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:

Mr. Dickens and His Carol: A Novel of Christmas Past by Samantha Silva (Flatiron Books, $24.99, 9781250154040). "Full of fantastic period detail and delightful prose, Mr. Dickens and His Carol is a wonderful companion to the enduring holiday classic A Christmas Carol. A month before Christmas, Charles Dickens is informed that his latest serial is a failure and he must produce a holiday story in one month's time or pay back his publishers for their losses. Beleaguered by his demanding relatives and expectant children, Dickens turns churlish and is unable to find any Christmas left within him to produce a fitting book. Fate intervenes when a mysterious woman crosses his path and becomes his much-needed muse, sending Dickens on a journey of inward reflection and reminding him not only of the joys of the season but how his cherished works are a gift for everyone who reads them." --Meaghan Beasley, Island Bookstore, Kitty Hawk, N.C.

It's All Relative: Adventures Up and Down the World's Family Tree by A.J. Jacobs (Simon & Schuster, $27, 9781476734491). "For anyone interested in climbing their own family tree, A.J. Jacobs' It's All Relative offers a lighthearted crash course into the addictive world of genealogy. Inspired by the record-breaking get-togethers of the Lilly clan and heartened by the theory that we're all related, Jacobs embarks on a quest to hold the world's largest family reunion. As Jacobs juggles the mechanics of such a massive undertaking, he interviews well-known researchers in the field, discovers famous 'cousins,' and considers some of the ethical issues of diving into an ancestor's past. An enjoyable introduction to genealogy and the living family tree." --Molly Gillespie, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, Ohio

Mister Monkey: A Novel by Francine Prose (Harper Perennial, $15.99, 9780062397843). "I came to this book expecting to be entertained, and it is laugh-out-loud funny. But in the wise and observant ways of Prose, Mister Monkey is more than just a protracted joke. The story begins in the narrow spaces of a theater set to be demolished for condos and widens as Prose shifts points of view from actor to costume designer to writer to waiter to Hindu deity and back to the stage. Adolescent rage, loneliness, divinity, the end of the world, the beginning of love, the way we fail to live up to our dreams for ourselves, the fear of our own mediocrity, the unexpected victories that are the grace that fills the spaces made by disappointment: these are the soul of this novel with an agile, monkey heart. Both deeply moving and light, this is one of my favorite novels of the year." --Melanie McNair, Malaprop's Bookstore/Café, Asheville, N.C.

For Ages 4 to 8
The Bad Seed by Jory John, illustrated by Pete Oswald (HarperCollins, $17.99, 9780062467768). "The bad seed is adorable. Does he know this? No. This is the story of a sunflower seed from very ordinary circumstances who has a very bad thing happen to him. After this trauma, he feels bad, acts bad, and cares even less. Eventually, after considering the things that others say about his behavior (he has great hearing for a seed), he decides to try to change things a bit. Not entirely, just a bit. And these manageable changes give him something to be proud of. Good on you, little seed." --Lauren Dalhaus, Watermark Books, Wichita, Kan.

For Ages 9 to 12
Top Elf by Caleb Huett (Scholastic Press, $16.99, 9781338052121). "Top Elf is a fun adventure due to generous helpings of suspense and mystery sprinkled throughout this very Christmassy book set at the North Pole. The story of two elf best friends and the role they play in the Santa Trials has loads of heart-pounding action as well as actual heart. Huett has cleverly hidden tidbits of strong positive messages throughout this tale that young readers will absorb subconsciously, like supporting your friends and being kind. The writing is tight and the exploits seriously exciting." --Rachel Watkins, Avid Bookshop, Athens, Ga.

For Teen Readers: An Indies Introduce Title
The Epic Crush of Genie Lo by F.C. Yee (Amulet Books, $18.99, 9781419725487). "In The Epic Crush of Genie Lo, competitive overachiever Genie gets sucked into the world of ancient Chinese gods and demons, but she'd rather work on her college applications. But when you've got the strength of the most powerful weapon in the world and the unwanted assistance of a famous reincarnated trickster god, there's no way out of super-powered temper tantrums, hordes of demons on the loose, and maybe even a reluctant romance. Someone has to save the world, and the only person up for it is Genie Lo. Totally badass and completely terrific." --Sami Thomason, Square Books, Oxford, Miss.

[Many thanks to IndieBound and the ABA!]

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