Indie Picks: September 2015

The IndieNext bestseller list is one of the best places to find out what’s hot at independent bookstores around the United States. Based on reporting from hundreds of independent bookstores, here’s a sampling of some of the best nonfiction books right now.

Take a look, and remember to #ChooseIndie.

Being Mortal

Being Mortal

by Atul Gawande


H Is for Hawk

by Helen Macdonald


I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai


Think Like a Freak

by Steven D. Levitt & Stephen J. Dubner


David and Goliath

by Malcolm Gladwell

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In the News

The most interesting people I know keep apprised of the world around them. Not only do they read the news, but they go out of their way to research and discuss what they find in the news.

Politics are ruled by narratives, whether it be on television or in print, so it’s essential to supplement and challenge common knowledge by listening to people’s own stories. Here are some books we’ve picked as essentials for anyone who wants to know more about people and stories that have been in the news recently.

Level Zero Heroes

Level Zero Heroes

By Michael Golembesky

Michael Golembesky covers the story of U.S. Marine Special Operations Team 8222 whose operation was compromised when two paratroopers drowned in an effort to retrieve air-dropped supplies in 2010 in Bala Murghab. This is no doubt a tragic story, but it is also an unmistakably heroic one, in which Team 8222 worked together to reclaim the valley from the Taliban.


13 Hours

By Mitchell Zuckoff

Boston University journalism professor Mitchell Zuckoff is the author of 13 Hours and used extensive research and firsthand accounts from team members to piece together the fragmented stories that surround the terrorist attack on the American Annex on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi. There is a lot of speculation that surrounds the deaths of Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, so here Zuckoff sets the record straight, in a thrilling and detailed account you won’t want to miss.

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I Am Malala

By Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai has proven herself to be a most-deserving winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, through championing girls’ education, equality, and peace, even while the Taliban threatened to take her life. Most importantly she has become a global symbol for change in a world that many people see as unalterable. This is a must listen because Malala’s reputation as leader for her generation is constantly growing.


Talk Like TED

By Carmine Gallo

Carmine Gallo has compiled nine distinct tactics for being an effective public speaker using TED speakers as examples. TED Talks are certainly a good way to find out what’s going on all around the world, and after listening to Talk Like TED, you will be able to join the ranks of these speakers and tell your own story like a pro.

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American Sniper

By Chris Kyle

American Sniper details Chris Kyle’s experience, both as a family man at home and as the most lethal sniper ever in US Military history out in the field. His life-story is so extraordinary and controversial that you will want to hear it first-hand.


The Intelligent Investor

By Benjamin Graham

Since The Intelligent Investor’s original publication in 1949, it has been constantly circulating the public sector, which is a testament to the durability of Benjamin Graham’s message. If you’re looking for a reliable advisor for all of your investment quandaries, you’ve come to the right spot.

What books would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

7 Books for a Stimulating Book Club Discussion

I was recently talking to some friends who are in wine clubs (read: book clubs) about the books that make the best book club picks. People’s tastes in books are all different, but that’s OK; each person’s pick doesn’t have cater to everyone. Rather, the best selections generate a lively debate, either because their controversy provokes discussion, their topic sheds light on a part of the world or lifestyle unknown to us, or their prose is layered with meaning and everyone’s individual views enrich the conversation.

Here are a few books that everyone agreed created a lively atmosphere in any book club and go well with a malbec. Not every book was universally loved, but each had something to offer.

I Am Malala

by Malala Yousafzai and Christina Lamb

Not even the bullet of a Taliban member’s gun could stop Malala Yousafzai from completing her education. Determined to fulfill her dreams, and with the encouragement of her parents, she fought for the right to go to school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan. She has since become the youngest person to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Why it makes a great book club pick: So often we watch the news, and see faceless violence, statistics, and fear. This book demonstrates the complexity of life in a war-torn country.

A Call to Conscience: The Landmark Speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., edited by Clayborne Carson, and Kris Shepard

Twelve of Dr. King’s most famous, most moving, most thought-provoking speeches are gathered here, and bonus material includes commentaries by theologians and leaders. While the book is great, the audio edition includes the original recordings, and narration from the likes of Rosa Parks, Yolanda King, Ambassador George McGovern, and Senator Edward Kennedy.

Why it makes a great book club pick: King’s speeches, like his work, don’t just cover racial inequality, but social and economic inequality too. Everyone will leave with difficult thoughts, but it’s hard not to feel hopeful after listening to Dr. King.

And for fun, watch Dr. King tell a joke on The Tonight Show.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men

by David Foster Wallace

At moments licentious, at others tender hearted, and often both, the bulk of these short stories revolve around DFW’s imaginings of men’s relationships with and ideas about women. These meticulously crafted stories are like a trip through the labyrinth of David Foster Wallace’s brain. If you aren’t familiar with him, take a minute to read one of my favorite DFW pieces on Roger Federer in The New York Times: Federer as Religious Experience.

Why it makes a great book club pick: Much shorter and more digestible than Infinite Jest, this collection still oozes postmodernist longing while managing to be uproariously funny.

Have a Nice Guilt Trip

by Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella

Dozens of pithy stories make up this fourth collection by mother-and-daughter team Lisa Scottoline and Francesca Serritella. Tackling everything from jury duty, to dog-grooming, to the benefits of central air, nothing is too ridiculous, too taboo, or too mundane for these ladies.

Why it makes a great book club book: Laugh-out-loud funny, everyone will have a different favorite. The best jokes and anecdotes will be flying all night.

Killing Lincoln

by Bill O’Reilly and Martin Dugard

Love him or hate him, there’s no denying Bill O’Reilly’s presence on our cultural map. Here we meet him on neutral ground, discussing the assassination of President Lincoln. More like a fast-paced thriller than historical treatise, this book captures the imagination.

Why it makes a good book club pick: No doubt about it, this book is riveting. The conversation might stop there, but it also might go deeper, into the responsibility an author has to fact-check every small detail versus the author’s commitment to entertain, or whether or not the author has a broader agenda outside the narrative.

The Heretic’s Daughter

by Kathleen Kent

Kathleen Kent, a tenth-generation-descendant of the figures in this story, recounts the horrors of the Salem witch trials. This sweeping family saga, told through the eyes of a ten-year-old girl, brings new life to an oft-told American tale.

Why it makes a good book club pick: With prose that’s gritty yet luscious, it’s easy to mark this one as the best book-club books you’ll read this year. But the dynamic characters and attention to detail are what will really hold the conversation.

The Betrayers

by David Bezmogis

Part high literature, part political thriller, The Betrayers covers one pivotal day in the life of Israeli politician Baruch Kotler. When he fails to back down over the policies regarding the West Bank, his political enemies expose his affair, forcing him to flee to Yalta, where he runs into the man who sent him to the Gulag 40 years ago.

Why it makes a good book club pick: Baruch Kotler’s staunch principles are the stuff book club discussions feast upon. Everyone will be asking “Do you think he should have?” and “Why wouldn’t they?” and “Were you surprised when?”

Have a favorite book from your book club? Leave a suggestion or link to your review in the comments below.