Indie Next Picks

The Indie Next list for November is up, and though the first three picks come from major imprints, seven out of the 20 titles are from independent presses – an interesting twist in a fall season that’s already rich with major authors from big houses.

The #1 pick is Jonathan Lethem’s Chronic City, the story of a friendship between a former child star and a writer, set in the author’s New York City home turf – but we have to wonder how much the book will widen his audience.  Reserves are relatively modest at libraries we checked.

Chronic City
Jonathan Lethem
Price: $27.00
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Doubleday – (2009-10-13)
ISBN-10: 0385518633
ISBN-13: 9780385518635


The #2 pick is Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home by Rhoda Janzen, which has steadily been picking up buzz and blog mentions in advance of publication. Reserves were solid in libraries we checked, but relatively few libraries have the book, according to WorldCat.

Bookseller Kerry Hartwick, The Velveteen Rabbit Bookshop, Fort Atkinson, WI says

“Poet Rhoda Janzen has an intriguingly honest and witty way with language, and a personality and unique story to match. This insightful memoir is simultaneously humorous and touching — a rare combination you certainly don’t want to miss.”

More magazine also included the book on a list of 21 fall books to watch out for, and the reader site has singled out the book for early reviews by readers, who have given the book a rating of 3.8 out of 5 stars.

Mennonite in a Little Black Dress: A Memoir of Going Home
Rhoda Janzen
Retail Price: $22.00
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. – (2009-10-13)
ISBN / EAN: 080508925X / 9780805089257

Also available from Highbridge Audio, 10/13/09

  • CD: $29.95; ISBN 9781598879070


The # 3 pick, The Financial Lives of the Poets by cult favorite Jess Walters, is available in 181 libraries according to WorldCat, with an order ratio of 10 to 1 in one library we checked. His new book satirizes the economic meltdown, just as his novel The Zero satirized the aftershocks of 9/11.

Janet Maslin gave it a strong review in the New York Times, saying that “combining the elements of tragedy with a sitcom sensibility is a good one. And it’s what Jess Walter continues to do best.”

The Financial Lives of the Poets
Jess Walter
Retail Price: $25.99
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Harper – (2009-10-01)
ISBN / EAN: 0061916048 / 9780061916045

Here are the indie press fiction highlights of the list:

A Friend of the Family by Lauren Grodstein a novel about a successful suburban doctor, and about the lengths to which a father will go to protect his child.

The Evolution of Shadows by Jason Quinn Malottthe story of a love strong enough to endure the ravages of war in Sarajevo.

The Man in the Wooden Hat by Jane Gardama tale of the marriage of an English couple in the Far East, written in stylish prose that gets to the heart of their relationship.

The Vows of Silence: A Simon Serrailler Mystery by Susan Hill a character-driven suspense novel that will appeal to fans of Elizabeth George, Reginald Hill, and Ruth Rendell.

The Ghosts of Belfast by Stuart Nevillea gripping, well-written, hard-boiled debut thriller.

Soul of Wood by Jakov Lind, translated by Ralph Manheim – a novella and stories that careen through the rattled soul of mid-20th century Europe.

One Response to “Indie Next Picks”

  1. Margot Says:

    The Putnam County Public Library, Greencastle, IN, is 1 of the 181 libraries that has this book in its collection.