The May 2011 Indie Next List Preview

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Here’s a look at the Indie Next List Great Reads and Now in Paperback titles featured on the May 2011 Indie Next List flier on its way to ABA member stores in the IndieBound movement.

A downloadable PDF version of the list and shelf-talkers for each title will be available beginning May 1 on and


The May 2011 Indie Next List Great Reads

The Story of Beautiful Girl, by Rachel Simon
(Grand Central Publishing, $24.99, 9780446574464)
"One stormy evening in the late 1960s, Martha, a retired school teacher living alone in her farmhouse, opens her door to find a young couple from the nearby State School for the Incurable and Feeble Minded on her doorstep carrying a very new baby. Martha has time to feed and clothe them, and they have time to locate a hidden space in the attic in which to hide the baby before the authorities appear. The man escapes, and as the young woman is led away, she leans into Martha and says, 'Hide her.' To her own astonishment, Martha agrees to keep the baby and in that moment readers give up their hearts to these four remarkable characters and the story of the next 40 years of their lives." -- Jeanne Regentin, Between the Covers, Harbor Springs, MI

Doc: A Novel, by Mary Doria Russell
(Random House, $26.00, 9781400068043)
"Lyrical, elegant, and compelling, romantic and relentless, Doc is the captivating story of John Henry Holliday, dentist, cardsharp, and tubercular gunfighter. Russell brings the Old West and her characters to rich and vivid life and paints a complex, charming portrait of a complicated individual. Forget about the O.K. Corral, Doc is where the real action is!" -- Carol Schneck, Schuler Books & Music, Okemos, MI

The Snowman, by Jo Nesbo, Don Bartlett (Trans.)
(Knopf, $25.95, 9780307595867)
"Winter may be a distant memory, but Jo Nesbo's The Snowman will chill you to the core. Oslo detective Harry Hole has battled demons both personal and professional throughout his career, but the emergence of Norway's first serial killer may be the greatest challenge he has faced. Dubbed 'The Snowman' after his calling card left at the scene of grisly murders, this evil and cunning killer has very carefully planned his finale and the role Harry Hole will play in it. Suspenseful and thrilling!" -- Deborah Magness, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA

The Year We Left Home: A Novel, by Jean Thompson
(Simon & Schuster, $25.00, 9781439175880)
"The Year We Left Home is a truly mesmerizing novel about an American family during the late 20th century. Each page is filled with the raw and remarkable realities of everyday life juxtaposed with profound observations about the triumphs and tragedies we all face as a family and a nation. Jean Thompson has given readers a gift to savor and share." -- Anderson McKean, Page & Palette, Fairhope, AL

Lost in Shangri-la: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, by Mitchell Zuckoff
(Harper, $26.99, 9780061988349)
"May 13, 1945. Twenty-four U.S. soldiers stationed in Dutch New Guinea pack into a C-47 for a sightseeing trip over a lush, mysterious, newly discovered valley. Unable to navigate the dense tropical clouds and steep mountain faces, the pilot crashes the plane deep in uncharted jungle. Only three injured passengers, including a WAC, survive. How they attempt to save themselves while caught between Japanese troops and hostile headhunters, what happens when they encounter a Stone Age tribe that had never seen white men or women, and how they are finally rescued is at the heart of this amazing true story." -- Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

The Coffins of Little Hope, by Timothy Schaffert
(Unbridled Books, $24.95, 9781609530402)
"At the heart of this story is narrator Essie Myles, an 83-year-old great-grandmother who has been writing obituaries for her father's small-town newspaper since she was a teenager. Far from morbid, Essie is a born storyteller, and she takes the reader on a wonderful journey into the nuances of a small town and its reaction when a little girl goes missing. Essie recounts the disappearance of the girl and in the process interweaves the stories of her own family and those of the town. Filled with rich characters and written with both charm and wonder, this should be the next book on your nightstand!" -- Julia MacDonald, The Yankee Bookshop, Woodstock, VT

You Believers, by Jane Bradley
(Unbridled, $25.95, 9781609530464)
"Multiple voices are employed to stunning effect in this novel of those who are lost and those who find. Bradley's powerful writing catapults the story of a missing young woman into an engrossing character study that examines in meaningful and unexpectedly moving ways the actions of all the players in the story: those who love her; those who search for her with their own versions of hope; and those who are responsible for her being lost. The voice of Shelby Waters, the dedicated 'finder,' is particularly strong and resonates with equal parts of compassion, hope, and world-weariness." -- Eleanor Lucas, Capitol Books and News Company, Montgomery, AL

Caleb's Crossing: A Novel, by Geraldine Brooks
(Viking Adult, $26.95, 9780670021048)
"Caleb's Crossing reveals how early pioneers and native inhabitants of what is now Martha's Vineyard were capable of intense friendship and a sharing of spiritual beliefs despite dissimilar backgrounds. Employing the language of the time, Brooks once again proves her prowess in this story of the education of the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Caleb, the son of a chieftain, faces criticism from his own people as well as from white society. The narrator, Bethia Mayfield, desires the same education as Caleb but is denied due to her sex. The two become lifelong friends and their story is an emotional and evocative look at a crossing of cultures." -- Karen Briggs, Great Northern Books and Hobbies, Oscoda, MI

A Moment in the Sun, by John Sayles
(McSweeney's, $29.00, 9781936365180)
"Spanning five extraordinary years at the turn of the 20th century, A Moment in the Sun captures a pivotal moment of global social and political change, the charge toward industrialization, the dawn of United States imperialism, racial strife, and celebration. Sayles' genius is in allowing his characters' voices to come alive, each recounting adventure, violence, tribulation, or discord, each becoming more vivid than the last, as dialogue and dialects dance off the page. This is Sayles' major work, a sprawling epic, a gripping yarn, a literary Guernica." -- Kevin Hunsanger, Green Apple Books, San Francisco, CA

In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin, by Erik Larson
(Crown, $26.00, 9780307408846)
"What would it have been like to live in Berlin during the first year of Hitler's reign? Larson's answer is as haunting as anything he has ever written. The narrative focuses on William Dodd, a mild-mannered scholar who was appointed U.S. ambassador to Germany in 1933. Adolph Hitler had been chancellor for a mere six months. Over the ensuing year, Dodd and his family members saw their hope and sense of promise turn into horror and revulsion as Germany rapidly descended into a pit of violence and fear. In the Garden of Beasts is a surprising, informative plea to heed the lessons of history." -- Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, MA

22 Britannia Road: A Novel, by Amanda Hodgkinson
(Pamela Dorman Books/Viking, $25.95, 9780670022632)
"'War-torn' describes so many things in Amanda Hodgkinson's novel -- countries, people, and relationships. Janusz and Silvana are a young couple living in Warsaw when World War II begins and they are forced to part ways, he to join the army, and she to flee the city with their infant son. Janusz is soon separated from his unit and makes his way to England. When the couple and their son, now virtual strangers, are reunited in London at war's end, the long, and at times painful, process of rebuilding their broken lives begins. A stunning debut." -- Jessie Martin, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, MI

Guilt by Association, by Marcia Clark
(Mulholland Books, $25.99, 9780316129510)
"Marcia Clark's first foray into crime fiction is a winner. Her first-person narrative focuses on L.A. Deputy District Attorney Rachel Knight's investigation into two seemingly unrelated cases, one involving a colleague's murder. This is an impressive debut that will leave you anticipating the next installment in what I hope will be a new series of legal thrillers." -- Glen Robbe, Books Inc. Mountain View, Mountain View, CA

Reading My Father: A Memoir, by Alexandra Styron
(Scribner, $25.00, 9781416591795)
"On one hand, this is a tremendously affecting biography of William Styron, gorgeously written, dramatic, insightful, and compassionate. On the other, it is Mad Men, all skinny ties, nipped waists, scotch in the afternoon, and torrid love affairs. That the younger Styron has managed to both shed a bright light on her father's career, from its rapid rise in the '50s to its dark decline as a result of profound depression, as well as to entertain with literary name-dropping and party tales is commendable. I loved it!" -- Becky Dayton, The Vermont Book Shop, Middlebury, VT

The Reading Promise: My Father and the Books We Shared, by Alice Ozma
(Grand Central Publishing, $24.99, 9780446583770)
"This charming memoir has the potential to spark a revolution in reading in homes and schools everywhere. Ozma describes growing up with her single father from the unique perspective of the thousands of nights that he spent reading to her from the age of eight until the day she left for college. The value of reading, or more specifically, of being read to, is celebrated not only as an important part of intellectual and creative development, but also as a way to forge and to nurture relationships." -- Lisa Stefanacci, The Book Works, Del Mar, CA

The Sisters Brothers: A Novel, by Patrick deWitt
(Ecco, $24.99, 9780062041265)
"This is a modern take on the Old West that is part classic Western, part Coen Brothers, part Homer's Odyssey, and part murder ballad. This wry, weird, and wonderful tale tells of hitmen Eli and Charlie Sisters as they meet funny and tragic characters on their journey to kill a man. Along the way, Eli examines both what has brought him to this point and the violent world around him. As with many adventures, that of the Sisters Brothers is really a quest to find some kind of home." -- Steven Salardino, Skylight Books, Los Angeles, CA

Seeds: One Man's Serendipitous Journey to Find the Trees That Inspired Famous American Writers from Faulkner to Kerouac, Welty to Wharton, by Richard Horan
(Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780061861680)
"Seeds is Richard Horan's paean to American icons -- writers, musicians, and statesmen -- and the trees that were a significant presence in their lives. Horan traveled around the country to visit the homes of Kesey, Twain, Carson, Buck, Armstrong, and others, where he gathered seeds from often-ancient trees. Collecting was sometimes secretive, sometimes welcomed, often comical. With a bit of history, a touch of literary critique, some botany and travelogue, and a dose of personal revelation, Seeds is a joy to read and a natural to want to share." -- Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, WA

The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine, by Alina Bronsky, Tim Mohr (Trans.)
(Europa Editions, $15.00, 9781609450069)
"Once you find yourself in the grip of Rosa's saga, there is no escaping. Brutal, self-absorbed, perceptive, and hilarious, Rosa is as unreliable as she is unforgettable. Set both behind the Iron Curtain and in the reunified Germany, The Hottest Dishes of the Tartar Cuisine is refreshing as well as disturbing. The strengths of the three generations -- unsinkable Rosa, her passive but loving daughter Sulfia, and her unpredictable and mysterious granddaughter Aminat -- link these women together and simultaneously pull them apart. Their story will fascinate, repel, and bring you to tears." -- Leslie Reiner, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL

The Sojourn, by Andrew Krivak
(Bellevue Literary Press, $14.95, 9781934137345)
"As a sharpshooter in the declining Austro-Hungarian army, Jozef is entrenched in the tragedy of WWI in this exquisite first novel. Jozef had been a shepherd in the mountains before joining the army, and after the war, on his way home to his father, he encounters a mysterious Gypsy girl in the forest. The two travel onward together, struggling to make it to their destination. In a novel full of violence and beauty, Krivak shares a unique story about a boy becoming a man during a tragic period in world history." -- Sherri Gallentine, Vroman's Bookstore, Pasadena, CA

This Life Is in Your Hands: One Dream, Sixty Acres, and a Family Undone, by Melissa Coleman
(Harper, $25.99, 9780061958328)
"This is an honest and superbly written account of an idyllic reality gone awry. Coleman's hippie parents became disciples of Helen and Scott Nearing, a 'back to the earth' couple carving out a self-sufficient life in remote coastal Maine, where they dig into the sandy earth to create an organic lifestyle in the 1970s while raising a family. Macrobiotic diets, naked farmhands harvesting in summer fecundity, and the accidental drowning of a younger sister threaten the idyllic, simple life that Eliot and Sue Coleman are striving for. Coleman digs up her complicated past in elegant and enthralling prose." -- Annie Philbrick, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

A Jane Austen Education: How Six Novels Taught Me About Love, Friendship, and the Things That Really Matter, by Willliam Deresiewicz
(Penguin Press HC, $25.95, 9781594202889)
"Austen lovers, rejoice! This intelligent, lively look at the beloved author's novels and what they offered in life lessons to one graduate student will resonate with all Austen fans -- and others as well. Like many of us, Deresiewicz, an Austen scholar, found deep lessons on life, love, friendship, and marriage in the pages and parlors of dear Jane's books. A delightful read!" -- Christine Grabish, MacDonald Book Shop, Estes Park, CO

The May 2011 Indie Next List Now in Paperback

The Bucolic Plague: How Two Manhattanites Became Gentlemen Farmers -- An Unconventional Memoir, by Josh Kilmer-Purcell (Harper Perennial, 9780061997839, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Megan Fecko, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Lyndhurst, OH

Day for Night: A Novel, by Frederick Reiken (Reagan Arthur/Back Bay Books, 9780316077576, $14.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Stacie Williams, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

The Dirty Life: A Memoir of Farming, Food, and Love, by Kristin Kimball (Scribner, 9781416551614, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jackie Blem, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

Girl in Translation: A Novel, by Jean Kwok (Riverhead Trade, 9781594485152, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Carol Mark, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

The Lonely Polygamist: A Novel, by Brady Udall  (W.W. Norton, 9780393339710, $15.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Roberta Dyer, Broadway Books, Portland, OR

The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake: A Novel, by Aimee Bender (Anchor, 9780385720960, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Michael Keefe, Annie Bloom’s Books, Portland, OR

The Red Thread: A Novel, by Ann Hood (W.W. Norton, 9780393339765, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Pat Coussa, Island Books, Middletown, RI

Secret Daughter: A Novel, by Shilpi Somaya Gowda (Avon, 9780061928352, $13.99)
Recommended in hardcover by Caitlin Doggart, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Chatham, MA

The Singer’s Gun: A Novel, by Emily St. John Mandel  (Unbridled, 9781609530426, $14.95)
Recommended in hardcover, by Jason Hafer, Wolfgang Books,  Phoenixville, PA

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival, by John Vaillant (Vintage, 9780307389046, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Marilyn Smith, Kepler’s Books & Magazines, Menlo Park, CA

Tomorrow River: A Novel, by Lesley Kagan (NAL Trade, 9780451233080, $15)
Recommended in hardcover by Jill Miner, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

What Is Left the Daughter: A Novel, by Howard Norman (Mariner, 9780547521824, $13.95)
Recommended in hardcover by Carla Jimenez, Inkwood Books, Tampa, FL