The November ’13 Indie Next List Preview

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

The November 2013 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened, by Allie Brosh
(Touchstone, 9781451666175, paper, $17.99)
“Brosh has been an Internet sensation for years with literally thousands of fans following her scribbled illustrations on her blog. She has won over readers and stalkers alike with her honest and stark humor and her fun stories and rants. This book takes readers into not just the fun and fuzzy world of candied cakes and dumb dogs, but also into the brutally honest self-evaluation and exploration of its unique author. Always balancing the serious with the silly, the dark with the ridiculous, Brosh says the things we wish we could, admits the things we’re ashamed of, and explores what we’re afraid of, always with color and humor and, ultimately, with hope. And don’t forget the scribbles!” —Jocelyn Shratter, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Two Prospectors: The Letters of Sam Shepard and Johnny Dark, Chad Hammett, Ed.
(University of Texas Press, 9780292735828, $35)
“With photos, facsimiles, and full texts, this volume of correspondence between playwright and actor Shepard and his former father-in-law and close friend, Dark, is as multifaceted as the voices and lives of its principals. Since Shepard has said he won’t write a memoir, this spirited 40-plus year correspondence may well be the closest we will get to the playwright’s perspective on his own life and work. It is fitting that this insight comes in the form of an adventurous and frank dialogue with another man; like many of Shepard’s plays, the complex relationship between two men is at the heart of this collection. Similarly apt is the book’s title, which the editor took from a play Shepard and Dark wrote together but that, like their long friendship, remains unfinished.” —Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Bookstore and Coffee House, Washington, DC

We Are Water: A Novel, by Wally Lamb
(Harper, 9780061941023, $29.99)
“Lamb combines complex characters and an intricate plot with an array of contemporary topics and timeless issues in this engrossing novel. A wife and mother leaves her family to pursue an artistic career and an unconventional relationship. A husband and father abruptly abandons his longtime profession as a psychologist. Their children wonder at these transformations but hide secrets of their own. As the plot develops and the narrative shifts among characters, secrets are revealed and motives become clear to the reader. Essentially, Lamb addresses the longstanding question of whether anyone can really know the truth of another person. The answer is a resounding ‘no.’” —Lynn Beeson, Loganberry Books, Cleveland, OH

The Valley of Amazement, by Amy Tan
(Ecco, 9780062107312, $29.99)
“Tan’s newest novel is utterly engrossing. Spanning more than four decades and two continents, this tale transports readers from Shanghai to San Francisco as it reveals the lives of two women, Lucia and Violet, an American courtesan mother and her half-Chinese daughter. The story details their attempt to undo their past, leading to forgiveness and bringing about redemption. The final pages signal the possibility of a sequel that would be welcome, indeed!” —Carol Hicks, Bookshelf, Truckee, CA

Bellman & Black: A Novel, by Diane Setterfield
(Atria/Emily Bestler Books, 9781476711959, $25)
“A stone thrown, a bird killed — this single thoughtless act committed as a boy will shadow William Bellman for the rest of his life. Setterfield’s atmospheric new novel follows William’s seemingly charmed life through successes, marriage, and fatherhood, until the sudden appearance of a stranger in black signals a change in the trajectory of William’s good fortune. With echoes of Dickens, Poe, and Grimm, Setterfield’s tale offers fascinating historical details even as it raises the hairs on the back of the reader’s neck.” —Kristine Kaufman, The Snow Goose Bookstore, Stanwood, WA

Death of a Nightingale: A Nina Borg Thriller, by Lene Kaaberbøl and Agnete Friis
(Soho Crime, 9781616953041, $26.95)
“Kaaberbøl and Friis are back with Danish Red Cross nurse Nina Borg, after her misadventures in The Boy in the Suitcase. This time, Nina has been following the case of Natasha Doroshenko, a Ukrainian woman who originally arrived at the crisis center in an attempt to leave her abusive Danish fiancé. Now under arrest for his murder, Natasha escapes her police guard to get back to her young daughter who is also at the crisis center. As with the first novel, the pace is quick, there are surprises around every corner, and Nina is an imperfect hero, which makes her all the more appealing.” —Mary Fran Buckley, Eight Cousins, Falmouth, MA

Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel, by Martin Cruz Smith
(Simon & Schuster, 9781439140215, $25.99)
“Cruz Smith’s latest installment in the Arkady Renko series shows that he is in top form. Tatiana Petrovna, a daring reporter, has fallen — or was she pushed? — to her death. Renko starts investigating and is mesmerized by the reporter’s latest tapes. Digging deeper, he finds a connection to the town of Kaliningrad, and what he discovers there is explosive. This is vintage Cruz Smith — a great read with twists and turns until the very end.” —Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Bookshop, Damariscotta, ME

