The best new books this month chosen by us and other
independent booksellers across the country.

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick...

Scribe

By Alyson Hagy

(Graywolf Press, 9781555978181, $16, trade paper)

"Scribe is a novel about dystopian Appalachia following the Civil War, a place ravaged by sickness and divvied up by the brute strength of men and their ability to defeat any invaders. If that doesn't pique your interest, its main character is a complicated woman with a highly valued skill: the ability to write. In the wake of war and widespread fever, she sustains herself by creating paper and ink and writing the most heartbreakingly poetic letters to help others declare their triumphs and sins. After getting a special request from an unusual passerby, she finds herself in danger and must flee the once-beautiful but now brutal farmland she's always called home. Scribe is as deeply imaginative as it is viscerally emotional, and Alyson Hagy's ability to temper darkness with light makes it a spellbinding novel."
--Morgan McComb, Raven Book Store, Lawrence, KS

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

Booksellers have chosen Alyson Hagy's Scribe (Graywolf Press)--part historical fiction, part post-apocalyptic saga--as their number-one pick on the November Indie Next List.

Hagy's new book, which booksellers have also chosen as their number-one book for the Winter 2018-2019 Indie Next List for Reading Groups, draws on traditional folktales and the history and culture of Appalachia to illustrate a tale about the power of storytelling. In a post-civil war world ravaged by disease, the book's central character lives on her family farm after the death of her sister, bartering her writing skills for subsistence while a migrant group known as the Uninvited set up camp on her fields, over which local land boss Billy Kingery keeps a watchful eye. One day, a strange man's request for a letter triggers a reckoning with her troubled past, setting off events that culminate in a harrowing journey to the crossroads to deliver it.

Hagy, who was raised on a farm in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, is the author of seven other works of fiction, including Boleto (Graywolf, 2013). She has been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Christopher Isherwood Foundation. Her work has won a Pushcart Prize, the Nelson Algren Prize, and the Syndicated Fiction Award and has been included in Best American Short Stories. Today, Hagy lives in Laramie, Wyoming, where she is a professor for the creative writing program at the University of Wyoming.

Congratulations on booksellers choosing Scribe as their number-one pick for the November Indie Next List. How did you feel when you heard about it?

I was numb and surprised. I'm not a young person, so I remember when IndieBound was established, and I keep pretty close tabs on those lists because they really helped me think about what I might want to read and what I should know about. So to be part of it is just head-spinning, and to be number-one is beyond anything I ever thought possible. When you write a book, you're in the bubble of your characters and your situation, and I, at least, don't ever really know how people might react. I think Scribe is an odd, knotty little book, so the fact that it struck some sort of chord with readers is a wonderful surprise for me.

How did you get the idea for the book?

I grew up in southwest Virginia in a place that looks almost exactly like the setting of the novel. I was driving from Charlottesville to my parents' farm in Job, West Virginia, on the backroads and passing all of these abandoned, failing farms that I think were great and thriving in the late 19th and most of the 20th century and aren't really anymore. And I started imagining what those communities must have been like, particularly the bartering and sustainable communities that would have been there; they would have been pretty isolated. And I just started thinking about it in a different way: I asked myself, what would happen to someone who was literate in a culture like that, who couldn't make wagon wheels or weave rugs or raise sheep or whatever very handily? And once I asked myself that question, my imagination just started to tumble and spin and these pieces started coming together for me pretty quickly. But they were definitely in the shape of a tale, not a more realistic work of fiction, if that makes sense. And that's different for me.

Story and myth are very important in Scribe in terms of the book's format as well as the pervading mythical elements. Why write this "tale" as opposed to a more conventionally formed novel?

I was trying to do something different; I've been an American realist for such a long time, so if I've been at all successful doing that I'm really pleased. I still don't entirely know where the urge came from. I just wanted that awe that I felt as a really young person listening to people tell strange stories where it was ok that they didn't make sense, that were just so strange but you were captivated by what was happening within. You didn't need them to be exactly like your real world. Fairy tales are an example of that, and tall tales--the more outlandish the better. When I was a really little kid, I cut my teeth reading the Bible and going to church pretty much every Sunday, and the Bible is filled with odd stories.

In your research, did you look back at the history, folklore, and myth of Appalachia?

