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Coming this Month
Notable July Indie Book Releases
Each month, our staff chooses several notable books released from indie presses and hybrid publishers.
Check out our top picks for the best new releases from indie presses this July - a mix of fiction, non-fiction and children's.
Let us know of any new releases you are excited about in the comment section below.
Slipsliding by the Bay, by Barbara McDonald (She Writes Press)
Perched on the edge of San Francisco, Lakeside College is experiencing an identity crisis. John Gudewill is recruited as president to save the college from possible closure―but he is flummoxed at every turn. The faculty, led by secretive English professor Eliot Blanc, is determined to unionize. The alumni want Lakeside to return to its former status as a women-only college. Meanwhile, Sister Magdalena, the college’s infamous artist, is waging war against corporate America through her art, and the students are engaging in their own warfare through sit-ins and protests. With the college besieged on all sides, what is its new president to do?
A hilarious spoof of academic intrigue, Slipsliding by the Bay mirrors the societal turmoil and follies of the seventies.
When the English Fall, by David Williams (Algonquin Books)
A riveting and unexpected novel that questions whether a peaceful and nonviolent community can survive when civilization falls apart.
When a catastrophic solar storm brings about the collapse of modern civilization, an Amish community in Pennsylvania is caught up in the devastating aftermath. Once-bright skies are now dark. Planes have plummeted to the ground. The systems of modern life have crumbled. With their stocked larders and stores of supplies, the Amish are unaffected at first. But as the English (the Amish name for all non-Amish people) become more and more desperate, they begin to invade Amish farms, taking whatever they want and unleashing unthinkable violence on the peaceable community.
Seen through the diary of an Amish farmer named Jacob as he tries to protect his family and his way of life, When the English Fall examines the idea of peace in the face of deadly chaos: Should members of a nonviolent society defy their beliefs and take up arms to defend themselves? And if they don’t, can they survive?
Hollow, A Novel, by Owen Egerton (Soft Skull Press)
When Oliver Bonds loses his toddler son and undergoes intense legal scrutiny over his involvement, grief engulfs him completely. His life is upended, costing Oliver his wife, home, and faith. Three years after his son’s death, Oliver has gravitated to the fringes of society. Once a revered university professor, he now lives in a shack without electricity behind a nail salon and frequents the soup kitchen where he used to volunteer.
It’s only when befriended by Lyle, a bombastic, over-sexed con artist with a passion for conspiracy theories, that Oliver begins to reengage with the world. Inspired by Lyle and a community of eccentrics, Oliver becomes convinced that the Earth is hollow and holds a true Eden. Desperate to find a place where he can escape his past, Oliver chases after the most unlikely of miracles.
With unforgettable characters, wild imagery, and dark humor, Hollow explores the depths of doubt and hope, stretching past grief and into the space where we truly begin to heal.
The Wilds of Poetry: Adventures in Mind and Landscape, by David Hinton (Shambhala Publications)
Henry David Thoreau, in The Maine Woods, describes a moment on Mount Ktaadin when all explanations and assumptions fell away for him and he was confronted with the wonderful, inexplicable thusness of things. David Hinton takes that moment as the starting point for his account of a rewilding of consciousness in the West: a dawning awareness of our essential oneness with the world around us. Because there was no Western vocabulary for this perception, it fell to poets to make the first efforts at articulation, and those efforts were largely driven by Taoist and Ch’an (Zen) Buddhist ideas imported from ancient China. Hinton chronicles this rewilding through the lineage of avant-garde poetry in twentieth-century America—from Ezra Pound and Robinson Jeffers to Gary Snyder, W. S. Merwin, and beyond—including generous selections of poems that together form a compelling anthology of ecopoetry. In his much-admired translations, Hinton has recreated ancient Chinese rivers-and-mountains poetry as modern American poetry; here, he reenvisions modern American poetry as an extension of that ancient Chinese tradition: an ecopoetry that weaves consciousness into the Cosmos in radical and fundamental ways.
On Imagination, by Mary Ruefle (Sarabande Books)
"It is impossible for me to write about the imagination; it is like asking a fish to describe the sea," Ruefle announces before proceeding to do just that. Marshaling Wittgenstein, Jane Goodall, Gertrude Stein, Jesus, and Emily Dickinson, alongside Ukrainian Easter egg dyeing traditions and teddy bear tea parties, Ruefle presents a curio cabinet of the human imagination's boundless forms.
Drunks: An American History, by Christopher M. Finan (Beacon Press)
Today, millions of Americans are struggling with alcoholism, but millions are also in long-term recovery from addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous and a growing number of recovery organizations are providing support for alcoholics who will face the danger of relapse for the rest of their lives. We have finally come to understand that alcoholism is a treatable illness. But in the beginning, our nation condemned drunks for moral weakness. President John Adams renounced his alcoholic son, Charles, and refused to bury him in the family crypt.
Christopher Finan reveals the history of our struggle with alcoholism and the emergence of a search for sobriety that began among Native Americans in the colonial period. He introduces us to the first of a colorful cast of characters, a remarkable Iroquois leader named Handsome Lake, a drunk who stopped drinking and dedicated his life to helping his people achieve sobriety. In the early nineteenth century, the idealistic and energetic “Washingtonians,” a group of reformed alcoholics, led the first national movement to save men like themselves. After the Civil War, doctors began to recognize that chronic drunkenness is an illness, and Dr. Leslie Keeley invented a “gold cure” that was dispensed at more than a hundred clinics around the country. But most Americans rejected a scientific explanation of alcoholism. A century after the ignominious death of Charles Adams came Carrie Nation. The wife of a drunk, she destroyed bars with a hatchet in her fury over what alcohol had done to her family. Prohibition became the law of the land, but nothing could stop the drinking.