The September 2011 Indie Next List Preview

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Here's a preview of the titles on the September Indie Next List flier, on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement.

A downloadable PDF version of the list will also be available beginning September 1 on and

The September 2011 Indie Next List Great Reads

The Night Circus: A Novel by Erin Morgenstern
(Doubleday, $26.95, 9780385534635)
"This elegant debut is a striking example of a nostalgic yet modern fairy tale. When two competing magicians lay a wager as to which can mold the more powerful protege, they opt to use a fantastical traveling wonderland -- The Night Circus -- as the venue for the competition. What is meant to be a battle of magical skills evolves into something much deeper as apprentices Celia and Marco enchant not only the circus around them, but also each other. The real conflict arises when the two realize how the competition is meant to end and they set about trying to change their predestined fate. I adored diving into Morgenstern's mesmerizing world and mourned when I reached the end." -- Whitney Spotts, Schuler Books & Music, Lansing, MI

The Language of Flowers: A Novel by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
(Ballantine, $25.00, 9780345525543)
"During the Victorian era, flowers conveyed expressions of love and were often used as a form of communication. Victoria Jones, an abandoned child who has been evicted from many group homes, learns this language, and upon her emancipation at age 18, eventually finds a job with a caring florist. A chance meeting at a flower market forces her to confront her past and learn to love and trust someone again. Diffenbaugh's extraordinary debut brings forth in elegant prose the emotions of anger and mistrust, love and loss, and the possibilities for a second chance at happiness." -- Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

Remembering the Music, Forgetting the Words: Travels With Mom in the Land of Dementia by Kate Whouley
(Beacon Press, $24.95, 9780807003190)
"Kate Whouley recounts her mother's journey into Alzheimer's with heart-wrenching honesty and heart-warming compassion. The book explores the complex relationship of mother and child, the nature of friendship, and the world of aging and dementia. Ultimately, it is about what it means to be a caring human being. It made me laugh. It made me cry. It touched me deeply. I loved this book." -- Chuck Robinson, Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Salvage the Bones: A Novel by Jesmyn Ward
(Bloomsbury USA, $24.00, 9781608195220)
"Ward writes with a power and depth of feeling that is both rare and exhilarating. Her novel about 12 days in the life of a poor black family living on the Mississippi coast as a hurricane gathers in the gulf displays the gifts of a writer with exceptional skill and no fear. The characters seem almost to claw their way off the pages, so vividly has Jesmyn Ward created them. This is a novel of flesh and blood, heart and soul, dreams and terrors that I will not soon forget." -- Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The Art of Fielding: A Novel by Chad Harbach
(Little, Brown & Company, $25.99, 9780316126694)
"Despite having reservations about a 'baseball book,' reading this debut novel I discovered that baseball is every bit as exciting and excruciating as any thriller, as complicated as any psychological mystery, and as heartbreaking as my favorite romance. Harbach loves his characters, and never lets them off easily. All the words I want to use to describe this book -- original, heartfelt, classic, hilarious, wise, unforgettable -- are insufficient. I loved every word of it." -- Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Jussi Alder-Olsen
(Dutton, $25.95, 9780525952480)
"Chief Detective Carl Morck doesn't play by the book, but he has been successful at solving Denmark's most difficult homicide cases. When a bullet almost takes his life and two of his partners are not so lucky, he changes his outlook. Being assigned to work on cold cases satisfies his need to do nothing, but his request for an assistant interferes with his apathy. Adler-Olsen has created a hero with a keen sense of both humor and honor, an assistant who is clever and determined, and a case that keeps the clues coming but won't be solved until the last page." -- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Northwest Angle: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
(Atria, $24.99, 9781439153956)
"Krueger's latest Cork O'Connor tale is partly based on a real event - straight-line winds that flattened a great swath of forest in northern Minnesota. This fast-paced thriller leads the reader through a tangled web of secrets that unfolds unpredictably until the satisfying end. The characters are deep and spiritual and the landscape beautiful. Some Native American wisdom adds to the story. If you have not read Krueger's previous novels, this book will have you seeking them out." -- Kristin Hurlin, The Cottage Book Shop, Glen Arbor, MI

The Most Dangerous Thing by Laura Lippman
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780061706516)
"The past is always with us, and no one knows that better than Laura Lippman. The not-so-innocent games of five children have consequences that resonate through decades, changing some lives and destroying others. Using narration from various viewpoints, including a haunting collective voice, Lippman once again demonstrates her incisive abilities of observation, which make her one of the finest chroniclers of modern society." -- Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

We the Animals: A Novel by Justin Torres
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $21.00, 9780547576725)
"This powerful, lyrical little book is unlike any I've recently read. Told from the point of view of the youngest of three brothers, this unique coming-of-age story takes an intimate look at a Brooklyn family bound together by a dangerous love and constantly on the brink of a furious unravel. The narrator's magical, childlike view of the world makes the tense scenes even more vivid, more real, and more unforgettable. We the Animals is an enchanting, haunting novel." -- Shuchi Saraswat, Titcomb's Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Birds of Paradise: A Novel by Diana Abu-Jabar
(W. W. Norton, $25.95, 9780393064612)
"Avis Muir is an architect in the kitchen, who builds acclaimed pastries from flours and fondants and candied decorations. Her husband, Brian, is a lawyer for one of the most respected developers in Miami, who helps create a new international hub of wealth and opulence. So why have they had so much trouble constructing a nuclear family? Abu-Jabar's novel of family dysfunction, cultural adaptation, and human resilience in the face of tragedy ponders the joys and limitations of family, friendship, and career with powerful results." -- Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Leftovers: A Novel by Tom Perrotta
(St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9780312358341)
"Perrotta's latest describes an apocalyptic event known as the Sudden Departure. In the middle of an ordinary day, millions of people around the world have disappeared. 'It's not the rapture!' cried the Christians left behind, as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, and atheists also disappeared. Using the event as a prism through which to view the residents of a small suburban town who must cope with their losses, understand the inexplicable, and move on with their lives, Perrotta employs his trademark humor and invites the reader to suspend disbelief and get to know and love the Leftovers." -- Ellen Burns, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT

Spycatcher: A Novel by Matthew Dunn
(William Morrow, $25.99, 9780062037671)
"At last! Here is an espionage thriller that is as suspenseful as Forsyth's Day of the Jackal, as cunning as le Carre's Little Drummer Girl, and as relevant as the front page of today's newspaper. Let's hope this is just the first of many more novels by this obviously multitalented former MI6 agent!" -- Ellen Klein, Hooray for Books!, Alexandria, VA

A Trick of the Light: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel by Louise Penny
(Minotaur, $25.99, 9780312655457)
"I love character-driven suspense novels with a strong sense of place, and Penny's series featuring Chief Inspector Armand Gamache and set in the magical world of Three Pines, Quebec, fits that bill. In A Trick of the Light, artist Clara Morrow's celebration of her first major exhibition in Montreal is followed by the discovery of a murdered woman's body in her garden. The subtle shadings of Penny's characters and the twists of the plot make this tale a work of art in its own right. Highly recommended!" -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Eighty-Dollar Champion: Snowman, the Horse That Inspired a Nation by Elizabeth Letts
(Ballantine Books, $26.00, 9780345521088)
"America loves underdogs and stories that go against the odds. You couldn't get much longer odds than a plow-horse headed for the knacker's yard and a cash-strapped Dutchman winning the National Horse Show in Madison Square Garden. But win they did, inspiring the nation with the Cinderella story of a horse who escaped the butcher and learned how to fly. This is one for the heart!" -- Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books, Sunriver, OR

The Winters in Bloom: A Novel by Lisa Tucker
(Atria, $25.00, 9781416575405)
"Tucker's latest novel is not just 'women's fiction,' it is literary fiction with characters that subtly emerge until they have become as real as your own family. The story is ostensibly about overprotective parents Kyra and David Winter, whose son Michael has disappeared from the backyard, but it is also about time and memory and how the past makes us who we are. Tucker's talent for storytelling is evident as subplots are seamlessly woven into twists and turns that continually take the reader by surprise. This is one of those rare books that you can't stop thinking about and that makes you reevaluate everything you thought you knew about your own family and your own life. I loved it!" -- Rob Dougherty, Clinton Book Shop, Clinton, NJ

