The May 2012 Indie Next List Preview

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

The May 2012 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: The Lola Quartet: A Novel, by Emily St. John Mandel
(Unbridled Books, $24.95, 9781609530792)
“In her latest, St. John Mandel shows how relationships formed in high school, so often fraught with drama, can ebb and flow and fade and come back to haunt. Among her characters, the perception of what’s important and the potential impact of actions varies widely, and something as seemingly insignificant as a photograph can become riddled with layers of meaning, differing for each person who sees it. The writing is taut, the characters well wrought, and St. John Mandel’s characteristic infusions of moral ambiguity and complexity remind us, as good novels should, of what it means to be human.” — Emily Pullen, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

A Land More Kind Than Home: A Novel, by Wiley Cash
(William Morrow, $24.99, 9780062088147)
“The voices that bear witness to the events in Cash’s moving novel are haunting in their telling of a tale of innocent mistakes and evil incarnate in a small North Carolina mountain community. A charismatic preacher has a parish in his thrall. Mysterious goings on, both inside and outside of the shrouded little church, lead to tragedy for young Jess and his mute older brother, Stump. This is a heartbreaking, brilliant novel, both deeply Southern and utterly universal.” — Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

In One Person: A Novel, by John Irving
(Simon & Schuster, $28, 9781451664126)
“As the beguiling Miss Frost puts it in this modern masterpiece of gender politics, ‘My dear boy, please don’t put a label on me — don’t make me a category before you get to know me!’ There is no writer, living or dead, who better humanizes the quirky, the misunderstood, the ‘different’ than John Irving. Here, through his bisexual protagonist, Billy, he tenderly explores the way American attitudes toward sexuality have — and have not — evolved in the past half-century. A heartbreaking, hopeful, complicated, and gorgeous story, In One Person is a must-read.” — Libby Cowles, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk: A Novel, by Ben Fountain
(Ecco, $25.99, 9780060885595)
“Fountain has created a sort of inverted Odyssey in which our hero, Billy Lynn, comes home from the Iraq war to find a whole new catalog of trials and challenges awaiting him and the rest of Bravo Company before they are shipped back to the Gulf. Taking place on a single day, at a Thanksgiving football game in Dallas, the novel not only gives us a fresh take on how we view capitalism, materialism, ourselves, our country, and our military, but also provides a wonderfully empathetic tragic-hero in Billy Lynn, at once a brave and fearless fighting machine while still a very innocent and confused young man.” — Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Waiting for Sunrise: A Novel, by William Boyd
(Harper, $25.99, 9780061876769)
“Lysander Reif, a young man undergoing psychoanalysis in Vienna in 1913, is slowly drawn into a web of espionage and danger when his lover accuses him of rape and the British Embassy steps in to rescue him from years in an Austrian prison. Who is betraying the British war plans to its enemies? Are Reif’s superiors trying to frame him? The twists and turns of Boyd’s plot will keep readers guessing until the very end!” — Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale: A Novel, by Lynda Rutledge
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399157196)
“Is Faith Bass Darling really selling her priceless Tiffany lamp for one dollar? Yes, and the rest of five generations of family heirlooms for whatever the customer can afford — not the thousands they are worth. Why is the richest lady in Bass, Texas, suddenly selling off her worldly possessions? Because God told her to. Rutledge’s debut novel will tug at your heartstrings while posing important questions: Do our possessions possess us? Does the soul have a memory? Are the worlds you create really more significant than that which has created you? Read Faith Bass Darling’s Last Garage Sale for the answers!” — Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

All Woman and Springtime, by Brandon Jones
(Algonquin, $24.95, 9781616200770)
“Mr. Choy had the perfect business plan, with almost no cash outlay for staff. His porn business used North Korean refugees who had nowhere to run. Three young women who were taught from birth that there is no free will and that their every action must benefit the Glorious Leader are easy prey. One is beautiful, one brassy, and one has internalized all of her pain and thinks with numerical precision. This is a compelling and unflinching tale of personal survival, politics, and, above all, friendship that will stay with you. Astounding!” — Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The Uninvited Guests: A Novel, by Sadie Jones
(Harper, $24.99, 9780062116505)
“This is a comedy of manners in an Edwardian family manor in the English countryside that quickly spins into a zany tale of people who are not who they appear to be or even who they think they are. Its many twists and turns keep the reader amused and completely intrigued. A delightful romp!” — Karen T. Harris, Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, Vineyard Haven, MA

The Book Lover: A Novel, by Maryann McFadden
(Three Women Press, $14.99, 9780984867103)
“This is the story of small-town bookseller Ruth Hardaway, who’s done everything possible to hold onto her store, from pawning her dead mother’s jewelry to selling books at the local prison. When she discovers unknown novelist Lucy Barrett, the women forge a fast friendship and inspire each other to hang onto their dreams. When a secret manuscript is discovered, both their friendship and their dreams are put to the ultimate test. The Book Lover takes you into the heart and soul of the book world with characters you will come to love. It is the most honest story about the world of books that I have ever read.” — Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened: (A Mostly True Memoir), by Jenny Lawson
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, $25.95, 9780399159015)
“I just can’t recommend Lawson’s new memoir highly enough! However, my recommendation does come with a warning: Do not read this in public unless you want others staring at you and wondering if you’ve gone mad because you’re laughing hysterically. The daughter of an off-kilter taxidermist and a mother, who, for the most part, turned her head the other way, Jenny has her issues resulting from standing inside a dead deer at a young age, growing up with live raccoons in the house, and being an arsonist at the age of three. Those embarrassing moments that we all wished had never happened? Well, Jenny tells all. Laughter really is the best medicine, so make sure you don’t miss this one!” — Linda Grana, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

As the Crow Flies: A Walt Longmire Mystery, by Craig Johnson
(Viking Adult, $25.95, 9780670023516)
“Walt Longmire and Henry Standing Bear try to balance wedding planning for Walt’s daughter with solving the murder of a woman whose body they find at a potential ceremony location. Add in a troublesome new tribal chief, and Walt is in over his head. Another wonderful addition to this amazing series! Johnson balances humor, action, and mystery like a master!” — Anne Kimbol, Murder By the Book, Houston, TX

The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel, by Christopher Tilghman
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $27, 9780374203481)
“This tale opens in 1922 with Miss Mary, the stern matriarch of The Retreat — the massive Mason family property on the Chesapeake Bay — interviewing Edward Mason, one of two distant descendants of the original immigrant owner, as she decides to whom she will leave it all when she dies. Told in a series of vignettes, the homestead’s proudest as well as most brutal moments are recounted by those whose lives are intertwined — for better or for worse — with the Masons and with The Retreat. A vivid and haunting look at the power of family and place by a master storyteller.” — Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

Shelter: A Novel, by Frances Greenslade
(Free Press, $15, 9781451661101)
“Maggie and Jenny are two sisters who sustain devastating losses at a very young age, but who are very different in many ways. Their father, Patrick, is killed in a logging accident and their mother leaves them with a friend and is ‘gone, like a cat who goes out the back door one night and doesn’t return.’ The voice of 10-year-old Maggie is pitch-perfect as is the story she relates. How these two girls survive in the wilderness of northwest Canada amid uncaring, indifferent adults is a harrowing story wonderfully told.” — Kathleen Dixon, Islandtime Books & More, Washington Island, WI

Trapeze, by Simon Mawer
(Other Press, $15.95, 9781590515273)
“This finely wrought story is set in England and France during WWII. Marian, who is bilingual, is recruited to train as an agent for British Special Ops. She surprises herself by handily completing and even excelling during training, and finds herself completely committed to the cause. Once in France, things are much more difficult. Readers who empathize with Marian, and many will, will be stunned as they read the final pages of this fast-paced and exhilarating historical novel about a young woman’s path to maturity. Merde alors!” — Jenny Lyons, The King’s English, Salt Lake City, UT

A Deeper Darkness, by J.T. Ellison
(Mira, $14.95, 9780778313205)
“Eleanor Donavon doesn’t believe her son’s death resulted from a car-jacking gone bad, so she asks his former girlfriend, medical examiner Samantha (Sam) Owens, to perform a second autopsy. When Sam discovers a link between Eddie Donavon and another murder victim, she is drawn into the investigation. As the death toll increases, so does the mystery, until not just Sam, but also Donavon’s wife and children are at risk as well. Tightly plotted and often surprising, this story drew me in and wouldn’t let go. A gem!” — Keri Rojas, Cornerstone Cottage Kids, Hampton, IA

The House of Velvet and Glass: A Novel, by Katherine Howe
(Voice, $25.99, 9781401340919)
“This year is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. This novel follows Bostonian Sibyl Allston and her attempts to contact her deceased mother and sister through séances and spiritualists. Both family members had perished aboard the fated ocean liner. Sibyl’s emotional journey is touching and magical, and there are surprises along the way that will astound you!” — Mary Toni, R.J. Julia Booksellers, Madison, CT

To the Last Breath: A Memoir of Going to Extremes, by Francis Slakey
(Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781439198957)
“This is a splendid and exciting read about the author’s transition from self-centered narcissist to world citizen during his 10-year, physically and emotionally rigorous adventure to be the first person to climb the highest summits on every continent and surf all the oceans of the world. Highly recommended!” — Gary Colliver, Windows on the World-Books & Art, Mariposa, CA

Boleto: A Novel, by Alyson Hagy
(Graywolf Press, $24, 9781555976125)
“Will Testerman is a horse whisperer who journeys from rodeo to dude ranch to the polo fields searching for his niche in the world. That sounds simple and classic, but this story of a young cowboy and his horse brings the currents that roil beneath the surface of Western calm into the light of dawn. Original and beautifully told.” — Laura DeLaney, The Rediscovered Bookshop, Boise, ID

Cures for Hunger: A Memoir, by Deni Y. Béchard
(Milkweed Editions, $24, 9781571313317)
“Béchard tells the story of his extraordinary upbringing in British Columbia, where he was strongly influenced by a father who enjoyed cheating death by doing everything from racing trains at railroad crossings to fighting anyone who crossed him. The even wilder deeds of his father’s past could not be kept secret, and as they were slowly revealed, this loving and bizarre dad shaped the life of his son. Béchard has done a masterful job of taking all that life has dealt him and accepting and analyzing it in a fascinating piece of literature. I found myself alternating between cringing and laughing at each page.” — Peter Schertz, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

Truth Like the Sun, by Jim Lynch
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307958686)
“This book is one of a kind and a great story. At a time when Seattle is celebrating the anniversary of the 1962 World’s Fair, Lynch’s novel is a bracing reminder of the larger context: an uncertain city hoping to make a mark mid-century, and then figuring out where it is in a more globalized world 40 years later. It is smart — and unique — to link these with one wonderfully rendered character, who is still trying to have a hand in how his city will go.” — Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The May 2012 Now in Paperback

The Art of Fielding: A Novel, by Chad Harbach (Back Bay Books, 9780316126670, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Caleb’s Crossing: A Novel, by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, 9780143121077, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

The Family Fang: A Novel, by Kevin Wilson (Ecco, 9780061579059, $13.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Robert McDonald, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Iron House: A Novel, by John Hart (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250007018, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Geoffrey Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, by William Deresiewicz (Penguin, 9780143121251, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Christine Grabish, MacDonald Bookshop, Estes Park, CO

The Lady of the Rivers: A Novel, by Philippa Gregory (Touchstone, 9781416563716, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kym Havens, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

The Language of Flowers: A Novel, by Vanessa Diffenbaugh (Ballantine, 9780345525550, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

The Last Werewolf, by Glen Duncan (Vintage, 9780307742179, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Katherine Osborne, Kennebooks, Kennebunk, ME

Silver Sparrow: A Novel, by Tayari Jones (Algonquin, 9781616201425, $13.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Libby Cowles, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

State of Wonder: A Novel, by Ann Patchett (Harper Perennial, 9780062049810, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

Trespasser: A Novel, by Paul Doiron (Minotaur, 9781250001597, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Vicki Erwin, Main Street Books, St. Charles, MO

Turn of Mind, by Alice LaPlante (Grove Press, 9780802145901, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM