon Serrailler Mystery, by Susan Hill (Overlook Press, 9781590204429, $14.95)