The October 2015 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the titles on the October 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 October 1 on and

The October 2015 Indie Next Great Reads

#1 Pick: Fates and Furies: A Novel, by Lauren Groff
(Riverhead, 9781594634475, $27.95)
Fates and Furies is an engrossing and complex novel about a seemingly perfect marriage of beautiful people, told in two parts. The first is a gentle introduction to Lotto and Mathilde, their marriage, and their friends and family; the second, a violent storm to wash away all you thought you knew. Groff crafts amazing, shocking sentences and brilliantly reveals the lies and deceit hiding behind the perfect façade. It’s a book you will finish too quickly and then want to tell your friends about. Very highly recommended.” —Tarah Jennings, Mitzi’s Books, Rapid City, SD

City on Fire: A Novel, by Garth Risk Hallberg
(Knopf, 9780385353779, $30)
“Big, juicy, and full-throated, City on Fire absorbs readers into an expertly crafted 1970s New York City and introduces them to character after lushly drawn character: the charismatic young woman with a hidden life, her asthmatic punk groupie friend, the wizened reporter, the obscenely rich and rebellious, the not-so-rebellious, and those who love them. Their lives create a rich tapestry, beginning with a murder on the brink of the New Year in 1977 and culminating later that year during the infamous blackout. With unequivocal skill, Hallberg makes readers feel like they are holding the whole city in their hands. Breathe deep and enjoy the experience!” —Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Don’t Suck, Don’t Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt, by Kristin Hersh
(University of Texas Press, 9780292759473, $22.95)
“You don’t need to be familiar with Chesnutt’s or Hersh’s work to appreciate this phenomenal book, but you will undoubtedly want to be once you’ve finished it. Hersh is a writer of intense and subtle beauty, and she will make you cry and feel a hundred other things with the power of her style alone. Through the tragic story of her close friend and tourmate, Chesnutt, Hersh evokes the torture of all that artistic genius encapsulates and makes that pain sing in a voice both opaque and elegant, grimy and pristine. Ultimately, this is a deeply affecting meditation on one’s thrust toward ‘important art’ and on how music is a necessary expression of sadness and loneliness but also one of intense and inimitable beauty.” —Donovan Swift, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

God’s Kingdom: A Novel, by Howard Frank Mosher
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250069481, $25.99)
“If the past is a foreign country, we certainly have an expert native guide in Mosher who recreates perfectly, right down to the smoky fire smoldering in the town dump, the small town of Kingdom Common, Vermont, in the 1950s. Here fans of previous books are reintroduced to Jim Kinneson, now entering high school. For first-time readers, the ubiquitous, multi-generational Kinneson clan of the Northern Kingdom will be immediately accessible through the talent of master storyteller Mosher in this latest variation on the themes of tradition, the burden of family history, small-town secrets, and the stark beauty of the wilds of Northern Vermont.” —Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Secret Chord: A Novel, by Geraldine Brooks
(Viking, 9780670025770, $27.95)
“The Old Testament includes tantalizing references to a prophet called Natan. Brooks brings this mysterious figure to life as the confidante to and narrator of King David’s life. From David’s beginning as an unknown, fearless rebel fighter through his rise to ruling the Kingdom of Israel, the people, places, and politics of ancient times are brought to life. David is a complex and compelling character who jumps off the page, and Natan is his conscience and conduit to their God. Brooks once again proves herself a master of meticulously researched and vividly imagined historical fiction.” —Cindy Pauldine, the river’s end bookstore, Oswego, NY

Gold Fame Citrus: A Novel, by Claire Vaye Watkins
(Riverhead, 9781594634239, $27.95)
“Watkins’ depiction of a sun-scorched, drought-plagued West is a hypnotic and terrifying vision of an otherworldly and, perhaps most frightening of all, not-too-distant future. Part J.G. Ballard, part Joan Didion, Gold Fame Citrus explores the complexities of human relationships in the face of environmental catastrophe. Loneliness, jealousy, heartbreak, love, loyalty — even in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, people are still people, though just what sort of people is another thing altogether. Haunting and hallucinatory, the world crafted by Watkins is a dream of the future that will not soon be forgotten.” —Emily Ballaine, Green Apple Books on the Park, San Francisco, CA

Quicksand: A Novel, by Steve Toltz
(Simon & Schuster, 9781476797823, $26)
“A dark comedy that ups the ante on both the ‘dark’ and the ‘comedy,’ pulling laughs from some of the worst situations that can be imagined, Quicksand is also an incredible distillation of the absurdity that makes up life in the 21st century. All too frequently, authors who take on so vast a topic struggle to say anything of real meaning, but Toltz drops simultaneously profound and hilarious observations as if they were one-liners and hardly pauses to let them sink in before moving on to the next. With characters both vibrant and tragic, and the story both an encapsulation and a dazzling parody of our modern lives, Quicksand is a book not to be missed.” —Christopher Phipps, DIESEL: A Bookstore, Oakland, CA

Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel, by Zachary Thomas Dodson
(Doubleday, 9780385539838, $27.95)
Bats of the Republic is a book connoisseur’s dream. It is a propulsive novel — often a novel within a novel — that shatters the restraints of genre with brilliance matched only by its complexity and originality. Dodson weaves a story from a past filled with hope and regret with a future rife with promise and dire consequences to keep the reader engaged throughout. Complete with maps and ephemera that make this a singular reading experience, Bats of the Republic is gorgeous, unputdownable, and above all in this day and age, necessary.” —Javier Ramirez, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert
(Riverhead, 9781594634710, $24.95)
“In her latest book, Gilbert will completely change the way you think about the creative process. Whether the medium is a canvas, a pastry, a garden, or a page, everyone has a creative genius, but not everyone is brave enough to recognize it within themselves. In Big Magic, Gilbert advocates for the magical and divine creative muse that is ultimately a gift to both the creator and the audience. In doing so, she dispels the myth that an artist must suffer for his or her craft, affirms the paths of those who have already allowed their creative geniuses to have a voice within their lives, and inspires those who thought they needed to be completely free of their fear in order to begin.” —-Tamara Michelson, Inklings Bookshop, Yakima, WA

The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
(Harper, 9780062223067, $24.99)
“Karr, a professor of literature at Syracuse University and the author of three memoirs, provides readers and writers with background, insights, hints, history, and humor related to both her own writing and that of other memoirists, past and present. The book is valuable not only to those who aspire to document portions of their own lives, but also to those who find the genre of memoir of interest for casual reading.” —Susan Posch, The Book Shoppe, Boone, IA

Undermajordomo Minor: A Novel, by Patrick deWitt
(Ecco, 9780062281203, $26.99)
“With dry and witty dialogue worthy of a Monty Python movie, this wonderful novel takes some getting used to, but once you fall into this world you will not want to come back out. A remote castle, a crazy Baron, an incredibly incompetent cook, and a lovely village girl — what else could the young narrator Lucien, known as Lucy, need for a good story? Of course, the fact that he’s a compulsive liar makes things more interesting, too. Dewitt, the author of The Sisters Brothers, once again crafts an unusual and wholly entertaining story that is sure to surprise and delight his growing legion of fans.” —Dana Schulz, Snowbound Books, Marquette, MI

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson
(Flatiron Books, 9781250077004, $26.99)
“Anyone living with depression knows that it’s like being held hostage by your own brain, and sometimes survival means clinging to the knowledge that it won’t last forever. Lawson takes this to the next level in Furiously Happy, her catalogue of the wonderful, ridiculous adventures that she has gone on in an effort to make the good times overshadow the bad. By fearlessly embracing her weirdness and being open about her experiences with mental illness in a culture that still largely stigmatizes and misunderstands such disorders, Lawson shines a light on what it’s like to live with depression, OCD, insomnia, and anxiety. More than that, though, she shows that it is possible to fight back — even if it sometimes requires holding a midnight raccoon rodeo.” —Marita Rivir, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Pretty Girls: A Novel, by Karin Slaughter
(William Morrow, 9780062429056, $27.99)
“I was grabbed from the first page of Slaughter’s latest and roped in on the second. Boldly written and at times very raw, this psychological thriller is as suspenseful as it is scary. Dangerous secrets reunite two sisters who have been estranged since their older sister went missing 20 years earlier. As they search to discover what happened, they uncover evidence of her brutal murder and true evil. It is a gifted writer who can make you adore a character at the beginning of a book and loathe the same character at the end. Slaughter, author of both the Grant County and Will Trent series, has done just that in her newest stand-alone thriller.” —Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

A Line of Blood: A Novel, by Ben McPherson
(William Morrow, 9780062406101, $25.99)
“Surely an unspoken fear of parents is that they will discover that their child has some dark secret, that their normal, well-adjusted, happy child is hiding something. McPherson introduces us to just such a family in a whodunit with many layers of psychological intrigue, secrets, and unspoken emotion. Alex and Millicent and their son, Max, find themselves in the middle of a murder investigation and what was once taken for granted begins to unravel around them. This is a must-read for anyone who loves being in the clutches of a brilliant thriller with anything but a straight line to the conclusion.” —Linda Schaefer, The Learned Owl Book Shop, Hudson, OH

Me, My Hair, and I: Twenty-Seven Women Untangle an Obsession, Elizabeth Benedict, Ed.
(Algonquin Books, 9781616204112, trade paper, $16.95)
“Twenty-seven authors share stories about hair and all its meanings in this revelatory collection. Hair can represent class, race, a period in history, health, neuroses, and more. What a wonderful way to ponder our life histories and traumas and still keep a sense of humor as we are invited to remember what hairstyles we were wearing at key times in our lives. Through the focus on hair, this book leads us to consider our stories in both a fun and oddly serious way.” —Rona Brinlee, The BookMark, Neptune Beach, FL

Twain’s End, by Lynn Cullen
(Gallery Books, 9781476758961, $26)
“Isabel Lyon, who was born to gentility, supported herself as a nanny and a secretary and is best known as secretary/companion to the family of Samuel Clemens. Her late marriage to Clemens’ business manager left her life in shambles, as afterwards both were fired and slandered. What led to those dramatic shifts is the premise behind Twain’s End. Mark Twain may be beloved beyond all American writers, but Cullen has crafted a well-researched tale supporting the view that a very manipulative, selfish, and distant Samuel Clemens and his family hid behind that façade. It is up to you to decide. A marvelous read!” —Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The Tsar of Love and Techno: Stories, by Anthony Marra
(Hogarth, 9780770436438, $25)
A Constellation of Vital Phenomena is one of my favorite novels of the last several years, and now Marra follows that up with a dazzling set of linked stories set in Russia, Chechnya, and Siberia over a period of time spanning from the Russian Revolution to the modern day and beyond. As with his debut novel, what I love are the characters that he makes readers care so deeply about, as well as the fact that I constantly found myself wanting to know more about their lives and the history of their countries. Get on the Marra train now because one thing is certain: He is one of our brightest young talents writing today.” —Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories, by Bonnie Jo Campbell
(W.W. Norton, 9780393248456, $25.95)
“This collection is Campbell at her best and most audaciously appealing. At the center of each of these stories is a fierce, floundering, and unmistakably familiar woman. Mother of a daughter in some instances but always a caretaker, aware of and struggling with a hellish truth, or at justified peace with her right to impose her flawed self on a tragic other. These women’s violations — both endured and perpetrated — are most certainly recognizable, and their stories are stunning. Booksellers, tell your customers. Friends, tell your people. Mothers, tell your daughters. Read this book!” —Joanna Parzakonis, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

A Slanting of the Sun: Stories, by Donal Ryan
(Steerforth Press, 9781586422356, trade paper, $15)
“Exquisite and elegant, Ryan’s collection of short stories highlights his talents as a writer of note. Each piece evokes the Irish people — the spirit, the voice, the culture — as the characters confront the pain of life. The beauty of the stories comes from the almost musical quality of Ryan’s writing. His sentences flow with an ebullient tone that appreciates the good and bad in equal measure, and readers are caught by the lyrical rhythms and inner harmonies, which bring them to a deeper understanding of other people. These stories will make you cry, shake your head in shock, and ponder the great gulfs between men, which are rooted in our own humanity in all its beauty and roughness.” —Raul Chapa, BookPeople, Austin, TX

The Gilded Life of Matilda Duplaine: A Novel, by Alex Brunkhorst
(MIRA, 9780778317531, $26.99)
“As Thomas walked into Lily Goldman’s antiques shop, he had no idea that his life was about to change completely. Assigned to write about Lily’s deceased father, a famous film industry mogul, Thomas meets a host of fabulously wealthy and eccentric people and quickly becomes a part of their privileged lives. Things get complicated when he meets Matilda, daughter of the most powerful man in Los Angeles, who has kept her confined to their estate her whole life. Thomas’ journalistic instincts kick in as he is enchanted by Matilda and he soon uncovers the many secrets these powerful people would rather not have revealed. This book is the definition of a page-turner: filled with romance, mystery, and great writing.” —Lori-Jo Scott, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, NC

The October 2015 Now in Paperback

The Bishop’s Wife: A Novel, by Mette Ivie Harrison (Soho Crime, 9781616956189, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Patricia Worth, River Reader, Lexington, MO

First Impressions: A Novel, by Charlie Lovett (Penguin Books, 9780143127727, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Jerry Lee Lewis: His Own Story, by Rick Bragg (Harper Paperbacks, 9780062078247, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Laughing Monsters: A Novel, by Denis Johnson (Picador, 9781250074911, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Rico Lange, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Lila: A Novel, by Marilynne Robinson (Picador, 9781250074843, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Matthew Lage, Iowa Book, Iowa City, IA

Man V. Nature: Stories, by Diane Cook (Harper Perennial, 9780062333117, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Bookstore, Boulder, CO

Night Blindness: A Novel, by Susan Strecker (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250042842, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

On Immunity: An Inoculation, by Eula Biss (Graywolf Press, 9781555977207, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Brooke Alexander, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, by Hermione Lee (Vintage, 9780804170499, $17.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Kathy Ashton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel, by Priya Parmar (Ballantine Books, 9780804176392, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, KS

We Are Pirates: A Novel, by Daniel Handler (Bloomsbury, 9781608197767, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Wildalone: A Novel, by Krassi Zourkova (William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062328038, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI