Books for Independent Readers

New Books


 

Our shelves are filled with everything from books by your favorite local and regional authors to books by authors all over the world to great cookbooks to collectible classics.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask, and we’ll order it for you. You can also place an order using our online order form.


New and Notable Books

 

Her Body and Other Parties: Stories
Carmen Maria Machado
Graywolf Press; $16 (paperback)
Available October 3
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In Her Body and Other Parties, Carmen Maria Machado blithely demolishes the arbitrary borders between psychological realism and science fiction, comedy and horror, fantasy and fabulism. While her work has earned her comparisons to Karen Russell and Kelly Link, she has a voice that is all her own. In this electric and provocative debut, Machado bends genre to shape startling narratives that map the realities of women’s lives and the violence visited upon their bodies.

Earthy and otherworldly, antic and sexy, queer and caustic, comic and deadly serious, Her Body and Other Parties swings from horrific violence to the most exquisite sentiment. In their explosive originality, these stories enlarge the possibilities of contemporary fiction.

*Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction*


The Last Ballad
Wiley Cash
William Morrow; $26.99 (hardcover)
Available October 3
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The New York Times best-selling author of the celebrated A Land More Kind Than Home and This Dark Road to Mercy returns with this eagerly awaited new novel, set in the Appalachian foothills of North Carolina in 1929 and inspired by actual events. The chronicle of an ordinary woman’s struggle for dignity and her rights in a textile mill, The Last Ballad is a moving tale of courage in the face of oppression and injustice.

Intertwining myriad voices, Wiley Cash brings to life the heartbreak and bravery of the now forgotten struggle of the labor movement in early twentieth-century America–and pays tribute to the thousands of heroic women and men who risked their lives to win basic rights for all workers. Lyrical, heartbreaking, and haunting, this eloquent novel confirms Cash’s place among our nation’s finest writers.


Manhattan Beach
Jennifer Egan
Scribner; $28 (hardcover)
Available October 3
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Anna Kerrigan, who is nearly 12 years old, accompanies her father to visit Dexter Styles, a man who, she gleans, is crucial to the survival of her father and her family. She is mesmerized by the sea beyond the house and by some charged mystery between the two men.

Years later, Anna’s father has disappeared and the country is at war. She works at the Brooklyn Naval Yard, where women are allowed to hold jobs that once belonged to men, now soldiers abroad. She becomes the first female diver, the most dangerous and exclusive of occupations, repairing the ships that will help America win the war. One evening at a nightclub, she meets Dexter Styles again, and begins to understand the complexity of her father’s life, the reasons he might have vanished.

With the atmosphere of a noir thriller, Egan’s first historical novel follows Anna and Styles into a world populated by gangsters, sailors, divers, bankers, and union men. Manhattan Beach is a deft, dazzling, propulsive exploration of a transformative moment in the lives and identities of women and men, of America and the world.

*Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction*


The Rules of Magic
Alice Hoffman
Simon & Schuster; $27.99 (hardcover)
Available October 10
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From beloved author Alice Hoffman comes the spellbinding prequel to her bestseller, Practical Magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk.

From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse.

Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magicis a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.


The Twelve-Mile Straight
Eleanor Henderson
Ecco; $27.99 (hardcover)
Autographed copies available
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Cotton County, Georgia, 1930: In a house full of secrets, two babies — one light-skinned, the other dark — are born to Elma Jesup, a white sharecropper’s daughter. Accused of her rape, field hand Genus Jackson is lynched and dragged behind a truck down the Twelve-Mile Straight, the road to the nearby town. In the aftermath, the farm’s inhabitants are forced to contend with their complicity in a series of events that left a man dead and a family irrevocably fractured.

Despite the prying eyes and curious whispers of the townspeople, Elma begins to raise her babies as best as she can, under the roof of her mercurial father, Juke, and with the help of Nan, the young black housekeeper who is as close to Elma as a sister. But soon it becomes clear that the ties that bind all of them together are more intricate than any could have ever imagined. As startling revelations mount, a web of lies begins to collapse around the family, destabilizing their precarious world and forcing all to reckon with the painful truth.

Tackling themes of racialized violence, social division, and financial crisis, The Twelve-Mile Straight is a startlingly timely, emotionally resonant, and magnificent tour de force.


Caroline: Little House, Revisited
Sarah Miller
William Morrow, $25.99 (hardcover)
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In this novel authorized by the Little House Heritage Trust, Sarah Miller vividly recreates the beauty, hardship, and joys of the frontier in a dazzling work of historical fiction, a captivating story that illuminates one courageous, resilient, and loving pioneer woman as never before — Caroline Ingalls, “Ma” in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s beloved Little House books.

For more than 80 years, generations of readers have been enchanted by the adventures of the American frontier’s most famous child, Laura Ingalls Wilder, in the Little House books. Now, that familiar story is retold in this captivating tale of family, fidelity, hardship, love, and survival that vividly reimagines our past.


Forest Dark
Nicole Krauss
Harper; $27.99 (hardcover)
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Jules Epstein, a man whose drive, avidity, and outsized personality have, for 68 years, been a force to be reckoned with, is undergoing a metamorphosis. In the wake of his parents’ deaths, his divorce from his wife of more than 30 years, and his retirement from the New York legal firm where he was a partner, he’s felt an irresistible need to give away his possessions, alarming his children and perplexing the executor of his estate. With the last of his wealth, he travels to Israel, with a nebulous plan to do something to honor his parents. In Tel Aviv, he is sidetracked by a charismatic American rabbi planning a reunion for the descendants of King David who insists that Epstein is part of that storied dynastic line. He also meets the rabbi’s beautiful daughter who convinces Epstein to become involved in her own project — a film about the life of David being shot in the desert — with life-changing consequences.

But Epstein isn’t the only seeker embarking on a metaphysical journey that dissolves his sense of self, place, and history. Leaving her family in Brooklyn, a young, well-known novelist arrives at the Tel Aviv Hilton where she has stayed every year since birth. Troubled by writer’s block and a failing marriage, she hopes that the hotel can unlock a dimension of reality — and her own perception of life— that has been closed off to her. But when she meets a retired literature professor who proposes a project she can’t turn down, she’s drawn into a mystery that alters her life in ways she could never have imagined.

Bursting with life and humor, Forest Dark is a profound, mesmerizing novel of metamorphosis and self-realization — of looking beyond all that is visible toward the infinite.


The Last Castle: The Epic Story of Love, Loss, and American Royalty in the Nation’s Largest Home
Denise Kiernan
Touchstone; $28 (hardcover)
Autographed copies available
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In The Last Castle, Denise Kiernan takes readers on a journey through the Gilded Age as she tells the true story behind Biltmore House, the largest home in America, and the struggles of those who lived there. She describes the lives of George, Edith, and Cornelia Vanderbilt in a tale that spans world wars, financial crises, and great tragedy.

The story of Biltmore spans World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Depression, and generations of the famous Vanderbilt family, and features a captivating cast of real-life characters including F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, Teddy Roosevelt, John Singer Sargent, James Whistler, Henry James, and Edith Wharton.

The Last Castle is the unique American story of how the largest house in America flourished, faltered, and ultimately endured to this day.


Logical Family: A Memoir
Armistead Maupin
Harper; $27.99 (hardcover)
Available October 3
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In this long-awaited memoir, the beloved author of the bestselling Tales of the City series chronicles his odyssey from the old South to freewheeling San Francisco, and his evolution from curious youth to ground-breaking writer and gay rights pioneer.

Reflecting on the profound impact those closest to him have had on his life, Maupin shares his candid search for his “logical family,” the people he could call his own. “Sooner or later, we have to venture beyond our biological family to find our logical one, the one that actually makes sense for us,” he writes. “We have to, if we are to live without squandering our lives.” From his loving relationship with his palm-reading Grannie who insisted Maupin was the reincarnation of her artistic bachelor cousin, Curtis, to an awkward conversation about girls with President Richard Nixon in the Oval Office, Maupin tells of the extraordinary individuals and situations that shaped him into one of the most influential writers of the last century.


Code Girls: The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of World War II
Liza Mundy
Hachette; $28 (hardcover)
Available October 10
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Recruited by the U.S. Army and Navy from small towns and elite colleges, more than 10,000 women served as codebreakers during World War II. While their brothers and boyfriends took up arms, these women moved to Washington and learned the meticulous work of code-breaking. Their efforts shortened the war, saved countless lives, and gave them access to careers previously denied to them. A strict vow of secrecy nearly erased their efforts from history; now, through dazzling research and interviews with surviving code girls, best-selling author Liza Mundy brings to life this riveting and vital story of American courage, service, and scientific accomplishment.


The Prague Sonata
Bradford Morrow
Atlantic Monthly Press; $27 (hardcover)
Available October 3
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In the early days of the new millennium, pages of a worn and weathered original sonata manuscript — the gift of a Czech immigrant living out her final days in Queens — come into the hands of Meta Taverner, a young musicologist whose concert piano career was cut short by an injury. To Meta’s eye, it appears to be an authentic eighteenth-century work; to her discerning ear, the music rendered there is commanding, hauntingly beautiful, clearly the undiscovered composition of a master. But there is no indication of who the composer might be. The gift comes with the request that Meta attempt to find the manuscript’s true owner — a Prague friend the old woman has not heard from since the Second World War forced them apart — and to make the three-part sonata whole again. Leaving New York behind for the land of Dvořak and Kafka, Meta sets out on an unforgettable search to locate the remaining movements of the sonata and uncover a story that has influenced the course of many lives, even as it becomes clear that she isn’t the only one after the music’s secrets.

Evoking decades of Prague’s tragic and triumphant history, from the First World War through the soaring days of the Velvet Revolution, and moving from postwar London to the heartland of immigrant America, The Prague Sonata is both epic and intimate, evoking the ways in which individual notes of love and sacrifice become part of the celebratory symphony of life.


Love and Other Consolation Prizes
Jamie Ford
Ballantine Books; $28 (hardcover)
Autographed copies available
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For 12-year-old Ernest Young, a charity student at a boarding school, the chance to go to the World’s Fair feels like a gift. But only once he’s there, amid the exotic exhibits, fireworks, and Ferris wheels, does he discover that he is the one who is actually the prize. The half-Chinese orphan is astounded to learn he will be raffled off — a healthy boy “to a good home.”

The winning ticket belongs to the flamboyant madam of a high-class brothel, famous for educating her girls. There, Ernest becomes the new houseboy and befriends Maisie, the madam’s precocious daughter, and a bold scullery maid named Fahn. Their friendship and affection form the first real family Ernest has ever known — and against all odds, this new sporting life gives him the sense of home he’s always desired. But as the grande dame succumbs to an occupational hazard and their world of finery begins to crumble, all three must grapple with hope, ambition, and first love.

Fifty years later, in the shadow of Seattle’s second World’s Fair, Ernest struggles to help his ailing wife reconcile who she once was with who she wanted to be, while trying to keep family secrets hidden from their grown-up daughters. Against a rich backdrop of post-Victorian vice, suffrage, and celebration, Love and Other Consolations is an enchanting tale about innocence and devotion–in a world where everything, and everyone, is for sale.


If the Creek Don’t Rise
Leah Weiss
Sourcebooks Landmark; $15.99 (paperback)
Autographed copies available
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Sadie Blue has been a wife for 15 days. That’s long enough to know she should have never hitched herself to Roy Tupkin, even with the baby.

Sadie is desperate to make her own mark on the world, but in remote Appalachia, a ticket out of town is hard to come by, and hope often gets stomped out. When a stranger sweeps into Baines Creek and knocks things off kilter, Sadie finds herself with an unexpected lifeline … if she can just figure out how to use it.

This intimate insight into a fiercely proud, tenacious community unfolds through the voices of the forgotten folks of Baines Creek. With a colorful cast of characters that each contribute a new perspective, If the Creek Don’t Rise is a debut novel bursting with heart, honesty, and homegrown grit.

*A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick*


My Absolute Darling
Gabriel Tallent
Riverhead Books; $27 (hardcover)
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Turtle Alveston is a survivor. At 14, she roams the woods along the northern California coast. The creeks, tide pools, and rocky islands are her haunts and her hiding grounds, and she is known to wander for miles. But while her physical world is expansive, her personal one is small and treacherous: Turtle has grown up isolated since the death of her mother, in the thrall of her tortured and charismatic father, Martin. Her social existence is confined to the middle school (where she fends off the interest of anyone, student or teacher, who might penetrate her shell) and to her life with her father.

Then Turtle meets Jacob, a high school boy who tells jokes, lives in a big clean house, and looks at Turtle as if she is the sunrise. And for the first time, the larger world begins to come into focus: her life with Martin is neither safe nor sustainable. Motivated by her first experience with real friendship and a teenage crush, Turtle starts to imagine escape, using the very survival skills her father devoted himself to teaching her. What follows is a harrowing story of bravery and redemption. With Turtle’s escalating acts of physical and emotional courage, the reader watches, heart in throat, as this teenage girl struggles to become her own hero — and in the process, becomes ours as well


Young Jane Young
Gabrielle Zevin
Algonquin Books; $26.95 (hardcover)
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Aviva Grossman, an ambitious congressional intern in Florida, makes the mistake of having an affair with her boss — and blogging about it. When the affair comes to light, the beloved congressman doesn’t take the fall. But Aviva does, and her life is over before it hardly begins. Slut-shamed, she becomes a late-night talk show punch line, anathema to politics.

She sees no way out but to change her name and move to a remote town in Maine. This time, she tries to be smarter about her life and strives to raise her daughter, Ruby, to be strong and confident. But when, at the urging of others, Aviva decides to run for public office herself, that long-ago mistake trails her via the Internet and catches up — an inescapable scarlet A. In the digital age, the past is never, ever, truly past. And it’s only a matter of time until Ruby finds out who her mother was and is forced to reconcile that person with the one she knows.

*A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick*


Sing, Unburied, Sing
Jesmyn Ward
Scribner; $26 (hardcover)
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Jojo and his toddler sister, Kayla, live with their grandparents, Mam and Pop, and the occasional presence of their drug-addicted mother, Leonie, on a farm on the Gulf Coast of Mississippi. Leonie is simultaneously tormented and comforted by visions of her dead brother, which only come to her when she’s high; Mam is dying of cancer; and quiet, steady Pop tries to run the household and teach Jojo how to be a man. When the white father of Leonie’s children is released from prison, she packs her kids and a friend into her car and sets out across the state for Parchman farm, the Mississippi State Penitentiary, on a journey rife with danger and promise.

Sing, Unburied, Sing grapples with the ugly truths at the heart of the American story and the power, and limitations, of the bonds of family.

*Longlisted for the National Book Award for Fiction*

*A Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance Okra Pick*


Our book descriptions are excerpted from INDIEBOUND.ORG or from the publisher’s website.

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Union Ave Books

Union Ave Books
The Daylight Building
517 Union Ave, Knoxville, TN 37902
(865) 951-2180 | mail [at] unionavebooks.com

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