The September 2020 Indie Next List Preview

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Here are the 20 Indie Next Great Reads and 12 Now in Paperback titles featured on the September 2020 Indie Next List flier. The September title list is also viewable as an Excel file on BookWeb, as a collection on Edelweiss, and featured on downloadable fliers and shelf-talkers on and

The September flier also features ads encouraging customers to pre-order Snow by John Banville (Hanover Square Press, 9781335230003, Hardcover, $27, on sale October 6) and Fortune and Glory by Janet Evanovich (Atria, 9781982154837, Hardcover, $28, on sale November 10) from their indie bookstore. Learn more about the pre-order flier ads here.

Additionally, the August Indie Next Great Reads are available for download on a flier and shelf-talkers, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on The August Indie Next List’s 12 Now in Paperback titles are also featured with bookseller quotes on a downloadable flier and shelf-talkers

The 20 Indie Next Great Reads for September

#1 Pick: Anxious People: A Novel by Fredrik Backman
(Atria Books, 9781501160837, $28)
“This book made me feel all the feels! It was sad, it was funny, it was hopeful, it was everything. The character development is incredible at revealing what’s inside each of the characters, and the way their stories link and interconnect is genius. It’s a story about sadness and hope and human connections. I couldn’t put it down and barreled to the end, but now I am sad it’s over. Anxious People is truly the best thing I’ve read in a long time!” —Lisa Driban, Hockessin Book Shelf, Hockessin, DE

Transcendent Kingdom: A Novel by Yaa Gyasi
(Knopf, 9780525658184, $27.95)
“Gifty immigrated from Ghana, grew up in Alabama, and is working on a PhD in neuroscience at Stanford, where she experiments with mice. She has always felt she wasn’t cool enough or white enough, and tries to prove her value through her brilliance. She tells her raw and powerful story of racism, addiction, mental illness, and especially faith and prayer, all while trying hard to mend a complicated relationship with her mother. This second novel from the author of the award-winning novel Homegoing is compelling and so, so beautifully written.” —Sally Weitzen, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Piranesi: A Novel by Susanna Clarke
(Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635575637, $27)
“It was more than 15 years ago that Susanna Clarke built a wing on the edifice of fantasy fiction unlike any seen before in the form of a debut novel called Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell. After so long, I’d be grateful for any new work from her, but I’m unspeakably glad that she’s again constructed something entirely new. Piranesi has a smaller footprint than her previous novel, but makes more efficient use of space, cramming an entire unsettling universe into a book far bigger on the inside than it is out.” —James Crossley, Madison Books, Seattle, WA

The Exiles: A Novel by Christina Baker Kline
(Custom House, 9780062356345, $27.99)
“One of the best books I’ve read this year! This is a meticulously researched historical fiction based on the lives of three women convicted of petty theft in England who are shipped to the convict colony of Australia, never to return to their home country. We also meet a young Aboriginal girl who weaves through this story like a phantom. There are aspects of Les Mis and The Forgotten Garden in this beautiful book. I simply adored it.” —Elizabeth Barnhill, Fabled Bookshop & Café, Waco, TX

Homeland Elegies: A Novel by Ayad Akhtar
(Little, Brown and Company, 9780316496421, $28)
“A masterful blend of memoir and fiction, this is an unforgettable journey through the lives of a Muslim family finding their place in a post-9/11 America. A searing navigation of the loves we try to reconcile — familial, religious, societal — and the definition of home. Written with wisdom, wit, and unsparing honesty, this an important book that you will continue to contemplate for a very long time. Both intimate and epic, this is a must-read.” —Pam Stirling, East Bay Booksellers, Oakland, CA

Vesper Flights: Essays by Helen MacDonald
(Grove Press, 9780802128812, $27)
“I wish I could give Vesper Flights twelve stars out of five. In this beautiful, loving, poignant portrait of a nature lover’s world — gosh, what an understatement — Helen MacDonald continues to prove herself a nature-writing powerhouse. Her literary skills make her a modern legend, and Vesper Flights is sure to touch as many hearts, if not more, than H Is for Hawk did.” —Nikki F., Bookie’s Chicago, Chicago, IL

World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments by Aimee Nezhukumatathil, Fumi Nakamura (Illus.)
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571313652, $25)
“Aimee didn’t know it at the time (or maybe she did in her mystical way), but this book was written for me and all the other brown-skinned, nature-loving, quiet-questers in the world. This beautiful package asks the reader to pick it up and go for a walk down memory lane, where you will find essays on a diversity of flora and fauna, from the dragon fruit to the narwhal, and from the corpse flower to the axolotl — all of which are gorgeously illustrated inside. Her writing asks everyone to find beauty and connection to the wonders that are nature’s stories.” —Jessica Palacios, Once Upon a Time, Montrose, CA

When No One Is Watching: A Novel by Alyssa Cole
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062982650, trade paper, $16.99)
“Cole’s thriller exposes the underbelly of gentrification and prosperity, taking a searing look at systemic racism. When a pharmaceutical firm plans to move its headquarters to a historically Black Brooklyn neighborhood, an influx of rich white people displace Black residents from their homes and their roots. Timely, groundbreaking, and thought-provoking, When No One Is Watching is essential reading for the #BlackLivesMatter movement.” —Alyssa Raymond, Copper Dog Books, Beverly, MA

The Lying Life of Adults: A Novel by Elena Ferrante, Ann Goldstein (Transl.)
(Europa Editions, 9781609455910, $26)
“Ferrante’s latest novel gives an insightful and intriguing look at the life of a budding Italian teenage girl, both internally and externally. I found Ferrante’s ability to delve into Giovanna’s psyche fascinating, especially since I’ve never parented a girl and don’t always feel like I understand them. Her sensitivity to the myriad of issues and the fragility of Giovanna’s relationships make for a marvelous read. Ferrante is a gifted writer, and this latest offering does not disappoint. I loved this story! Fabulous read!” —Stephanie Crowe, Page and Palette, Fairhope, AL

Monogamy: A Novel by Sue Miller
(Harper, 9780062969651, $28.99)
“Bookstore owner Graham is a friend to all and larger than life in every way. His first wife, Frieda, and current wife, Annie, both know and love him for it. But after Graham’s unexpected death, secrets emerge that bring everything Annie thought she knew into question. Daughter Sarah and stepson Lucas help her through her grief, but anger is harder to leave behind. Fans of The Most Fun We Ever Had will love this beautifully written, honest look at the deep but fragile bond of love.” —Beth Mynhier, Lake Forest Book Store, Lake Forest, IL

The Big Door Prize: A Novel by M.O. Walsh
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 9780735218482, $27)
“M.O. Walsh weaves quintessential Southern charm into a quirky scenario to produce The Big Door Prize, a novel that left me curious about the parts of myself I have yet to discover. You’ll recognize the characters as your own next-door neighbors while being challenged to imagine the possibilities lying just past the periphery of a comfortably crafted trajectory. The novel questions what measures a life well-lived and answers with an entertaining tale of a grand machine in a modest town. Maybe potential is immeasurable. Perhaps that is exactly what gives us all hope.” —Mary Garner Rees, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Winter Counts: A Novel by David Heska Wanbli Weiden
(Ecco, 9780062968944, $27.99)
“Weiden’s book is a thriller with an important social and political message. Following a Lakota ‘enforcer’ who enacts extrajudicial punishment to fill the gaps in the legal system, Winter Counts is a twisty new addition to the growing Indigenous literature canon. While some of the action may fall into somewhat predictable territory, Weiden’s exploration of the injustices of reservation life are vital.” —Ashley Baeckmann, Briars & Brambles Books, Windham, NY

Betty: A Novel by Tiffany McDaniel
(Knopf, 9780525657071, $26.95)
“In the inspiring novel Betty, Tiffany McDaniel shares a tough and gritty story based primarily on her mother’s upbringing. Brimming with a sense of magic in the natural world set against the cruelty and violence within her family, Betty walks us through a childhood filled with both good and evil, and shows us that one can survive and come out the other side in one piece, fractured and whole at the same time. A book that should be read by all.” —Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

One by One: A Novel by Ruth Ware
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781501188817, $27.99)
“Erin and Danny are the in-house help that run a French chalet rental, and they enjoy it. But when ten people come for the week from the tech company Snoop, they get a little more than they signed up for. I’ve said it many times: Ruth Ware just gets better and better. I’ve loved all her books, but each one is better than the last. One by One is no exception.” —Jennifer Jones, Bookmiser, Roswell, GA

Just Us: An American Conversation by Claudia Rankine
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450215, $30)
“Claudia Rankine continues to break ground and pierce our souls with her latest offering, Just Us. Always creating compelling innovative forms, she seamlessly weaves poetry, memoir, and cultural/racial research and criticism through the deeply personal lens of her cancer and biracial marriage, probing the larger questions of how Black and white Americans can both occupy the same spaces in such disparate circumstances. Just Us is brilliant, moving, deeply human, and honest. Rankine shines brighter with each book.” —Angela Spring, Duende District, Washington, DC

