The November 2020 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and six special poetry picks featured on the November 2020 Indie Next List flier. The November title list is also viewable as an Excel file on BookWeb, as a collection on Edelweiss, and featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The November flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order Loveoid by J.L. Morin (Harvard Square Editions, 9781941861547, Paperback, $11.95, on sale December 6) and D (A Tale of Two Worlds) by Michel Faber (Hanover Square Press, 9781335916747, Hardcover, $27, on sale December 8) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

Additionally, the October Indie Next Great Reads are available for download on a flier and shelf-talkers, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on The October Indie Next List’s 12 Now in Paperback titles are also featured with bookseller quotes on a downloadable flier and shelf-talkers

The 20 Indie Next Great Reads for November

#1 Pick: Memorial: A Novel by Bryan Washington
(Riverhead Books, 9780593087275, $27)
“Reading Memorial is like sitting down with a dear friend, asking ‘What’s going on with you?’ and settling in for much-needed catch-up on life, love, heartache, and family. Washington’s writing is so intimate and direct that you feel the exhilaration, frustration, and uncertainty that Benson and Mike feel about their relationships, both with one another and with their families, which inspires a heart-felt connection to these characters that is hard to find in the world during socially distant times.”
—Colleen Ellis, Lark and Owl Booksellers, Georgetown, TX

The Cold Millions: A Novel by Jess Walter
(Harper, 9780062868084, $28.99)
“The gorgeous writing, vivid setting, compelling characters, and engrossing story aren’t even the best parts of this novel. Instead, I just keep marveling at how Jess Walter takes events from history to illuminate our present while keeping them rooted in their own time, from the labor movement to class, race, and gender equality and civil rights issues, to protests and freedom of speech. The northwest in 1909 has never been so relevant. Beautiful Ruins was a hard act to follow but, amazingly, Walter manages it with aplomb.”
—Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

We Keep the Dead Close: A Murder at Harvard and a Half Century of Silence by Becky Cooper
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781538746837, $29)
“As much a journey for the writer as it is for the reader, this book solves a murder but leaves us with many unanswered questions. We Keep the Dead Close challenges us to question our assumptions as well as the paths we use to arrive at those assumptions. Delving into the academic culture of Harvard, the misogyny of the 1960s, and the burgeoning women’s rights movement, the story follows several threads, all of which have a significant impact on the life of Jane Britton, whose story is told with empathy, compassion, and five decades of curiosity.”
—Camille Kovach, Completely Booked, Murrysville, PA

Where the Wild Ladies Are: Stories by Aoko Matsuda, Polly Barton (Transl.)
(Soft Skull Press, 9781593766900, trade paper, $16.95)
Where the Wild Ladies Are is a beautiful and haunting, modern and feminist reimagining of Japanese folklore and ghost stories. While it wears its inspirations on its sleeve, each of these enchanting and offbeat stories feels entirely original. Ethereal, quirky, and charming — I loved it!”
—Lane Jacobson, Paulina Springs Books, Sisters, OR

Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel by Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illus.)
(William Morrow, 9780062942852, $27.99)
“I have never read a book that was this much fun. This was a roller coaster of a read, hitting all the notes from beginning to end. Gothic elements intermingled with the current time period will keep the reader so engrossed that they won’t realize they’ve stayed up all night reading this book, one that’s the kind of book you don’t want to read in the dark but you just can’t put down. The ride through history that meets the present will keep you entertained, on your toes, and peeking between your fingers as you cover your eyes.”
—Sandra Cararo, The Book Dragon, Staunton, VA

Group: How One Therapist and a Circle of Strangers Saved My Life by Christie Tate
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982154615, $27)
“I cannot recommend this book enough! Group reads like a novel while also being incredibly insightful. Christie Tate is able to articulate a reality that I, and I’m sure others, haven’t quite been able to express to those closest to us. This book will help people realize that there are things they haven’t let themselves face yet, but it will also show them that their feelings are normal and natural. I, for one, am going to recommend this from now on to anyone I think might benefit from Tate’s journey, which I think will be just about anyone.”
—Sterling Miller, Ferguson Books & More, Grand Forks, ND

Moonflower Murders: A Novel by Anthony Horowitz
(Harper, 9780062955456, $28.99)
“Anthony Horowitz has done it again! With Moonflower Murders, he has crafted another superlative, page-turning, cunning, book-within-a-book mystery chock full of clues (and red herrings), featuring the appealing former editor Susan Ryeland from Magpie Murders. Terrifically engaging, smart, and fun, this book is practically impossible to put down. Don’t miss it!”
—Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

Invisible Girl: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
(Atria Books, 9781982137335, $28)
“Lisa Jewell has become one of my absolute favorite thriller authors. She’s an automatic must-read for me and should be for everyone who loves dark, twisty thrillers. This latest is no exception. In fact, she just keeps getting better and better! If you haven’t read her yet, start with Invisible Girl I guarantee you won’t be able to put it down!”
—Becky LeJeune, BookBar, Denver, CO

White Ivy: A Novel by Susie Yang
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982100599, $26)
“Ivy Lin’s unassuming looks and demeanor hide a dark side. She is obsessed with the wealth and privilege she sees around her and will cross boundaries to get what she needs — most of all, the object of her teenage affection. Susie Yang crafts a brilliant and mesmerizing tale that gives readers an intimate look into the experience of immigrants. Well-written prose, excellent characters, and a surprising turn of events will keep readers hooked until the end — and it is a doozy.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

Goodnight Beautiful: A Novel by Aimee Molloy
(Harper, 9780062881922, $27.99)
“A good-looking couple from New York City move upstate for a slower lifestyle, but things quickly take a turn when the husband goes missing. When Sam Statler, a therapist with a range of diverse clients, doesn’t come home, his wife, Annie, is desperate to find him and begins to suspect one of his clients. As secrets unravel, Molloy keeps the reader excited and engaged in this intriguing thriller.”
—Deanna Bailey, Story on the Square, McDonough, GA

Crazy Stupid Bromance (Bromance Book Club #3) by Lyssa Kay Adams
(Berkley, 9781984806130, trade paper, $16)
“Alexis’ life has been a bit crazy lately. In addition to uncovering a family secret, she owns a cat café, which has become a meeting ground for women who have experienced sexual harassment, and is in love with her best friend, Noah. Noah is also in love with Alexis and reluctantly receives help from the Bromance Book Club. Adams delivers a funny, romantic novel that touches on major issues, including the aftermath of speaking out about sexual harassment, forgiveness, compassion, and trust.”
—Anastasia Wiley, Rakestraw Books, Danville, CA

This Time Next Year We’ll Be Laughing: A Memoir by Jacqueline Winspear
(Soho Press, 9781641292696, $27.95)
“As a fan of her Maisie Dobbs novels, I couldn’t wait to learn more about Jacqueline Winspear herself. This memoir takes the reader through the early and adolescent years of the author’s life as well as the history of her parents. Winspear’s memoir of an English country childhood is also a love letter to her parents, whose choices and outlook shaped her life. She paints a vivid picture of postwar England, and her story is engaging, vivid, and hopeful.”
—Scott Lange, The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI

Ring Shout: A Novella by P. Djèlí Clark
(, 9781250767028, $19.99)
“The emotionally charged, wild ride of Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark was one I did not want to end. Clark pulled me into the life of Maryse and her band of monster hunters and held me hostage. With beautiful language, deep characters, and a fully immersive world, this story of vengeance and self-forgiveness unfolds. By the end, I was in tears. Ring Shout perfectly takes on a dark, violent history, but also an uncertain, terrifying future. Everyone needs to read Ring Shout.”
—Sophie Giroir, Cavalier House Books, Denham Springs, LA

Tsarina: A Novel by Ellen Alpsten
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250214430, $27.99)
“Ellen Alpsten’s debut is a riveting, delicious escape into the world of Catherine the I, Tsarina of Russia. My head is swimming with the sights and sounds of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Alpsten’s fascinating account reveals the unforgettable woman who went toe to toe with her husband, Peter the Great. Exactly the kind of book I needed to read right now!”
—Anderson McKean, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

The Once and Future Witches: A Novel by Alix E. Harrow
(Redhook, 9780316422048, $28)
“Alix Harrow’s The Ten Thousand Doors of January was my favorite book last year, so I had incredibly high expectations when I picked up The Once and Future Witches. This book is very different, but I adore it just as much! Set in the late 1800s in a world with a slightly alternate history from ours, women are fighting for the vote and losing. Three wayward sisters decide to challenge the patriarchy by bringing back witchcraft. Told through familiar stories twisted in new ways, this book is incredible. You will not be able to put it down, from the beautifully written introduction to the pulse-pounding ending!”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

Written in the Stars: A Novel by Alexandria Bellefleur
(Avon, 9780063000803, trade paper, $15.99)
“This fake-dating, opposites-attract romance is simply perfect. A social media astrologer is set up with her new business partner’s actuary sister. While the date goes terribly, how helpful it would be for both of them to have a date for certain upcoming events. The two leads are wonderful, flawed women with their own baggage and hang-ups (hello, family drama!), and it’s a joy to watch them fall in love with each other in spite of everything.”
—Lexi Beach, The Astoria Bookshop, Astoria, NY

Fortune Favors the Dead: A Novel by Stephen Spotswood
(Doubleday, 9780385546553, $26.95)
“Not since Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin have I so enjoyed the page-turning yarn of a New York private detective and a wisecracking sidekick! Stephen Spotswood simultaneously nails the tone of classic detective stories and stands them on their head — because the brilliant gumshoe is Lillian Pentecost, a middle-aged woman with a disability, and her sidekick Willowjean ‘Will’ Parker, a gender-bending young circus performer with a sweet spot for the ladies. A delight from start to finish. Dare I hope this is the beginning of a series?”
—Jaye Lawrence, Content Bookstore, Northfield, MN

The Midnight Bargain: A Novel by C.L. Polk
(Erewhon, 9781645660071, $25.95)
“If you had to decide between your magical ability and love, which would you chose? Of course, it’s not that simple when your marriage will save your family from bankruptcy, but also take away more freedoms than you know. Sorcery, historical romance, feminism, female friendships, and reproductive rights — this enjoyable novel had everything I needed. Readers of Gail Carriger and Naomi Novik will gobble this up.”
—Marika McCoola, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

The Butchers’ Blessing: A Novel by Ruth Gilligan
(Tin House Books, 9781947793781, $25.95)
“An extraordinary novel of quiet turmoil, filled with the clash of generations, beliefs, and realities. A beautiful tale of the strife of traditions in a changing Ireland, woven together with the threads of a modern-day mystery. Perhaps the most elegant bit is the underlying story of a girl trying desperately to hold together the traditions of men. Impossible to put down and harder to forget, this novel lingers and feels like fog.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories by Danielle Evans
(Riverhead Books, 9781594487330, $27)
“I have been holding my breath for Danielle Evans’ next book of short stories since Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self, and The Office of Historical Corrections was worth the wait. She delivers the same great storytelling, insight, and sharp cultural commentary. Her touch on themes usually associated with older people, such as redemption, reconciliation, and propitiation, moved me. I read the whole collection in two days.”
—Miesha Headen, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH

New in Poetry

Anodyne by Khadijah Queen
(Tin House Books, 9781947793804, trade paper, $15.95)
“This is an absolutely striking collection that brims with life. Many of the poems inspired visceral reactions from me, and the poems themselves are often concerned with viscera and the body as a physical site. Queen reckons with her family’s history and her own place in it in a manner reminiscent to the work done by Beyoncé in Lemonade. Her work deals with the past, present, and future in equal measure simultaneously. She ‘resurrect[s] the excised archive of [her] relatives’ and uses it as the skeleton of her writing, writing that will linger in the reader’s thoughts for months.”
—Meghana Kandlur, Seminary Co-op Bookstore, Chicago, IL

Every Day We Get More Illegal by Juan Felipe Herrera
(City Lights Publishers, 9780872868281, trade paper, $14.95)                     
“Juan Felipe Herrera upholds and elevates the great ancestral lineage of our Mexicano/Chicano world. The Border lives in this man. The Border(s) will never leave him. He is the son of soul anarchy, the lost stories of my America. He is the trickster magician who lifts the mirror to our faces and allows us to see truth. When he breaks stride in this great walkabout of his, he tumbles the false world down while showing us the Better Way. These poems are fierce and compassionate. His journey has served him well.”
—Denise Chávez, Casa Camino Real, Las Cruces, NM

How to Fly (In Ten Thousand Easy Lessons): Poetry by Barbara Kingsolver
(Harper, 9780062993083, $24.99)
“Kingsolver writes poetry that is both accessible and profound. This is the kind of collection you’ll loan out to a friend or relative and never get back. You should probably go ahead and buy two or three all at once!”
—Pat Cawiezell, Magic City Books, Tulsa, OK

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450215, $30)
“Claudia Rankine really steps up the moment with this book. She invites readers to join a conversation that helps us think through uncomfortable parts of American history. The poems, essays, and images in the book allow for a conversation that opens your eyes and enriches your understanding of our time. Readers will be excited to pick up this wildly creative and powerful writing on race, difference, and politics in America.”
—Alyson Turner, Source Booksellers, Detroit, MI

Make Me Rain: Poems & Prose by Nikki Giovanni
(William Morrow, 9780062995285, $19.99)
“I would not call myself a poetry reader, but there is something about Nikki Giovanni’s poetry that speaks to me so deeply. Sentimental and comforting, Make Me Rain covers a wide range of topics, from quilts and rising bread to the social change we so desperately need in our world. Giovanni’s wisdom and understanding once again prove why she is such a poetic powerhouse and leave the reader wanting to explore her past work again, too.”
—Beth Seufer Buss, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

The Selected Works of Audre Lorde by Audre Lorde, Roxane Gay (Ed.)
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9781324004615, trade paper, $16.95)
“This stellar selection of the wonderful Audre Lorde’s work is a must-have. These powerful words deserve a wider audience, and it is wonderful to see Lorde’s work introduced to a new generation by the excellent Roxane Gay.”
—Christie Schaefer, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA