The September 2013 Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

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 2013 Indie Next List Great Reads

#1 Pick: Burial Rites: A Novel, by Hannah Kent
(Little, Brown, 9780316243919, $26)
“Set against the desolate fire-and-ice landscape of 19th century Iceland, Burial Rites is a brilliant, multifaceted novel that traverses dark, psychological terrain while providing pitch-perfect historical detail. Debut author Kent is equally skilled at delving into the mind of Agnes Magnusdottir — a servant woman convicted of murder and condemned to beheading — as she is at rendering the domestic life of the poor farmers charged with sharing their tiny hovel with Agnes because there are no prisons in Iceland. At once a brooding morality tale and a ferocious page-turner, Burial Rites is the kind of novel that asks serious questions while remaining superbly entertaining.” —Keaton Patterson, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Night Film: A Novel, by Marisha Pessl
(Random House, 9781400067886, $28)
“When Ashley Cordova, daughter of cult filmmaker Stanislas Cordova, is found dead by an apparent suicide, disgraced journalist Scott McGrath feels that there is more to her death than meets the eye. McGrath, who lost his career and his family while trying to expose the elder Cordova, is driven by a desire for revenge. With her compelling writing and her effective use of web pages, documents, and photos to add context, Pessl has created a tense, gripping, and utterly original novel that kept me up all night!” —Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA

Alex, by Pierre LeMaitre, Frank Wynne (Trans.)
(MacLehose Press, 9781623650001, $24.95)
“A beautiful woman is kidnapped after leaving a Paris shop and is brutally beaten and suspended from the ceiling in a wooden crate in an abandoned warehouse by a man who tells her he wants to watch her die. Police Commander Camille Verhoeven is assigned to the case after eyewitnesses report the abduction. Verhoeven is a detective whose tragic past has crippled him, but he is able to use his extraordinary investigative abilities to understand the victim. Alex is chilling and frequently horrifying as the plot twists catch the reader by surprise at every turn.” —Fran Keilty, The Hickory Stick Bookshop, Washington Depot, CT

Enon: A Novel, by Paul Harding
(Random House, 9781400069439, $26)
“Charlie Crosby has to face what no parent should ever have to — the death of a child. Enon is the town where Charlie, his wife, Susan, and daughter, Kate, lived until one September day Kate is run over while riding her bike home from the beach. Kate’s birth had bound Charlie and Susan back together and, according to Susan, was supposed to make them both better people. What now? Harding pulls no punches when describing Charlie’s life after Kate’s death. A moving meditation on living in a small town, the seasons of New England, and the mysteries of life, Enon is profound, powerful, and heartbreaking. Not to be missed.” —Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Let Him Go: A Novel, by Larry Watson
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571311023, $24)
“Like far-off black clouds with the faint sound of thunder on the horizon, Let Him Go crescendos into a violent Northern Plains thunderstorm as grandparents George and Margaret Blackledge set out on a journey to ‘rescue’ their grandson from his new stepfather. Confronting the hardscrabble Weboy clan that is equally determined to keep Jimmy can only have violent, tragic consequences. Watson has written a novel that rivals his earlier work, Montana 1948, in character development, storyline, and excitement. Stunning and riveting, Let Him Go will not be soon forgotten!” —Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

Songs of Willow Frost: A Novel, by Jamie Ford
(Ballantine, 9780345522023, $26)
“Ford discovers more rich history in Seattle’s International District, this time in the Depression years preceding the WWII era he so beautifully revealed in his earlier work, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet. This new story is based on Ford’s extensive research of Asians in the entertainment industry and their lives in Seattle during the Depression. Readers will both embrace young William and his beautiful mother who is forced to surrender him to an orphanage and nurture the hope that they can reunite and overcome poverty, racism, and their family’s tragic past.” —Cheryl McKeon, Book Passage, San Francisco, CA

Rivers: A Novel, by Michael Farris Smith
(Simon & Schuster, 9781451699425, $25)
“In a post-Katrina world still ravaged by storms, one man tries to maintain an illusion of normal life and finally is forced to seek his escape and a new beginning. The physical and spiritual odyssey of Cohen is conducted in a world gone mad, but his quest is an assertion of the decency still capable of humanity. The language is rich and lyrical, the story taut and tense, the characters unforgettable. The world of literary fiction has a new talent in its ranks!” —Bill Cusumano, Nicola’s Books, Ann Arbor, MI

