March Indie Books Roundup

Beautiful Darkness

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.

We made it! We made it to March and now every so often there are little hints of spring, almost as if the winter won’t go on forever and, fingers crossed, we will be enjoying some non–polar weather soon. March has always had a split personality as far as we’re concerned, and this month’s Indie Roundup reflects that. From explosive parties to debilitating depression, we’ve found books to help you escape the March malaise and get to work on your mind and body in preparation for spring. And so, without further ado, the March Roundup marches on! (Sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves.)

Playing for the Benefit of the Band: New Orleans Music Culture, by Lee Friedlander (Yale University Press)
Somewhere between the third and fifteenth snow day this winter, I started having dreams about the South; specifically, the Deep South in the height of the summer, when it’s too hot to do anything but indulge in simple pleasures like cold drinks and sitting in the shade watching live music. Friedlander seems to be answering my calls for a hot, lazy summer afternoon with this photography collection of over 200 images taken between 1957 and 1982 and depicting the New Orleans Jazz scene.

Beautiful Darkness, by Fabien Vehlmann and Kerascoët (Drawn & Quarterly)
This haunting book is sure to be a creepy, enchanting must-read for any graphic novel lover. A macabre fairytale, it explores the concept of the “beautiful darkness” inside all of us. The idea of peeling back of the facade of polite society in order to expose the murkiness of the human condition is fascinating. Add vibrant, engaging watercolor illustrations, and I’m hooked.

The Gift of Healing Herbs: Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life, by Robin Rose Bennett, foreword by Rosemary Gladstar (North Atlantic Books)
I’m not going to say that I’ve totally given up on my New Year’s resolution, but I will say that I’m actively searching for ways to jump back into the whole “taking care of my body” state of mind. Composed of personal stories, case histories, recipes, basic plant information, and instructions on how to use herbal remedies to treat a number of physical, emotional, and spiritual ailments, The Gift of Healing Herbs looks to be an engaging introduction to the myriad ways in which herbology can affect our bodies and minds.

Liv, Forever, by Amy Talkington (Soho Press)
A fancy boarding school, a secret society, unsolved murders, and a ghostly narrator? Cancel my appointments and tell my boss I’m sick; I know how I’m going to spend the next couple of days. I can feel the waves of teenage angst and conspiracy from here!

No, Wait. Yep. Definitely Still Hate Myself. by Robert Fitterman (Ugly Duckling Presse)
What better way to say goodbye to winter than with a book length poem comprised of hundreds of found descriptions of personal despair, depression, and loneliness, courtesy of the internet? Strung together, these passages create a singular narrative voice of alienation and heartache. Let’s strap in and ride this rocket out of the solitude of winter and into the connectivity we hope to find in spring.

What indie reads are you looking forward to this month?

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