From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Salt Houses: A Novel by Hala Alyan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $26, 9780544912588). "Accomplished poet Hala Alyan exceeds the brilliance of her excellent collections of poems in her moving, deeply felt, powerfully realized first novel, Salt Houses. I can't think of many writers who have so adeptly written of family relationships--here, spanning five generations, all against a vividly rendered backdrop of exile and migration. From Palestine to Jordan, Lebanon to Kuwait, Boston to New York, this is a story of people losing, finding, and making their way. Salt Houses gives voice, body, and love to people whose lives in this country tend, at most, to be featured anonymously in news accounts--and at that, in the negative. This is real life, beautifully written and graciously enlarging the sense of who we are." --Rick Simonson, Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
Miss Burma: A Novel by Charmaine Craig (Grove Press, $26, 9780802126450). "Charmaine Craig's Miss Burma is nothing short of stunning. Based on the lives of her mother and grandparents in Burma, Craig deftly tells the epic story of one family as they try to survive the horrors of World War II, independence, and then civil war. What distinguishes this book from others is its frank look at who and what survives under such perilous conditions. Especially for readers unfamiliar with Burma, like me, Miss Burma is a chronicle of loss and love in a country too long neglected by the world." --Michael Triebwasser, Politics and Prose Bookstore, Washington, D.C.
Fen: Stories by Daisy Johnson (Graywolf Press, $16, 9781555977740). "This collection of stories scrambled my brain, in the best possible sense. They made me reread, wonder, turn the book upside down and shake it a bit to see what other fantastical imaginings would fall out. Girls turn into eels and men into foxes, a house is obsessed with a woman, and a bloodsucking girl gang preys on Internet dates. A few stories broke my heart, too. Johnson has a way of manifesting loneliness and loss into physical pain and malady that shocks the senses. Startling, unusual, and sneakily profound, Fen is an unforgettable collection." --Stefanie Kiper Schmidt, Water Street Bookstore, Exeter, N.H.
For Ages 4 to 8
Escargot by Dashka Slater, illustrated by Sydney Hanson (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, 9780374302818). "Escargot is an adorable French snail trying to reach the salad at the end of the book. He admires himself and his shiny trail as he moves across the table to the salad. He hopes it has no carrots, because he really does not like carrots. Fun illustrations and a charming story make this a picture book for everyone to enjoy!" --Cathy Berner, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Thickety: The Last Spell by J.A. White, illustrated by Andrea Offerman (Katherine Tegen Books, $16.99, 9780062381392). "Kara, Taff, and friends search for their story's end, with new and old foes meeting their fates in this conclusion to the Thickety series. The strength of the books relies on never knowing who is truly on the 'right' side of things--and that theme continues from start to finish in the fourth volume, namely with Kara never being sure about the motivations of Grace and Princess Evangeline. Satisfyingly, answers to story lore arise: Why could only girls and women, not boys and men, use grimoires? Why has the one-eyed bird been so helpful? Is the Well of Witches truly a place of forever torture?" --Todd Wellman, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
For Teen Readers
Radio Silence by Alice Oseman (HarperTeen, $17.99, 9780062335715). "In a sea of over-achieving high schoolers, you're forced to play the game, but it's just not you. You're a different person when you're not at school, but you feel you need to hide it. You're scared to rock the boat, until you meet your first true friend, which, to me, is what this novel is all about. Radio Silence has so many facets to it: it's contemporary YA, but each chapter begins with a sci-fi-esque podcast, which miraculously weaves itself into the story; it lightly explores sexual identity and diversity, but doesn't disrupt the story; and it has an element of mystery and a thriller-like pace, but it digs deep. One of my favorite books of 2017." --Kristen Gilligan, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]