ABA Offering Digital Reading Group Guide E-newsletter for Summer

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The American Booksellers Association’s Summer Reading Group Guide is taking a new format this year and will be available to booksellers as a free e-newsletter that can be delivered to customers by email, courtesy of Matchbook Marketing.

Four emails will be sent, with each featuring specific categories, as follows:

  • Thursday, June 11: Dazzling Debuts and Other Worlds
  • Thursday, July 9: Coming of Age, Family Ties, and Young Adult
  • Thursday, August 13: Nonfiction and Historical Fiction
  • Thursday, September 10: Small Bites and Indie Presses: Backlisted but Not Forgotten

Titles will be announced in Bookselling This Week a month ahead of the e-newsletter send date; titles will also be available as collections in Edelweiss. No printed version of the Summer Reading Group Guide will be created. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak and the resulting shelter-in-place orders, many stores are reporting a significant uptick in online sales as well as customer demand for content.

Stores that would like to join the program for the June 11 newsletter should fill out this form by June 1. This program is currently only available to IndieCommerce and IndieLite stores. Stores that are already working with Matchbook Marketing can update their information here.

Titles for the June 11 Indie Next Reading Group Picks e-newsletter (all trade paperback unless otherwise noted) are:

Dazzling Debuts

Disappearing Earth by Julia Phillips
(Vintage, 9780525436225, $16.95) On Sale Date: 4/7/2020
“A thrilling and original debut novel that explores the lives of several women living in Russia’s remote Kamchatka Peninsula whose lives are unknowingly connected by the unsolved disappearances of three girls. The mystery of the girls’ fates will keep you on the edge of your seat, but even more impressive is the way Phillips portrays the lives of her female characters—women who struggle to obtain a better life for themselves and their children, lives unencumbered by the racism, economic instability, and isolation inherent in living in a disregarded and harsh corner of Russia’s vast landscape.” —Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, TX

The Lightest Object in the Universe: A Novel by Kimi Eisele (Indies Introduce title)
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750484, $15.95) On Sale Date: 6/9/2020
“Not many survive a pandemic that plunges humankind’s technology into darkness, and those who make it must learn how to remake the world and thrive. Two such persons are at the heart of this story: Beatrix, an activist in California, and Carson, a school principal in New York. Before the crash, they had begun a tentative long-distance love affair. Now, only faith in each other keeps them together. Carson embarks on a perilous cross-country journey to Beatrix as she begins to rebuild her community. Threatening everything is a dangerous gang of disaffected kids and a self-proclaimed prophet who claims the keys to salvation. The Lightest Object in the Universe is thought-provoking and truly entertaining. Post-apocalyptic fiction fans will not be disappointed.” —Laura Simcox, Sunrise Books, High Point, NC

Lights All Night Long: A Novel by Lydia Fitzpatrick (Indies Introduce title)
(Penguin Books, 9780525558750, $17) On Sale Date: 2/4/2020
“Exchange student Ilya has just arrived in the balmy heat of Louisiana from the frozen tundra of Russia. Smart, hardworking, and thoughtful, Ilya considered this journey to be the opportunity of a lifetime. But he can’t seem leave his home behind, or the brother he would do anything to save. In Lights All Night Long, Lydia Fitzpatrick juggles a coming-of-age tale, a murder mystery, and a social commentary on addiction, drug use, and corruption. And it works. Beautifully. She somehow manages to avoid all the predictable tropes of each to create this sparkling world full of hope, friendship, and the power of family in all its forms.” —Erin Ball, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

Ordinary Girls: A Memoir by Jaquira Díaz (Indies Introduce title)
(Algonquin Books, 9781643750828, $16.95) On Sale Date: 6/2/2020
“It takes a special writer to craft a memoir that’s equal parts harrowing, hopeful, clear-eyed, and emotionally acute—and that’s exactly what Jaquira Díaz has done here. She was still a child when her family moved from Puerto Rico to the slums of Miami, and she spent her teenage years negotiating a family life of addiction, dysfunction, and mental illness. Despite her experiences with crime and violence, Díaz finds solace in her friendships, strength in her heritage, and, always, a way forward. This is an utterly beautiful and vibrant book.” —Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

The Seven or Eight Deaths of Stella Fortuna: A Novel by Juliet Grames
(Ecco, 9780062862839, $17.99) On Sale Date: 4/28/2020
“Stella Fortuna is a strong and stubborn woman who resists the toxicity and rigorous expectations of her time. The many near-deaths of Stella add a fantastical and heightened fairy-tale-like framework to what is actually a very authentic and well-researched tale inspired by true events. This novel is both a lovingly crafted tribute to and a stern critique of the author’s heritage.” —Matt Stowe, Greenlight Bookstore, Brooklyn, NY

The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
(Redhook, 9780316421973, $16.99) On Sale Date: 5/12/2020
“I didn’t want this novel to end! Filled with magic, adventure, and—even during its darkest moments—hope, Harrow’s sweeping and whimsical storytelling is enchanting. Set in the early 1900s, the novel follows January’s journey of pinpointing her own individual identity as well as discovering her parents’ pasts. The Ten Thousand Doors of January is a stunning debut novel and a perfect read for any fantasy fan!” —Isabel Pless, Phoenix Books Essex, Essex Junction, VT

Other Worlds

The Binding: A Novel by Bridget Collins
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062838100, $17.99) On Sale Date: 4/21/2020
The Binding is a dark, atmospheric, heart-wrenching tale in which the binding of people’s memories into books helps them forget their darkest traumas and protect them from their crimes. The more Collins’ intricate, magical tale unwinds, the more dangerous and unruly the practice of ‘binding’ becomes. At its core, this is a story about the beauty and power of books. Ethics, emotion, and magic abound in this triumphant, beautifully woven must-read for any book lover or hopeless romantic (or both).” —Jackie Mann, Anderson’s Bookshops, La Grange, IL

The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
(Grove Press, 9780802148292, $16) On Sale Date: 2/18/2020
“This beautiful and adventurous hybrid of historical novel and magical fantasy explores freedom, power, faith, and love across the lush background of 15th-century Spain and its epic cultural clashes. Fans of Wilson’s Alif the Unseen will not be disappointed, nor will readers that enjoyed Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni or Salman Rushdie’s more fantastical side.” —Jonathan Hawpe, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) by Marlon James
(Riverhead Books, 9780735220188, $18) On Sale Date: 2/4/2020
Black Leopard, Red Wolf is an amazing epic that launches from a familiar framework of the fantasy genre. Lovingly crafted, it immediately steals you away from your world and steeps you in one of ancient yet familiar myth and magic. The language, the beasts, the people—James’ writing is both brutal and beautiful. You’ll get the journey you want from this fantasy, but it won’t be the same trip around the block. Rather, it’s a walk off the edge of the Earth. James’ talent shines and his passion in this book is clear. This is a book to be GEEKED about, and I absolutely am.” —Olivia Valenza, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Gideon the Ninth (The Locked Tomb Trilogy #1) by Tamsyn Muir
(Tor.com, 9781250313188, $17.99) On Sale Date: 5/19/2020
“If sword-wielding necromancer lesbians and a crumbling space-age palace aren’t enough to sell you on this book, then let yourself be won over by the hilarious sass and reckless determination of Gideon Nav. Fascinating world-building and an irresistibly cheeky main character. Absolutely do not miss!” —Genevieve Taylor, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, CO

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia
(Del Rey, 9780525620778, $16) On Sale Date: 2/18/2020
“A refreshing modern take on a mythology you might not be familiar with. Casiopea Tun is the put-upon servant to her rich relatives, but she is no Cinderella. In fact, she’s the one doing the rescuing—in this case, she’s saving an imprisoned Mayan death god. Bound to this smoldering former king, fierce Casiopea must use her wits and her indomitable will to overcome gods, sorcerers, ghosts, demons, and, yes, said rich relatives to restore her companion to his throne and save her own life along the way.” —Kim Fox, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

Lanny: A Novel by Max Porter
(Graywolf Press, 9781644450208, $16) On Sale Date: 4/21/2020
“Max Porter again proves to be one of the most talented English-language writers working today. You can read this novel purely to enjoy the sound of the words that float through the village outside London, where it takes place. You should also read it because it delves into mythology, art, parenting, friendship, and the intersection of the mundane and the fantastic. It is a beautiful book that you will want to read in one sitting, then slowly go through a second time to take everything in.” —Dan Schwartz, Changing Hands, Phoenix, AZ