The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible, by Simon Winchester
(Harper, 9780062079602, $29.99)
“The always amazing Winchester turns his storytelling talent to America for the first time. As always, he gives the reader interesting and often obscure facts, this time about the uniting of the separate states into a nation. Explorers, inventors of transcontinental telegraph and highway systems, builders, and thinkers are part of the chronicle. Did it work? Are we ‘one nation, indivisible?’ These are questions to ponder as you read this fascinating story.” —Carole Horne, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

Monument Road: A Novel, by Charlie Quimby
(Torrey House Press [Dist. Consortium], 9781937226251, paper, $16.95)
“A taciturn, ornery man grieving the loss of his wife plans to release her ashes off a spectacular cliff, which she loved, and fling himself off after her. Various interruptions ensue, however, and while driving he revisits decisions, beliefs, and relationships, all with some regrets and some surprises. This novel is remarkable for the layers of meaning inherent in the stories that evolve. Fear, risk, religion, connection, and the landscape all resonate in ways both beautiful and dangerous. The debut of an author with a deft touch and the ability to create a story that is rich and lasting.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

The Heart of Everything That Is: The Untold Story of Red Cloud, an American Legend, by Bob Drury and Tom Clavin
(Simon & Schuster, 9781451654660, $30)
“The authors present the epic story of Red Cloud, the only Native American tribal leader to defeat the U.S. Army in the West. Red Cloud could be vicious and savage and he used those attributes to achieve power. But he could also show patience and restraint in his efforts to defeat the Army’s expansion into the Powder River country of present-day Wyoming. This book presents an important chapter in American history that needed to be told, using Red Cloud’s own autobiography as a major source.” —George Rishel, The Sly Fox, Virden, IL

Where the Moon Isn’t: A Novel, by Nathan Filer
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250026989, $24.99)
“Matthew’s brother, Simon, had a number of birth defects and a beautiful smiling face that looked like the moon. Where the Moon Isn’t is the story of Matthew’s attempt at reliving the past, when his brother was still alive. By putting his memories on paper (or even on the bedroom walls) Matthew can keep his brother alive. But how can Matthew stay sane when he believes he is the cause of Simon’s death? As he moves in and out of madness, Matthew tells his horrifying, yet achingly beautiful, story. Filer’s debut novel will grab your heart and soul and will not let go.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

This Is the Story of a Happy Marriage, by Ann Patchett
(Harper, 9780062236678, $27.99)
“Readers familiar with Patchett’s fiction, from The Patron Saint of Liars to Bel Canto and State of Wonder, treasure her imaginative and heartfelt stories. Truth & Beauty, her memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy, defines loyalty and friendship. Now, in this essay collection, she confirms what her readers have always known: we would love to be her neighbor, knowing that she would wash our mud-soaked clothes in her dry laundry room after a flood; we would share her heartbreak when her dog Rosie died; we would cheer her feisty dedication to uncensored reading and bookselling. The story of her happy marriage is one her fans will savor. Patchett deserves this joy.” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

The Lion Seeker: A Novel, by Kenneth Bonert
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780547898049, $28)
“This is a perfect book, and given that it is Bonert’s debut novel, it’s even more astounding. He uses South African apartheid, where blacks are treated like the Jews of Eastern Europe, to convey the drama of a Lithuanian family’s emigration to escape the very debasement that they then perpetrate on those who live in their new community. It’s a complicated story well told, emotional, fraught with angst, but also with some of the most memorable characters in recent fictional history.” —Gayle Shanks, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

The Cartographer of No Man’s Land: A Novel, by P.S. Duffy
(Liveright, 9780871403766, $25.95)
“The Great War has inspired great literature and this novel takes its place in the ranks of unforgettable World War I novels. A pacifist, Angus finds himself at the front while searching for his brother-in-law and discovers that he must not only confront the horrors of combat but also every value he holds. At home, a Canadian fishing village is also being devastated by the results of the war. Duffy deftly portrays the total destruction wrought by combat. A powerful and poignant debut.” —Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Last Animal: Stories, by Abby Geni
(Counterpoint [Dist. PGW], 9781619021822, $24)
“When people let you down, the natural world is the place to find solace, or so the reader learns from this fascinating new collection of short stories. Whether it be from Alzheimer’s, depression, affairs, or reasons yet to be determined, family members in these stories keep disappearing. Fortunately, there are substitute connections, whether it’s the teen student in ‘Dharma at the Gate’ who has her dog, or the young aquarium worker of ‘Captivity’ who is quite aware of the intelligence of the octopus. Geni’s work is filled with unique images and situations, some of them heart-stopping.” —Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Tulip Eaters: A Novel, by Antoinette van Heugten
(Harlequin MIRA, 9780778313885, paper, $15.95)
“This novel is set in the present day but the reader learns much about World War II from its pages. Nora, a doctor, comes home to find her mother dead and her young daughter missing. Why would someone want to harm her mother? After finding a locked metal box, Nora begins to wonder if the murder and kidnapping could be related to World War II and discovers many secrets her mother and father carried with them for years. Saving her daughter means traveling to Amsterdam to piece together the truth.” —Rebecca Harrison, Lincoln’s Loft, Hodgenville, KY

Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II, by Wil S. Hylton
(Riverhead, 9781594487279, $27.95)
“Of the more than 56,000 servicemen and women of WWII whose resting place remains a mystery, two-thirds lie somewhere in the Pacific. Hylton’s fascinating account documents the search and recovery efforts of the devoted teams dedicated to finding these brave soldiers and bringing them home. By focusing on the crew of one missing B24 and the man who became obsessed with their fate, Hylton brings the story to a personal and poignant level.” —Betsey Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA

Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, by Luke Barr
(Clarkson Potter, 9780307718341, $26)
“During one incredible month in December 1970, the most influential personalities of French cuisine — James Beard, Simone Beck, Julia Child, M.F.K .Fisher, Judith Jones, and Richard Olney — gathered in the south of France to cook and eat together. Conversation centered on the future of cooking and sparks flew over the superiority and snobbery of French cuisine and the value of other ethnic cuisines, including American cooking. Barr, Fisher’s great-nephew, has successfully pieced together her notes, journals, and letters to create a fascinating glimpse into culinary history. Deliciously entertaining reading!” —Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

The Circle of Thirteen: A Novel, by William Petrocelli
(Turner Publisher [Dist. Ingram Publisher Services], 9781620454145, $26.95)
“What if women ruled the world? In his futuristic thriller, Petrocelli answers that question with a 2082 scenario involving governments run by women worldwide that are threatened by a male-ruled movement named Patria. Julia, the head of security, is worried about the increasing threats even as she is assaulted by memories of violence in her own past. The social and environmental currents that created the future Petrocelli posits, both for good and ill, are all too probable in a book with an intriguing premise and a wonderful cast of strong and head-strong women.” —Betsy Burton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

The Two Hotel Francforts: A Novel, by David Leavitt
(Bloomsbury, 9781596910423, $25)
“Lisbon in the summer of 1940 is crowded with refugees fleeing the Nazi invasion. Two couples meet in a cafe, each having reluctantly abandoned France and their carefully crafted expat lives. While awaiting the SS Manhattan, which will transport them, the lucky ones with U.S. passports, back to America, they become unlikely fast friends. Alarmingly, soon after, a scheme that pits three against one results in tragedy. Sexually charged and full of intrigue, this novel is a masterful study of the secrets and desires that bring people together and then hold them like prisoners.” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The November 2013 Now in Paperback

Astray, by Emma Donoghue (Back Bay Books, 9780316206280, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Black Box, by Michael Connelly (Grand Central Publishing, 9780446556729, $10)
Recommended in hardcover by Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The Boy in the Snow: An Edie Kiglatuck Mystery, by M.J. McGrath (Penguin Books, 9780143124146, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Chanel Bonfire: A Memoir, by Wendy Lawless (Gallery Books, 9781476745480, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Death of Bees: A Novel, by Lisa O’Donnell (Harper Perennial, 9780062209856, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Dinner: A Novel, by Herman Koch (Hogarth, 9780385346856, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by Sheila Daley, Barrett Bookstore, Darien, CT

The House Girl: A Novel, by Tara Conklin (Avon, 9780062207517, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Beverly Bauer, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

Life After Life: A Novel, by Jill McCorkle (Algonquin/A Shannon Ravenel Book, 9781616203221, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Terry Gilman, Mysterious Galaxy, San Diego, CA

The Lost Art of Mixing: A Novel, by Erica Baumeister (Berkley Trade, 9780425265031, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Melanie Mayberry, Cornerstone Cottage, Hampton, IA

Magnificence: A Novel, by Lydia Millet (W.W. Norton, 9780393346855, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Vail, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

May We Be Forgiven: A Novel, by A.M. Homes (Penguin Books, 9780147509703, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Seth Marko, UCSD Bookstore, San Diego, CA

Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power, by Jon Meacham (Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812979480, $20)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA