From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
I'll Take You There: A Novel by Wally Lamb (Harper, $25.99, 9780062656285). "Lamb offers another nostalgia-fueled foray into the world of Felix Funicello, last seen in the hilarious and poignant Wishin' and Hopin'. This time around readers find Felix as a film studies professor in the present, being schooled by the ghosts of silent screen icons, all of them women. Through the magic of film, they reveal Felix's childhood and the stories of the unforgettable women who shaped him. Lamb, in his inimitable way, weaves a family dramedy in the era of bobbysoxers and hidden 'women's problems,' with the rise of feminism and one man's history as a brother, husband, and father." --Chrysler Szarlan, Odyssey Bookshop, South Hadley, Mass.
Mincemeat: The Education of an Italian Chef by Leonardo Lucarelli (Other Press, $25.95, 9781590517918). "This is not a typical chef story where the aspiring individual goes to culinary school, learns all the traditional styles, and then apprentices under a great chef to become established in the profession. Lucarelli started as a dishwasher and then through dumb luck became the chef in a restaurant after its two chefs fought with each other and left. Subsequent kitchens all offered a variety of challenges and disruptive, combative elements that helped to move Lucarelli's career along. If you want to experience some real 'behind the scenes' views of restaurant life, then do yourself a favor and read Mincemeat." --Jason Kennedy, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
Ema, the Captive by César Aira, translated by Chris Andrews (New Directions, $14.95, 9780811219105). "Ema, the Captive is a gentle meditation on the natural world in its grotesqueness and its beauty, humanity's place within it, and the effect that human progress has had on both. With his usual incredible attention to detail and in measured, lucid prose, Aira somehow turns this tale into a page-turner, the kind of feat only he could accomplish." --Justin Souther, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C.
For Ages 4 to 8
The Friend Ship by Kat Yeh, illustrated by Chuck Groenink (Disney-Hyperion, $16.99, 9781484707265). "A lonely hedgehog desires nothing more in the world than to have a friend. When she hears rumors of the Friend Ship, she sets out on a boat to find it. She meets other solitary animals along the way who ask to join her on this most important of journeys, but their search proves fruitless until Hedgehog looks around her full ship and realizes exactly where the Friend Ship is. This simple, beautifully illustrated tale shows that if you open your heart, what you seek might just be right in front of you." --Melissa Posten, The Novel Neighbor, Webster Groves, Mo.
For Ages 9 to 12
Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb (Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, $16.99, 9781492639091). "What a joy to return to the scene of a beloved children's classic. In the dark days leading up to World War II, the orphans of the Craven Home are evacuated to Misselthwaite Manor. It is there that sad and lonely Emmie Hatton finds some happiness. The kindly gardener and loving owners of the manor offer Emmie refuge for her body and soul. The garden may no longer be secret, but it still possesses magic. Return to the Secret Garden and enjoy the wonder of childhood and the magic of friendship in this sequel that is sure to warm the hearts of young readers everywhere." --Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, Minn.
For Teen Readers
Trouble Makes a Comeback by Stephanie Tromly (Kathy Dawson Books, $17.99, 9780525428411). "Digby and Zoe are back and in more trouble than ever in this sequel to Trouble Is a Friend of Mine. Zoe is confused and hurt after not hearing from Digby for months, but she moves on to a new group of friends, a new job, and even a new boyfriend. When Digby comes back to town with a convoluted--and highly dangerous--plan to find his sister, he immediately turns Zoe's new life upside down. Struggling to balance her new priorities, Zoe has to decide: if the trouble Digby's return brings is worth it. With high-stakes action and witty dialogue, this book is sure to delight anyone who loved the first book as well as those who are new to Digby and Zoe." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]