Book List, Indie Next

Holiday Gift Giving: ATHENA’S PICKS

It’s time for our annual holiday gift giving recommendations! Check out all of the picks on display in the front corner of the store across from the wine bar! Each cover image links to the book’s page on our website for purchase and is followed by our staff blurb and publisher description.

The Anthropocene Reviewed by John Green

This collection takes a close look at very specific topics humans have influenced and combines them with Green’s personal life. It is abundantly clear that a considerable amount of research went into this book. A truly compelling read, this book offers readers a chance to reflect on life and learn more about the world in a way that does not feel overwhelming. For a non-fiction book, it reads as smoothly as Green’s previous fiction works.

The Anthropocene is the current geologic age, in which humans have profoundly reshaped the planet and its biodiversity. In this remarkable symphony of essays adapted and expanded from his groundbreaking podcast, bestselling author John Green reviews different facets of the human-centered planet on a five-star scale—from the QWERTY keyboard and sunsets to Canada geese and Penguins of Madagascar.

Funny, complex, and rich with detail, the reviews chart the contradictions of contemporary humanity. As a species, we are both far too powerful and not nearly powerful enough, a paradox that came into sharp focus as we faced a global pandemic that both separated us and bound us together.

John Green’s gift for storytelling shines throughout this masterful collection. The Anthropocene Reviewed is a open-hearted exploration of the paths we forge and an unironic celebration of falling in love with the world.

Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery

What I love most about Anne Shirley is her optimism and imagination. Anne turns everyday tasks into adventures that should be celebrated. I loved watching Anne grow with every new experience and with every mistake she made. The first book of this series covers Anne from the ages of 11 to 16 and is a great book for readers of all ages. If you want a feel good book, this is perfect!

The cherished favorite featuring everyone’s favorite red-headed orphan, now in a deluxe hardcover edition with beautiful cover illustrations by Anna Bond, the artist behind world-renowned stationery brand Rifle Paper Co.

Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, is sent by mistake to live with a lonely, middle-aged brother and sister on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

I have yet to read a V.E Schwab book I didn’t like, and this is no exception. The concept of 4 Londons existing in different worlds with different relationships to magic is interesting enough as it is. Add a royal messenger/smuggler who accidentally brings a forbidden object back to his own world and you have an irresistible tale! If you are looking for an exciting high fantasy series, this is perfect!

Kell is one of the last Antarimagicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.

Kell was raised in ArnesRed Londonand officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.

Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.

After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton

Multi-generational stories are always fascinating to me. This story follows our main character as she visits Cuba for the first time, and her grandmother in the 1950s, leading up to her leaving Cuba. This story really examines family dynamics and one’s own identity. Cleeton also wrote 3 other books following this family, which can all be read as standalones if desired.

After the death of her beloved grandmother, a Cuban-American woman travels to Havana, where she discovers the roots of her identity—and unearths a family secret hidden since the revolution…

Havana, 1958. The daughter of a sugar baron, nineteen-year-old Elisa Perez is part of Cuba’s high society, where she is largely sheltered from the country’s growing political unrest—until she embarks on a clandestine affair with a passionate revolutionary…

Miami, 2017. Freelance writer Marisol Ferrera grew up hearing romantic stories of Cuba from her late grandmother Elisa, who was forced to flee with her family during the revolution. Elisa’s last wish was for Marisol to scatter her ashes in the country of her birth.

Arriving in Havana, Marisol comes face-to-face with the contrast of Cuba’s tropical, timeless beauty and its perilous political climate. When more family history comes to light and Marisol finds herself attracted to a man with secrets of his own, she’ll need the lessons of her grandmother’s past to help her understand the true meaning of courage.

I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

What I love most about this book is the duel perspectives. This story follows twins Jude and Noah, but at different times of their life (Noah at 13 and Jude at 16) surrounding a large event that shapes their relationship. This book is a great example of how character POV influences our opinions when reading. I’LL GIVE YOU THE SUN is beautiful and has an absolutely stunning utilization of imagery, especially when discussion emotions.

