The August Indie Next List is available to preview.
Topping the list at #1 is Paula McLain’s Circling the Sun (RH/Ballantine; BOT and RH Audio)
About the adventurer and aviation pioneer Beryl Markham, it is also a LibraryReads pick for July as well as a GalleyChat favorite. The summary, written by Rhianna Walton of Powell’s Books, offers useful sell lines for those still looking for a way to capture its content and feel:
Reading Circling the Sun reminded me of the deep pleasure of solid storytelling: the vast landscape of colonial Kenya, complicated and compelling historical characters, love, suffering, and adventure combine to create a captivating narrative. McLain imagines the African childhood and early adulthood of real-life horse trainer and pioneering female aviator Beryl Markham, as well as her social milieu, which included Denys Finch Hatton and Karen Blixen, who, as Isak Dinesen, wrote Out of Africa. Markham lived a fascinating and uncompromising life filled with danger, ill-fated romance, and stunning bravery, and McLain does justice to her memory with this sensitive and beautifully written portrayal.
Some library reading groups are planning to read it along with Markham’s own memoir, West With the Night (Macmillan/North Point Press). Her contemporary, Ernest Hemingway memorably said about it. “this girl, who is to my knowledge very unpleasant and we might even say a high-grade bitch, can write rings around all of us who consider ourselves as writers.”
Kitchens of the Great Midwest (Penguin/Pamela Dorman; Penguin Audio) by J. Ryan Stradal
A debut novel about a savant chef and the power of cooking, Jessica Stockton Bagnulo of the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn, NY says it is a novel that “everyone is going to be talking about!” Librarians certainly are as it made our GalleyChat picks back in March and is the number one LibraryReads pick for July. ALSO NOTE: Please join our Penguin First Flights live online chat with the author is on July 15.
The list includes a number of other debuts, including The Watchmaker of Filigree Street (Macmillan/Bloomsbury; OverDrive Sample) by Natasha Pulley. A literary blend of steampunk, fantasy, and historical fiction, it is a book readers’ advisors might want to particularly note, as Amanda Hurley of Inkwood Books (Tampa, FL) makes clear at the end of her annotation: “Fans of David Mitchell and Erin Morgenstern will be intrigued, and I think it’s safe to say that we can expect great things from Pulley.”
Big Names appear as well. The long anticipated Armada (Crown/RH; RH Audio) by Ernest Cline makes the list with the comment that it “will not disappoint the myriad fans of Ready Player One. On the contrary, it is another magical, nerdy romp through science fiction and fantasy pop culture where the thing that happens to the hero is exactly the thing every sci-fi lover secretly — or not so secretly — dreams will happen to them!” Note also that Steven Spielberg is directing and adaptation of Ready Player One expected to begin filming next year.
The newest Alice Hoffman novel, The Marriage of Opposites (Simon & Schuster; S&S Audio) makes the cut as well. It is about the life of Rachel Pomie Petit Pissarro and her son, Camille, the great Impressionist painter.
In nonfiction fans of Alex Kershaw have a new book to enjoy, Avenue of Spies: A True Story of Terror, Espionage, and One American Family’s Heroic Resistance in Nazi-Occupied Paris (RH/Crown; BOT and RH Audio), about the chief surgeon at the American Hospital in Paris who worked with the underground network to move people to safety during WWII.