January Indie Books Roundup

Rachel Cantor's A Highly Unlikely Scenario

We love independent publishers, but great indie releases have a way of getting past us. Enter the Indie Roundup, a monthly review of new books we’re excited about, from independent, university, and small presses we love.

During a month bloated with unrealistic resolutions, January’s Roundup is less about being perfect and more about tweaking our cultural knowledge, self esteem, and general entertainment levels. Luckily, this month brings a buffet’s worth of indie works for every glutton moments away from falling off the new-diet wagon. Here’s what we’re most looking forward to among January releases:

The Good Mother Myth: Redefining Motherhood to Fit Reality, ed. by Avital Norman Nathman; foreword by Christy Turlington Burns (Seal Press)
Stop trying to become a flawless vision of perfection and focus on a more realistic approach, is the message behind this collections of essays (with a contributor list that includes Christy Turlington Burns, Jessica Valenti, Sharon Lerner, Soraya Chemaly, Amber Dusick, and many more). The Good Mother Myth reexamines motherhood in our modern world, and sees past the polished image of mothers on mommy blogs, social media websites, and your annoying friend from college’s Facebook account.

The Black Power Mixtape 1967–1975, ed. by Göran Olsson, featuring Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichel (Haymarket Books)
This book accompanies the documentary of the same name and features words and images only recently discovered. Interviews with major civil rights leaders have emerged from the archives of Swedish television and are helping to educate and inform our present-day notion of Black Power. Get informed and get inspired.

A Highly Unlikely Scenario: Or, A Neetsa Pizza Employee’s Guide to Saving the World, by Rachel Cantor (Melville House)
In the spirit of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, this debut novel is a present to both sci-fi and humor fans alike. With medieval Kabbalists, competing fast food companies taking the place of religion, and a very suspicious secret “book club,” we imagine this read is going to keep us in good spirits even when we’re only getting four hours of sunlight a day.

Soldiers, Spies and Statesmen: Egypt’s Road to Revoltby Hazem Kandil (Verso Books)
If up until last month the only thing you could add to a dinner-party convo about Egypt was that pomegranate juice is super cheap there, and then it snowed on the pyramids for the first time in 112 years and that made two things you knew about the country, then you may be painfully under-educated about Egypt’s current political and social climate. Enter Kandil’s new work, which covers the past six decades, attempts to understand Egypt’s 2011 revolt, and details the country’s transformation from a military to a police state.

Freedom from Anxiety: A Holistic Approach to Emotional Well-Being, by Marcey Shapiro; foreword by Barbara L. Shapiro (North Atlantic Books)
Was this book written just for us? Does North Atlantic Books know our NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS? Do they??? Um, chances are no, but we’re still very excited that our resolution “to please, please, please be more calm” now has a handbook to turn to for guidance. With hundreds of tools and techniques to alleviate anxiety, this book stresses that no one treatment program works for everyone, and the best way to help yourself is to learn about the myriad of ways to bring back a little peace of mind into your life.

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