The October Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the October 2021 Indie Next List flier.

The October 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 September Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on

The 25 Indie Next Great Reads for October

#1 Pick: Cloud Cuckoo Land: A Novel
By Anthony Doerr
(Scribner, 9781982168438, $30, Sept. 28, Fiction)

“I haven’t felt this hopeful after closing a book in a very long time. What does it mean to be alive? An ageless question, yet throughout time the answer is always human connection and the stories we tell to live, thrive, survive.”
—Julie Slavinsky, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

The Lincoln Highway: A Novel
By Amor Towles
(Viking, 9780735222359, $30, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“Fabulous storytelling, impeccable style, interesting and relatable characters, humor, mystery, and a tremendous understanding of humanity and its foibles. Lincoln Highway is a road trip not to be missed!”
—Trish Brown, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

A Spindle Splintered (Fractured Fables)
By Alix E. Harrow
(Tordotcom, 9781250765352, $17.99, Oct. 5, Fiction/Fantasy)

“A refreshing and humorous feminist retelling of Sleeping Beauty, where the villains are not who you remember and the women are stronger than ever.”
—Katie Harveson, Front Street Books, Alpine, TX

Under the Whispering Door
By TJ Klune
(Tor Books, 9781250217349, $26.99, Sept. 21, Fiction/Fantasy)

“TJ Klune once again delivers an extraordinary, uplifting story of love, family, grief, and redemption. This story and its characters brought me so much comfort and peace. Highly, highly recommended.”
 —Stacey Montalto, BookTowne, Manasquan, NJ

The Last Graduate: A Novel
By Naomi Novik
(Del Rey, 9780593128862, $28, Sept. 28, Fiction/Fantasy)

“Another great novel from the master world-builder. A perfect setup for the final book of the trilogy, which I desperately need right now, please.”
—Amber Brown, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, NC

My Monticello: Fiction (Indies Introduce)
By Jocelyn Nicole Johnson
(Henry Holt and Co., 9781250807151, $26.99, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“What Johnson does here is pure genius, allowing the reader to view the story through a lens of past, present, and uncertain future, giving the reader pause for reflection and a sliver of hope.”
—Javier Ramirez, Exile in Bookville, Chicago, IL

Bewilderment: A Novel
By Richard Powers
(W.W. Norton & Company, 9780393881141, $27.95, Sept. 21, Fiction)

“Richard Powers is peerless when conveying the intimate and universal in family relationships. Bewilderment is tender, riveting, and true. It took my breath away.”
—Lesley Rains, City of Asylum Bookstore, Pittsburgh, PA

Smile: The Story of a Face
By Sarah Ruhl
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982150945, $27, Oct. 5, Memoir)

“Sarah Ruhl’s memoir about motherhood and illness is wise and true and generous. This is such a beautiful and important book; I know it will be a tremendously helpful and profound reading experience for many.”
—Keith Mosman, Powell’s Books, Portland, OR

When Ghosts Come Home: A Novel
By Wiley Cash
(William Morrow, 9780062312662, $28.99, Sept. 21, Fiction)

“This addictive, character-driven crime drama has an ending that will take your breath away. Written with subtlety and grace, When Ghosts Come Home will haunt you long after you read its final page.”
—Amanda Gawthorpe, Page 158 Books, Wake Forest, NC

Sankofa: A Novel
By Chibundu Onuzo
(Catapult, 9781646220830, $26, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“Onuzo is an incredibly talented author that you should be reading if you aren’t already. This book is certain to be on several awards lists and notable lists. It is definitely on mine!”
—Shane Mullen, Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO

Fight Night: A Novel
By Miriam Toews
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635578171, $24, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“Told from the perspective of a little girl named Swiv, who lives with her pregnant mother and eccentric grandmother, Fight Night is filled with laugh-out-loud, subtle, and smart observations of family dynamics and the human condition.”
—Mia Wigmore, DIESEL, A Bookstore, Brentwood, CA

The Last House on Needless Street: A Novel
By Catriona Ward
(Tor Nightfire, 9781250812629, $27.99, Sept. 28, Fiction/Horror)

“I loved this highly original literary horror novel. Ward does an excellent job in portraying the main characters while slowly peeling back the different layers to the story. Highly recommended.”
—Robert Connolly, Jabberwocky Bookshop & Café, Newburyport, MA

The Book of Form and Emptiness: A Novel
By Ruth Ozeki
(Viking, 9780399563645, $30, Sept. 21, Fiction)

“An incredible narrative about coming of age in the shadow of grief, Ozeki is again in fine form with this new novel, which combines zen wisdom with intricately structured prose.”
—Bennard Fajardo, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, DC

Light From Uncommon Stars: A Novel
By Ryka Aoki
(Tor Books, 9781250789068, $25.99, Sept. 28, Science Fiction)

“This book has it all: a music teacher who sold her soul, a family of alien refugees who run a donut shop, and a trans violinist who changes everything. It cracks open the heart of what it means to exist in the universe.”
—Katherine Nazzaro, Porter Square Books, Cambridge, MA

What Storm, What Thunder: A Novel
By Myriam J.A. Chancy
(Tin House Books, 9781951142766, $27.95, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“The 2010 Haitian earthquake and its aftermath is revealed to us through the stories of 10 intertwining lives, some who survive and others who perish. Stunning in its beauty, horror, and heartbreak.”
—Alana Haley, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

The Ex Hex: A Novel
By Erin Sterling
(Avon, 9780063027473, $15.99, paperback, Sept. 28, Fiction/Romance)

“Looking for a wildly fun Halloween read? Pick this up! Witches, curses, ghosts, sizzling romance, and a swoon-worthy ending — this rom-com has it all!”
—Carrie Deming, The Dog Eared Book, Palmyra, NY

We Are Not Like Them: A Novel
By Christine Pride, Jo Piazza
(Atria Books, 9781982181031, $27, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“Lifelong friends, one Black and one white, have their relationship tested after the tragic shooting of an unarmed Black teen. A thought-provoking and timely read.”
—Mary Kay Burnett, Buttonwood Books and Toys, Cohasset, MA

Payback’s a Witch: A Novel
By Lana Harper
(Berkley, 9780593336069, $16, paperback, Oct. 5, Fiction/Romance)

“Queer witches plotting revenge against the rich boy that played them — need I say more? A laugh-out-loud funny story of heartbreak, nostalgia, and new beginnings wrapped up in spooky fall magic.”
—Emma Reilly, A Likely Story, Sykesville, MD

As You Were: A Novel
By Elaine Feeney
(Biblioasis, 9781771964432, $16.95, paperback, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“I challenge you to not get emotionally invested in the rich, raw, and devastating lives of the characters in this debut novel. I will be thinking about the patients in this hospital ward for a long time to come.”
—Kelly Shrader, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Man Who Died Twice: A Thursday Murder Club Mystery
By Richard Osman
(Pamela Dorman Books, 9781984880994, $26, Sept. 28, Fiction/Mystery)

“This is a super fun continuation of The Thursday Murder Club. I’m very happy to spend more time with Elizabeth, Joyce, Ibrahim, Bogdan, and the others!”
—Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore, Millbrook, NY

An Elderly Lady Must Not Be Crossed: Stories
By Helene Tursten, Marlaine Delargy (Transl.)
(Soho Crime, 9781641291675, $14.99, Oct. 5, Fiction/Mystery)

“What a hoot! Maud might be almost 89 years old, but she’s no shrinking violet. She knows how to take care of herself and situations that need fixing. I loved this little treasure of a book!”
—Annette Steinmetz, The Well-Read Moose, Coeur d’Alene, ID

The Book of Magic: A Novel
By Alice Hoffman
(Simon & Schuster, 9781982151485, $27.99, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“A wonderful conclusion to the series with a new generation of Owens to charm us. For fans who like their books with a good dose of magic, and readers who enjoy a family saga with characters that win you over. What a treat!”
—Laura Taylor, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

A Lot Like Adiós: A Novel
By Alexis Daria
(Avon, 9780062959966, $15.99, paperback, Sept. 14, Fiction/Romance)

A Lot Like Adiós is a heartfelt exploration of first love and mature love, proof positive that, with an open heart and some hard emotional work, you can absolutely go home again.”
—Leah Grover, Bards Alley, Vienna, VA

Jacket Weather: A Novel
By Mike DeCapite
(Soft Skull, 9781593766931, $16.95, paperback, Oct. 12, Fiction)

“This book celebrates the comforts in life: nostalgia, food, art, and new love. Reading Jacket Weather is a beautiful, tense journey through the anxiety of losing what we think makes us complete.”
—Laura Lowry, Mind Chimes Bookshop, Three Lakes, WI

Cairo Circles: A Novel (Indies Introduce)
By Doma Mahmoud
(Unnamed Press, 9781951213367, $28, Oct. 12, Fiction)

“Mahmoud has crafted a beast of a novel with woven points of view, topics that matter, and enough heart to bring on the feels. I can only hope that this debut is just the beginning.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

The Cold Millions: A Novel
By Jess Walter
(Harper Perennial, 9780062868091, $17, Sept. 28, Fiction)

“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.”
—Ariana Paliobagis, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

The Fortunate Ones: A Novel
By Ed Tarkington
(Algonquin Books, 9781643752006, $16.95, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“A teenage boy with a single mom in a low-income area of Nashville receives a mysterious scholarship offer to attend an elite private school for boys, and the trajectory of his life is altered forever.”
—Damita Nocton, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

Infinite Country: A Novel
By Patricia Engel
(Avid Reader Press/Simon & Schuster, 9781982159474, $17, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“A great examination on the brutish nature of the U.S. government and citizens toward people traveling stateside to start a new life. Your heart breaks and mends and breaks all over again for this family.”
—James Harrod, Malaprop’s Bookstore/Café, Asheville, NC

Plain Bad Heroines: A Novel
By Emily M. Danforth, Sara Lautman (Illus.)
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062942869, $17.99, Oct. 5, Fiction)

“This was a roller coaster of a read. 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

Send for Me: A Novel
By Lauren Fox
(Vintage, 9781101972045, $16.95, Sept. 7, Fiction)

“I was deeply moved by this beautifully written and fascinating novel about four generations of Jewish women, based on letters from Fox’s great-grandmother in Germany to her grandmother in Milwaukee.”
—Ken Favell, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

The Shadows: A Novel
By Alex North
(Celadon Books, 9781250318046, $16.99, Sept. 28, Fiction/Thriller)

“A murder that has haunted Paul Adams for so long comes roaring back into his life when there’s a new killing. Highly atmospheric and emotionally gripping, The Shadows is best read with all the lights on.”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN