The December Indie Next List Preview

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version

Here are the 25 Indie Next List and 6 Now in Paperback picks on the December 2021 Indie Next List flier.

The December title list is also viewable as a collection on Edelweiss and on the Indie Next List page as an Excel file alongside PDFs for the month’s flier and shelf-talker templates. Learn more about ABA’s recent refresh for the Indie Next List program and visit Matchbook Marketing’s program page to sign up to send the free Indie Next List e-newsletter to customers.

Additionally, to mark the start of the new month, the November Indie Next List picks are available as a flier, along with past lists, on the Indie Next List page on

The 25 Indie Next Great Reads for December

#1 Pick- Small Things Like These: A Novel
By Claire Keegan
(Grove Press, 9780802158741, $20, Nov. 30, Fiction)

“Claire Keegan works magic in this small novel about a truly good man in 1985 Ireland, and the difficult decision he faces at Christmastime. Keegan captures the extraordinary courage required to live an ordinary life with honor.”
—John Lynn, The Kennett Bookhouse, Kennett Square, PA

People from My Neighborhood: Stories
By Hiromi Kawakami, Ted Goossen (Transl.)
(Soft Skull, 9781593767112, $15.95, paperback, Nov. 30, Short Stories)

“Hiromi Kawakami writes like no one else. She seamlessly mixes fairytales and folklore into the reality of everyday life with an innocent dreamlike quality. It is a sheer joy to read her, and People from My Neighborhood is no exception.”
—Rachel Brewer, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY

Dava Shastri’s Last Day: A Novel
By Kirthana Ramisetti
(Grand Central Publishing, 9781538703861, $28, Nov. 30, Fiction)

“I’m a fan of obituaries — a life whittled down to a handful of words reveals a great deal. In Dava Shastri’s Last Day, we see the glorious backfire of secretly outliving your deepest secrets. Intriguing, fast-paced, thought provoking.”
—Ashley Warlick, M. Judson Booksellers & Storytellers, Greenville, SC

The Anomaly: A Novel
By Hervé Le Tellier, Adriana Hunter (Transl.)
(Other Press, 9781635421699, $16.99, paperback, Nov. 23, Thriller)

“A mind-blowing examination of who we think we are, what we think we know, and how we might be completely wrong. The dualities, the possibilities, The Anomaly!”
—Kayleen Rohrer, InkLink Books, East Troy, WI

Wish You Were Here: A Novel
By Jodi Picoult
(Ballantine Books, 9781984818416, $28.99, Nov. 30, Fiction)

“Jodi Picoult continues to amaze us with her masterful storytelling. This time she tackles the difficult subject of Covid with a touching and emotional story. There is a beauty of the human spirit that comes through loud and clear.”
—Kathy Morrison, Newtown Bookshop, Newtown, PA

The Postmistress of Paris: A Novel
By Meg Waite Clayton
(Harper, 9780062946980, $27.99, Nov. 30, Fiction)

“This is a beautifully written story filled with nuanced and compelling characters. Clayton draws the reader into the harrowing world of a young American woman determined to help artists and others flee Vichy France.”
—Jean Forstner, Kepler’s Books, Menlo Park, CA

Beasts of a Little Land: A Novel
By Juhea Kim
(Ecco, 9780063093577, $27.99, Dec. 7, Fiction)

“Encompassing 40+ years of Korea’s fight for independence from colonial powers, this book tore my heart out in the best way, and somehow — in the way that only great books can — pieced it back together fuller and more whole than when I began.”
—Amanda Hurley, Tombolo Books, St. Petersburg, FL

These Precious Days: Essays
By Ann Patchett
(Harper, 9780063092785, $26.99, Nov. 23, Essays)

“I’m a fiction reader, but the love I have for Patchett’s essays is absolutely incandescent. She’s the wise friend you wish you had, delivering life advice and hard truths. Patchett dazzles with her honesty, insight, and adroitness.”
—Emily Crowe, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Chouette: A Novel
By Claire Oshetsky
(Ecco, 9780063066670, $24, Nov. 16, Fiction)

“From the beginning I was rapt, unable to look away from what is exactly the definition of awe: terrible and beautiful all at once. Absolutely one of the best reads of my year.”
—Chelsia Rice, Montana Book Company, Helena, MT

The Ballerinas: A Novel
By Rachel Kapelke-Dale
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250274236, $27.99, Dec. 7, Fiction)

“Female friendship and betrayal set against the intriguing milieu of ballet — where ambition is set against a ticking clock. The Ballerinas is a glittering story with compelling characters and an unexpected yet satisfactory twist.”
—Jann Griffiths, BookSmart, Morgan Hill, CA

A History of Wild Places: A Novel
By Shea Ernshaw
(Atria Books, 9781982164805, $27, Dec. 7, Thriller)

“This twisty thriller gave me similar vibes to The Village and absolutely kept me on my toes! Shea Ernshaw really hit it out of the park with this brilliant adult debut.”
—Kassie Weeks, The Oxford Exchange, Tampa, FL

Termination Shock: A Novel
By Neal Stephenson
(William Morrow, 9780063028050, $35, Nov. 16 Thriller)

“Stephenson turns his considerable talent for world-building to our near future. His mix of wit, science, and suspense creates a story of queens, cowboys, and soldiers entangled in the last-ditch effort to save humanity or doom it.”
—Greg Cass, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, MA

The Churchill Sisters: The Extraordinary Lives of Winston and Clementine’s Daughters
By Rachel Trethewey
(St. Martin’s Press, 9781250272393, $29.99, Nov. 23, Biography)

“A meticulously researched biography of the daughters of one of the greatest statesmen of the 20th century. I greatly enjoyed learning about each of his children and their relationships with their father and their mother, Clementine.”
—Sarah Danforth, Towne Book Center & Café, Collegeville, PA

The Cat Who Saved Books: A Novel
By Sosuke Natsukawa, Louise Heal Kawai (Transl.)
(HarperVia, 9780063095724, $24.99, Dec. 7, Fiction)

The Cat Who Saved Books is a love letter to book lovers, championing the emotional impact that stories have in the hearts and lives of readers. Tiger adds a bonus charming and Ghibli-esque aesthetic to this thoughtful, tender novel.”
—Andrew King, Secret Garden Bookshop, Seattle, WA

Murder Under Her Skin: A Pentecost and Parker Mystery
By Stephen Spotswood
(Doubleday, 9780385547123, $27, Dec. 7, Mystery)

Murder Under Her Skin will light a fire under eager fans of Pentecost and Parker. Filled with snappy dialogue, clever plot, and richly imagined characters — readers will clamor for the next installment. It is cracking good fun!”
—Pamela Klinger-Horn, Valley Bookseller, Stillwater, MN

Sex Cult Nun: Breaking Away from the Children of God, a Wild, Radical Religious Cult
By Faith Jones
(William Morrow, 9780062952455, $27.99, Nov. 30, Memoir)

Sex Cult Nun offers a shocking glimpse into the Children of God cult from its founder’s granddaughter. In a shocking yet hopeful memoir, Jones details her journey to leaving the world she knows to find agency and her dreams.”
—Nikita Imafidon, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

Elder Race
By Adrian Tchaikovsky
(Tordotcom, 9781250768728, $14.99, paperback, Nov. 16, Science Fiction)

“This smart and snappy novella stitches together a slew of tropes — technology-as-magic, traditional D&D-esque fantasy, alien anthropology — interrogating each element. A rollicking read with intriguing little nuggets of insight.”
—Jake Casella Brookins, City Lit Books, Chicago, IL

True Crime Story: A Novel
By Joseph Knox
(Sourcebooks Landmark, 9781728245867, $16.99, paperback, Dec. 7, Thriller)

True Crime Story is a riveting work of fiction that reads like a guilty pleasure tabloid. When a struggling writer delves into a mystery, she finds all involved have something to hide. A great twisty thriller where nothing is as it seems.”
—Mary O’Malley, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Bright Burning Things: A Novel
By Lisa Harding
(HarperVia, 9780063097148, $26.99, Dec. 7, Fiction)

“Wow, what a ride. Written from the warped perspective of an alcohol-addicted mother, this book was hard to put down. The writing is genuine and charming, the characters unique within their own individual skins. I absolutely loved it.”
—Tracey Bowes, Pressed, Erie, PA

Sea State: A Memoir
By Tabitha Lasley
(Ecco, 9780063030831, $27.99, Dec. 7, Memoir)

“At its heart, this is a story about men whose lives are filled with toxic masculinity in a world without women — on oil rigs off Scotland. But it’s also a story of a woman looking for her place in the world who goes there to write about the men.”
—Scott Lange, The Bookman, Grand Haven, MI

You Feel It Just Below the Ribs: A Novel
By Jeffrey Cranor, Janina Matthewson
(Harper Perennial, 9780063066625, $16.99, paperback, Nov. 16, Fiction)

You Feel It Just Below the Ribs is a very interesting take on the dystopian alternate future trope. I highly recommend it for fans who like post-societal reads that focus more on the psychological impacts rather than any gore or horror.”
—Kaycee Arrowood, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

The Teller of Secrets: A Novel
By Bisi Adjapon
(HarperVia, 9780063088948, $26.99, Nov. 16, Fiction)

“An absolute page-turner of a book, a fiercely feminist coming-of-age tale about a young Ghanaian girl questioning what is expected of her and what she is owed. A mesmerizing and powerful read from a fresh literary talent.”
—Meghana Kandlur, Seminary Co-Op Bookstores, Chicago, IL

A Different Distance: A Renga
By Marilyn Hacker, Karthika Naïr
(Milkweed Editions, 9781571315519, $16, paperback, Dec. 14, Poetry)

“Friends, poets, and Paris residents Marilyn Hacker and Karthika Naïr wrote a renga (a linked poem) over the course of a year, from March 2020 to March 2021 during the full lockdown. Reading this collection is a lovely, lovely experience.”
—Jen Wills Geraedts, Beagle and Wolf Books & Bindery, Park Rapids, MN

A Thing of Beauty: Travels in Mythical and Modern Greece
By Peter Fiennes
(Oneworld Publications, 9780861540617, $27.95, Nov. 30, Travel/Essays)

“I really enjoyed this mashup of travel writing, musings on Greek mythology, and thoughts about climate change and its effect on our world. Fiennes drew me in with his study of Lord Byron and from there I was happy to pop in on his travels.”
—Kate Storhoff, Bookmarks, Winston-Salem, NC

Where You Come From: A Novel
Saša Stanišic, Damion Searls (Transl.)
(Tin House Books, 9781951142759, $17.95, paperback, Dec. 7, Fiction)

“One of Germany’s most important living writers, Stanišic writes of the experience of growing up in the former Yugoslavia, fusing choose-your-own-adventure, multigenerational conflict, and biting witticisms against fascists.”
—Spencer Ruchti, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA


The 6 Now in Paperback Titles

The Burning God
By R. F. Kuang
(Harper Voyager, 9780062662644, $16.99, Nov. 16, Fiction/Fantasy)

“Kuang holds no punches when it comes to describing the raw horror and consequences of war, drawing her characters to impossibly dark corners where their only escape is through catastrophic decisions. The cap to a perfect triad of books.”
—Ava Tusek, Second Star to the Right, Denver, CO

The Butchers’ Blessing: A Novel
By Ruth Gilligan

(Tin House Books, 9781951142742, $16.95, Nov. 16, Fiction)
“A beautiful tale of the strife of traditions in a changing Ireland, woven together with the threads of a modern-day mystery. Impossible to put down and harder to forget, this novel lingers and feels like fog.”
—Carrie Koepke, Skylark Bookshop, Columbia, MO

Leave the World Behind: A Novel
By Rumaan Alam
(Ecco, 9780062667649, $16.99, Nov. 23, Fiction)

“Eerie and timely, Leave the World Behind will be the next book to talk about. Before you know it, you’ve stayed up half the night racing to the end of the book. It’s a fast read but a powerful book asking important questions.”
—Katerina Argyres, Bookshop West Portal, San Francisco, CA

Little Wishes: A Novel
By Michelle Adams
(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780063019577, $16.99, Nov. 16, Fiction)

“I loved everything about this book. Every year on the anniversary of their first kiss, Tom leaves a gift for Elizabeth on her doorstep. When his gift fails to arrive in the 50th year, Elizabeth decides she must find Tom before it is too late.”
—Connie Eaton, Three Sisters Books & Gifts, Shelbyville, IN

Nights When Nothing Happened: A Novel
By Simon Han
(Riverhead Books, 9780593086063, $17, Nov. 16, Fiction)

“Deftly shifting time frames and points of view, Simon Han, in his dazzling debut, gives a piercing, often funny, and deeply moving account of a Chinese family’s struggle to settle into the lives they think they should be living.
—Rick Simonson, The Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, WA

The Office of Historical Corrections: A Novella and Stories
By Danielle Evans
(Riverhead Books, 9780593189450, $17, Nov. 9, Fiction)

“I have been holding my breath for Danielle Evans’ next book since Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self and The Office of Historical Corrections was worth the wait. The same great storytelling, insight, and sharp cultural commentary.”
—Miesha Headen, Loganberry Books, Shaker Heights, OH