From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Raised from the Ground: A Novel by Jose Saramago, translated by Margaret Jull Costa (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780151013258). "Published in Portugal in 1980 and just now appearing in English, Saramago's third novel was worth the wait. A pivotal book in the late Nobel laureate's development, this tale marks the debut of Saramago's inimitable literary voice: digressive, ironic, humorous, and graceful, but impatient with 'lyrical tosh,' it features a narrator who speaks as 'we' and embraces all of humanity in a drama of good versus evil. Scathing about the abuse of the poor by the rich and powerful, Saramago's story is nonetheless written from a deep faith in the pure-heartedness and resilience of the human spirit, showing how even the most down-trodden will eventually rise up." --Laurie Greer, Politics and Prose Books and Coffee Shop, Washington, D.C.
Song of the Vikings: Snorri and the Making of Norse Myths by Nancy Marie Brown (Palgrave Macmillan, $27, 9780230338845). "As you read about 13th century storyteller Snorri Sturluson and his writing, you will also learn about the history of the fiercely independent Icelanders and their often difficult relationships with their Scandinavian neighbors. This book is full of blood-curdling tales of family rivalries all interwoven with stories of Norse gods and other mythical creatures of the sagas. Those who have read Tolkien's Lord of the Rings will find some names that will sound oddly familiar!" --Dominica Borg, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.
Hand for a Hand by T. Frank Muir (Soho Crime, $25, 9781616951818). "A dismembered hand is found on a golf course green with a note addressed to Scottish DCI Andy Gilchrist consisting of just one word: Murder. The subsequent investigation gets too close to home for Andy when family members become involved. Set in historic St. Andrews with dour characters and dreary weather to set the mood, this first in a new series is a real nail-biter until the last page." --Rita Moran, Apple Valley Books, Winthrop, Me.
The Great Pearl Heist: London's Greatest Thief and Scotland Yard's Hunt for the World's Most Valuable Necklace by Molly Caldwell Crosby (Berkley, $25.95, 9780425252802). "This is the true story of the heist of the most valuable pearl necklace in the world in 1913 London by one of the biggest international jewel thieves and the man who sent him to jail. This little-known case is a great read about how Scotland Yard began to use forensic sleuthing to solve crimes as well as a compelling description of how the criminals were almost able to get away with the theft." --Beth Carpenter, the Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.
Memoir of the Sunday Brunch by Julia Pandl (Algonquin Books, $13.95, 9781616201722). "Growing up the youngest in a family of nine can make a kid feel lost, but the alternative, moving to a far-off suburb while all the older kids stay behind, can be even worse. It's a good thing then that the author was forced to tend to pancakes at a young age so she could further bond with her eccentric restaurateur father. Pandl shares family stories that will resonate with anyone from a large family, and some of the kitchen tales make Anthony Bourdain's confessions seem tame. But most of all, this is the story of a woman's bond with her father, built slowly with blocks of forced labor and family craziness, and then, when all that was swept away, rebuilt with the help of a lot of care and a bit of humor." --Daniel Goldin, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
White Truffles in Winter: A Novel by N.M. Kelby (Norton, $15.95, 9780393343588). "This richly layered novel is based on the life of legendary chef Auguste Escoffier, who popularized French cooking methods at his restaurants at the Savoy and the Ritz at the beginning of the 20th century. Escoffier's love for two women--the beautiful, iconic actress Sarah Bernhardt and his lovely, poetess wife, Delphine Daffis--is at the heart of this complex tale. The characters are vivid and the food--oh, the food--is delicious!" --Erica Caldwell, Present Tense, Batavia, N.Y.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Expeditioners by S.S. Taylor (McSweeney's, $22, 9781938073069). "Make way for the Wests--Zander, Kit and MK--three orphans living in the near future, where computers and electricity have failed. They are determined to discover what happened to their father, the famous cartographer Alexander West, on his last expedition but must lay low so that evil government officials don't learn that they no longer have adult supervision. The plot thickens when a mysterious stranger finds Kit in a market and hands him half a map, which the kids immediately recognize as one of their father's. The children interpret this as a sign to find the other half and set off to discover why this map is so important. An exciting start to a new series." --Lisa Christie, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Very Helpful Hedgehog by Rosie Wellesley (Trafalgar Square, $8.99, 9781843651987). "This book wins all the cute awards! The hedgehog in question is adorable, the dilemma of dealing with an apple stuck to his spines is hilarious, and the solution comes in an unexpected form. This is a lovely story of what it means to learn to be a friend." --Elizabeth Anker, Alamosa Books, Albuquerque, N.Mex.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]