The President’s Hat, by Antoine Laurain
(Gallic Books, dist. Consortium, 9781908313478, paper, $14.95)
“Daniel Mercier is dining at a Parisian brasserie when Francois Mitterrand, the president of France, is seated at the next table. Mitterrand and his friends eat, talk of world affairs, and finally depart, but Mitterrand leaves his hat behind. The dazed Mercier promptly dons the hat and the next day at work he finds himself uncharacteristically eloquent, as if under a spell. The result is a job promotion that he feels he owes to his newly acquired hat. When Mercier inadvertently leaves the hat on a train, it falls into the hands of … well, to say more would be telling too much. A charming French confection, irresistibly witty and whimsical.” —Betsy Burton, The King’s English Bookshop, Salt Lake City, UT

How the Light Gets In: A Chief Inspector Gamache Novel, by Louise Penny
(Minotaur, 9780312655471, $25.99)
“A new Inspector Gamache novel by Louise Penny is always something to anticipate, and How the Light Gets In does not disappoint, even as the nuanced and mercurial Gamache is getting older and, perhaps, slightly weary of cleaning up the riffraff in Quebec. As the holidays approach and Gamache looks forward to a family trip to France, a long-term plan by those at the very top to get Gamache out of the way once and for all, a murder, and a mysterious suicide intertwine in a complex and satisfying plot that never gives itself away.” —Carol Spurling, Bookpeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID

Lookaway, Lookaway: A Novel, by Wilton Barnhardt
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250020833, $25.99)
“This is a wildly entertaining novel that examines the lives of a Southern family in contemporary America. Barnhardt casts his novelist’s eye on society and culture and expertly delivers a searing, biting, touching, and hilarious novel that deserves a wide audience and teaches us all a thing or two. If you like to laugh, cry, and learn while marveling at exquisite writing, this book should not be missed or ignored. A literary treat!” —Ed Conklin, Chaucer’s Books, Santa Barbara, CA

Talk With Your Kids: Conversations About Ethics – Honesty, Friendship, Sensitivity, Fairness, Dedication, Individuality – and 103 Other Things That Really Matter, by Michael Parker
(Black Dog & Leventhal, 9781597129484, paper, $14.95)
“Guidance through conversation is the key theme of this book. Just expecting your child or teen to make a good decision is really not enough, but talking about ethics and morals can help give children and teens a foundation to start building their ethical pathway through life. Parker’s open-ended questions provide a great new resource for parents, guidance counselors, and teachers!” —Connie Griffin, Bookworks, Albuquerque, NM

After Her: A Novel, by Joyce Maynard
(William Morrow, 9780062257390, $25.99)
“Loosely based on a true Marin County, California, murder case in the late 1970s, Maynard’s newest work is part thriller, part love story, and part family narrative. Two young, inseparable sisters enjoy spending their school vacation time on the mountain near their home until a series of murders intrude on their games and bring danger and division into their lives. After Her is a masterful piece of storytelling with bits of humor to offset the suspenseful emotions, ending 30 years later with a promised vindication.” —Carol Hicks, Bookshelf at Hooligan Rocks, Truckee, CA

Knocking on Heaven’s Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, by Katy Butler
(Scribner, 9781451641974, $25)
“Not only has Butler given us a beautiful and compelling look into the issues that her parents faced when approaching the end of their lives, but she also opens a window on how skewed our medical establishment has become in its practice of resuscitating at any cost. Knocking on Heaven’s Door probes Butler’s personal experience and examines the difficulties that individuals and families face in choosing their own path to dying. This is an important book with a powerful message that begs to be read and shared!” —Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

Bitter River: A Novel, by Julia Keller
(Minotaur, 9781250003492, $25.99)
“Fans of character-driven suspense with strong female protagonists will love Bitter River, the latest in Keller’s Bell Elkins series, following A Killing in the Hills. Prosecutor and divorced mom Elkins is questioning her move back from Washington, D.C., to her impoverished West Virginia hometown as she investigates the murder of a teenage girl who seemed to be one of the town’s success stories. Meanwhile, forces from outside the town bring an unforeseen threat to Bell’s new relationship and, ultimately, to Bell herself. Suspenseful and satisfying!” —Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