Only a little bit. Honestly, I told folks at my first event recently that this was the one novel where I really didn't have to do any research. I grew up there and this stuff is just sort of in my bones. I have, as a writer, spent a fair amount of time, particularly in my short stories, trying to think about how stories function, how they fall apart, how they come together, how they're retold or borrowed, and for whatever reason, when this scribe character came to me, it was just going to allow me to continue to think about those themes in a way. But I was mostly swept away by the idea of someone who would write letters for other people, which I think was a real thing. I should say here, I'm so old, I still remember the remnants of the barter culture post-World War II, post-Depression. I grew up in the '60s and '70s, and my father was often paid in goods instead of money, and then my parents grew up in the Depression, when it was all barter.

I also come from that Scotch-Irish-African American mish-mash in Appalachia where people use stories to convey everything about their communities--where they think their communities are wrong, where they think they are strong; there's a great sense of humor. I did go back and look at one of the collections of the Jack Tales just to remind myself of some things, and I borrowed shamelessly from a couple of those tales. I also borrowed shamelessly from my own family's mythologies, some regional stories, and some indigenous stories. I've been doing that kind of work a little bit in my short fiction, but again, having this letter-writer write other people's sins or narratives out for them allowed me to really run the mile with that idea.

Toward the end of the book, the letter-writer says, "It was all a writer could do to lay out the consequences of a person's choices... Let him hear exactly who he is, and who he might yet become." Do you think stories hold this same power today, to show us how to be better?

Yes. I don't usually think about it in terms of morals; that line just flowed from the pen, but it didn't come in the first draft. It came later, when I started to begin to understand a little better what I was doing. But I thought, gosh, that's why we should be studying literature, that's why empathy in literature is so important, because we're all making choices all the time. We imagine how we might behave under duress but we don't really know, so stories can help us practice those decisions. And I think that they are absolutely as necessary now. It's really interesting for me--the more political we become, the more we are able to create our own narratives moment by moment, whether it's on Facebook or composing autofiction or whatever. It reminds you that these narratives are so powerful and so essential for the creation of community or the destruction of community, if you want to use them that way.

Do you consider yourself a "scribe"? Why do you write, personally?

An old mentor of mine said many, many years ago that it was his opinion that writers fell into one of two camps, prophets or scribes, talking about people who were writing really politically engaged fiction. At the time I thought to myself, you know, I'm more the recorder as opposed to the firebrand visionary. I don't know if I'll always stay that way but, yes, I feel like I have been the watcher and the observer of my world more than the leader and creator of visions.

What has your experience at indie bookstores been like, both as an author and as a patron?

I grew up in the back of beyond country, so we didn't have bookstores. The library was my absolute favorite place to visit. I went to graduate school at the University of Michigan in the early '80s, so the original Borders was in Ann Arbor at the time. I had never seen such a palace of books, new and used, and I had never been around staff who knew fiction and religion and history. It was just incredible and I would go in several times a week. I didn't know what had been missing in my life.

Here in Laramie, Wyoming, we have this really unique, very small store called Second Story Books. It's located in a former brothel and has been run and managed by a series of very smart, book-loving people who just keep all kinds of literature available. Second Story Books has been a different kind of anchor to me. It's so wonderfully idiosyncratic; you never know what you are going to find on the shelves because it is so completely determined by the taste of whoever the manager is or whoever the staff person ordering the books has been. So that's very cool, I think.

More Indie Next List Great Reads

Friday Black: Stories

By Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah

(Mariner Books, 9781328911247, $14.99, trade paper)

"What a breathtaking collection. These stories are so artfully crafted and imaginatively constructed that at first blush they carry the same satisfaction as the best social satire out there and all the respect that goes along with the label; this collection, however, commands that and more. It is wrenching in its acute, precise indictment of white culture and its guardians, all the while offering language that is playfully impish in its originality. Adjei-Brenyah has an innate ability to create worlds that are familiar and distant and that feel like a privilege to be able to glimpse. This is not to be missed."
--Christen Thompson, Itinerant Literate Books, North Charleston, SC

Unsheltered

By Barbara Kingsolver

(Harper, 9780062684561, $29.99)

"A brilliant novel set in two different centuries, eras when lies trumped truth and superstition overruled science. Kingsolver illustrates human resiliency with insight, humor, and compassion in this deeply satisfying novel. While showing the cost of leadership built on false promises and lies, it also illustrates the strength of the human spirit with characters who will not be broken by their times. Kingsolver's characters, including historical figures Mary Treat and Charles Landis, shine as they make their way through the maze of survival set before them. Great reading."
--Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

The Collector's Apprentice

By B.A. Shapiro

(Algonquin Books, 9781616203580, $27.95)

"What enormous fun Barbara Shapiro had in constructing this mini-universe of arts, artists, collectors, and grifters. Loosely based on Barnes Foundation founder Albert C. Barnes and his assistant, Shapiro's fictional pair--Edwin Bradley, the collector, and the lovely but unlucky Paulien Mertens--flit from Europe to Pennsylvania and back in the 1920s. The joy of The Collector's Apprentice is infectious as the reader is introduced to the salon of Gertrude Stein and becomes a voyeur of a passionate affair involving the great philanderer Henri Matisse. The Roaring Twenties, a whiff of the Talented Mr. Ripley, and a pinch of sex, murder, and mystery are the ingredients of this art thriller. With her bold brush strokes and vivid colors, Shapiro has created a Gauguin of a novel."
--Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, CT

Melmoth

By Sarah Perry

(Custom House, 9780062856395, $27.99)

"Melmoth is evocative and atmospheric, the perfect book for a chilly night and the turning of the seasons. Through diaries, letters, and narration, we are introduced to the legendary Melmoth, who is cursed to wander the world alone and watch humans destroy themselves over and over. This quintessential gothic tale is set against the vivid backdrop of winter in Prague and populated by fully realized supporting characters and a protagonist with a hell of a secret. Melmoth, eternal witness to humanity at both its most banal and its most depraved, will haunt me."
--Chelsea Bauer, Union Avenue Books, Knoxville, TN

The Travelling Cat Chronicles

By Hiro Arikawa

Philip Gabriel (Transl.)

(Berkley, 9780451491336, $20)

"The time comes when you've just had enough: enough bad news, enough hateful words, enough human suffering, enough gloom and doom. The perfect antidote for those times is The Travelling Cat Chronicles. This exquisitely sized book not only feels good in your hand, but its essence feels good in your brain. Satoru and his cat, Nana, travel miles and miles all over Japan looking for the perfect place for both of them. Both laughter and tears come with this book. It'll make a cat lover out of even the most ardent resister! Treat yourself to a short reprieve from the world: read this book!"
--Nancy Simpson-Brice, Book Vault, Oskaloosa, IA

The Lonesome Bodybuilder: Stories

By Yukiko Motoya

Asa Yoneda (Transl.)

(Soft Skull Press, 9781593766788, $16.95, trade paper)

"Yukiko Motoya takes the mundane and brilliantly spikes it with the fantastical, the aberrant, and the all-out unexpected. These stories tilt the axis of reality by degrees, deftly inverting scenes of both solitude and cohabitation, pitting the personal against the domestic. Amid increasingly splashy motifs, The Lonesome Bodybuilder asks how we define ourselves through our relationships to others and whether our true identities can ever be known. Buoyant, charming, and layered with intent, this collection deserves a bevy of admirers."
--Justin Walls, Powell's Books at Cedar Hills Crossing, Beaverton, OR

The Library Book

By Susan Orlean

(Simon & Schuster, 9781476740188, $28)

"There is no one better at investigating the fascinating stories hiding in plain sight than Susan Orlean. The vivid descriptions of the fire that engulfed the Los Angeles Central Library in 1986 are burnished by the meticulous research she did on the history of libraries and on the shocking event that resulted in the destruction and damage of over one million books. The mystery of who would start such a fire is woven between stories of eccentric librarians and the transformation of Los Angeles in the 20th century. From memories of the blissful hours spent in the library of her youth to the historical significance of these repositories of our past, Orlean has crafted a love letter to the importance of the written word and those who devote their lives to its preservation."
--Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

The Feral Detective

By Jonathan Lethem

(Ecco, 9780062859068, $26.99)

"Lethem's latest is a treat for fans and new readers alike. His personal brand of detective fiction (shrewd character descriptions, razor-sharp dialogue, and scene-setting that engages all five senses) has always been indebted to the (wild) West Coast--Hollywood specifically--so it's unsurprising that The Feral Detective is as satisfying as his New York novels. A compelling and timely tale of why even going off the grid won't save you from going off your rocker."
--John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, CT

A Ladder to the Sky

By John Boyne

(Hogarth, 9781984823014, $27)

"Maurice Swift is a man you won't soon forget: handsome and charming, but above all else ambitious. He dreams of being the greatest writer of his generation and has no qualms about using the people in his orbit and conning his way to the top of his field. John Boyne has given us a truly memorable character in Maurice, but more than that, he's given us a novel with an ingenious structure and terrific dialogue that entertains the larger question of who can ever really own a story. This is a fantastic, thoughtful tale that even in its darkest moments is a thrill to read."
--Erika VanDam, RoscoeBooks, Chicago, IL

