The May 2014 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are 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 2014 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: All the Light We Cannot See: A Novel, by Anthony Doerr
(Scribner, 9781476746586, $27)
“The French girl cannot see, but she can hear, feel, and explore the world around her like a budding naturalist. The German boy has no parents, but he teaches himself how coils of copper can receive lessons of love and learning. It’s World War II, however, and the potential of thousands of children will be unrealized or thwarted. Will a mythical gemstone save them or unite them? Gorgeously written, Doerr’s epic tale brings alive the beauty of two souls, their quest for learning, the turbulent times they cannot control, and the rock that mysteriously guides their fate.” —Harriet Logan, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

Natchez Burning: A Novel, by Greg Iles
(William Morrow, 9780062311078, $27.99)
“Penn Cage is the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi, and life is pretty good for him, his fiancée, and his daughter, until a call from the district attorney sends his world reeling. His father, Tom, a respected and beloved family physician, is accused of murdering Violet Turner, who worked as his nurse during the turbulent 1960s. As Penn tries to save his father, he is forced to confront the brutal and violent past of his hometown during the fight for civil rights. With strong characters and a taut story line that spans 40 years, Iles delivers a blockbuster that will leave readers hungry for the next two installments in what will surely be an epic trilogy.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MI

The Steady Running of the Hour: A Novel, by Justin Go
(Simon & Schuster, 9781476704586, $26)
“There are so many reasons to want other readers to immerse themselves in this all-embracing novel — the shimmering unreality of life in London before Ashley’s deployment to France; the convincing portrayal of the grim horrors of trench warfare; the struggles of mountaineering on Everest; Tristan’s compulsion to discover a piece of his family’s past. Justin Go handles all these scenarios with a sure hand, and then concludes the whole with an entirely convincing ending. This beautifully haunting story will appeal to a wide audience of readers.” —Nicola Rooney, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Orenda: A Novel, by Joseph Boyden
(Knopf, 9780385350730, $26.95)
“Wrenching and redemptive, The Orenda offers a narrative scope so wide it seems to encompass centuries and generations, despite taking place over only a few short years. Though Boyden’s novel closely follows a strange trinity of the displaced and the mournful — a powerful Wendat warrior scarred by the loss of his family, an ungainly but earnest Jesuit missionary, and the troubled, gifted Iroquois girl who equally unites and stands apart from them — he writes of timeless and universal cycles of loss and regeneration and loss again. This is a staggeringly beautiful work.” —Sam Kaas, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

The Serpent of Venice: A Novel, by Christopher Moore
(William Morrow, 9780061779763, $26.99)
“Moore has always been a fantastic comic writer, with a fierce intelligence behind his relentlessly entertaining books. Most recently, he’s been giving that intelligence free rein, taking art, history, and Shakespeare into unexpected and humorous new realms, and The Serpent of Venice is his most delightful book yet. This novel continues the adventures of Pocket, the titular jester of Fool, as he befriends Shylock’s daughter, tries to straighten things out for Othello and Desdemona, and gets mixed up in Venetian politics, some of which bear a disturbing similarity to current events. And did I mention the sea serpent? Hilarious, thought-provoking, and thoroughly enjoyable!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Ruby: A Novel, by Cynthia Bond
(Hogarth, 9780804139090, $25)
“As a boy in the small East Texas town of Liberty, Ephram Jennings lost his heart to a beautiful girl named Ruby. As a middle-aged man, Ephram decides to risk the disapproval of nearly everyone in town and show his love, though by now Ruby has been nearly destroyed by the demons of her past, both real and imagined. Bond evokes Toni Morrison in her beautifully written and unflinching description of the realities of life in a small Texas town in the middle of the 20th century, where things are not always what they seem, and where the power of evil and the evil of power put up a strong fight against the power of love.” —Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Troika: A Novel, by Adam Pelzman
(Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 9780399167485, $25.95)
Troika, the three, is a mesmerizing tale of the relationship of three people: Julian, Perla, and Sophie, and how their lives intersect. Pelzman poignantly portrays each character and intimately engages the reader in their personal lives. The connections of these three and the surprises that result make for an unforgettable reading experience. This book is hard to put down. I loved it!” —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

Wonderland: A Novel, by Stacey D’Erasmo
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544074811, $22)
“With a voice as raw and lively as an amplifier crackling to life, Wonderland’s Anna Brundage is the perfect rock-and-roll narrator. D’Erasmo explodes the tropes of coming-of-age stories, presenting a woman coming into her own at 44, seven years after her spectacular rise and fall on the indie scene. Back with a new band, a new album, and one last chance to make it as a musician, Anna’s journey is a wonderful meditation on music, the creative spirit, and the highs and lows of an unconventional life.” —Josh Christie, Sherman’s Books & Stationery, Bar Harbor, ME

