The November 2015 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the titles on the November Indie Next List flier, on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement.

Downloadable PDF versions of the list will also be available beginning November 1 on and

The November 2015 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: The Muralist: A Novel, by B.A. Shapiro
(Algonquin Books, 9781616203573, $26.95)
“With the same level of intrigue and attention to detail that drew readers to The Art Forger, The Muralist focuses on the early days of WWII and the dawn of Abstract Expressionism. Shapiro brings to life New York City artists Mark Rothko and Jackson Pollock, who are both inspired by the novel’s brave and talented protagonist, Alizee Benoit. As these struggling artists find traction within their trade, Benoit attempts to bring awareness to the plight of European refugees and to defuse anti-Semitic politics in the U.S. through her art. Moving from past to present, readers will cheer for Benoit’s grandniece, Danielle, who is researching her family history to find the truth about Alizee’s mysterious disappearance and shed light on the sacrifices and contributions she made through art. Shapiro delivers another fascinating and compelling story.” —Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

Welcome to Night Vale: A Novel, by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor
(Harper Perennial, 9780062351425, $19.99)
Welcome to Night Vale meshes the uncanny with the mundane in a way that doesn’t so much elevate the mundane as it illuminates life’s strangeness. For all its weirdness, Fink and Cranor’s work rings true. Like the best metaphors, the novel makes its reader think ‘Wait, what?’ and ‘Oh. Yes!’ in quick succession. New visitors to Night Vale will be as entertained and absorbed by the story and characters as longtime listeners of the duo’s popular podcast. Simply delightful!” —Amber Reed, Copperfield’s Books, Petaluma, CA

Slade House: A Novel, by David Mitchell
(Random House, 9780812998689, $26)
“Every nine years, on the last Saturday in October, an iron gate appears in Slade Alley. It is small and easy to miss, but every nine years someone is looking for it and for the promises and mysteries it offers. Like all ghost stories, the end to this tale is inevitable, but anticipation is an opiate. Who will be trapped next? What form will the deception take? With Slade House, Mitchell adds another layer to a tightly wound fictional universe cast with the characters of his previous works. With each new novel, past, present, and future seep into one another, but the center holds.” —Adie Smith, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

An Old-Fashioned Christmas: Sweet Traditions for Hearth and Home, by Ellen Stimson
(Countryman Press, 9781581573282, $24.95)
“If you are one who celebrates Christmas or are even just a ‘winter person’ who loves hearty seasonal food, this is your book. Interlaced between delicious family recipes for mouth-watering comfort food are funny and familiar-feeling holiday memories from Stimson’s family. This is a handbook for the holidays, a great invitation to recall your own family memories and start some new family traditions, and a perfect holiday gift.” —Kris Kleindienst, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Dear Mr. You, by Mary-Louise Parker
(Scribner, 9781501107832, $25)
“Parker’s debut memoir is a poetic revelation about being human. The casual wordplay is barefoot and silly at times, but equally substantial and pervasive. Her one-way correspondences about loved ones, ancestors, and strangers are kind, doting, and frank, and the chapters roll out like sentinels from Parker’s life of artistry and her examination of womanhood. She woos the reader with concise language that both charms and offends, but will not back down. I am smitten!” —Jilleen Moore, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Mare: A Novel, by Mary Gaitskill
(Pantheon, 9780307379740, $26.95)
The Mare is the heart-wrenching story of a young inner-city girl in the Fresh Air Fund program who travels to a host family in upstate New York, where she befriends a frightened and abused racehorse at a nearby stable. Gaitskill navigates the ugly realities of both human and equine abuse, but, ultimately, this is a triumphant novel shaped by authentic characters and in which trust and determination win. Readers will be reminded of how our real-life connections with animals can both guide and heal.” —Nancy Scheemaker, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

The Improbability of Love: A Novel, by Hannah Rothschild
(Knopf, 9781101874141, $27.95)
“A girl, a painting, and a cast of delightfully quirky characters are at the heart of Rothschild’s debut. At the intersection of London’s art auction houses and the pursuit of a dream, Annie navigates her way through the city’s wealthy and aspiring elite as she juggles her mother’s eccentricities with her own quest to become a chef. Funny, smart, and satisfyingly clever, The Improbability of Love will warm your heart and give you pause the next time you admire that old painting hanging, so innocently, on the wall.” —Lisa Baudoin, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Carrying Albert Home: The Somewhat True Story of a Man, His Wife, and Her Alligator, by Homer Hickam
(William Morrow, 9780062325891, $25.99)
“This thoroughly delightful story chronicles Hickam’s parents’ road trip from their coal-mining town in West Virginia to Orlando, Florida, to return Elsie Hickam’s pet alligator, Albert, to a home in a more suitable climate. Along the way, the travelers — Homer Sr., Elsie, Albert, and an elusive rooster — encounter famous American authors, movie stars, and minor league baseball teams and become embroiled in union strikes and bank robberies. It’s hard to say what is true and what isn’t, but either way, Carrying Albert Home is a very enjoyable journey!” —Lori-Jo Scott, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, NC

Home Is Burning: A Memoir, by Dan Marshall
(Flatiron Books, 9781250068828, $27.99)
“Emotionally devastating and also somehow incredibly funny, this memoir left me feeling grateful for the bonds of family. Marshall’s mother has been fighting cancer — and winning! — since he was a kid, but when his father is diagnosed with ALS, Marshall moves home to help battle this new medical challenge. It might have gone better if Marshall was at all the responsible, mature, and resourceful person the situation called for. Instead he flails and fails and acts wildly inappropriately — because what else can you do as your dad wastes away? Sometimes there’s nothing more important than looking mortality in the face, admitting we’re scared, and making a fart joke.” —Nichole McCown, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

After Alice: A Novel, by Gregory Maguire
(William Morrow, 9780060548957, $26.99)
“Maguire, the fairy tale spin doctor, here takes on Wonderland. The heroine is not Alice, but rather her playmate Ada, a sheltered and lonely girl with a twisted spine. Ada inadvertently follows Alice into Wonderland, and her perceptions and experiences are marvelous and fresh, with her dry wit, pragmatism, and imagination enlivening and dominating the scene. Back at home, Alice’s sister Lydia offers readers a glimpse into Victorian times as Maguire’s prose gives a mystical glow to landscapes, personalities, and everyday life.” —Coleen Colwell, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

The Japanese Lover: A Novel, by Isabel Allende
(Atria Books, 9781501116971, $28)
“Past and present collide in Allende’s new novel. Alma Belasco flees the Nazi incursion in Poland and is raised in her aunt and uncle’s home in San Francisco. Alma and Ichimei Fukuda, the gardener’s son, have an instant connection but are separated when he is sent to a Japanese internment camp. Years later, while fleeing her own past, Irina Bazili begins work at Alma’s retirement home and finds herself caught up in the intrigue and delicate mystery that is Alma’s great love. Once again, Allende’s unique ability to bring forth light from the darkest recesses of humanity highlights the strength and courage it takes to live — and love.” —Anna Eklund, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Along the Infinite Sea: A Novel, by Beatriz Williams
(Putnam, 9780399171314, $26.95)
“Heroines in different decades, Annabelle and Pepper both know the peril of loving a man seemingly always just beyond their reach as well as the need to escape in order to survive. Williams’ novel follows Annabelle through the hurdles life throws her way in the years preceding World War II in Europe as well as the parallel trials and tribulations of Pepper during the 1960s. These complicated women meet when Pepper sells her restored Mercedes to Annabelle as a way to raise money for her own escape plan. Together, Annabelle and Pepper come to rescue each other and learn that sometimes love can survive life’s trials.” —Dell Marie Swearer, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

Avenue of Mysteries: A Novel, by John Irving
(Simon & Schuster, 9781451664164, $28)
“With Avenue of Mysteries, Irving introduces readers to brother and sister Diego and Lupe, denizens of the massive garbage dump in Oaxaca, Mexico. Each sibling is remarkable — Lupe can intuit people’s thoughts and Diego, though uneducated, reads everything he can lay his hands on. Their childhood is recalled by the adult Diego as he travels in the Philippines, trying to accomplish a dying request from an acquaintance of his youth. Avenue of Mysteries contains all of the things we love about Irving’s novels: masterful storytelling, unforgettable characters, and a renewed sense of magic in everyday events.” —Mark LaFramboise, Politics & Prose Bookstore and Coffeehouse, Washington, DC

The Lake House: A Novel, by Kate Morton
(Atria Books, 9781451649321, $28)
The Lake House explores an unsolved kidnapping that occurred between the World Wars at an isolated country house in England. Morton here continues to do all the things she does so well: weaving together a multi-generational family story from numerous perspectives; showcasing different facets of the same events; and bringing a wonderfully complex plot together in a kaleidoscopic web of uncovered secrets, past and present. With delightful characters, fascinating settings, and a captivating mystery, Morton draws us into a world we’re sorry to leave. Highly recommended!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl: A Memoir, by Carrie Brownstein
(Riverhead, 9781594486630, $27.95)
“Before Portlandia, before Sleater-Kinney, there was a girl living in the Pacific Northwest with big ambitions, desperately yearning for an identity all her own. In Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, Brownstein strays from the normal parameters of memoir to give readers an insightful, raw look into the moments that shaped her into the person who would later co-found one of the world’s most influential rock bands. Navigating a past fraught with family turmoil, rejection from the music industry, and an unwavering determination to succeed, Brownstein shares the power of rock and roll, both as her catalyst to success and as a cultural barometer of our times.” —Zack Ruskin, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Corrupted: A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, by Lisa Scottoline
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250027931, $27.99)
“At 12, Jason is chubby, buck-toothed, and bullied every day by Ritchie. Philadelphia trial attorney Bennie Rosato tries to help Jason when he gets in trouble for fighting back. Thirteen years later, that same bully is dead, Jason appears to be the killer, and once again Bennie is called to help. As always, Scottoline’s dialogue is excellent, legal terms are made easy to understand, characters are richly drawn, trial scenes are vivid, and there are huge, well-hidden surprises. I enjoyed it immensely!”  -—Susan Wasson, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

Speed Kings: The 1932 Winter Olympics and the Fastest Men in the World, by Andy Bull
(Avery, 9781592409099, $26.95)
“What a ride! And what unforgettable characters — a Rhodes scholar who boxed and won gold medals in both the Summer and Winter Olympics; a high-society playboy; a Hollywood has-been; and the star of them all, who was born with a silver spoon and turned it into gold medals racing anything that went fast. Bull covers the lives of his speed kings from London, Hollywood, St. Moritz, and the Pacific with great depth and breadth, including the development of bobsled racing with all of its real dangers. An excellent read for anyone who loves sports, is interested in history, or simply appreciates well-crafted books.” —Ann Carlson, Waterfront Books, Georgetown, SC

And West Is West: A Novel, by Ron Childress
(Algonquin Books, 9781616205232, $26.95)
“Ethan is a young Wall Street quant who writes an algorithm that allows his company to profit from the financial upheaval caused by antiterrorist strikes. Jessica is a young Air Force drone pilot who is discharged because she has discussed a questionable UAV strike in a letter to her father. This book is a powerful wake-up call to understand how fear, greed, and war inform our technological advances. Childress has truly earned his PEN/Bellweather Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.” —Karen Tallant, Booksellers at Laurelwood, Memphis, TN

Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape, by Lauret Savoy
(Counterpoint, 9781619025738, $25)
“Savoy’s Trace may be the most relevant book published this fall. This lyrical and sweeping essay on race, memory, and the American landscape covers ground sadly neglected in nature writing. Its ethical argument — that the way we treat the environment is inextricable from how we treat our fellow human beings — is one we should all pay close attention to, now more than ever.” —Stephen Sparks, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

American Copper: A Novel, by Shann Ray
(Unbridled Books, 9781609531218, trade paper, $16)
“Every once in a while a book falls into your hands that is so beautifully written, deeply affecting, and powerful that it burrows into your heart and stakes a lasting claim. American Copper is such a book. Ray’s novel is a triumph — an ode to the majesty of the early 20th century Montana landscape, a tender evocation of the passions and sorrows of its people, and a piercing look at the ravages of racism, greed, and violence. This is a stunning portrayal of the scope of the human spirit and of the many paths to grace.” —Laurie Paus, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The November 2015 Now in Paperback

At the Water’s Edge: A Novel, by Sara Gruen (Speigel & Grau, 9780385523240, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

By the Book: Writers on Literature and the Literary Life From The New York Times Book Review, Pamela Paul, Ed. (Picador, 9781250074690, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Enter Pale Death: A Joe Sandlilands Investigation, by Barbara Cleverly (Soho Crime, 9781616956172, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The Forgers: A Novel, by Brad Morrow (Mysterious Press, 9780802124272, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by Jean-Paul Adriaansen, Water Street Books, Exeter, NH

Good Grief: Life in a Tiny Vermont Village, by Ellen Stimson (Countryman Press, 9781581573213, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Sue Roegge, Chapter2Books, Hudson, WI

Irène: The Commandant Camille Verhoeven Trilogy, by Pierre Lemaitre (MacLehose Press, 9781623656645, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Joe Strebel, Anderson’s Bookshops, Naperville, IL

Viking Bay: A Kay Hamilton Novel, by M.A. Lawson (Signet, 9780451472540, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Wait for Signs: Twelve Longmire Stories, by Craig Johnson (Penguin Books, 9780143127826, $14)
Recommended in hardcover by J.B. Dickey, Seattle Mystery Bookshop, Seattle, WA

The Wild Truth, by Carine McCandless (HarperOne, 9780062325150, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan M. Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

Wolf Winter: A Novel, by Cecilia Ekbäck (Weinstein Books, 9781602862944, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Barbara Theroux, Fact & Fiction, Missoula, MT