A New York Times bestseller • One of Time Magazine’s 100 Best YA Books of All Time • Winner of the Michael L. Printz Award • A Stonewall Honor Book

The radiant, award-winning story of first love, family, loss, and betrayal for fans of John Green, Becky Albertalli, and Adam Silvera

“Dazzling.”—The New York Times Book Review
“A blazing prismatic explosion of color.“—Entertainment Weekly
“Powerful and well-crafted . . . Stunning.” —Time Magazine

“We were all heading for each other on a collision course, no matter what. Maybe some people are just meant to be in the same story.”

At first, Jude and her twin brother are NoahandJude; inseparable. Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude wears red-red lipstick, cliff-dives, and does all the talking for both of them.

Years later, they are barely speaking. Something has happened to change the twins in different yet equally devastating ways . . . but then Jude meets an intriguing, irresistible boy and a mysterious new mentor.

The early years are Noah’s to tell; the later years are Jude’s. But they each have only half the story, and if they can only find their way back to one another, they’ll have a chance to remake their world.

From the acclaimed author of The Sky Is Everywhere, this exhilarating novel will leave you breathless and teary and laughing—often all at once.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

After over 150 years, LITTLE WOMEN is still able to resonate with its readers. The antics and adventures of the March sisters not only make the book compelling but relatable as well. It’s clear why this book has had 4 movie adaptations in the last 90 years. I read this in preparation of the 2019 movie and was absolutely blown away. This edition contains both LITTLE WOMEN and GOOD WIVES (the whole story!).After over 150 years, LITTLE WOMEN is still able to resonate with its readers. The antics and adventures of the March sisters not only make the book compelling but relatable as well. It’s clear why this book has had 4 movie adaptations in the last 90 years. I read this in preparation of the 2019 movie and was absolutely blown away. This edition contains both LITTLE WOMEN and GOOD WIVES (the whole story!).

Louisa May Alcott’s classic tale of four sisters in a deluxe hardcover edition, with beautiful cover illustrations by Anna Bond, the artist behind world-renowned stationery brand Rifle Paper Co.

Grown-up Meg, tomboyish Jo, timid Beth, and precocious Amy. The four March sisters couldn’t be more different. But with their father away at war, and their mother working to support the family, they have to rely on one another. Whether they’re putting on a play, forming a secret society, or celebrating Christmas, there’s one thing they can’t help wondering: Will Father return home safely?

Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

I fell in love with HOWL’S MOVING CASTLE after watching the Studio Ghibli movie (as I am sure most people have). When I realized it was based off a book I had to pick it up and I was not disappointed. This book is so whimsical and funny. It carries the same magical feel as the movie while adding a slightly more complex and better explained story line. A great book for kids and adults!

This entrancing classic fantasy novel is filled with surprises at every turn. An international bestseller, this much-loved book is the source for the Academy Award nominee for Best Animated Feature.

Sophie has the great misfortune of being the eldest of three daughters, destined to fail miserably should she ever leave home to seek her fate. But when she unwittingly attracts the ire of the Witch of the Waste, Sophie finds herself under a horrid spell that transforms her into an old lady. Her only chance at breaking it lies in the ever-moving castle in the hills: the Wizard Howl’s castle.

To untangle the enchantment, Sophie must handle the heartless Howl, strike a bargain with a fire demon, and meet the Witch of the Waste head-on. Along the way, she discovers that there’s far more to Howl—and herself—than first meets the eye.

In this giant jigsaw puzzle of a fantasy, people and things are never quite what they seem. Destinies are intertwined, identities exchanged, lovers confused. The Witch has placed a spell on Howl. Does the clue to breaking it lie in a famous poem? And what will happen to Sophie Hatter when she enters Howl’s castle?

All fans of classic fantasy books deserve the pleasure of reading those by Diana Wynne Jones, whose acclaim included the World Fantasy Award for Life Achievement. As Neil Gaiman stated, she was “quite simply the best writer for children of her generation.”

Legend by Marie Lu

This is one of my favorite dystopian books of all time. I know a lot of the time with YA dystopian it can feel like the plot is very recycled, but that isn’t the case with LEGEND. This story is based in a futuristic America where the country is now split in two and rising oceans have changed borders. June and Day have such and interesting dynamic and it made it so hard to put the book down!

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

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