From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Where the Dead Pause, and the Japanese Say Goodbye: A Journey by Marie Mutsuki Mockett (Norton, $26.95, 9780393063011). "Mockett's journey begins in the wake of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, near the site of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant, and encompasses a nation's grieving as well as her own. Through her beautiful descriptions of traditions, rituals, conversations, and quiet moments, she shows the nuances of a people picking up and moving on. By seeking out the cultural context of her subject's very human reactions and emotions, Mockett walks a fine line that globalization has tried to erase entirely, and our understanding of the events and their aftermath is richer for it." --Rachel Cass, Harvard Book Store, Cambridge, Mass.
Ongoingness: The End of a Diary by Sarah Manguso (Graywolf Press, $20, 9781555977030). "Ongoingness is at once a calm analysis and a feverishly whispered confession. Built around the 'dark matter' of Manguso's 800,000-word diary, each capsule-sized entry is a meditation on memory, mortality, and what we leave behind--both tangible and not. Highly recommended for fans of Joan Didion's The White Album and Leslie Jamison's The Empathy Exams." --Sarah Hollenbeck, Women & Children First, Chicago, Ill.
The Enchanted: A Novel by Rene Denfeld (Harper Perennial, $14.99, 9780062285515). "A death row inmate, a fallen priest, and the Lady. These nameless characters are central to this dark, enthralling, magical story. Locked in a dungeon cell, the inmate deals with his incarceration by transforming the prison into a wondrous place. The rumblings of the earth become golden horses running below his cell, molten lava flowing from their manes. The Lady works to have the sentences of the condemned commuted to life in prison while the priest is fallen, lost, and desperately in love with her. These characters live and work in a truly enchanted place, and I was sorry to leave them behind when the book was finished." --Jessie Martin, Nicola's Books, Ann Arbor, Mich.
For Ages 9 to 12
Masterminds by Gordon Korman (Balzer + Bray, $16.99, 9780062299963). "Korman's latest is thilling! Only 30 kids live in the idyllic town of Serenity. It is a perfect place where people are happy and kind, there is no crime, and everyone has what they need. But all is not as it seems. Evil lies beneath the perfection. Told through the alternating voices of five of Serenity’s kids, this surprising tale unfolds with relentless suspense, and readers are as shocked as the narrators when the truth about Serenity becomes clear. I could not stop reading!" --Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.
For Teen Readers
The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, $18, 9780316220750). "The Doubt Factory is a complex, intelligent thriller. With themes involving the pharmaceutical industry, bad science, and the companies that orchestrate cover-ups, this book is intriguing, relevant, and boasts a broad variety of bright, if not totally law abiding, teens. Bacigalupi knows how to present believable characters of both genders, and the variety of racial backgrounds is refreshingly accurate. A great, important read!" --Flannery Fitch, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, Calif.
Finding Spring by Carin Berger (Greenwillow Books, $17.99, 9780062250193). "Beautiful collage illustrations help tell the story of one little bear's exuberant search for spring--even though he should be hibernating. All ages can relate to the theme of looking for something that you've never actually seen before--something that you can't find by traveling across a distance. Or can you? A sweet ending helps readers celebrate the changing of the seasons." --Leslie Hawkins, Spellbound Children's Bookshop, Asheville, N.C.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]