Alice Isn't Dead

By Joseph Fink

(Harper Perennial, 9780062844132, $19.99)

"Joseph Fink is my hero for making extreme anxiety a superpower and something from which a person can draw strength. Like the Welcome to Night Vale novels, Alice Isn't Dead evinces a gentleness throughout the story, but as with Keisha, the protagonist, don't mistake that for weakness. This novel is a road trip into the depths of human love even in the midst of experiencing inexplicable and weird horrors. It will linger with you long after you finish reading it."
--Christine Havens, BookPeople, Austin, TX

An Elderly Lady Is Up to No Good: Stories

By Helene Tursten

Marlaine Delargy (Transl.)

(Soho Crime, 9781641290111, $12.99)

"Never underestimate 88-year-old ladies--nearly deaf, living alone, and using wheeled walkers--when it comes to murder. Elderly Maud has inherited a spacious apartment in downtown Gothenburg, Sweden, where she lives rent-free, but not trouble-free: there's a celebrity who covets Maud's larger apartment, an upstairs neighbor who loudly slaps his wife around, and an antique dealer who drools over the expensive art and artifacts housed in Maud's place. You won't want to miss Tursten's clever stories with more murders solved (or not) by Detective Irene Huss of the shoe size 41."
--Karen Briggs, The Booknook, East Talwas, MI

Little

By Edward Carey

(Riverhead Books, 9780525534327, $27)

"I am astounded. I am charmed. I am awaiting the manifestation of pure joy this enchanting book will be for the ages. Anne Marie Grosholtz is as tall as the human heart but her outlook is to the moon. Orphaned at a young age, this child is apprenticed to a physician whose wax modeling lends a twist of the macabre and is a precursor to Marie's wondrous involvement with French royalty, a revolution, and museums. Complete with elucidating illustrations, Little is a bold imagining of Madame Tussaud. To be clear, I love it! I love it! I love it!"
--Jeanette Creager, Mitzi's Books, Rapid City, SD

Heavy: An American Memoir

By Kiese Laymon

(Scribner, 9781501125652, $26)

"Telling the truth has always been a radical and political act, but Kiese Laymon writes in Heavy with a rare, vulnerable unity of personal urgency and political clarity. This is a story about how our country's lies and thefts weigh heavily on the hearts and souls of its black mothers and sons. About how dishonesty about white supremacy, money, sex, and violence threads through our most intimate relationships and causes us to become strangers to ourselves. If Heavy is about lies, it is also fundamentally about the redemptive power of truth, stories, language, and joy. If there's a way out of the loneliness of being human in a country that does not value or support humanity, Laymon suggests, it is in the connection we find in the words we toss to one another, like lifelines, like laughter."
--E.R. Anderson, Charis Books & More, Atlanta, GA

The Reckoning

By John Grisham

(Doubleday, 9780385544153, $29.95)

"John Grisham returns to Ford County and goes back in time in The Reckoning. The Banning family has been farming there for over a hundred years when its patriarch is called for duty in World War II. He returns a heavily decorated hero to his beloved community, his lovely wife, and his two children. Then, for no apparent reason, or none he shall ever reveal, he goes to town one day to murder the Methodist minister. With masterful storytelling, Grisham takes us through the war Pete Banning fought, a grueling trial, and deep into the human heart and psyche. Grisham is at his best in The Reckoning."
--Richard Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, MS

Those Who Knew

By Idra Novey

(Viking, 9780525560432, $26)

"This book packs a punch. While slender, every sentence, every word, is well-chosen and thought-provoking. However, as intellectually stimulating as it is, it's still accessible and enjoyable. Every chapter, though small, gives you a snapshot of who a character is and drives the plot along. I picked this book up on a whim and from the very first page I couldn't put it down. I can't recommend this book enough!"
--Erin Gold, Pages Bookshop, Detroit, MI

Marilla of Green Gables

By Sarah McCoy

(William Morrow, 9780062697714, $26.99)

"Many of us who grew up with Anne of Green Gables always wondered why neither Marilla or her brother, Matthew, married; we were also very curious as to what secret Marilla held in her heart regarding John Blythe. Now, Sarah McCoy answers these questions for us in her new book, Marilla of Green Gables. She begins the story when Marilla is only 13 and continues until just before Anne comes to Green Gables. This book is wonderfully and imaginatively written, a rendering that Lucy Maud Montgomery herself would approve of. McCoy brings Marilla to life and helps us understand how she became the woman she did. A must-read for all those who love Anne of Green Gables."
--Pat Trotter, Bookends on Main, Menomonie, WI