A House in the Sky: A Memoir, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett
(Scribner, 9781451645606, $27)
“As a child, Amanda escaped from her bleak, impoverished surroundings by immersing herself in the wonders and exotic locales in old National Geographic magazines. As a young adult, she found that she could make good money as a cocktail waitress and take herself to those same faraway places. Fearless, curious, hungry for experience and adventure, Amanda traveled the world. It was when she went to Somalia that her hunger for adventure took her too far. Amanda and her friend Nigel were kidnapped for ransom and held for more than a year. This memoir recounts their ordeal. Sometimes difficult to read, this is ultimately a story beautifully told with a happy outcome.” —Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Bone Season: A Novel, by Samantha Shannon
(Bloomsbury, 9781620401392, $24)
“Shannon has created a world that will set your imagination on fire and lure you in so absolutely that you will forget your surroundings. London in the year 2059 is the world of Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker. Scion is the ruling government and it absolutely rejects any type of clairvoyant abilities among its citizens. If Scion finds that you have those skills, you disappear. Paige discovers that this is true, but the ‘disappearance’ is not what she has been led to believe. Mind-bendingly intense, rife with fascinating characters and an all-encompassing plot, The Bone Season will take you on one wild ride.” —Lynn Riggs, Books & Company, Oconomowoc, WI

Someone: A Novel, by Alice McDermott
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374281090, $25)
“‘Who’s going to love me?’ Marie asks her brother after she is dumped by her first boyfriend. ‘Someone,’ he tells her. ‘Someone will.’ Love is only one of the themes that weave together the stories that make up McDermott’s latest mesmerizing novel. The tale is told through Marie’s memories as a little girl, a mother, and an old woman. Snapshot after snapshot of events in a Brooklyn neighborhood come together seamlessly to tell the endlessly fascinating story of ‘someone’s’ life.” —Sharon K. Nagel, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Returned: A Novel, by Jason Mott
(MIRA, 9780778315339, $24.95)
“What would you do if someone you loved — someone who meant the world to you and made your life complete — died? What would you do if 50 years later that person showed up on your doorstep never having aged and without any recollection of where they had been? This is the question that faces people around the world in Mott’s intriguing novel. Part science fiction, part family drama, part philosophical treatise on human nature, The Returned delves deep into the human psyche without forsaking a genuinely riveting story, and will leave you breathless in the end!” —Heather Christman, Warwick’s, La Jolla, CA

The Affairs of Others: A Novel, by Amy Grace Loyd
(Picador, 9781250041296, $24)
“With elements of both Alfred Hitchcock and Ian McEwan, this gorgeously written novel seduces the reader into a fascinating world with its own vortex. Celia, the young widow who keeps careful tabs on her Brooklyn apartment building, is drawn deeply into her tenants’ lives after the sensuous Hope takes a sublet. Peopled with intriguing characters — the elderly ferry boat captain who doesn’t mind climbing four flights to his room with a water view, the disappearing cleaning woman — and infused with the sights and sounds of the perpetually mysterious New York City, this book unfolds with stunning momentum and reverberates long after the reader has turned the final page.” —Jaime Clarke, Newtonville Books, Newton Centre, MA

The Girl You Left Behind: A Novel, by Jojo Moyes
(Pamela Dorman Books / Viking, 9780670026616, $27.95)
“In France, Sophie LeFevre’s husband was sent off to fight in World War I, leaving her with only a portrait that he had painted of her. Ninety years later that portrait, titled The Girl You Left Behind, hangs in Liv Halston’s house, a wedding gift from her late husband. When descendants of the artist claim ownership of the painting and demand restitution, Liv’s life becomes a battle, both legal and emotional. Liv fights to keep Sophie’s portrait and to learn everything she can about her, as she believes that knowledge can help her figure out where her own life is going.” —Melissa Oates, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

The September 2013 Now in Paperback

Black Fridays: A Novel, by Michael Sears (Berkley, 9780425269046, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books & Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

Hand for a Hand: A DCI Andy Gilchrist Investigation, by T. Frank Muir (Soho Crime, 9781616952952, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Rita Moran, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, ME

A Hundred Flowers: A Novel, by Gail Tsukiyama (St. Martin’s Griffin, 9781250022547, $15.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Elizabeth Merritt, Titcomb’s Bookshop, East Sandwich, MA

Insane City: A Novel, by Dave Barry (Berkley Trade, 9780425264720, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Susan Taylor, Market Block Books, Troy, NY

John Saturnall’s Feast: A Novel, by Lawrence Norfolk (Grove Press, 9780802121728, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Sheryl Cotleur, Copperfield’s Books, Sebastopol, CA

Let the People In: The Life and Times of Ann Richards, by Jan Reid (University of Texas Press, 9780292754492, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Sam Ramos, The Book Cellar, Chicago, IL

Telegraph Avenue: A Novel, by Michael Chabon (Harper Perennial, 9780061493355, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

This Is How You Lose Her, by Junot Diaz (Riverhead Trade, 9781594631771, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Amanda Hurley, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

Three Graves Full: A Novel, by Jamie Mason (Gallery Books, 9781451685046, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Y: A Novel, by Marjorie Celona (Simon & Schuster, 9781451674408, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO