IndieBound: Other Indie Favorites

From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:

Improvement: A Novel by Joan Silber (Counterpoint, $26, 9781619029606). "Improvement is a wide-ranging novel told in stories that connect disparate people through time and place to one tragic accident. Kiki, a free-spirited young adult of the 1970s turned wise woman, is the novel's lodestar. Silber masterfully pulls together the threads of lives in places as remote as rural Turkey and as common and close as New York City like a finely made Persian rug." --Arsen Kashkashian, Boulder Book Store, Boulder, Colo.

The Ice House: A Novel by Laura Lee Smith (Grove Press, $25, 9780802127082). "Laura Lee Smith continues to impress with her second novel, The Ice House. It's a lovely story full of heart and wry humor that manages to convey life in all its rich, messy, tragic wonder. Johnny MacKinnon has it good but seems to be on the verge of losing it all. The ice company he runs in Florida is in trouble with OSHA, and then he discovers that he may have a brain tumor. While he is supposed to be taking it easy as he waits to find out the diagnosis, Johnny decides he must try to mend his estranged relationship with his son in Scotland and with the granddaughter he's never met. The result is a touching, funny, heartbreaking ride you won't soon forget." --Cody Morrison, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us: Essays by Hanif Abdurraqib (Two Dollar Radio, $16.99, 9781937512651). "With the depth and versatility of an immensely talented poet and the strong, perceptive wit of a cultural critic, Hanif Abdurraqib shows us his tremendous ability to bend language to his will in this collection of essays. For him, like for many of us, music is an entrance into a larger discussion of our emotions and our collective cultural understanding. Deftly moving from ruminations on Chance the Rapper, Atmosphere, and Future, to Bruce Springsteen, Fall Out Boy, and Johnny Cash, Abdurraqib is able to traverse conversations on black excellence, grief, and hope. This book taught me something fresh about humanity with every turn of the page, and it will stay with me for a long time to come." --Matt Keliher, SubText Books, St. Paul, Minn.

For Ages 4 to 8
How to Find an Elephant by Kate Banks, illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, $16.99, 9780374335083). "In How to Find an Elephant, Mr. Kulikov's illustrations cleverly hide the elephant our hero is searching for, and the colors are sweet and fine. But Ms. Banks' words, including instructions on how best to find an elephant, lead a young reader through the jungle with a rocking beat. Don't forget the crickets, which will sing you to sleep!" --Rene Kirkpatrick, University Book Store, Seattle, Wash.

For Ages 9 to 12
The Player King by Avi (Atheneum, $16.99, 9781481437684). "In this fictionalized account of British history, a young orphan working as a scullion in a pub is taken in by a mysterious friar. After he is taught the manners and skills necessary to act the part of a prince, he challenges the King of England to the throne. Avi's colorful vocabulary and descriptions of medieval England and Ireland combine with an intriguing plot to paint a vivid picture of 15th-century life." --Liza Bernard, Norwich Bookstore, Norwich, Vt.

For Teen Readers
The Chaos of Standing Still by Jessica Brody (Simon Pulse, $17.99, 9781481499187). "Set entirely in the Denver International Airport, The Chaos of Standing Still is an intricate, moving, funny, and thought-provoking story of coping with loss and allowing love to bloom. Underneath it all, conspiracy theories abound about the real-life and very weird paintings and sculptures at the airport. Brody is already well-established as a skilled writer of young adult and middle grade books, but this one is a real standout. Great for high school-age teens and many adults." --Len Vlahos, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, Colo.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

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