All the Birds, Singing: A Novel, by Evie Wyld
(Pantheon, 9780307907769, $24.95)
“What is Jake Whyte fleeing from? That’s the central question in this dark, compelling novel written by one of Granta’s Best Young British Novelists. The story, which goes back and forth in time, starts with Jake on a windswept British island trying to figure out who — or what — is picking off her sheep. Jake is a loner, but why? How did she get the scars on her back? Why is she estranged from her family in Australia? With each new chapter the reader learns what has driven Jake to this lonely existence. Wyld’s writing is atmospheric, wild, and scary, but there is a sense of redemption in the end.” —Carin Pratt, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT

Lovers at the Chameleon Club, Paris 1932: A Novel, by Francine Prose
(Harper, 9780061713781, $26.99)
“I, like so many others, have wondered about the famous Brassaϊ photograph of two women sitting together at a table in Paris. By constructing a novel from their pose, Prose manages to give us truths that go deep into the souls of the characters. The fictional Lou Villars is based on the tuxedo-wearing woman in the photograph, a famous athlete, racecar driver, and Nazi collaborator. She and her lover, Arlette, are well known at the Chameleon Club, where people who usually have to pretend to be something else are able to let down their guard. In the hands of Prose, the intricate threads of the people, the times, and the question of what constitutes good and evil are woven into an unforgettable tapestry. I was mesmerized by this magnificent novel.” —Elaine Petrocelli, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Ruin Falls: A Novel, by Jenny Milchman
(Ballantine, 9780345549075, $26)
“In Ruin Falls Milchman continues her theme of women facing the worst that life can hand them and yet finding a way to overcome these challenges. Liz is looking forward to taking a rare family vacation to see her husband Paul’s parents and letting their two children get to know their grandparents. Paul has never been an easy man to live with, but Liz loves him and tries zealously to bridge the gap between Paul’s rigorous beliefs and her children’s happiness. When both children go missing from their hotel room in the middle of the night, Liz has no idea who might have taken them, nor does she realize the depth of her own courage that it will take to find out. A wonderful, high-octane read!” —Linda Dewberry, Whodunit? Books, Olympia, WA

The Sea Inside, by Philip Hoare
(Melville House, 9781612193595, $27.99)
“Part poetic introspective, part elegy, laced with a slow sense of wonder, Hoare’s new book is a uniquely refreshing work. In some ways it is a memoir; in others a naturalistic account of travel and contemplation. The result, however, is neither autobiography nor another volume in environmentalist polyphony, but the genuine and comfortably deliberate thoughts of a man who, in our age, still looks to the sea and its myriad life forms with the wonder of an explorer of old. It is bracing to discover a voice that conjures the magic of nature without the heavy hand of dogma.” —Brian Boecki, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI

Between Wrecks, by George Singleton
(Dzanc Books, 9781938103797, paper, $15.95)
“I laughed so hard reading this book that it doubled as a workout. Singleton imagines absurd situations played out by characters who tie their luck in knots: a student in an online Southern culture course looks for truth in a scrapbooking club; an uncle makes a killing selling parachutes on the off-chance of sinkholes; a woman funnels her husband’s scratch-ticket winnings into never-ending home remodels. These characters manage their fates with peculiar, hilarious, sometimes heart-wringing methods. Fans of George Saunders and Kurt Vonnegut will find a lot to love here.” —Julie Wernersbach, BookPeople, Austin, TX

The Bees: A Novel, by Laline Paull
(Ecco, 9780062331151, $25.99)
“This book is completely amazing. Paull uses real bee behavior as the basis for a tale of complex hive society, complete with a religion, a caste system, and threats from the outside world. The heroine, Flora 717, is an abnormally large and intelligent bee. Her size and strength give her opportunities to work at a variety of jobs, and as she begins to uncover the dark secrets of the hive, Flora makes a decision that could change the future of her entire hive. Well-crafted and filled with intrigue and action, this is a brilliant, thought-provoking, and completely original debut that does for bees what Richard Adams did for rabbits in Watership Down.” —Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Point of Direction: A Novel, by Rachel Weaver
(Ig Publishing, 9781935439912, paper, $16.95)
“Weaver’s debut novel about two damaged people who withhold much of themselves despite their love for each other had me hooked from the very start, as did the appeal of the remote Alaskan landscape, a compelling character in its own right. Anna and Kyle are two fiercely independent souls hiding huge secrets from each other even as they decide to take a nine-month lease on a lighthouse on Hibler Rock, miles from the coast of Alaska. The last caretaker disappeared over 20 years ago, and that mystery is evenly woven into the discoveries Anna and Kyle make about themselves and their futures. Readers will find Point of Direction impossible to put down.” —Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore, San Diego, CA

My Accidental Jihad: A Love Story, by Krista Bremer
(Algonquin, 9781616200688, $24.95)
“Bremer’s marriage memoir opened my eyes to a culture I previously didn’t know much about. Great books invite us in, give us an education without our realizing we are learning something, and change us with each page. That’s what this account did for me. Bremer’s marriage to a Libyan Muslim crosses cultural boundaries, and hardships and heartbreaks abound — but there are blessings and happiness too. I’ll be recommending this one!” —Annie Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA

The Cold Song, by Linn Ullmann
(Other Press, 9781590516676, paper, $15.95)
“Elegant and incisive, The Cold Song exposes a complex family drama that revolves around the day a beautiful young woman goes missing. When she is found murdered, her family members must sort out their suspicions of one another and question their own degrees of responsibility for her death. This novel is a startling meditation on loss, how we deal with it, how it echoes through generations, and how our mistakes cause us to lose the ones we love.” —Jenny Patiño Cervantes, City Lit Books, Chicago, IL

The Garden of Burning Sand, by Corban Addison
(Quercus, 9781623651299, $26.99)
“This is a captivating thriller that combines page-turning suspense with a social conscience. In contemporary Zambia, an American lawyer who is seeking justice fights entrenched power as well as her own family demons when her father, an influential senator, becomes a candidate for president. Addison’s tale is a fantastic read for literary novel lovers and thriller readers alike, as it provides both suspense and the exploration of important global issues in a credible and convincing style.” —Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA

Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant? A Memoir, by Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury, 9781608198061, $28)
“Favorite New Yorker cartoonist Roz Chast has produced an intensely personal graphic memoir dealing with the last years of her parents’ lives. With a mixture of wit and sorrow, Chast documents her personal travails in coping with her parents’ decline and demise. For those with viable parents, this book could be used as a preparation. For those whose parents have passed, it’s a gentle, reassuring, and sometime maddening reminder of those difficulties and emotions already experienced. For that difficult phase of life that we must all face, it is a tender and touching view of how one person coped.”  —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Other Story: A Novel, by Tatiana De Rosnay
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250045133, $26.99)
“Nicolas Duhamel’s first novel is an amazing worldwide bestseller, but one has to have strong legs to carry the weight of such success and Nicolas doesn’t have those. He soon transforms into a vain, egocentric creature, keeping track of his fame through Twitter and Facebook as his friends and family slowly turn away from him. When he takes some time off in an exclusive hotel on an Italian island, Nicolas finally starts to realize that, in spite of all his success and wealth, there is no happiness in his life. A captivating novel about a man in search of his identity and the price of fame.” —Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

The May 2014 Now in Paperback

The Bone Season: A Novel, by Samantha Shannon (Bloomsbury, 9781620402658, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Brewster: A Novel, by Mark Slouka (W.W. Norton, 9780393348835, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Helen Markus, Hearthfire Books of Evergreen, Evergreen, CO

The Edge of the Earth: A Novel, by Christina Schwarz (Washington Square Press, 9781451683707, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Hicks, The Bookshelf, Truckee, CA

Fin & Lady: A Novel, by Cathleen Schine (Picador, 9781250050052, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Frozen in Time: An Epic Story of Survival and a Modern Quest for Lost Heroes of WW II, by Mitchell Zuckoff (Harper Perennial, 9780062133403, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

Gone Girl: A Novel, by Gillian Flynn (Broadway Books, 9780307588371, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

The Impossible Lives of Greta Wells: A Novel, by Andrew Sean Green (Ecco, 9780062213792, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Marion Abbott, Mrs. Dalloway’s Literary and Garden Arts, Berkeley, CA

Jewelweed: A Novel, by David Rhodes (Milkweed Editions, 9781571311061, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Norwegian by Night: A Novel, by Derek B. Miller (Mariner Books, 9780544292666, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape, by Mark Lee Gardner (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780061989483, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

Sisterland: A Novel, by Curtis Sittenfeld (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812980332, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books and Café, Wichita, KS

The Telling Room: A Tale of Love, Betrayal, Revenge, and the World’s Greatest Piece of Cheese, by Michael Paterniti (Dial Press Trade Paperbacks, 9780385337014, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Nick Berg, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI