The May 2013 Indie Next List Preview

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Here is 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 2013 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: A Constellation of Vital Phenomena: A Novel, by Anthony Marra
(Hogarth, 9780770436407, $26)
“In A Constellation of Vital Phenomena, Marra expertly balances the pain and suffering inflicted during the Chechen conflict with exquisite moments of loyalty, sacrifice, humility, and enduring love. He intricately connects the lives of a group of unforgettable characters in wholly unexpected ways, slowly revealing their collective past, present, and future. As their breathtaking stories compel you forward, I urge you to slow down and savor the vivid imagery and lyrical prose on each and every page. Aptly named, Marra’s debut is indeed phenomenal.” —Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Golem and the Jinni: A Novel, by Helene Wecker
(Harper, 9780062110831, $27.99)
“Wecker’s debut novel takes a magical flight back to New York at the turn of the 20th century. The Golem is a woman cast from clay, while the Jinni springs from fire. Both are old-world denizens in a very new world, a world and a time exquisitely rendered by Wecker. While the most obvious elements of the novel are fantastical and much of its magic dark, at its heart The Golem and the Jinni brims over emotionally with love and loss, with longing, and with what it means to ‘belong’ — or not. Wecker is part novelist and part alchemist, and she leaves the reader to wonder how she gave such vibrant life to her characters.” —Nick Petrulakis, Books Inc., San Francisco, CA

NOS4A2: A Novel, by Joe Hill
(William Morrow, 9780062200570, $28.99)
“From the opening scene, Hill’s NOS4A2 gave me everything I want in a horror novel: believable characters coming face to face with fears that are primal and universal and a plot that purrs along like the featured Rolls Royce, speeding on a wide-open night highway. Poet Helen Adam always said that her goal in reciting her creepy ballads was to give listeners ‘the grue,’ that chill of a skeletal finger down the spine. This book gave me the grue, and it kept on doing it long after I’ve finished. I dare you not to want to keep reading. I dare you not to be very, very scared. I loved it!” —Robert McDonald, The Book Stall at Chestnut Court, Winnetka, IL

Jewelweed: A Novel, by David Rhodes
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571311009, $26)
“Can people really start over? Jewelweed proves that many can in spite of lost loves, war, and imprisonment. Blake Bookchester has just been paroled from a system that promotes postmodern slavery and a war on minorities and the poor. He returns to his hometown, Words, Wisconsin, where he will try to reconcile with his past and forge a new future. Other people who form this small community will grab your heart and not let go. Jewelweed, a plant that looks like little pieces of jewelry strung together on heavy green thread, is an apt description of the people of Words, all tied together and realizing the importance of community to their individual lives. You will not want to miss a word of Rhodes’ magical, soul-felt novel.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

The Woman Upstairs: A Novel, by Claire Messud
(Knopf, 9780307596901, $25.95)
The Woman Upstairs, Messud’s chronicle of a year in the life of 37-year-old schoolteacher Nora Eldridge, is gorgeous and brutal, tender and fierce. When Skandar and Sirena Shahid, worldly intellectuals from Lebanon and Italy, via Paris, whirl into Nora’s Cambridge neighborhood, she falls into an intense relationship with their family. The reader realizes that betrayal is imminent, but that doesn’t make the unraveling any less unsettling. Messud’s portrait of a woman’s rage is startlingly refreshing, and her sentences, as always, are perfection.” —Elizabeth Sher, Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, DC

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, by Therese Anne Fowler
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250028655, $25.99)
Z gives voice to a much misunderstood and largely unknown literary figure. While Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald led a very public life in many ways, Zelda was often forced to operate in a lifestyle that would make any modern woman squirm with discontent, if not cry out with a vengeance. Fowler breathes fresh and vibrant life into a voice that very much deserved to be heard on its own. Any lover of the art, literature, and culture of the Jazz Age will not be disappointed with this read.” —Karl Meutsch, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

Snapper, by Brian Kimberling
(Pantheon, 9780307908056, $24.95)
Snapper is a beautiful collection of related short stories from first-time author Kimberling. The stories observe Nathan Lochmueller, bird researcher and romantic underachiever, and his fellow residents of southern Indiana. By turns melancholy and suspenseful, optimistic and rueful, Snapper is warm, endearing, and wise. You don’t have to be a bird lover to spot the charm in this book.” —David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Amity & Sorrow: A Novel, by Peggy Riley
(Little, Brown, 9780316220880, $25.99)
“Amity and Sorrow are sisters, stolen away by their mother, Amaranth, from the only home they’ve ever known — the compound of their father’s polygamous cult in the Idaho Panhandle. After four days of driving, Amaranth crashes their car in Oklahoma, where all three are reluctantly taken in by a dogged descendant of the Dust Bowl. While the sisters and their mother struggle in their new surroundings, Amaranth’s story of what lured her into the cult and what ultimately drove her away is unfurled in a series of harrowing flashbacks. A deft debut told with great compassion and insight.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books & Music, Alpine, MI

Flora: A Novel, by Gail Godwin
(Bloomsbury, 9781620401200, $26)
“In the last months of America’s war with Japan, 10-year-old Helen is left in the care of Flora, a relative from Alabama, while her father leaves to work on a secret government project. A polio scare soon quarantines the woman and child at home where they are unable to escape each other. As Helen sees it, she is the most mature female in the house and is the one in control, until one evening tragedy strikes on a deserted road and she discovers the truth. Anyone curious as to why Godwin has been honored with so many awards only needs to read this book to learn why.” —Hunter Coleman, The Alabama Booksmith, Birmingham, AL

Red Moon: A Novel, by Benjamin Percy
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781455501663, $25.99)
“A phenomenal writer at a cellular level, Percy continues to develop into a beastly literary force. In his latest, he tears up the epic horror novel, transforming it into a war novel, a political novel, a novel of judgment and revolution. When werewolves who have lived side by side with humans through history feel oppressed to the point of breaking, a faction rises up against the U.S. government and uses terrorist tactics that force everyone  —  both lycan and human — to decide on which side they stand and which lines they are willing to cross. Red Moon is terrifyingly good, with sharp claws, sexy rumbles, and plenty of blood and guts.” —Stacie M. Williams, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Kings and Queens of Roam: A Novel, by Daniel Wallace
(Touchstone, 9781476703978, $24)
“Wallace is a craftsman of the modern fairy tale, and The Kings and Queens of Roam does not disappoint. The story follows the insular lives of two sisters — one blind and beautiful, the other able to see, but ugly — as they press against the edges of their small town. When they are orphaned, the sisters must rely on each other to survive, but their faults begin to overshadow their virtues as they grow older. As he did in Big Fish and Mr. Sebastian and the Negro Magician, Wallace continues to explore the nature of truth, revealing anew that it is not what is seen but what is believed.” —Adie Smith, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

The Carrion Birds: A Novel, by Urban Waite
(William Morrow, 9780062216885, $25.99)
“Can you really go home again? Waite tackles this subject with great skill in The Carrion Birds. Ray, a recently unemployed widower, becomes a hired killer for a drug cartel. When Ray attempts to leave the cartel, his father is brutally murdered and Ray vows revenge. His cousin Tom, a former police officer, tracks him down. But can cousins who are as close as brothers really do the right thing? Masterful and unsettling.” —Pamela Pride, Kerri’s Korner Bookstore, Fairmont, WV

The World’s Strongest Librarian: A Memoir of Tourette’s, Faith, Strength, and the Power of Family, by Josh Hanagarne
(Gotham, 9781592407873, $26)
“Resplendent with the intelligence that comes from accumulated experience, seasoned with sudden and delightful humor, and written with great sensitivity, Hanagarne’s memoir is one of this spring’s best surprises. It is not simply a love letter to anyone who has built a life around books, but also a moving autobiographical work of a gentle giant who refuses to let his sense of wonder about the world be displaced by his challenges and an insightful and informative exposition of what it is like to wake every morning and navigate life with Tourette Syndrome. Highly recommended!” —Aaron Cance, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Seduction: A Novel of Suspense, by M.J. Rose
(Atria, 9781451621501, $24)
Seduction transcends time in recounting the story of the tragic loss of Victor Hugo’s daughter and his desperate attempts to contact her via séances. Fast forward to the present, when Jacinthe ‘Jac’ L’Etoile, a mythologist specializing in Celtic lore, probes the secrets of the Isle of Jersey, where Hugo communed with spirits and composed his journal. Rose expertly interweaves mythology, the supernatural, psychoanalysis, and evil incarnate, to create an amazing amalgam of narrative wonder. Certain to satisfy old fans and garner new ones as well.” —Lynne Maxwell, Mystery Lovers Bookshop, Oakmont, PA

