From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Twain's End by Lynn Cullen (Gallery, $26, 9781476758961). "Isabel Lyon, who was born to gentility, supported herself as a nanny and a secretary and is best known as secretary/companion to the family of Samuel Clemens. Her late marriage to Clemens' business manager left her life in shambles, as afterwards both were fired and slandered. What led to those dramatic shifts is the premise behind Twain's End. Mark Twain may be beloved beyond all American writers, but Cullen has crafted a well-researched tale supporting the view that a very manipulative, selfish, and distant Samuel Clemens and his family hid behind that façade. It is up to you to decide. A marvelous read!" --Becky Milner, Vintage Books, Vancouver, Wash.
Mothers, Tell Your Daughters: Stories by Bonnie Jo Campbell (Norton, $25.95, 9780393248456). "This collection is Campbell at her best and most audaciously appealing. At the center of each of these stories is a fierce, floundering, and unmistakably familiar woman. Mother of a daughter in some instances but always a caretaker, aware of and struggling with a hellish truth, or at justified peace with her right to impose her flawed self on a tragic other. These women's violations--both endured and perpetrated--are most certainly recognizable, and their stories are stunning. Booksellers, tell your customers. Friends, tell your people. Mothers, tell your daughters. Read this book!" --Joanna Parzakonis, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, Mich.
Vanessa and Her Sister: A Novel by Priya Parmar (Ballantine, $16, 9780804176392). "This novel tells the story of sisters Vanessa and Virginia Stephens, later to become Vanessa Bell and Virginia Woolf. Vanessa, an emerging painter, tells their stories in her journal accompanied by the letters and telegrams of their families, husbands, and the many brilliant artists and painters in their circle. It is a story of art, literature, betrayal, emotional upheaval, and, above all, the many complicated forms love takes. Set against the backdrop of Edwardian England, a time of sweeping social transformations, Vanessa and Her Sister is a moving portrait of a brilliant family." --Staci Rice, Bluebird Books, Hutchinson, Kan.
For Teen Readers
Beastly Bones: A Jackaby Novel by William Ritter (Algonquin, $17.95, 9781616203542). "First, a cat has suddenly shape-shifted into a fish and then its owner is mysteriously murdered. Next, fossils of a giant unknown creature go missing. The second book in Ritter's Jackaby series has Jackaby, a fantastical Sherlock Holmes, and Abigail Rook, his intuitive and intelligent Watson, teamed up with a host of characters to solve the case. With the aid of two paleontologists, a werewolf police detective, a big game hunter, and an intrepid reporter, Abigail and Jackaby must solve this mystery of a monster murdering people and mangling livestock. What they find is even more incredible and more dangerous than they could have imagined. Beastly Bones has it all--an intriguing mystery, a strong feminist role model, and just a hint of romance." --Claire Meints, Grass Roots Books & Music, Corvallis, Ore.
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion, $17.99, 9780544462229). "Once again Schmidt plumbs the depths of love and the binding forces of the universe as readers witness 14-year-old Joseph Brook's story unfold within his new foster family and rural Maine community. Joseph's past keeps him guarded, marked by those who only see his prior transgressions, but it also propels him to find and protect the one closest to his heart. Through the voice of Jack, his compassionate, 12-year-old foster brother, readers glean why Joseph cries out in the night and why he cannot be approached from behind. Schmidt expertly guides readers through an emotional landscape that brings both bitter and joyous tears as he reveals what grace and loyalty really mean." --Jane Knight, Bear Pond Books of Montpelier, Montpelier, Vt.
For Ages 4 to 8
Little Elliot, Big Family by Mike Curato (Holt, $17.99, 9780805098266). "Little Elliot has won my heart in a big way! Not only is it a super sweet book about friendship and family, but it also shows readers many beautiful and diverse family vignettes that underscore what Elliot longs for. The story, characters, and sentiment combine in a perfect book for both children and adults." --Valerie Welbourn, the Fountainhead Bookstore, Hendersonville, N.C.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]