From last week's Indie bestseller lists, available at IndieBound.org, here are the recommended titles, which are also Indie Next Great Reads:
Reputations: A Novel by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Riverhead, $25, 9781594633478). "With direct and forceful narrative and a translation as smooth and peaceful as the quiet narrator himself, this book takes the reader on a days-long search for the past and the present in modern day Bogotá. A prominent political cartoonist is shaken when a forgotten uncertainty from the past resurfaces. This psychological study of the concept that what we believe makes us who we are is a masterpiece!" --Nicole Magistro, The Bookworm of Edwards, Edwards, Colo.
Irena's Children: The Extraordinary Story of the Woman Who Saved 2,500 Children From the Warsaw Ghetto by Tilar J. Mazzeo (Gallery, $26, 9781476778501). "There have been accounts of men who helped Jews and other victims of the Nazi regime escape the clutches of genocidal pogroms and mass slaughter, but this story is about a woman who courageously smuggled thousands of children to safety. Granted unusual access to the Warsaw ghetto as a public health specialist, Irena Sendler used her position to rescue children by various means, sometimes right under the noses of guards. As compelling as any great fiction thriller, Irena's story will remain with the reader for a long time to come." --Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, Wash.
The Past: A Novel by Tessa Hadley (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062270429). "A novel about a family vacation is often used as a device to bring out the worst flaws of the characters; here, it is used to bring out the best of Hadley's writing talent. She brings the family together, introducing them one by one: Harriet, the outdoorsy one; Alice, the dramatic one; Fran, the motherly one; Roland, the scholarly brother. The siblings, along with assorted children, spouses, and a young friend, spend three weeks in the crumbling house that belonged to their grandparents, trying to decide what must be done with it. Readers who enjoy character-driven novels, such as ones by Kate Atkinson, Margaret Drabble, or Jane Gardam, will welcome this novel. --Yvette Olson, Magnolia's Bookstore, Seattle, Wash.
For Ages 4 to 8
A Hat for Mrs. Goldman: A Story About Knitting and Love by Michelle Edwards, illustrated by G. Brian Karas (Schwartz & Wade, $17.99, 9780553497106). "Sophia has known Mrs. Goldman all her life and Mrs. Goldman has always kept Sophia's head warm with her knitted hats. Providing hats for everyone is Mrs. Goldman's 'mitzvah.' Thus, Sophia is naturally astonished to learn that Mrs. Goldman doesn't have a hat herself. Who is going to knit a hat for Mrs. Goldman to keep her 'keppie' warm? Putting to use the knitting lessons Mrs. Goldman has given her, Sophia decides it's her 'mitzvah' to give Mrs. Goldman her very own hat. With determination and love, Sophia sets out to surprise Mrs. Goldman with the most special hat in the world! A heartwarming picture book full of delightful illustrations." --Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, Wis.
For Ages 9 to 12
Ashes by Laurie Halse Anderson (Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books, 9781416961468, $16.99) "The wait is over! Anderson's highly anticipated conclusion to the Seeds of America Trilogy is here, and it exceeds all expectations. Anderson's exhaustive research and brilliant writing make Ashes a must-read for readers of all ages. Isabel, Cruzon, and Ruth are back, and their story of perseverance and hope during the Revolutionary War could not have come at a better time. Thank you, Laurie!" --Bill Reilly, the river's end bookstore, Oswego, N.Y.
For Teen Readers
The Singing Bones by Shaun Tan (Arthur A. Levine Books, $24.99, 9780545946124). "This is, in essence, a museum catalog for an exhibition you dreamed of one night, and Tan plucked those images from your dreams and made them real. Not literal artistic interpretations of Grimm's fairy tales, but artistic representations of the feelings those tales evoke, Tan's sculptures are at once whimsical and unsettling, surreal and grounded. With an introduction by Neil Gaiman and a forward from Jack Zipes, this book belongs on the shelf of every lover of fairy tales, especially readers who appreciate the darker side of those tales." --Billie Bloebaum, Third Street Books, McMinnville, Ore.
[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]