From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Enchanted August: A Novel by Brenda Bowen (Pamela Dorman, $27.95, 9780525429050). "Four unlikely companions join together to rent Hopewell Cottage on Little Lost Island, Maine, for one glorious summer month during which they gradually open up to one another and rediscover their capacity to give and receive love. A brilliant homage to a beloved classic, Bowen's debut novel is a sparkling read any month of the year." --Rona Brinlee, the Book Mark, Neptune Beach, Fla.
Empire of Deception: The Incredible Story of a Master Swindler Who Seduced a City and Captivated the Nation by Dean Jobb (Algonquin, $27.95, 9781616201753). "It was P.T. Barnum who said that 'there's a sucker born every minute,' and there was never a better time to take advantage of that fact than during the Roaring '20s. This is the true story of the devious exploits of Leo Koretz, who forsook his Chicago law career to convince unsuspecting people to invest in a Panamanian oil field that he had concocted out of thin air, as well as an astute assessment of human nature. A fascinating tale of greed and gullibility." --Alden Graves, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.
Close Your Eyes, Hold Hands: A Novel by Chris Bohjalian (Vintage, $15.95, 9780307743930). "A very contemporary and controversial subject helps make this novel scarily real. The narrator is Emily, the 14-year-old daughter of parents who both work at a nuclear power plant in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. The plant melts down, both parents are killed, and there are questions about their responsibility for the disaster. Experiencing guilt by association, Emily goes on the run and ends up homeless in Burlington. She befriends a nine-year-old boy who is also on the run along with other loners looking to survive. Fast-paced, gritty, and believable, this is a novel perfect for book club discussions." --Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.
For Teen Readers
Rook by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic Press, $17.99, 9780545675994). "I could tell you that Rook is an homage to The Scarlet Pimpernel set in a post-technological future France, where wealthy families are imprisoned and publicly executed. But that wouldn't help you understand what this book is really about. Rook is about the characters: the smart, stubborn young heroine who risks her life to save those who can't save themselves; the rakish smuggler who may be an opponent or an ally; and the memorable group of supporting characters that make Rook a story that you'll savor until the very last page." --Lelia Nebeker, One More Page, Arlington, Va.
For Ages 4 to 8
Duncan the Story Dragon by Amanda Driscoll (Knopf, $16.99, 9780385755078), "Duncan is a little green dragon who wears red high-tops, enjoys a cold chocolate milkshake, and LOVES stories, but his fiery breath causes a problem. All Duncan wants is to read a good story, but every time he opens a book, the pages catch on fire. What is Duncan going to do? Driscoll's illustrations are bright and cheerful in this tale of friendship, reading, and adventure." --Clara Martin, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, Miss.
For Ages 9 to 12
Woundabout by Lev Rosen, illustrated by Ellis Rosen (Little, Brown, $17, 9780316370783). "After their parents pass away, two kids go to live with their aunt in the mysterious town of Woundabout where nothing changes--not the weather, not your routines, not even your age. The kids find a crank that fits special holes in the ground, and when turned, makes the city grow beautiful and change. They go on a quest to find out why the mayor refuses to use the crank to allow the city to change. This is a great read-aloud--a magical journey into the nature of change and how change is, in itself, good and necessary. I loved it!" --Tanecia Cannon, BookPeople, Austin, Tex.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]