Wasteland: The Great War and the Origins of Modern Horror

By W. Scott Poole

(Counterpoint, 9781640090934, $26)

"Wasteland is as breathtaking as it is sensitive. The backdrop of bloodshed that is the Great War is almost its own character in Poole's writing. The early lives and war experiences of each man lend themselves so well to the dissection of the works produced by those who returned but never really came back. Poole's latest is dead on with sharp analysis and drinkable prose as he illustrates the hunger for horror, the almost compulsive need to relive and re-experience the trauma, and the irrevocable mark on the landscape of our psychology and pop culture."
--Bethany Kibblesmith, The Book Table, Oak Park, IL

Family Trust

By Kathy Wang

(William Morrow, 9780062855251, $26.99)

"Family Trust is a novel that I did not want to end. From the start, I was completely immersed in the Huang family dynamic, complicated as most families tend to be. In one sentence you feel real sympathy for a character, and in the next you are laughing out loud. It is a true gem. From the first pages, I was completely swept in to the lives of the Huang family. I have a feeling this will be my go-to hand-sell for the fall! Those who loved The Nest and Crazy Rich Asians will eat this right up! A very well-written, highly enjoyable read."
--Kaitlin Smith, Copperfield's Books, Sebastopol, CA

The Proposal

By Jasmine Guillory

(Berkley, 9780399587689, $15, trade paper)

"The Proposal is a smile in book form. When I realized it was about Carlos, the best friend from Guillory's The Wedding Date, I smiled. Carlos is fun, smart, and loves to cook--he's also not perfect, not horrible, just the normal quirks. Nikole has some issues too. The two meet, enjoy each other's company, and try to make their quirks fit together. Guillory writes these wonderful, engaging romance stories that are totally realistic and charming--think of the best cocktail party story you've heard about how a couple met, and this book will be better. Funny, uplifting, and lighthearted, The Proposal is a perfect Friday night date."
--Julie Karaganis, Cabot Street Books & Cards, Beverly, MA

Fire Sermon

By Jamie Quatro

(Grove Press, 9780802128980, $16)

"I'm presently gobsmacked by and head-over-heels in love with Jamie Quatro's Fire Sermon, a gorgeous, searing first novel that takes on themes of grace, God, desire, truth, and family. Told in an array of tenses and forms that range from poetry to e-mail (and everything in between), Fire Sermon takes great risks stylistically, as well as topically, leaving nothing stable in its wake. It is unsparing and uncompromising, singular, innervating, and strong, and it is a deeply, wonderfully stirring work of art."
--Will Walton, Avid Bookshop, Athens, GA

Green

By Sam Graham-Felsen

(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780399591167, $17)

"Please read Green. You will fall in love with Graham-Felsen's David from his first utterances on page one of this original, thought-provoking twist on an important subject--race relations. Thank God David has such a great voice and there are so many humorous moments, or else I may have felt extremely sad about his experiences of being such an outsider. A truly memorable moment-in-time novel and a great read."
--Sue Roegge, Chapter2Books, Hudson, WI

Happiness: A Memoir: The Crooked Little Road to Semi-Ever After

By Heather Harpham

(Picador, 9781250301147, $18)

"Heather Harpham's beautiful memoir is a deeply moving testament to love, commitment, and happiness. It might be difficult to find happiness while parenting a sick child alone, but Harpham's honesty about her struggles and fears allows us to connect to this story and see the beauty and happiness she finds. We watch in awe as she digs deep to do the difficult work, allows herself to be vulnerable as she seeks support, and practices patience in the face of anger. Harpham has found the happiness in moments, and her skillful prose will make your heart burst as you feel that happiness with her."
--Luisa Smith, Book Passage, Corte Madera, CA

Heart Spring Mountain

By Robin MacArthur

(Ecco, 9780062444431, $16.99)

"Following her splendid 2016 short story collection, Half Wild (an Indies Introduce selection), Robin MacArthur's first novel revisits rural Vermont and uses a mixture of lyrical and earthy prose to explore three generations of a family riddled by secrets and burdens of the past. This area of the country, previously overlooked by literature, proves to be rich ground that, while isolated, cannot avoid intrusions from the outside world in the form of man-made and natural disasters. The focus is on an extended family that can trace its roots back to Puritan ancestors but struggles against poverty, the unforgiving environment, and the lure of drugs. Heart Spring Mountain will introduce you to a host of memorable characters engaged in human folly and saved by redemptive love."
--Joe Strebel, Anderson's Bookshop, Naperville, IL

Hiddensee: A Tale of the Once and Future Nutcracker

By Gregory Maguire

(William Morrow Paperbacks, 9780062684370, $16.99)

"This origin story of the Nutcracker's creator blurs the lines of fantasy. In it, we are treated to the best commentary on mythology, whether Greek or Germanic. Resurrected from death at a young age, Dirk Drosselmeier returns to the living with a gift from the great god Pan. As he grows older, Dirk remains young at heart and becomes a master figurine and toy maker. Maguire's gift at fleshing out characters of beloved and classic tales is so evident in Hiddensee that it will keep you reading at all costs."
--TJ Byrnes, Oblong Books and Music, Millerton, NY

The Mitford Murders

By Jessica Fellowes

(Minotaur Books, 9781250170798, $16.99)

"I am not the main mystery reader in my household, but I loved The Mitford Murders. With perfect timing for all things Great Britain, Jessica Fellowes definitely deserves her uncle Julian's blessing to place the real-life Mitfords in a fictional Downton Abbey-like setting. It absolutely kept me guessing and satisfied all my English cravings."
--Sue Roegge, Chapter2Books, Hudson, WI

Signal Loss

By Garry Disher

(Soho Crime, 9781616959753, $15.95)

"Set in Australia, the seventh in Disher's Challis and Destry series is just as action-packed and exciting as the previous books. Meth kingpins, hit men, and a serial rapist are the villains of this installment, and the Australian location adds interest and flavor."
--Susan Taylor, The Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

Sometimes I Lie

By Alice Feeney

(Flatiron Books, 9781250144850, $16.99)

"I feel messed up after finishing this, which is what I look for in a thriller. The twists and turns are dizzying, leading to an ending you won't see coming. Amber is recovering from a car crash, and since she's not quite out of her coma, we get to see flashbacks of her life and the events that brought her to where she is today. Everything--her radio job, her writer husband, and her perfect sister, Claire--is not what it seems. But then, neither is Amber. A perfect thriller to discuss and deconstruct with your book club!"
--Kate Towery, The Fountain Bookstore, Richmond, VA

Spineless: The Science of Jellyfish and the Art of Growing a Backbone

By Juli Berwald

(Riverhead Books, 9780735211285, $16)

"Reading Spineless made me think of Nabokov's butterflies: The subject is distant to the extent that it feels almost extraterrestrial, but the author's passion is contagious. The complexity, the evolution, and the mystery of the organism grows on you, and, suddenly, you're excited about... well, jellyfish! Spineless gives climate change a story, and with it some much needed empathy."
--Sarah Reif, Kramerbooks, Washington, DC

Strangers in Budapest

By Jessica Keener

(Algonquin Books, 9781616208646, $15.95)

"With the fall of the communist regime, Budapest let in the light of new ideas and new people. Into this world of new opportunity move Americans Annie and Will. They are excited to create a new life together when then they meet mysterious, dangerous Edward. Will's instincts warn him to stay away from this new acquaintance, but Annie is compelled to help him. As she and Will go deeper into the darkness of this stranger's plan for revenge against his daughter's supposed murderer, the tension becomes almost unbearable. Make no mistake--Strangers in Budapest is a tight, well-written thrill of a story you will not forget."
--Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

White Houses

By Amy Bloom

(Random House Trade Paperbacks, 9780812985696, $17)

"Lorena Hickok, the most prominent female reporter in America, meets Eleanor Roosevelt in 1932 while reporting on Franklin Roosevelt's first presidential campaign. Almost immediately, Hick and Eleanor connect passionately and deeply, and Hick moves into the White House as 'First Friend.' The story of their bond is told with art and grace and a bit of intrigue by the wise and gifted Amy Bloom. A love story and historical novel, based on a true romance and unabashedly sensual, White Houses is extraordinary."
--Cathy Langer, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Wine Lover's Daughter: A Memoir

By Anne Fadiman

(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 9780374537944, $16)

"I loved this memoir! The reader does not need to care about wine or know who Anne Fadiman is or Clifton Fadiman was. This is a book about family and how the differences between us can be one of the many things that actually draw us together. It is also about the life of a man who became a literary critic, editor, and radio host and was also the author's beloved father. Anne Fadiman is a fine writer with an ability to bring life to a variety of subjects, as has been shown in her previous essays and memoirs. One of the best memoirs to arrive on our scene in quite a while."
--Penny McConnel, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, VT