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of WW II, by Mitchell Zuckoff
(Harper, 9780062133434, $28.99)
“This true story is more riveting, captivating, and exciting than any fiction author can write. In search of a lost cargo plane on the ice cap of Greenland, a B17 crashes with nine people aboard. In a second rescue mission, a Grumman Duck — an amphibious plane — disappears in the milky sky of Greenland. Zuckoff gives us a harrowing and nail-biting WWII story of hope, despair, perseverance, heroism, and survival as well as a contemporary account of how volunteers are trying to recover the Grumman Duck and to bring home the remains of its crew.” —Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope: A Novel, by Rhonda Riley
(Ecco, 9780062099440, paper, $15.99)
The Enchanted Life of Adam Hope is one of the most exquisitely beautiful novels that I have ever read. Unconditional love in the face of an extremely unusual beginning to a relationship is one of the hallmarks of Riley’s debut. The ability to just be, to enjoy each day to the maximum, and to let love grow and expand for years to come is something we all desire. I could not put this book down!” —Nona Camuel, CoffeeTree Books, Morehead, KY

The River of No Return: A Novel, by Bee Ridgeway
(Dutton, 9780525953869, $27.95)
“This romp in time has it all! There’s a dashing hero, several feisty heroines, some really nasty bad guys, plenty of mystery, suspense, humor, and romance as Ridgeway navigates her eminently plausible route along the River of Time filled with paradoxes and switchbacks. A must for fans of Gabaldon’s Outlander and Harkness’ A Discovery of Witches.” —Annie Leonard, The Next Chapter, Knoxville, IA

River of Dust: A Novel, by Virginia Pye
(Unbridled Books, 9781609530938, $25)
“Drawing on the journals of her grandfather, Pye has created a compelling and original tale. Her debut novel tells the story of Reverend Wesley Watson and his wife, Grace, as they confront the bleak landscape of northwestern China shortly after the Boxer Rebellion. Intending to bring the word of God to the Chinese, they are immediately sidetracked by the kidnapping of their young son. What follows is the heart-wrenching tale of the search for their son and its consequences. A must-read for fans of quality historical fiction.” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

The Ophelia Cut: A Novel, by John Lescroat
(Atria, 9781476709154, $26.99)
“Dismas Hardy used to be a star attorney in the San Francisco DA’s office, but now he practices criminal law and there are things from his past that he’d like to keep locked away. When Dismas’ niece is raped, her father, Moses McGuire, makes it clear he’d be happy to kill the man who did it. In fact, he threatens the arrogant assistant to a powerful San Francisco politician, and when this man is murdered, the evidence points to Moses. An off-the-wagon alcoholic with a loose tongue, Moses is under arrest and he knows dangerous secrets about several people, including Dismas. This is Lescroat’s best yet!” —Elaine Petrocelli, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Is This Tomorrow: A Novel, by Caroline Leavitt
(Algonquin Books, 9781616200541, paper, $14.95)
“Leavitt peels back the neat facade of suburban life in the 1950s to uncover the ways in which the demands of conformity leave a trail of loneliness and pain for those who lie outside its bounds. Ava Lark, the divorced Jewish mother of 12-year-old Lewis, struggles against the judgment of neighbors as she and her son befriend the only other fatherless children around, Jimmy and Rose. Jimmy’s sudden, unexplained disappearance taps into every parent’s worst nightmare. Blending taut suspense with deeply moving portrayals of fierce parental love, childhood friendships, and first crushes, Leavitt has created a novel with haunting characters and much to say about how we move through tragedy.” —Libby Cowles, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

The May 2013 Now in Paperback

Broken Harbor: A Novel, by Tana French
(Penguin Books, 9780143123309, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

City of Women: A Novel, by David R. Gillham
(Berkley Trade, 9780425252963, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Dog Stars: A Novel, by Peter Heller
(Vintage, 9780307950475, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Hannah Johnson-Breimeier, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Gold: A Novel, by Chris Cleave
(Simon & Schuster, 9781451672732, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Istanbul Passage: A Novel, by Joseph Kanon
(Washington Square Press, 9781439156438, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

A Lady Cyclist’s Guide to Kashgar: A Novel, by Suzanne Joinson
(9781608198337, Bloomsbury, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Morgan Kiedrowski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

The Lola Quartet: A Novel, by Emily St. John Mandel
(Unbridled Books, 9781609530990, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Pullen, WORD, Brooklyn, NY

The Lower River: A Novel, by Paul Theroux
(Mariner Books, 9780544002258, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The Right-Hand Shore: A Novel, by Christopher Tilghman
(Picador, 9781250033284, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

The Roots of the Olive Tree: A Novel, by Courtney Miller Santo
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062130525, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Seating Arrangements: A Novel, by Maggie Shipstead
(Vintage, 9780307743954, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Claire Benedict, Bear Pond Books of Montpelier, Montpelier, VT

The Yellow Birds: A Novel, by Kevin Powers
(Back Bay Books, 9780316219341, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Joan Grenier, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA