The best new books this month chosen by us and other
independent booksellers across the country.

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick...

All Our Wrong Todays

By Elan Mastai

(Dutton 9781101985137, $26)

"Tom Barren is a time traveler. From 2016. A different 2016 from ours, that is. It's complicated. You see, he traveled from his techno-perfect utopian 2016 back to 1964 and really messed things up, leaving us with our current world. Now, the 2016 Tom-in-our-world, given the chance to return to 1964 and fix what he broke and return the world to the spiffy state he knows, faces the dilemma of loyalty to friends and family from his world versus the possibility of settling down with the love of his life in our grungy world. Whichever he chooses, people he loves will cease to exist. I predict the clever, witty, and poignant All Our Wrong Todays will be a huge bestseller for screenwriter and first-time novelist Elan Mastai."
--Clay Belcher, Signs of Life, Lawrence, KS

This Month's #1 Indie Next List Pick Author Interview

photo: David Leyes

Booksellers across the country have chosen the time travel-dystopian-romance romp All Our Wrong Todays by Canadian screenwriter and debut novelist Elan Mastai (Dutton, February 7) as their #1 Indie Next List pick for February.

Here, Mastai discusses switching from screenwriting to novel-writing, inventing a "science of time travel" for the book, and the upcoming movie adaptation from Paramount Pictures.

What inspired your idea for this book?

Since I was a kid I've been really interested in this idea of what happened to the future we were supposed to have. When I was growing up, my grandfather had an extensive collection of sci-fi novels and anthologies from the '50s and '60s and I was really fascinated by the covers, which had paintings of these wild scenes of aliens and foreign worlds and robots and flying cars and all these sorts of adventures and technologies that the post-war generation was just certain were going to happen. But even as a 10-year-old kid in the '80s, I knew that there was a disconnect between the future that, decades earlier, people imagined we were going to have versus what we were actually having. Even as a kid that was really clear to me, that it didn't happen the way they thought it was going to happen. I did not get a jetpack for my ninth birthday.

That interest continued over the subsequent years. I actually did my master's degree in media studies and focused on what we then quite presumptuously called "media futures," which meant looking at where technology, communications, and the media are going and thinking about the effects that would have on society. I ended up taking a swerve professionally as a screenwriter. I've been writing movies for the past 15 years, but those interests never left me and when I felt it was time for me to write my first novel it was a natural world to go back to. 

I like the idea of somebody looking around at our world and saying, "Wait a minute, what if this is the dystopia? What if this is the world where everything went wrong?" You tend to think of dystopias as being something that happens in the future, but it occurred to me that if somebody from my grandfather's generation were transported to now, he might look around and say, "Wait a minute, this wasn't supposed to happen." Then I started to think about the characters that this story would happen to and once I did that I started to fall in love with them so of course it felt like I had to tell their story.

How did you create a science of time travel in the book, not to mention some of the complex futuristic inventions of Tom's world?

My grandfather was a chemist so growing up we used to have a lot of conversations about science. He was a huge sci-fi fan but often grumbled about all the fake science in books and about how the real science is actually totally fascinating and if these writers would just take the time to figure it out, they could actually make their stories narratively interesting but also scientifically accurate.

What I tend to do is I figure out what the technology is that I want to exist and then I go backwards and do a lot of research figuring out how it would actually work. I look at where technology is now, what would have to be added, what would have to be invented. When you start to figure out where the holes are, then you're going to start to plug it in with something that is plausible but doesn't actually exist, something that is hypothetically possible even if no one has actually discovered it yet. I didn't want to go too deep into everything even if during my research I had gone down a rabbit hole to figure this stuff out. You try to find the balance of filling in enough information that it is plausible and interesting for the reader, but not so much that you lose them to archaic technical data.

While All Our Wrong Todays is your first novel, you have been writing screenplays for the past 15 years. How was it different writing a novel versus a screenplay?

Screenplays have a very specific style. They are written in present tense, they are always external, you have no character interiority; everything is conveyed through dialogue and action. It is very much a present-tense style written in the third person, and it's a very lean writing style. You are trying to convey the maximum visual impact with the fewest number of words, and of course it also serves as a transitionary document in that it's a blueprint for a movie that hundreds of people are going to collaborate on in a whole other medium, in sound and pictures, not actually words on the page.

When I was writing the novel in some ways it was incredibly freeing because I had access to all these literary tools as a writer that I typically have to deny myself as a screenwriter, most importantly first-person narration. Obviously the book is written in the first person as a memoir and just having access to the interiority of the character was a huge liberation because in a novel you can convey a character's entire life in a single sentence. Being able to move through Tom's life and through Tom's consciousness, being able to jump from emotional revelation to some kind of witty joke to scientific discussion and back again, was very exciting for me.

Why did you decide to structure the book in short chapters consisting of a few pages each?

Initially the short chapters were a reflection of me sitting down every night and making myself write at least 500 words, so each chapter was a day's work. A couple chapters in, the structure started to remind me of Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut so I went back and looked at the book. The similarity in structure had been unintentional, but then I decided to kind of work it into the narrative. A lot of the themes that Vonnegut was writing about in Cat's Cradle were very much the same as the themes that I was writing about in my book, so although I didn't do it intentionally in the beginning, I thought, well, Vonnegut is one of my favorite novelists so why not honor the influence, even if I hadn't noticed it at first.

Paramount Pictures has already bought the film rights to All Our Wrong Todays. Will you be writing the screenplay or consulting on the production?

The movie is being produced by Amy Pascal and right now I'm deep into writing the screenplay. The irony is that I originally thought I would make the idea for All Our Wrong Todays into a movie but then the more I started to think about it, the idea started to grow and stretch out in all these different directions and I realized that the way I wanted to tell the story was as a book, specifically as a first-person memoir or as a kind of fake memoir.

Being a screenwriter I'd never written a novel before, and I know that there are a lot of terrific writers who published their first novels after years of getting short stories published but I had been writing movies during the years that I might have been doing that. The idea of writing a novel was a little daunting, but also an exciting challenge as a writer, so I was really lucky that Paramount and Pascal Pictures wanted to turn it into a movie.

How have indie bookstores influenced your life?

Book City is a local indie bookstore chain of four stores in Toronto, and there is one on Queen Street near where I live so I go there pretty much every other day. I spend a lot of time there and I know the staff well and love to hear their recommendations.

To me, the most alluring tourist attraction in any new city is a bookstore that I have never been to before, whether it is Copperfield's in northern California or The Booksmith in San Francisco or Vroman's in Pasadena or the sadly departed BookCourt in Brooklyn.

I was in Denver a couple months ago and made a pilgrimage to Tattered Cover. I love bookstores, particularly independent bookstores because they tend to have a unique and curatorial point of view. I love going to a place that is owned by a person who might actually be there and you can have a long, interesting conversation about books and they may, because of their specific tastes, carry an author that you've never heard of but who may turn out to be one of your favorites. That has happened to me so many times. And so for me, no matter where I am in the world, an independent bookstore is home.

How do you feel knowing that independent booksellers from across the country have selected your debut title as their top pick for the February Indie Next List?

It is exciting and it is surprising, considering how many terrific novelists have books coming out at the same time. It's really humbling as well; I really appreciate the support from the American Booksellers Association and from booksellers.

To be embraced and supported by all these booksellers around the country that I have never met, that we can kind of communicate and connect through literature, it's very inspiring to me. You put your work out into the world and you have no idea how people are going to react to it, so this kind of positive support and encouragement as a first-time novelist just means the world to me. --by Liz Button for Indie Next List

More Indie Next List Great Reads

Pachinko

By Min Jin Lee

(Grand Central Publishing 9781455563937, $27)

"A father's gentle nature, a mother's sacrifice, a daughter's trust, and a son's determination are the cornerstones of this grand, multilayered saga. Pachinko follows one family through an ever-changing cultural landscape, from 1910 Korea to 1989 Japan. As the bonds of family are put to the test in the harsh realities of their world, Sunja and those she holds dear manage to carve themselves a place to call home with hard work, self sacrifice, and a little kimchi. Through it all is a message about love, faith, and the deep-rooted bonds of family. Min Jin Lee gives us a phenomenal story about one family's struggle that resonates with us today. It will take hold of you and not let go!"
--Jennifer Steele, Boswell Book Company, Milwaukee, WI

Lincoln in the Bardo

By George Saunders

(Random House 9780812995343, $28)

"Saunders' first novel has a steep entry curve. It's not a novel that reveals itself quickly and easily, but if you give it your attention, if you burrow deep into the book, you'll be eminently rewarded. There is a richness and depth of humanity here. There is the strange and wonderful. There is love and grief and mystery all brought together in the story of Abraham Lincoln's dead son, the Civil War, and what may happen to us all after we leave the mortal coil. It's a beautiful and moving book that will stay with you for a long, long while."
--Jason Vanhee, University Book Store, Seattle, WA

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk

By Kathleen Rooney

(St. Martin's Press 9781250113320, $25.99)

"Join 85-year-old Lillian on a New Year's Eve stroll through Manhattan, a city as changed by time as Lillian herself. As with Joyce's Ulysses, the reader is privy to a life told in snapshots of memory within a single day. Based loosely on the life of Margaret Fishback, Lillian is a former Depression-era advertising copywriter for R.H. Macy's and a poet of light verse. She is also a mother and an ex-wife. Rooney's work has a light touch, but she is never frivolous. Rooney has the capacity to portray depth within brevity, pain within humor. Here is a novel that both entertains and enlightens, a balance rarely achieved."
--Sarah Sorensen, Bookbug, Kalamazoo, MI

The Girl Before

By J.P. Delaney

(Ballantine Books 9780425285046, $27)

"Immediate guarantee: You will NOT be able to put this book down. The Girl Before unfolds through the perspectives of two women: Emma (then) and Jane (now). It chronicles their lives in the stunningly and scarily minimalist home One Folgate Street and its aloof yet magnetic owner. J.P. Delaney spins a masterful story that epitomizes the notion that you never really know everything about anyone. Fans of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train will realize that there's not only more where that came from, but it's also more thrilling."
--Destinee Hodge, East City Bookshop, Washington, DC

The Impossible Fortress

By Jason Rekulak

(Simon & Schuster 9781501144417, $24)

"You don't have to remember the 1980s to deeply 'get' this sweet memory trip back to the decade when video games, personal computers, and mixtapes were new. But if you did come of age in the 1980s, look out. All those awkward boy/girl moments, all those songs that comprised the soundtracks of your make-out sessions and your break-ups, all the wonder of your first encounters with MS-DOS buried deep in a far corner of your memory... Jason Rekulak will bring it all back to you."
--Carol Spurling, BookPeople of Moscow, Moscow, ID

A Separation

By Katie Kitamura

(Riverhead Books 9780399576102, $25)

"We all have a secret self, parts of our personalities that are unknowable, even to the people closest to us. In A Separation, Kitamura stays largely inside the narrator's head, musing on a great many things: the muddled truth that can exist between married couples, the precise pain of infidelity, the myriad tiny betrayals we commit every day. Her prose is perfect, spare and beautiful, and her observations are spot-on. Some of her sentences were so good they startled me out of the story, which might sound like a bad thing, but it really isn't. It just meant I spent a little longer with this book, my mind wandering like the narrator's."
--Lauren Peugh, Changing Hands Bookstore, Tempe, AZ

Behind Her Eyes

By Sarah Pinborough

(Flatiron Books 9781250111173, $25.99)

"Behind Her Eyes took me totally by surprise. From the beginning I knew it was the story of a very disturbed person, but which one was the sick one? I knew something happened in the past that was driving two of the main characters, and I thought I was discovering the truth about the past--but, boy, was I wrong. A very dark and eerie psychological thriller of love and obsession that you will not be able to put down until you discover the truth."
--Nancy McFarlane, Fiction Addiction, Greenville, SC

Perfect Little World

By Kevin Wilson

(Ecco 9780062450326, $26.99)

"Izzy Poole is 18, pregnant with her erratic art teacher's baby, and without any family or money to help her raise her child. Dr. Preston Grind is tragically widowered and estranged from his parents, who raised him using unconventional and unhealthy methods in the name of science. Dr. Grind invites Izzy and nine other couples also expecting their first child to join the Infinite Family Project, an experiment in communal parenting and an attempt to rebuild Dr. Grind's broken family. This is a fascinating and touching exploration of what makes or breaks a family."
--Marisa Langlois, Northshire Bookstore, Saratoga Springs, NY

Swimming Lessons

By Claire Fuller

(Tin House Books 9781941040515, $25.95)

"With Swimming Lessons, Claire Fuller confirms her place as a writer of exceptional insight and warmth. This tale of a marriage, of a family, and especially of children bearing the brunt of the fallout of betrayals and abandonment, pulls you in and refuses to let you emerge from the lives of its characters until the tale is finished. Even then, it takes time to shake the spell the book creates. A wonderful follow-up to Our Endless Numbered Days, that explores similar themes through an entirely different story, Swimming Lessons will be a great book for fans of Fuller's first novel and will bring her new fans as well."
--Anmiryam Budner, Main Point Books, Wayne, PA

4 3 2 1

By Paul Auster

(Henry Holt 9781627794466, $32.50)

"I celebrate whenever there's something new by Paul Auster. I wasn't prepared, though, for just how moved, awed, and astonished I found myself while immersed in his inventive and grand novel 4 3 2 1. About a life lived fully, about possibility in love and finding a path to take that's the right one, this is a large novel in all respects, but, most importantly, in spirit. In its writing, Paul Auster has created nothing short of a masterpiece."
--Mitchell Kaplan, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL

300 Arguments: Essays

By Sarah Manguso

(Graywolf Press 9781555977641, $14, trade paper)

"Sarah Manguso is a master of the minimalist form. She can do more with a sentence than many authors can do with an entire book. In this collection of brief ruminations, she covers everything from sex and mortality to ambition, mental illness, writing, desire, and motherhood. These 'arguments' are aphoristic gems in which a seemingly random thought has hardened into a bold, cutting, crystalline truth. There is no exposition. Manguso lets these minute statements stand on their own, and the reader is left with nowhere to hide from direct engagement with a most remarkable literary mind."
--Keaton Patterson, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

Desperation Road

By Michael Farris Smith

(Lee Boudreaux Books 9780316353038, $26)

"Russell, just released from an 11-year prison sentence, finds anger and revenge waiting for him on the outside. Maben, homeless, broken, and walking along the interstate in the blazing Mississippi heat toward McComb, is forced to make a decision that puts her and her young daughter on the run from the police. In a desperate moment of chance or fate, Russell and Maben's paths cross, their shared past is revealed, and Russell is left to make the ultimate choice. Smith's novel is mesmerizing from its opening pages; you will have to pace yourself while reading it to fully enjoy and appreciate the pitch-perfect language and descriptions that can only come from one who has a masterful command of storytelling."
--Matt Kelly, Lemuria Bookstore, Jackson, MS

Rise: How a House Built a Family

By Cara Brookins

(St. Martin's Press 9781250095664, $25.99)

"It's been a long time since I've read a book with such a strong female character--and it's not fiction! Cara Brookins has survived three bad marriages. After the abusive third marriage dissolves, Brookins resolves not to be scared anymore and decides with steadfast determination to take charge of her family. She takes her kids on a road trip to a cabin in the Ozarks, where they begin to dream about having a new house that represents their new life. Though it's hard for them not to be scared at every turn, their recovery and growth parallels the structure of their home. As they build, they tear down emotional walls. I kept looking at the photo of that amazing house on the back of the book with wonder that she was able to do this on her own. What an amazingly strong woman! I loved this book."
--Marya Johnston, Out West Books, Grand Junction, CO

The Fifth Petal

By Brunonia Barry

(Crown 9781101905609, $27)

"Brunonia Barry's newest witchy tale, set in Salem, follows the threads of three mysteries that all ended in murder. Callie, who carries the scars of murders past, is joined by detectives Rafferty and Towner from Barry's The Lace Reader in a race to stop yet more killings and collective town wounds. Barry's prose excels at keeping readers chasing threads and second-guessing theories about the crimes depicted. Her research and experience of Salem are evident, and her witches make me want to become one. History and folklore are woven like lace in this mystery as new characters and old favorites attempt to solve puzzles from as far back as the witch trials that made Salem famous."
--Jessica Hahl, Country Bookshelf, Bozeman, MT

Indelible

By Adelia Saunders

(Bloomsbury USA 9781632863942, $26)

"In her remarkable debut, Adelia Saunders develops an intriguing idea into an extraordinary book. When Magdalena looks at other people, she sees words describing their lives written on their skin. The impact is so disturbing that she often leaves her glasses off and walks through the world in a blur, almost missing an encounter with Neil, the American student upon whose face her own name is written. Would fate have demanded that they meet? The interwoven stories of Magdalena, Neil, and their families raise thought-provoking questions of destiny and freewill. Well done, Ms. Saunders!"
--Gillian Kohli, Wellesley Books, Wellesley, MA

Homesick for Another World: Stories

By Ottessa Moshfegh

(Penguin Press 9780399562884, $26)

"This phenomenal collection of short stories has ruined me forever. Ottessa Moshfegh is brilliant when it comes to showing off the uglier, twisted side of humanity, the part that we would never share on Facebook or Instagram. Her characters are often desperate, hungry for something they might be able to obtain if only they could name it. Their bitterness often leads to grotesque, yet honest, reactions to the world around them. I can't wait to recommend this dark little oddity to as many readers as possible."
--Becca Chavez, Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO

The Chilbury Ladies' Choir

By Jennifer Ryan

(Crown 9781101906750, $26)

"This gorgeous novel grabbed me from the very first page with laughter and kept me hooked with characters that are vivid and lovable. As each woman shares her place in the intrigue, romance, sorrow, and friendship of Chilbury and World War II through letters and diaries, their lives become increasingly real, until you can hardly believe this is fiction. At the center of the story is the indomitable Chilbury Ladies' Choir and when their individual triumphs and sorrows wind together during their performances, Ryan's writing reaches a soulful crescendo that will continue to echo in readers' hearts. Fans of Helen Simonson should not miss this beautiful debut."
--Grace Wright, Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

The Lonely Hearts Hotel

By Heather O'Neill

(Riverhead Books 9780735213739, $27)

"If there is Canadian magical realism, this is it! The Lonely Hearts Hotel is the charming story of Rose and Pierrot, two children raised in a Montreal orphanage in the early 20th century. O'Neill traces their romance from their childhood of entertaining rich people in their homes to their less salubrious post-orphanage careers. When Rose and Pierrot meet again as adults, magic happens—but can this magic survive the rigors of the real world? Fantastic and fabulous in the truest sense of both words."
--Susan Taylor, Book House of Stuyvesant Plaza, Albany, NY

The Refugees

By Viet Thanh Nguyen

(Grove Press 9780802126399, $25)

"This eloquent and detailed collection of aspirations and dreams tells of those torn between two worlds, the country and family left behind in trade for a distant place of hope and desires fulfilled. Each chapter is an experience of memory suffused with subtle moments that will leave you breathless."
--Shannon Alden, Literati Bookstore, Ann Arbor, MI

At the Edge of the Orchard

By Tracy Chevalier

(Penguin Books 9780143110972, $16)

"Robert Goodenough was born in Ohio's Black Swamp. The youngest of 10 children, he was the only one with any interest in his father's obsession of buying seedlings from John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed, and trying to cultivate and perfect his apple orchard in the inhospitable black muck. Family tragedy sends Robert running west to California and the Gold Rush, where he finds solace in the redwoods and sequoias and meets a naturalist who recognizes his love of botany. But Robert is reluctantly forced to face his past and must decide to either claim it or set out on his own path. Chevalier's tale is a thoughtfully crafted and vivid slice of pioneer life."
--Jody Misner Chwatun, Saturn Booksellers, Gaylord, MI

Behave

By Andromeda Romano-Lax

(Soho Press 9781616958008, $15.95)

"Behave is a rich and nuanced glimpse of Rosalie Rayner, the woman behind John B. Watson, the man who founded behaviorist psychology. The ethical issues presented here are both shocking and thought-provoking, and the intimate struggles of a woman weighing her value, utility, and satisfaction both within and outside the home certainly resonate today. Beautifully written and meticulously researched, this is a novel to be savored and shared."
--Tova Beiser, Brown University Bookstore, Providence, RI

Britt-Marie Was Here

By Fredrik Backman

(Washington Square Press 9781501142543, $16)

"Backman's incomparable novels celebrate and revolve around unlikely protagonists: a curmudgeonly widower in A Man Called Ove; a girl on the autism spectrum in My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She's Sorry; and now Britt-Marie, an order-obsessed, cleanliness-loving woman of a certain age. Having left her two-timing husband, Britt-Marie takes a job in the small, depressed town of Borg, and magic begins to happen. Britt-Marie Was Here is another warmhearted delight!"
--Carol Schneck Varner, Schuler Books, Grand Rapids, MI

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

By Phaedra Patrick

(MIRA 9780778319801, $15.99)

"Arthur Pepper has finally gotten around to cleaning out his deceased wife's clothes when he comes across her charm bracelet. He doesn't remember seeing it before, and the charms pique his curiosity about the life his wife led before they met. Thus begins an adventure that will have Arthur learning to embrace life more fully and becoming more present in the lives of those he cares about. Grab a seat and get lost in this charming read with characters you will cheer on, laugh with, and perhaps shed a tear for."
--Lisa Fabiano, An Unlikely Story, Plainville, MA

Everybody's Fool

By Richard Russo

(Vintage 9780307454829, $16.95)

"While any new book from Richard Russo is a cause for celebration, to have one that revisits the characters from a beloved classic feels like a gift from the literary gods. Everybody's Fool returns to North Bath, New York, the setting for Russo's breakout novel from 1993, Nobody's Fool. No one writes better about the quirks, petty jealousies, hard times, humor, and heartbreak of small-town America. Everybody's Fool is good, old-fashioned storytelling at its finest!"
--Shawn Donley, Powell's Books, Portland, OR

The Forgetting Time

By Sharon Guskin

(Flatiron Books 9781250118714, $14.99)

"Psychologist Dr. Jerry Anderson is literally losing his mind--aphasia is taking away his memory and his ability to communicate--when he is introduced to the severe behavior problems of four-year-old Noah. From the few clues, it seems Noah has lived a previous life. Anderson fights to keep his lucidity long enough to complete this final investigation of his career, trying to make sense of this young boy while also attempting to make sense of his own life. A compelling, dynamic, and intriguing debut novel."
--Allen Murphy, Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Cincinnati, OH

Sleeping Giants

By Sylvain Neuvel

(Del Rey 9781101886717, $16)

"Sleeping Giants reads like a military dossier, interview after interview given with the serious intent of laying out the scientific tale of a discovered history that will change everyone's lives forever. At the age of 10, Rose falls through a hole in the ground and lands in a large metal hand that had been buried. Seventeen years later, she is on the research team that seeks answers to the relic's source and the meaning behind its existence. Is it a weapon? Is it a threat to humanity? Or is it simply a mystery that will remain unsolved? Whatever it is, readers will enjoy this Prometheus-like look into our distant past and the excitement of forecasting the potential future of the human race."
--Linda Bond, Auntie's Bookstore, Spokane, WA

Sudden Death

By Álvaro Enrigue

(Riverhead Books 9780735213449, $16)

"Sudden Death is one of the most audacious, smart, and original books you will read this year. It is a literary triptych--part history lesson, part tennis match, and part hypermodern adventure. Daring and visceral with a cast that includes Thomas Cromwell, Mary Magdalene, Aztec emperors and more, the limits of the novel in Enrigue's hands seem boundless. No other author is taking chances like this with such gratifying results."
--Mark Haber, Brazos Bookstore, Houston, TX

The Things We Keep

By Sally Hepworth

(St. Martin's Griffin 9781250051929, $15.99)

"Anna Forster is facing everyone's worst nightmare--early onset Alzheimer's disease. Anna may not remember the people she meets, but readers will not forget Anna. With startling insight and intense compassion, Hepworth creates a character who watches her intellectual world implode while at the same time, experiencing a new romance. The Things We Keep is a love story and a tribute to life, a rare gem that shows that what the heart knows cannot be forgotten. Bravo!"
--Pamela Klinger-Horn, Excelsior Bay Books, Excelsior, MN

The Yid

By Paul Goldberg

(Picador 9781250117953, $16)

"When Solomon Levinson escapes arrest in the final days of Joseph Stalin's regime, he embarks on a quixotic attempt to kill the leader of the Soviet Union. Along with Friederich Lewis, an African American who has left Omaha for the Soviet Union, and a ragtag crew of Soviet dissenters, Levinson races to thwart a monstrous plan to unleash a second Holocaust against the Jews of Russia. The Yid is a very serious farce, a philosophical novel larded with pitch black comedy. Fans of City of Thieves and Absurdistan will love Goldberg's ambitious new novel."
--David Enyeart, Common Good Books, St. Paul, MN

Welcome to Night Vale

By Jeffrey Cranor

(Harper Perennial 9780062351432, $15.99)

"Welcome to Night Vale meshes the uncanny with the mundane in a way that doesn't so much elevate the mundane as it illuminates life's strangeness. For all its weirdness, Fink and Cranor's work rings true. Like the best metaphors, the novel makes its reader think 'Wait, what?' and 'Oh. Yes!' in quick succession. New visitors to Night Vale will be as entertained and absorbed by the story and characters as longtime listeners of the duo's popular podcast. Simply delightful!"
--Amber Reed, Copperfield Books, Petaluma, CA

The Widow

By Fiona Barton

(Berkley 9781101990476, $16)

"Readers on the hunt for the newest, hottest thriller can take heart: Barton's debut novel is impeccably paced and quietly terrifying, sure to fill any void left after reading The Girl on the Train. Jean Taylor is reeling over the loss of her husband, but the man she knows and the man the police know are two very different people. Told in alternating voices, The Widow is perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Tana French and will have readers on the edge of their seats."
--Annie B. Jones, The Bookshelf, Thomasville, GA