A Rogue of One’s Own: A Novel by Evie Dunmore
(Berkley, 9781984805706, trade paper, $16)
“Being excited about a follow-up to a debut novel can be fraught — will the second book live up to my expectations? A Rogue of One’s Own absolutely did! Evie Dunmore’s series (the first entry was Bringing Down the Duke) features a quartet of lively suffragettes and the men they fall in love with and bring over to The Cause. The characters are compelling and likable, the relationships solidly built. There are also some interesting tidbits for history buffs, like excerpts of actual letters written by women of the time.” —Sandy Scott, The Galaxy Bookshop, Hardwick, VT

Eat a Peach: A Memoir by David Chang, Gabe Ulla
(Clarkson Potter, 9781524759216, $28)
“This memoir by renowned chef David Chang is less a traditional memoir and more about the trials and tribulations of opening your own business, how to build and maintain a team of people, and the ups and downs of what it feels like to have all the weight on your shoulders. I relate to his story, and anyone who’s ever tried to build something from nothing will feel like Chang is speaking directly to them. I loved this book.” —Michael Fusco-Straub, Books Are Magic, Brooklyn, NY

The Wright Sister: A Novel by Patty Dann
(Harper Perennial, 9780062993113, trade paper, $16.99)
“The story of Katharine Wright is told here through imagined letters and diary entries. She has married late in life and as a consequence has been shunned by her brother, Orville. As a devoted confidant and caregiver to both Orville and Wilbur Wright, this is an unexpected blow. The pain of physical and emotional separation comes through clearly. At the same time, we learn about her life, told with frankness, wonder, and humor. A story that will leave readers wanting to know more about this delightful woman.” —Susan Hepburn, Red Balloon Bookshop, St. Paul, MN

Impersonation: A Novel by Heidi Pitlor
(Algonquin Books, 9781616207915, $26.95)
“In Impersonation, Heidi Pitlor tackles a lot of big issues and makes it look effortless with her intelligence and humor. Struggling ghostwriter and solo mom Allie is so many of us: trying to do everything right but inevitably feeling as though she’s getting it all wrong, unable to get ahead. I couldn’t stop turning the pages to see how far she’d go to survive.” —Hannah Harlow, Book Shop of Beverly Farms, Beverly, MA

Mill Town: Reckoning with What Remains by Kerri Arsenault
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250155931, $27.99)
“This is a beautifully written story about two small towns in Maine and the paper mill that is the foundation of their economy. It tells the much bigger story of the sacrifice of the workers, and the injustices to them and the environment. Arsenault masters the nuances of family and history, which pulled me into the story in the first few pages and kept me there. A tender and honest reveal of her own family and hometown, and a truthful history of our nation. I’ll be recommending this as a must-read to our customers.” —Todd Miller, Arcadia Books, Spring Green, WI


The September 2020 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

The Chestnut Man: A Novel by Soren Sveistrup
(Harper Paperbacks, 9780062895370, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by William Carl, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Dominicana: A Novel by Angie Cruz
(Flatiron Books, 9781250205940, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Cristina Lebron, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

FKA USA: A Novel by Reed King
(Flatiron Books, 9781250108913, $17.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Edward Newton, The Literate Lizard, Sedona, AZ

Full Throttle: Stories by Joe Hill
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062200693, $18.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Sarah Harmuth Letke, Redbery Books, Cable, WI

A Madness of Sunshine: A Novel by Nalini Singh
(Berkley, 9780593099094, $9.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Karen Bakshoian, Letterpress Books, Portland, ME

Nothing to See Here: A Novel by Kevin Wilson
(Ecco, 9780062913494, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Laura Simcox, Sunrise Books, High Point, NC

Red at the Bone: A Novel by Jacqueline Woodson
(Riverhead Books, 9780525535287, $16)
Recommended in hardcover by Kelly Brown, Magic City Books, Tulsa, OK

Running with Sherman: How a Rescue Donkey Inspired a Rag-tag Gang of Runners to Enter the Craziest Race in America by Christopher McDougall
(Vintage, 9780525433255, $16.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Pete Mock, McIntyre’s Fine Books, Pittsboro, NC

The Sacrament: A Novel by Olaf Olafsson
(Ecco, 9780062899880, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Catherine Bock, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

The Tenant: A Novel by Katrine Engberg
(Gallery/Scout Press, 9781982127589, $16.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Eileen McGervey, One More Page Books, Arlington, VA

The Topeka School: A Novel by Ben Lerner
(Picador, 9781250758002, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Chris Lee, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Travelers: A Novel by Regina Porter
(Hogarth, 9780525576204, $17)
Recommended in hardcover by Bill Cusumano, Square Books, Oxford, MS