From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Auntie Poldi and the Sicilian Lions: A Novel by Mario Giordano, translated by John Brownjohn (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24, 9781328863577). "Introducing Auntie Poldi, a sixtyish amateur sleuth who stars as the heroine of Giordano's new series of delicious mysteries. She's sexy, outrageous, can't mind her own business, and has just retired to Sicily, where she intends to lay about and drink good wine for the rest of her days on the world's most fabulous island. Of course, things are soon stirred up by the murder of her hot young handyman, and Poldi becomes deeply involved. Great characters, fun plot, Italian charm--and what could be better reading for the chilly months than a novel set in sun-soaked Sicily? Don't miss what the Times Literary Supplement calls 'a masterful treat.' " --Lisa Howorth, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.
A Long Way from Home: A Novel by Peter Carey (Knopf, $26.95, 9780525520177). "Carey uses the Australian cross-country Redux auto trials of the 1950s to explore how the need to be accepted directs our motivations and, accordingly, our fates. Titch and Irene Bobs join up with their neighbor Willy Bachhuber, a maps expert, to race the Redux. For Titch, an opportunistic car salesman, the race represents the chance to seize national fame--and the respect of his larger-than-life father. Through the journey, Carey delves into Australia's virulent racism toward its indigenous populations and its embedded intolerance of miscegenation. As the miles accumulate, Irene and Willy's lives change in profound ways, and we, in turn, experience Carey's wit, heart, and intelligence, as well as his skill in bringing these characters and this place and time so vibrantly to life." --Lori Feathers, Interabang Books, Dallas, Tex.
One of the Boys: A Novel by Daniel Magariel (Scribner, $15, 9781501156175). "The intensity of this novel is such that you'll be relieved that it is not longer than its 176 powerful pages. When 'the war' with his wife ends, a man uses devious methods to win custody of his two sons, 12 and 14, packs them in his Jeep, and heads from Kansas to start a new life in Albuquerque. The boys are aware that their father uses drugs, but their loyalty to him and their youth keep them trapped in a home that soon becomes little more than a torture chamber as their father sinks further into his addiction. Narrated in excruciating detail by the younger son, this is a moving story about how parent/child love can be turned on its head by drug abuse. Excellent writing keeps one riveted in hope that the boys will survive." --Alice Meloy, Blue Willow Bookshop, Houston, Tex.
For Ages 4 to 8
A Hippy-Hoppy Toad by Peggy Archer, illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Schwartz & Wade, $16.99, 9780399556760). "Clever rhyming text bounces on the page with glorious illustrations. A perfect book for story times and lap times!" --Carol Moyer, Quail Ridge Books, Raleigh, N.C.
For Ages 9 to 12
The Book of Boy by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (Greenwillow, $16.99, 9780062686206). "Boy (not 'boy') is a youngster living in an isolated community following the Crusades. Boy, who has a hump on his back and can speak to animals, grows under the care of Father Petrus, who has taught him to read and care for himself and has protected him from the community. Secundus, a wandering pilgrim, hires Boy to carry his bag on a trek to recover the relics of St. Peter. The tale of Boy begins and ends with wonder and encourages readers to think about who Boy is and how his relationship with Secundus evolves during their quest. An exceptional novel, The Book of Boy is a winner sure to satisfy the curiosity of middle readers of all ages." --Jack Blanchard, Fairy Godmother Books & Toys, Washington, D.C.
For Teen Readers
The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton (Candlewick, $18.99, 9780763691103). "Nor's family tree is thorny and full of secrets. Descended from a witch, cursed by her use of black magic, and doomed to enchanted, obsessed love, the Blackburn women have paid for an ancient crime for eight generations. But Nor is different, the ninth generation--her magic is stronger. And she knows she will need all of that power when her estranged mother begins making headlines with public displays of magic. Because magic comes with a price, and it's not counted in dollars. Gripping and dark, this bewitching family drama will have you reading to midnight!" --Leah Moore, Northshire Bookstore, Manchester Center, Vt.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]