From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Hardcover: An Indies Introduce Title
The Far Field: A Novel by Madhuri Vijay (Grove Press, $27, 9780802128409). "Few seasoned novelists--let alone a first-time novelist like Madhuri Vijay--are able to construct scene after scene with compelling interior drama, tension, and forward momentum, but you'll never want to stop reading as Vijay skillfully combines a personal journey and family mystery with a political examination of the Kashmiri-Indian troubles. Shalini, the narrator of this extraordinary work, has a mother who immediately belongs on any shortlist of literature's great characters. If I read a better novel in 2019, then 2019 will become my favorite year of the 21st century." --Brian Lampkin, Scuppernong Books, Greensboro, N.C.
Golden State: A Novel by Ben Winters (Mulholland Books, $28, 9780316505413). "Golden State is a gripping and brainy page-turner. Winters asks his readers to imagine California as a sovereign (and surveillance) state in which intentionally lying is the greatest federal offense. The 'Byzantine business of reality maintenance' is carried out by a team of federal agents, including our hero, Laszlo Ratesic. Golden State is a mystery in both form and content. In addition to the seemingly simple incident Laszlo investigates at the start of the novel, there's the bigger question of what a novel really is, or means, or can do in the 'good, golden, safe' world its readers are transported to. Winters is especially good at keeping his readers off-balance. Not even his biggest fans will see some of the twists and turns he's built into this, his best book yet." --John Francisconi, Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn.
The Afterlives: A Novel by Thomas Pierce (Riverhead Books, $16, 9780399573002). "In The Afterlives, Thomas Pierce follows a man's quest for what comes after death. The story skillfully intersects religion, technology, philosophy, humor, love, and fear, but love and fear are what really got to me. The novel celebrates the love we're born into with our family and the love we find, but behind that is the fear of its loss. The novel doesn't flinch. Pierce's characters are so natural and so funny that at times it felt like I was reading Douglas Coupland or Elan Mastai. The Afterlives didn't feel bleak or hopeless or preachy--it was sincere and hopeful." --Myles Mickle, Village Square Booksellers, Bellows Falls, Vt.
For Ages 4 to 8
Chicken Talk by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Katherine Tegen, $17.99, 9780062398642). "The term 'chicken scratch' gets a whole new meaning in this delightful barnyard tale from award-winning author-illustrator team Patricia MacLachlan and Jarrett J. Krosoczka." --Angie Tally, The Country Bookshop, Southern Pines, N.C.
For Ages 9 to 12
Counting to Perfect by Suzanne LaFleur (Wendy Lamb, $16.99, 9781524771799). "Counting to Perfect is a beautiful story of sisters, one that takes a gentle look at teenage pregnancy without much drama and in what seems like a very real way." --Kira Wizner, Merritt Bookstore & Toystore, Millbrook, N.Y.
For Teen Readers
Let's Go Swimming on Doomsday by Natalie C. Anderson (Putnam, $18.99, 9780399547614). "This is a book you won't want to put down and you'll never forget. Seeing the world through Abdi's eyes might change the way you see refugees, child soldiers, the U.S. government, and so much more. Ethical dilemmas, heart-wrenching situations, and moments of unbelievable courage abound. Although the topics are difficult, it reads easily--a page-turner with heart and a stunning back-and-forth structure. Make sure you make time for this." --Tegan Tigani, Queen Anne Book Company, Seattle, Wash.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]