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.
May! Oh, how we have dreamed of your arrival. You’re finally here, and you’ve brought longer days (for reading!), warmer weather (for reading outside!), and feelings of relaxed hopefulness (for reading AND daydreaming!). This month’s Indie Roundup also offers numerous perks, making us think you two were made for each other. Below you’ll find some badass female characters, an adolescent boy on a quest, a fresh new look at an American classic, and more.
Roller Girls Love Bobby Knight, by Michael Wayne Hampton (Artistically Declined Press)
There’s a lot going on that attracts me to this novella: tough-as-nails protagonists, DIY culture, the promise of a Kentucky landscape, and the allure of a short read. Hampton’s story is about female bonds, rockabilly, and roller derby, and it sounds like the perfect day-at-the-park book to spend a Sunday reading.
Whitman Illuminated: Song of Myself, by Allen Crawford (Illustrator) and Walt Whitman (Tin House Books)
Can’t wait to get my hands on this. Crawford has taken Whitman’s 60-page poem “Song of Myself” and turned it into a 234-page illustrated composition. I’m already a fan of Crawford and his wife’s illustration company, Plankton Art Co., and I can’t wait to see how they pay tribute to Whitman’s masterpiece.
Faces in the Crowd, by Valeria Luiselli (Coffee House Press)
Debut novel Faces has gotten a ton of praise in all the right places, and the reviews have piqued my curiosity. Two stories, one taking place in Mexico, the other New York City, are told in a nonlinear way, with flashbacks, facts, fictional characters, and poetry weaving together to create a whole fictional world.
The Fun We’ve Had, by Michael J. Seidlinger (Lazy Fascist)
A man and a woman are adrift in a never-ending sea. Did I mention they’re in a coffin? Also, we have no idea who “they” are, known only as “he” and “she.” Is it a story? A metaphor for relationships? All I know is that Seidlinger is consistently enjoyable to read, and whatever world he’s created here will be engaging, colorful, and, as the title says, most definitely fun.
Stealth, by Sonallah Ibrahim, trans. by Hosam Aboul-Ela (New Directions Publishing Corporation)
Mid-twentieth-century Cairo: turbulent, royal, a strange mix of old and new, all witnessed through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. Sounds magical, and like it might just be the summer escape novel I’ve been searching for.