The August Indie Next List

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Here's a preview of the August Indie Next List, now on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement, and a reminder that July Notable titles are now featured in a flier and shelf-talkers, downloadable here and from

The August 2009 Indie Next Great Reads

Labor Day: A Novel by Joyce Maynard
(Morrow, $24.99, 9780061843402 / 0061843407)"In Labor Day, Joyce Maynard has created three well-written and engaging characters, has put them in an extraordinary situation, and has delivered a wonderful book. I admit to being teary during the last few pages." --Lisa Sharp, Nightbird Books, Fayetteville, AR

The Girl Who Played With Fire: A Novel by Stieg Larsson
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307269980 / 0307269981)
"Anyone who read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo will not be disappointed in Stieg Larsson's latest. Lisbeth Salander, the brilliant -- and odd -- hacker, finds herself not only a murder suspect, but also a victim. With a plot that includes the sex trade in Sweden, this is a novel that will keep you up all night!" --Carol Katsoulis, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

The Magicians: A Novel by Lev Grossman
(Viking, $26.95, 9780670020553 / 0670020559)
"The Magicians is a darker, more adult take on the idea of a secret academy that trains would-be wizards. Lev Grossman explores the realms of magic, alternate realities, and wish fulfillment as visited by less-than-heroic characters. Raising the question of what would you do if you could do whatever you wanted, The Magicians is thrilling and deliciously disturbing." --Lisa Wright, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY

This Is Where I Leave You: A Novel by Jonathan Tropper
(Dutton, $25.95, 9780525951278 / 052595127X)
"Mort Foxman's dying wish is that his wife and four children sit shiva for him. With acute and sardonic perception, we view these seven days of enforced togetherness through the eyes of the middle son, Judd. The result is a narrative that is both hilarious and poignant. You won't want to miss this one!" --Jennie Turner-Collins, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

The Arms Maker of Berlin: A Novel by Dan Fesperman
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307268372 / 0307268373)
"This engrossing thriller has it all: a hunt based on ciphers and clues; WWII and the Third Reich; spies, lies, and cover-ups. Beginning with an intrepid professor who must chase down the legacy of an estranged mentor, the story jumps back to the early 1940s and then back again, weaving a complex tale of love, war, and betrayal. Highly recommended." --Nancy Fontaine, The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT

The Weight of Silence: A Novel by Heather Gudenkauf
(Mira, $13.95 paper, 9780778327400 / 077832740X)
"The Weight of Silence is a suspenseful story of two girls who go missing that will have you turning pages late into the night, but, beyond this, it is a heartrending story of emotional ties told with gently lyrical language that belies brutal truths." --Beth Simpson, Cornerstone Books, Salem, MA

South of Broad by Pat Conroy
(Nan A. Talese/Doubleday, $29.95, 9780385413053 / 038541305X)
"After far too long an absence, Pat Conroy has returned with an epic tale of friendship that survives school integration, the AIDS epidemic, Hurricane Hugo, and horrific family pasts and secrets. You'll fall in love with Charleston, South Carolina, through the words and life of Leo King as he resolves to right his own life while reaching across racial and class lines to create lifelong bonds with an unlikely band of high school seniors." --Nancy Drott, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, TX

While I'm Falling: A Novel by Laura Moriarty
(Hyperion, $24.95, 9781401302726 / 1401302726)
"While I'm Falling is a gripping story of what happens to good people blind-sided by unforeseen circumstances of divorce and financial insecurity. Like the best writers of suspense, Laura Moriarty keeps the reader engaged with her vulnerable and heroic characters as she exquisitely mines the murky terrain of families and people in crisis and recovery." --Sarah Bagby, Watermark Books, Wichita, KS

Sandman Slim: A Novel by Richard Kadrey
(Eos, $22, 9780061714306 / 0061714305)
"How a book this dark can be this much fun to read is just one of many amazing things about Sandman Slim. After surviving 11 years in Hell -- literally -- Stark is ready for vengeance on the magicians who killed his girlfriend and sent him there. If he happens to avert the Apocalypse while he's doing it, that will be icing on the cake. Good Omens meets Raymond Chandler!" --Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

Undone: A Novel by Karin Slaughter
(Delacorte, $26, 9780385341967 / 0385341962)
"Combining characters from both her series, Karin Slaughter produces a novel that probes, shocks, and enthralls. She writes with an edge that borders on ferocity, and her characters have tremendous depth, complete with all the flaws and foibles that make them truly human. No one is producing more powerful work these days." --Bill Cusumano, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

In This Way I Was Saved: A Novel by Brian DeLeeuw
(Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439103135 / 1439103135)
"In This Way I Was Saved is a fantastic psychological suspense about a family's haunting madness written from an unexpected point of view." --Cathy Allard, BayShore Books, Oconto, WI

Of Bees and Mist: A Novel by Erick Setiawa
(Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781416596240 / 1416596240)
"Of Bees and the Mist tells the story of two families, the secrets they harbor, and the unraveling of their lives. This fantastical book combines mysticism, folklore, mythology, and magic in such a masterful way that you feel like every bit of oddness is natural and normal." --Anna Rimel, Left Bank Books, Saint Louis, MO

Between Me and the River: Living Beyond Cancer: A Memoir by Carrie Host
(Harlequin, $22.95, 9780373892143 / 0373892144)
"Carrie Host has written a truly open and honest account of her struggle with carcinoid tumors and how it changed her perspective on life and her relationships with others. Between Me and the River is a beautiful appreciation of life's subtle nuances, the value of each and every day with our family and friends as a gift, and the memories of the past that give us the foundation of our true selves." --Carrie Cilley, Kaleidoscope Books, Cards & Gifts, Upton, MA

The Elephant Keeper: A Novel by Christopher Nicholson
(Morrow, $24, 9780061651601 / 0061651605)
"This story of two baby elephants and the young man who becomes their keeper is a great read, and Christopher Nicholson's exploration of the relationship between Tom, the elephant keeper, and Jenny the elephant is wonderful." --Martha Arnett, Carpe Librum Booksellers, Knoxville, TN

The Wet Nurse's Tale: A Novel by Erica Eisdorfer
(Putnam, $24.95, 9780399155765 / 0399155767)
"When Susan Rose gives birth to a baby and a desperate mother calls for a wet nurse, Susan finds herself sold to the highest bidder. This is the story of a smart, plucky, adventurous lower-class woman in Victorian England, and it is everything a reader wants in a historical novel. You will love Susan immediately." --Jake Hallman, A Great Good Place for Books, Oakland, CA

Velva Jean Learns to Drive: A Novel by Jennifer Niven
(Plume, $15 paper, 9780452289451 / 0452289459)
"A young girl born in the mountains of North Carolina has dreams of singing at the Grand Ole Opry and wearing a costume of satin and rhinestones. But Velva Jean marries Harley Bright, who turns from his bad boy days to become a revival preacher who tries to squash her spirit. You will love Velva Jean and enjoy watching her decide who she really is." --Beth Carpenter, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, NC

The Confederate General Rides North: A Novel by Amanda C. Gable
(Scribner, $26, 9781416598398 / 1416598391)
"Amanda Gable has given us an unforgettable character in 11-year-old Civil War scholar Kat McConnell. As the navigator for her beautiful, but volatile, mother's escape northward from Marietta, Georgia, Kat plots their course to hit every major battlefield. As Kat imagines the scenes of desperation and despair from those old battles, we see the ones occurring in her world and love her for her fierce intelligence, loyalty, and bravery." --Laura Keys, Blue Elephant Book Shop, Decatur, GA

Reasons for and Advantages of Breathing: Stories by Lydia Peelle
(Harper Perennial, $13 paper, 9780061724732 / 0061724734)
"A superlative collection of stories spanning the breadth of the American psyche. These are tales of ordinary people with questions and longings that will strike a familiar chord. Best of all, Peelle has the good sense to leave the unanswerable in its proper and distant place." --Roger Pantano, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Some Dream for Fools : A Novel by Faiza Guene, Jenna Johnson (trans.)
(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $20, 9780151014200 / 0151014205)
"The author of Kiffe Kiffe Tomorrow has written another delightful, argot-filled glimpse into the slums outside Paris, this one about 25-year-old Ahleme and her determination to keep her brother out of the local crime scene. Guene's slang-rich voice is pure pleasure." --Nick DiMartino, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

The Most Beautiful Book in the World: Eight Novellas by Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt, Alison Anderson (trans.)
(Europa Editions, $15 paper, 9781933372747 / 1933372745)
"Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's stories are exquisite, elegant, and enchanting -- perfect little gems of literature that explore the nature of happiness across age, gender, and class boundaries. Each story left me with a sigh of satisfaction and contentment." --Emily Crowe, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, MA

The August 2009 Indie Next Notables


Abandon: A Novel by Blake Crouch (Minotaur, $25, 9780312537401 / 0312537409)

Amateur Barbarians: A Novel by Robert Cohen (Scribner, $27, 9780743230360 / 0743230361)

American Adulterer: A Novel by Jed Mercurio (Simon & Schuster, $25, 9781439115633 / 143911563X)

Ground Up: A Novel by Michael Idov (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $14, 9780374531546 / 0374531544)

The Idea of Love by Louise Dean (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9780151013852 / 0151013853)

Niki: The Story of a Dog by Tibor Dery, Edward Hyams (trans.) (NYRB Classics, $14.95, 9781590173183 / 159017318X)

Once Bitten, Twice Shy by Jennifer Rardin (Orbit, $7.99, 9780316043540 / 0316043540)

Persona Non Grata: A Novel of the Roman Empire by Ruth Downie (Bloomsbury USA, $24, 9781596916098 / 1596916095)

Sacred Hearts: A Novel by Sarah Dunant (Random House, $25, 9781400063826 / 1400063825)

Songs of the Dying Earth: Stories in Honor of Jack Vance by George R. R. Martin, Gardner Dozois (eds.), Tom Kidd (illus.) (Subterranean, $40, 9781596062139 / 1596062134)

That Old Cape Magic: A Novel by Richard Russo (Knopf, $25.95, 9780375414961 / 0375414967)


The Fallen Sky: An Intimate History of Shooting Stars by Christopher Cokinos (Tarcher, $27.95, 9781585427208 / 1585427209)

What I Thought I Knew: A Memoir by Alice Eve Cohen (Viking Adult, $24.95, 9780670020959 / 0670020958)


Bury Me Deep: A Novel by Megan Abbott (Simon & Schuster, $15, 9781416599098 / 1416599096)

Get Real: A Dortmunder Novel by Donald E. Westlake (Grand Central Publishing, $23.99, 9780446178600 / 0446178608)

House Secrets: A Joe DeMarco Thriller by Mike Lawson (Atlantic Monthly Press, $22, 9780802118851 / 0802118852)

A Plague of Secrets by John Lescroart (Dutton Adult, $26.95, 9780525950929 / 0525950923)