From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
God's Kingdom: A Novel by Howard Frank Mosher (St. Martin's Press, $25.99, 9781250069481). "If the past is a foreign country, we certainly have an expert native guide in Mosher who recreates perfectly, right down to the smoky fire smoldering in the town dump, the small town of Kingdom Common, Vermont, in the 1950s. Here fans of previous books are reintroduced to Jim Kinneson, now entering high school. For first-time readers, the ubiquitous, multi-generational Kinneson clan of the Northern Kingdom will be immediately accessible through the talent of master storyteller Mosher in this latest variation on the themes of tradition, the burden of family history, small-town secrets, and the stark beauty of the wilds of Northern Vermont." --Darwin Ellis, Books on the Common, Ridgefield, Conn.
Bats of the Republic: An Illuminated Novel by Zachary Thomas Dodson (Doubleday, $27.95, 9780385539838). "Bats of the Republic is a book connoisseur's dream. It is a propulsive novel--often a novel within a novel--that shatters the restraints of genre with brilliance matched only by its complexity and originality. Dodson weaves a story from a past filled with hope and regret with a future rife with promise and dire consequences to keep the reader engaged throughout. Complete with maps and ephemera that make this a singular reading experience, Bats of the Republic is gorgeous, unputdownable, and above all in this day and age, necessary." --Javier Ramirez, the Book Table, Oak Park, Ill.
First Impressions: A Novel by Charlie Lovett (Penguin Books, $16, 9780143127727). "This is a frothy and fun mystery/romance that asks 'What if Jane Austen plagiarized her greatest work, Pride and Prejudice?' By alternating chapters about Austen and her fictional friendship with an elderly minister and writer with those involving a modern-day bookseller and Austen fan who is searching for love and rare books, Lovett builds suspense while tossing in all kinds of fun Austen factoids. The tale is simple and sweet and the heroine is a modern-day Eliza, torn between two men and her first impressions of each. Delightful, especially for Austen fans--and really, who isn't?" --William Carl, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, Mass.
For Ages 4 to 8
A Dog Wearing Shoes by Sangmi Ko (Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780385383967). "This debut picture book is a joy! A Dog Wearing Shoes is the story of a girl who found a dog who was lost and clearly belonged to someone else. Loving the dog and then losing the dog to its rightful owner teaches Mini that there are plenty of dogs out in the world who need loving homes. An afterword directs potential dog owners to the ASPCA and the Humane Society." --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.
For Ages 9 to 12
Baba Yaga's Assistant by Marika McCoola, illustrated by Emily Carroll (Candlewick, $16.99, 9780763669614). "McCoola's debut is simply magical. Steeped in Russian folklore, this graphic novel honors the traditional tale of Baba Yaga, yet it remains thoroughly modern. Virtually alone after her father's remarriage, Masha Martin ventures bravely into the forest hoping to assist the dreaded witch Baba Yaga. Her mother's mother had done just that, so long ago. Will the knowledge and love left by her grandmother be enough to help Masha pass Baba Yaga's enchanted tests? This fantastic adventure, with Carroll's perfect art, provides the answer." --Christopher Rose, Andover Bookstore, Andover, Mass.
For Teen Readers
A Thousand Nights by E.K. Johnston (Disney/Hyperion, $18.99, 9781484722275). "In this retelling of the Arabian Nights, the unnamed protagonist is taken from her desert village to the palace of Lo-Melkhiin to serve as yet another in a long line of ill-fated wives. But rather than succumb to him, she uses her unique abilities to challenge his rule. This beautifully written story of sisterhood, magic, and female power has a lush, immersive setting, surprising plot turns and wonderful portrayals of the protagonist's unexpected strength." --Sarah Prineas, Prairie Lights Books, Iowa City, Iowa
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]