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Coming This Month

Notable October Indie Press 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 October - 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.

Happy reading!


The Romance of Elsewhere, by Lynn Freed (Counterpoint Press)

Lynn Freed’s deeply personal essays explore our most quintessential question: What makes a home? From very early on she had imagined for herself an ideal life: a stranger in a strange place, someone just arrived, just about to leave, and always with a home to return to. As a teenager on an exchange program to the U.S., she had made up fantastic reasons to escape high school in the suburbs and spend her time in New York City. Accepting a marriage proposal as a young woman, partly because it promised just such a life—away from South Africa, where she’d grown up, and in New York as a graduate student—she found herself both restless and unmoored. At home neither in the place nor in the marriage.

 

Assuming Boycott: Resistance, Agency and Cultural Production, by Kareem Estefan, Carin Kuoni, and Laura Raicovich (OR Books)

Assuming Boycott is the essential reader for today’s creative leaders and cultural practitioners, including original contributions by artists, scholars, activists, critics, curators and writers who examine the historical precedent of South Africa; the current cultural boycott of Israel; freedom of speech and self-censorship; and long-distance activism. Far from withdrawal or cynicism, boycott emerges as a productive tool of creative and productive engagement.

Including essays by Nasser Abourahme, Ariella Azoulay, Tania Bruguera, Noura Erakat, Kareem Estefan, Mariam Ghani with Haig Aivazian, Nathan Gray and Ahmet Öğüt, Chelsea Haines, Sean Jacobs, Yazan Khalili, Carin Kuoni and Laura Raicovich, Svetlana Mintcheva, Naeem Mohaiemen, Hlonipha Mokoena, John Peffer, Joshua Simon, Ann Laura Stoler, Radhika Subramaniam, Eyal Weizman and Kareem Estefan, and Frank B. Wilderson III.

 

As Lie Is to Grin: A Novel, by Simeon Marsalis (Catapult)

David, the narrator of Simeon Marsalis's singular first novel, is a freshman at the University of Vermont who is struggling to define himself against the white backdrop of his school. He is also mourning the loss of his New York girlfriend, Melody, whose grandfather's alma mater he has chosen to attend. When David met Melody, he told her he lived with his drug-addicted single mother in Harlem, a more intriguing story than his own. This lie haunts and almost unhinges him as he attempts to find his true voice and identity.

On campus in Vermont, David imagines encounters with a student from the past who might represent either Melody's grandfather or Jean Toomer, the author of the acclaimed Harlem Renaissance novel, Cane (1923). He becomes obsessed with the varieties of American architecture "upon land that was stolen," and with the university's past and attitudes as recorded in its newspaper, The Cynic. And he is frustrated with the way the Internet and libraries are curated, making it difficult to find the information he needs to make connections between the university's history, African-American history, and his own life.

 

Catapult, by Emily Fridlund (Sarabande Books)

Selected by Ben Marcus as winner of the Mary McCarthy Prize in Short Fiction, Catapult follows Emily Fridlund's acclaimed debut novel History of Wolves. Sometimes calculating, at other times bewildered, Catapult's characters orbit around each other, enacting a deeply human tragicomedy of wit, misunderstanding, and loss. With dexterous, atmospheric, and darkly comic prose, Fridlund conjures worlds where longing is open-ended, intentions misfire, and the line between comfort and cruelty is often difficult to discern. This is a gripping collection, unsettling as much in its familiarity as in its near-gothic strangeness.

 

The Notations of Cooper Cameron, by Jane O'Reilly (Lerner Books)

Eleven-year-old Cooper Cameron likes things to be in order. When he eats, he chews every bite three times on each side. Sometimes he washes his hands in the air with invisible water. He invented these rituals after the death of his beloved grandfather to protect others he loves from terrible harm.

But when Cooper's strange behavior drives a wedge between his parents, and his relationship with his older sister, Caddie, begins to fray, his mother's only solution is to take Cooper and Caddie to the family cabin for the summer.

Armed with a collection of rocks, his pet frog, and his notebook, Cooper vows to cure himself and bring his damaged family back together. 

 

The Wooden Camel, by Wanuri Kahiu; illustrated by Manuela Adreani (Lerner Books)

Etabo dreams of being a camel racer. One day he might even beat his older brother when they race. But with the price of water rising, Etabo's father must sell the camels, and his siblings must find work. What will Etabo do now? From acclaimed Kenyan filmmaker Wanuri Kahiu and Italian illustrator Manuela Adreani, this story of love and hope centers on the inspiring Turkana people of northwest Kenya. Told with gentleness and humor, it is a universal story about keeping one's dreams alive. 


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