The Lantern: A Novel by Deborah Lawrenson
(Harper, $25.99, 9780062049698)
"This mysterious tale will remind you of the Daphne du Maurier classic Rebecca. The Lantern is a tale of suspense and intrigue that takes place both in the present and in the 1940s in the south of France. The beautifully described scenery and chilling situations will keep your eyes glued to the page. I was in suspense until the very end. A fantastic read!" -- Summer Moser, Summer's Stories, Kendallville, IN

Lamb: A Novel by Bonnie Nadzam
(Other Press, $15.95, 9781590514375)
"David Lamb is a broken man who has dreams of better things -- dreams of love, fidelity, and trust. With his wife and father both gone, he badly needs to connect with something real and hopeful. When pre-teen Tommie stumbles into his life, she falls into his dream and they are caught up in a growing relationship that is at once fragile and threatening. I could have been disturbed by this story -- and it is disturbing -- yet I found it to be such a brave portrait of need reaching out to need that I was mesmerized by the beauty of author Nadzam's vision and the honesty of her storytelling. Highly recommended." -- Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

I'm Not the Biggest Bitch in This Relationship: Hilarious, Heartwarming Tales About Man's Best Friend from America's Favorite Humorists by Wade Rouse
(NAL Trade, $14.00, 9780451234582)
"In this wonderful collection of short stories we celebrate life with our favorite shoe-eating, bed-stealing, impossible-to-train friends: dogs. Dog lovers who read this will find solace in knowing that there are others out there having experiences just like their own, both frustrating and funny. This is the perfect book to curl up with -- that is if your dog hasn't already taken your spot in the bed!" -- Morgan Kiedrowski, Next Chapter Bookshop, Mequon, WI

This is US: The New All-American Family by David Marin
(Exterminating Angel Press, $16.95, 9781935259343)
"When David Marin gave up his white-collar bachelorhood to adopt three abandoned children, he received crash courses in parenting, the maddening labyrinth of social services, and the simple yet elusive truism that if you want love, you must give love. Marin's heartfelt recollections will open readers' eyes, hearts, and minds to new ways of seeing adoption, the immigration debate, and just what constitutes the American family in the 21st century." -- Gerry Donaghy, Powell's City of Books, Portland, OR

You Deserve Nothing: A Novel by Alexander Maksik
(Europa Editions, $15.00, 9781609450489)
"This is a brilliant first novel about a teacher at an international high school in Paris and his relationships with, and influence on, his students and colleagues. The story is told by several narrators whose distinct voices contribute to the depth of the conflict between idealism and reality, each vividly presented in these seductive pages. I couldn't put it down." -- Lanetta Parks, The Compleat Bookseller, Chestertown, MD

The September 2011 Indie Next Now in Paperback

Bloody Crimes: The Funeral of Abraham Lincoln and the Chase for Jefferson Davis, by James Swanson (Harper Perennial, 9780061233791, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

By Nightfall: A Novel, by Michael Cunningham (Picador, 9780312610432, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Chris Brussat, Maria’s Bookshop, Durango, CO

C: A Novel, by Tom McCarthy (Vintage, 9780307388216, $15) Recommended in hardcover by Grant Novak, The Vermont Bookshop, Middlebury, VT

Cleopatra: A Life, by Stacy Schiff (Back Bay Books, 9780316001946, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee (Scribner, 9781439170915, $18)
Recommended in hardcover by Geoffrey B. Jennings, Rainy Day Books, Fairway, KS

Exley: A Novel, by Brock Clarke (Alqonquin, 9781616200848, $13.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Stan Hynds, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, VT

The False Friend: A Novel, by Myla Goldberg (Anchor, 9780307390707, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Helen Sinoradzki, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR

The Gendarme: A Novel, by Mark T. Mustian (Berkley Trade, 9780425242964, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Good Daughters: A Novel, by Joyce Maynard (Harper Perennial, 9780061994326, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Joe Eichman, Tattered Cover Bookstore, Denver, CO

Great House: A Novel, by Nicole Krauss (W.W. Norton, 9780393340648, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Ellen Burns, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Safe From the Sea: A Novel, by Peter Geye (Unbridled Books, 9781609530570, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Joni Montover, Paragraphs on Padre Boulevard, South Padre Island, TX

Salvation City: A Novel, by Sigred Nunez (Riverhead Trade, 9781594485374, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Erin Kurup, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY