The November 2023 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the November 2023 Indie Next List flier.

The November title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the October Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on      

The 25 November Indie Next List Picks

#1 Pick: Let Us Descend: A Novel
By Jesmyn Ward
(Scribner, 9781982104498, $28, Oct. 24, Fiction)
“Jesmyn Ward is one of the most important writers of our time. This may be her best to date. Heartbreaking and gorgeous, Annis carries us through her story of loss and brutal enslavement — a story of strength, love, enduring, and finding a way.”
—Jeanne Costello, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

Bookshops & Bonedust
By Travis Baldree
(Tor Books, 9781250886101, $17.99, Paperback, Nov. 7, Fantasy)

“This prequel to Legends & Lattes celebrates the magic of bookselling as Viv recovers from injury and recuperates a faltering little bookshop. Complete with in-universe bodice rippers, quiet romance, and more delicious baked goods!”
—Miriasha Borsykowsky, Phoenix Books, Essex Junction, VT

The House of Doors: A Novel
By Tan Twan Eng
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639731930, $28.99, Oct. 17, Historical Fiction)

“A lovely historical novel set in a 1920s British colony in Penang. Somerset Maugham appears as a house guest who spins his friends’ lives into a tale for his book. There’s forbidden love, unhappy marriage — now I want to read Maugham’s work!”
—Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

The Future: A Novel
By Naomi Alderman
(Simon & Schuster, 9781668025680, $28.99, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“Gripping speculative fiction/CliFi. Naomi Alderman has a knack for crafting a future with enough detail to make it feel breathtakingly possible, but not overdrawn. When I finished, I wanted more time with these people and in this world.”
—Liz Whitelam, Whitelam Books, Reading, MA

Day: A Novel
By Michael Cunningham
(Random House, 9780399591341, $28, Nov. 14, Fiction)

“This story takes place on the same day, but during three consecutive years. A family — father, mother, mother’s brother, and two children — is breaking apart. Their nuanced, subtle interior lives are remarkably portrayed. This one is a gem.”
—Jude Sales, Readers’ Books, Sonoma, CA

Iris Kelly Doesn’t Date
By Ashley Herring Blake
(Berkley, 9780593550571, $18, Paperback, Oct. 24, Romance)

“A funny, hot queer romance that tackles real issues! Iris Kelly is happy without a relationship. So why won’t her friends and family stop trying to change her? When she meets adorably awkward Stevie Scott, fake dating leads to real feelings.”
—Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Okemos, MI

The Madstone: A Novel
By Elizabeth Crook
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316564342, $29, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“A literary Western about a young mother, her son, and the man charged with getting them across Texas while fleeing vengeful outlaws. Beautifully written with great characters, this is sure to please fans of Paulette Jiles or Larry McMurtry.”
—Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Comfort of Crows: A Backyard Year
By Margaret Renkl
(Spiegel & Grau, 9781954118461, $32, Oct. 24, Memoir)

“Oh what a lovely world to live in — every night I looked forward to sinking in. Set up like a devotional following the seasons, Renkl brings hope to our chances to make a difference as climate news only gets worse. Gift yourself this treasure.”
—Gee Gee Rosell, Buxton Village Books, Buxton, NC

System Collapse (The Murderbot Diaries #7)
By Martha Wells
(Tordotcom, 9781250826978, $21.99, Nov. 14, Science Fiction)

“I’m a bit of a Murderbot purist — All Systems Red made me reevaluate who I am, and that’s a tough act to follow. Here comes System Collapse hitting my trauma and making me Feel. Rude. Martha Wells taps in to the hardest parts of learning to be a person.”
—Meg Wasmer, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

The Berry Pickers: A Novel
By Amanda Peters
(Catapult, 9781646221950, $27, Oct. 31, Fiction)

“A wonderful debut about a missing Indigenous child and the parallel lives of two families — from the loss that echoes through the lives of the berry pickers, to a rancid secret that erodes the other family. A tender, compelling novel.”
—Keith Vient, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Class: A Memoir of Motherhood, Hunger, and Higher Education
By Stephanie Land
(Atria/One Signal Publishers, 9781982151393, $28, Nov. 7, Memoir)

“A memoir I couldn’t put down! The author’s struggle to rise out of poverty while raising a child and trying to earn a college degree is so admirable and inspiring. I would love another follow-up book to find out where her journey takes her!”
—Lorilee Sugden, Linden Tree Children’s Books, Los Altos, CA

Being Henry: The Fonz…and Beyond
By Henry Winkler
(Celadon Books, 9781250888099, $30, Oct. 31, Memoir)

“I adore Henry Winkler. Loved him as The Fonz, love his books for dyslexic readers, and I have loved his other roles. I’ll probably never get to sit in a diner booth as Henry talks about his life over a cup of coffee. Being Henry is the next best thing.”
—Mary O'Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

So Late in the Day: Stories of Women and Men
By Claire Keegan
(Grove Press, 9780802160850, $20, Nov. 14, Short Stories)

“Simply perfect, as to be expected from Claire Keegan. She has a way of dropping you right into the middle of a piece of everyday life and tearing out your heart. With perfectly drawn characters, she always leaves you wanting more of the story.”
—Lori Virelli, Harvey’s Tales, Geneva, IL

A Power Unbound: A Novel (The Last Binding #3)
By Freya Marske
(Tordotcom, 9781250788955, $28.99, Nov. 7, Fantasy)

“In the culminating tale of my favorite fantasy romance trilogy, Freya Marske does it all: a darkly romantic enemies-to-lovers story, a compelling magical adventure, and beautifully queer found family. I want everyone to read these books!”
—Kira Apple, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

West Heart Kill: A Novel
By Dann McDorman
(Knopf, 9780593537572, $28, Oct. 24, Mystery)

“A fun locked-room murder mystery in the spirit of our favorite detective stories like Murder, She Wrote. West Heart Kill puts a new spin on the genre. Dann McDorman’s debut arrives at the whodunit delightfully. I eagerly await his next one.”
—Rebekah Rine, Watermark Books & Café, Wichita, KS

I Must Be Dreaming
By Roz Chast
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781620403228, $27.99, Oct. 24, Graphic Novel/Memoir)

I Must Be Dreaming delighted me from beginning to end. Chast’s illustrations are imbued with zany charm as she relays both wild and mundane dreams, giving us a peek into the subconscious of one of our most beloved cartoonists.”
—Rose Heithoff, Back Cove Books, Portland, ME

Winter Solstice: An Essay
By Nina MacLaughlin
(Black Sparrow Press, 9781574232578, $14.95, Paperback, Nov. 7, Essay)

“This book surpassed my expectations. The imagery evoked left me yearning for that magical season when the earth invites us to go inward. Winter Solstice is a beautiful meditation on slowing down and appreciating life’s simple pleasures.”
—Pat Rudebusch, Orinda Books, Orinda, CA

One Woman Show: A Novel
By Christine Coulson
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781668027783, $25, Oct. 17, Fiction)

“This journey through a museum exhibit via wall tags provides insightful commentary on the way women are often sidelined as ornamental accessories, even in the story of their own lives. A wholly unique masterclass on economy in language.”
—David Vogel, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

The Liberators: A Novel
By E. J. Koh
(Tin House Books, 9781959030157, $27.95, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“E. J. Koh tells an epic saga with poetic grace: four generations deal with the legacy of Japanese and American colonization in South Korea, divisions within Korea itself, and with various loves and betrayals along the way.”
—Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Reformatory: A Novel
By Tananarive Due
(Gallery/Saga Press, 9781982188344, $28.99, Oct. 31, Horror)

The Reformatory had me on the edge of my seat, in sheer terror throughout. While there are definitely ghosts in this one, it’s not the ghosts that’ll scare you — it’s the living. Fenton Haddock is a character that will haunt your dreams.”
—John Cauley, The Doylestown & Lahaska Bookshops, Doylestown, PA

The Vulnerables: A Novel
By Sigrid Nunez
(Riverhead Books, 9780593715512, $28, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“This book was my cure! All of my thoughts, feelings, and experiences living in our complex current moment in time turned into a beautiful novel. Elegant prose. Wise delivery. Cozy feelings. Sigrid Nunez is a must read!”
—Rachel Brewer, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Same Bed Different Dreams: A Novel
By Ed Park
(Random House, 9780812998979, $30, Nov. 7, Fiction)

Same Bed Different Dreams is a monumentally funny and epically mind-bending novel that opens doors you may never have even realized were doors. Ed Park has gifted us something truly remarkable.”
—Stephen Sparks, Point Reyes Books, Point Reyes Station, CA

The Happy Couple: A Novel
By Naoise Dolan
(Ecco, 9780063330467, $28.99, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“A funny, perceptive study of a couple hurdling toward marriage for reasons unclear to everyone involved. Told by the couple as well as family and friends, The Happy Couple observes a (doomed) modern relationship from all sides.”
—Julia Lewis, Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

America Fantastica: A Novel
By Tim O'Brien
(Mariner Books, 9780063318502, $32, Oct. 24, Fiction)

“A brilliant romp across the continent. Boyd Halverson feels the urge to shake things up. So, he gets up from his Kiwanis Club brunch, strolls across the street to a bank with a .38 revolver, robs it, and takes Angie Banks, the teller, hostage. Away we go!”
—Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Straw Dogs of the Universe: A Novel
By Ye Chun
(Catapult, 9781646220625, $27, Oct. 17, Historical Fiction)

“In this book, young Chinese villagers flee flood and famine for a ‘better life’ in California, and lurch through bitter hardship, unspeakable racism, and repeated brutality. They fight, love, and struggle to survive with their souls intact.”
—Reiko Redmonde, Revolution Books, Berkeley, CA


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

Dirtbag, Massachusetts: A Confessional
By Isaac Fitzgerald
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781639731640, $17.99, Nov. 7, Memoir)

“Isaac Fitzgerald’s empathy shines while his conversational prose enthralls. We hear a lot about ‘nature versus nurture,’ but neither explains that rare ability to be dealt a rough hand and say ‘I will do better than this.’ He’s a gem.”
—Amy Van Keuren, Charter Books, Newport, RI

Flight: A Novel
By Lynn Steger Strong
(Mariner Books, 9780063135154, $18.99, Oct. 31, Fiction)

“An intimate exploration of complicated family dynamics with nuanced, distinct characters. A perfect book for anyone who has ever felt out of place going home for the holidays, Flight explores the nature of belonging and community.”
—David Vogel, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

People Person: A Novel
By Candice Carty-Williams
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501196058, $17.99, Oct. 24, Fiction)

“Meet the Penningtons: Five siblings from four mothers, raised in London with no support from their father and with vastly different backgrounds. Somehow, they mesh. People Person makes their growing bond a hilarious triumph of family.”
—Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, VT

Trespasses: A Novel
By Louise Kennedy
(Riverhead Books, 9780593540909, $18, Oct. 31, Fiction)

“When Catholic teacher Cushla Lavery & Protestant barrister Michael Agnew meet, the spark is immediate. Set in 1970s Belfast, Louise Kennedy captures a time of fierce loyalties, suspicion, and bigotry that smolders from the first page.”
—Diana Van Vleck, Bloomsbury Books, Ashland, OR

We All Want Impossible Things: A Novel
By Catherine Newman

(Harper Perennial, 9780063230927, $17.99, Nov. 7, Fiction)
“Catherine Newman’s writing brings poignancy, humor, insight, and joy to events both mundane and profound. For those who’ve lost a close friend or loved one in recent years, as so many of us have, this book is particularly meaningful.”
—Liz Whitelam, Whitelam Books, Reading, MA

We Are the Light: A Novel
By Matthew Quick
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781668005439, $17.99, Nov. 7, Fiction)

“Matthew Quick scores a perfect 10 in this deeply stirring, gorgeously hopeful novel that shines a brilliant beam on the path out of grief and toward healing. May we all learn the way to be such lights from this remarkable guide.”
—Beth Stroh, Viewpoint Books, Columbus, IN