The November 2014 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Here are 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 2014 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: Not My Father’s Son: A Memoir, by Alan Cumming
(Dey Street Books, 9780062225061, $26.99)
“Every so often reading a memoir feels like a conversation rather than a strict narrative or — the death knell for memoir — a self-indulgent romp down memory lane. Cumming’s memoir is a gorgeous, intimate conversation and it reads beautifully. The pace is perfect, the presentation truly lovely, and I felt like a close friend rather than an impersonal audience. Cumming’s early life was a struggle and he hardly shies from relating details, but the driving force behind this book is the demonstration of the many ways one can bring oneself to peace after hardship. I enjoyed it immensely.” —Demi Marshall, Park Road Books, Charlotte, NC

The Book of Strange New Things: A Novel, by Michel Faber
(Hogarth, 9780553418842, $28)
“Peter Leigh is an evangelical Christian pastor whose mission to serve the Lord leads him into space, where he ministers to an alien race. But is he truly converting them, or is his faith leading them astray? Questions abound: Why wasn’t his wife allowed to accompany him? Why is everyone in the human base camp uninterested in the catastrophes that are befalling Earth while they are light years away? Why was Peter’s appointment as pastor to the aliens so urgent? Faber does a great job addressing the question of faith and its consequences. A great book group selection!” —Susan M. Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Crooked River: A Novel, by Valerie Geary
(William Morrow, 9780062326591, $25.99)
“Debut author Geary has written an engaging psychological thriller set in rural Oregon. After their mother’s sudden death, Sam and Ollie McAlister move to live with their recluse beekeeper father, Bear, in a tepee in the middle of a meadow. Shortly after their arrival, a young woman is found dead in the nearby river and their father is arrested for the murder. Both girls know their father is innocent — younger Ollie has been shown the real killer by the spirits that only she can see — and the sisters take it into their own hands to prove their father’s innocence.” —Liz Heywood, The Babbling Book, Haines, AK

Falling From Horses: A Novel, by Molly Gloss
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544279292, $25)
Falling From Horses is the story of a young man, a young woman, and the early days of Hollywood set against the memories of growing up in eastern Oregon among the horses, cattle, and hard work it takes to live there. Bud, the son of ranchers, buys a bus ticket to Hollywood to be a rider in cowboy movies. On the way, he meets Lily Shaw, a sassy screenwriter, and their lives become intertwined with the telling of what led Bud to leave home. Both brutal and beautiful, Falling From Horses is filled with stunning descriptions of the world of early movie-making and the landscapes that shape us.” —Rene Kirkpatrick, Eagle Harbor Book Company, Bainbridge Island, WA

Sometimes the Wolf: A Novel, by Urban Waite
(William Morrow, 9780062216915, $26.99)
“In this powerful story set amidst the lush landscape of the Northwest, former sheriff Patrick Drake has just been released from prison. As he tries to make a new start with his son, who is a sheriff’s deputy in his father’s old department, his past comes back to haunt him. Violence from Patrick’s old life plays out in the forefront, and the issues of family loss, disappointment, and forgiveness are the backdrop for this rapidly paced, spellbinding novel.” —Stephanie Crowe, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Remedy for Love: A Novel, by Bill Roorbach
(Algonquin Books, 9781616203313, $24.95)
“A massive storm threatening record-breaking snow and frigid temperatures is bearing down on Maine in Roorbach’s new novel. Eric, a small-town lawyer, has a chance encounter at a grocery store with a disheveled young woman who has no car and not enough money to pay for her purchases. He’s buying food to prepare a gourmet meal for his estranged wife in a hopeless attempt at reconciliation. The woman, Danielle, resists Eric’s help but the storm forces them to seek shelter in the remote cabin where she is staying. As the storm worsens, they struggle to survive and slowly learn that neither of them is really who they say — or think — they are. A wonderful, harrowing tale of survival and the power of love, truth, loss, and human kindness.” —Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

All My Puny Sorrows, by Miriam Toews
(McSweeney’s, 9781940450278, $24)
“How does one craft a novel that tackles such difficult and controversial subjects as depression, euthanasia, and suicide without coming across as morbid and morose? Just read Miriam Toews All My Puny Sorrows. With great style and wit, Toews has created a tale that is at once heartbreaking and hysterical. Following the story of two sisters, Elf and Yoli, All My Puny Sorrows deals with the hardships of Elf’s depression and desire to end her life. Beautifully written, rich with tenderness and compassion, this novel keeps you alternating between laughter and tears, captivated from start to finish.” —Claire Roser, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered, by Michele Raffin
(Algonquin Books, 9781616201364, $24.95)
“Raffin has created a sanctuary for rare and endangered birds that completely surrounds her California home with professionally maintained aviaries to protect, preserve, and propagate more than 300 species. Her obsession with the birds’ survival is an inspiration, and her descriptions of the various birds’ behaviors and emotional lives are a delight. This extraordinary story of commitment, love, and devotion is an exemplary tale of perseverance, diligence, and heartfelt sacrifice on behalf of feathered creatures in desperate need of help.” —John Evans, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

Loitering: New and Collected Essays, by Charles D’Ambrosio
(Tin House Books, 9781935639879, paper, $15.95)
“Charles D’Ambrosio’s essays are excitingly good. They are relevant in a way that makes you read them out loud to anyone who happens to be around. Absolutely accessible and incredibly intelligent, his work is an astounding relief — as though someone is finally trying to put all the disparate, desperate puzzle pieces of the world together again.” —Jill Owens, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

First Impressions: A Novel of Old Books, Unexpected Love, and Jane Austen, by Charlie Lovett
(Viking, 9780525427247, $27.95)
“This is a frothy and fun mystery/romance that asks ‘What if Jane Austen plagiarized her greatest work, Pride and Prejudice?’ By alternating chapters about Austen and her fictional friendship with an elderly minister and writer with those involving a modern-day bookseller and Austen fan who is searching for love and rare books, Lovett builds suspense while tossing in all kinds of fun Austen factoids. The tale is simple and sweet and the heroine is a modern-day Eliza, torn between two men and her first impressions of each. Delightful, especially for Austen fans — and really, who isn’t?” —Bill Carl, The Booksellers on Fountain Square, Cincinnati, OH

Citizens Creek: A Novel, by Lalita Tademy
(Atria, 9781476753034, $26)
“This stunning historical novel tells the little-known story of Native American-owned black slaves. Central to the story is Rose Simmons, whose grandfather, Cow Tom Simmons, becomes the chief of his displaced Creek Indian tribe. In the territory that will eventually become Oklahoma, Rose fights to maintain her marriage and to adapt to the constant changes dictated by the government. Readers will become immersed in this story of a gritty, determined woman who fights for dignity, respect, and identity during the formative years of our country. This novel is unique, bold, and eye-opening.” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, The Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

The Laughing Monsters: A Novel, by Denis Johnson
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374280598, $25)
“In the chaos of West and Central Africa, Johnson has found a setting to match his fevered, conspiratorial, and hilarious imagination. Crackling with wild energy and bizarre happenings, The Laughing Monsters tells the story of two desperate and insane souls — an American spy and an African combat expert and ‘man of opportunity’ — who are each trying to pull off bizarre and dangerous schemes without revealing their true motives to each other or even to themselves. Taut, poetic, startling, and filled with incredible specifics about African politics and culture, this is quintessential Denis Johnson madness.” —Rico Lange, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg
(Harper, 9780062078223, $27.99)
“It is possible only Rick Bragg could do true justice to The Killer, a man whose music is an indelible aspect of the American cultural scene. Bragg’s knowledge of the South enables him to provide the background of a region of incredible contradictions that spawned Jerry Lee Lewis and helped contribute to a musical revolution, which eventually swept the world. Lewis’ own improbable life complements the story of a cultural phenomenon that helped to change society and is still relevant today.” —Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Blue Horses: Poems, by Mary Oliver
(The Penguin Press, 9781594204791, $24.95)
“Often humorous and always on target, Oliver has a way of telling a story with each of her poems — stories of day-to-day life and broader tales of the world around us and our place in it. With playfulness and sharpness of feeling, emotions are direct and never hidden. More than just a collection of poems, Oliver’s books read like a comfortable novel — one to reread again and again.” —Roni Pastore, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life From The New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul, Ed.
(Holt, 9781627791458, $28)
“I love talking about books, and reading this collection of wonderful By the Book columns from The New York Times Book Review was like getting to have dozens of such conversations with my favorite authors. I learned what David Sedaris would give the president to read, what Ira Glass thinks of guilty pleasures, and who Donna Tartt admires. There’s a wide selection of interviewees, including some non-authors, and it’s fascinating to see how many of their answers overlap. Whether read in short bursts or in one decadent gulp, this is the perfect gift for bibliophiles!” —Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

The Forgers: A Novel, by Bradford Morrow
(Mysterious Press, 9780802123213, $24)
“This literary thriller is all about book collectors, booksellers, old books and manuscripts, and, of course, forgers. A famous book collector is found murdered and one of the suspects is Will, his future brother-in-law, who was once arrested for forgery. Nothing is proven, but soon Will starts to receive threatening letters written in the hand of long-dead authors. Feeling challenged in his craftsmanship, Will goes into a forgery duel that will force him to the limits to save his livelihood and the love of his life. So well written, The Forgers will take some time to finish as readers might want reread every sentence!” —Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

All Days Are Night, by Peter Stamm, Michael Hofmann, Trans.
(Other Press, 9781590516966, $22)
“In All Days Are Night, Stamm watches his characters create art, act in plays, die, love, and mortify each other and themselves all in the quest for something no one is quite sure of. It is a story of uncertain passion, withheld devotion, and the grief that comes simply from living. Reading this book is like reading something that exists entirely in the margins — confessional but voyeuristic, heartbreaking but apathetic. Stamm negotiates the modern love story with a careful grace and leaves readers wanting more of we don’t know what.” —Emily Heap, City Lit, Chicago, IL

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, by Bryan Stevenson
(Spiegel & Grau, 9780812994520, $28)
“The history of incarceration in America is deeply colored by our history of racism and poverty. Stevenson’s work providing legal aid to death row inmates exposes truly inhumane, unjust practices and astonishing legal carelessness often fueled by outright prejudice. Just Mercy does not stop at reportage, but examines the costs to the individual, the family, the community, and society at large of these practices. This is a powerful book about one man’s efforts to address injustice and a clarion call for reform not just for those imprisoned, but for a society that has lost its way.” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End, by Atul Gawande
(Metropolitan Books, 9780805095159, $26)
“Widely respected and honored physician Gawande addresses aging and end-of-life issues in his newest book. He notes that we treat sickness, aging, and mortality as medical concerns, but that the medical professions are poorly equipped to help with the issues of what makes the quality life significant. Gawande proposes that well-being should be the focus at the end of life and carefully illustrates how to approach this difficult subject. A gracefully written book of great importance.” —Ann Carlson, Waterfront Books, Georgetown, SC

Fire Shut Up in My Bones: A Memoir, by Charles M. Blow
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 9780544228047, $27)
“Mirroring so many of the memories, feelings, and imaginings from my own childhood in small-town Arkansas, Blow’s moving memoir tells the pitiless Southern experience of a black man coming of age in Louisiana in a world and time when the legacy of slavery’s grip is slipping away ever so slowly but still leaves its searing sting. An important book.” —Chris Crawley, That Bookstore in Blytheville, Blytheville, AR

The November 2014 Now in Paperback

Bark: Stories, by Lorrie Moore (Vintage, 9780307740861, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Laurie Paus, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Bird Skinner: A Novel, by Alice Greenway (Grove Press, 9780802121059, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Pierre Camy, Schuler Books & Music, Grand Rapids, MI

The Last Animal: Stories, by Abby Geni (Counterpoint, 9781619024373, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Martian: A Novel, by Andy Weir (Broadway Books, 9780553418026, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Zack Ruskin, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

My Mistake: A Memoir, by Daniel Menaker (Mariner, 9780544334533, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Ellen Jarrett, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

Provence, 1970: M.F.K. Fisher, Julia Child, James Beard, and the Reinvention of American Taste, by Luke Barr (Clarkson Potter, 9780307718358, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennifer Gwydir, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

Report From the Interior, by Paul Auster (Picador, 9781250052292, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Rosarito Beach: A Kay Hamilton Novel, by M.A. Lawson (Signet, 9780451472519, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Linda Bond, Auntie’s Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Tatiana: An Arkady Renko Novel, by Martin Cruz Smith (Simon & Schuster, 9781439140222, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Sue Richardson, Maine Coast Bookshop, Damariscotta, ME

Through the Evil Days: A Clare Fergusson and Russ Van Alstyne Mystery, by Julia Spencer-Fleming (Minotaur Books, 9781250052353, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Connie Brooks, Battenkill Books, Cambridge, NY

The Trip to Echo Spring: On Writers and Drinking, by Olivia Laing (Picador, 9781250063731, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Michele Filgate, Community Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

Vanished: The Sixty-Year Search for the Missing Men of World War II, by Wil S. Hylton (Riverhead Trade, 9781594632860, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Betsey Detwiler, Buttonwood Books & Toys, Cohasset, MA