bookgazing: (i heart books)
bookgazing ([personal profile] bookgazing) wrote2012-07-03 07:54 pm

Small Press Fortnight Blog Tour - Books, Books, Books

To kick off the Small Press Fortnight blog tour I wanted to quickly show you some of the books that have been produced by small publishers which I’m looking forward to reading.

Five books from small publishers that are currently waiting oh so patiently on my shelves

‘Heartland’ – Anthony Cartwright (Tindal Street Press)

‘It is Spring 2002 in the Black Country, with local elections looming. A mosque is being built on the site where Cinderheath’s iconic steelworks once centred the town. ‘The Tipton Three’, from just down the road, are imprisoned in Guantanomo; the BNP expect to win new seats on the council. St. George’s flags fly from cars and windows: the World Cup is beginning, England to play Argentina. But first, a controversial Sunday-league football game must take place, billed by the press as ‘a match to spark a race war’.’

It’s rare to find books about the Black Country (that place where I live), so great to see a West Midlands based publisher putting out a novel about our area.

‘No Surrender’ – Constance Maud (Persephone Books)

‘A suffragette novel par excellence – and it is a mystery why it has never been republished before – the narrative of No Surrender is faithful to real facts and incidents, with some of the main characters being based on leading suffrage figures. It describes minor aristocrats – one character is based on Lady Constance Lytton – and a Lancashire mill girl, the heroine, Jenny Clegg (who speaks in authentic dialect), thus putting paid to the myth that the suffrage movement was middle-class: the main focus is on the strong support for women’s suffrage by women workers in the textile mills (Jenny says, ‘”we working women, you see – we need the vote for our homes, our children, our work – it is an economic question, this one of our vote”’) and on the prejudices against votes for women on the part of many of the men in the labour movement.’


‘Half Blood Blue’ – Esi Edugyan (Serpent’s Tail)

‘The aftermath of the fall of Paris, 1940. Hieronymous Falk, a rising star on the cabaret scene, was arrested in a cafe and never heard from again. He was twenty years old. He was a German citizen. And he was black. Fifty years later, Sid, Hiero's bandmate and the only witness that day, is going back to Berlin. Persuaded by his old friend Chip, Sid discovers there's more to the journey than he thought when Chip shares a mysterious letter, bringing to the surface secrets buried since Hiero's fate was settled.’

This is a book that’s made a lot of shortlists this year. I haven’t been quite able to focus on it yet, but I’ll be going back to try it again soon.

‘Paris Immortal’ – Sherry Roit (Snowbooks)

‘Trey settles into his new Parisian home, making friends and meeting romantic interests, but none so fascinating as Michel and Gabriel. There's something familiar about them, about their peculiarities, and Trey just can't shake the feeling that he's missing something important. They seem kind enough, if distant at times, and as Trey's life becomes more complicated, they appear to want to protect him. But what if they're the ones putting him in danger?’

I heard somewhere that this had gay vampire romance in it. Relevant to my interests.

‘Pride & Prejudice & Zombies’ – Jane Austen & Seth Grahame Smith (Quirk Publishing)

‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies features the original text of Jane Austen’s beloved novel with all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie action. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton-and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy.’

I know everyone else has read this, but it’s still sitting untouched on my bookcase.

Five books from small publishers I’d really like to own

‘Sea of Ink’ – Richard Weihe (Peirene Press)

’In 1626, Bada Shanren is born into the Chinese royal family. When the old Ming Dynasty crumbles, he becomes an artist, committed to capturing the essence of nature with a single brushstroke. Then the rulers of the new Qing Dynasty discover his identity and Bada must feign madness to escape.’

This will be the first Peirene title to feature pictures and I’m interested to see how that’ll affect the layout.

‘Wolf Mark’ – Joseph Bruchac (Tu Books)

‘When Lucas King's black-ops father is kidnapped, a dangerous family secret could be his only chance to save him: a skin that will let him walk as a wolf. Spies and skinwalkers come together in this edge-of-your-seat YA thriller based on Abenaki legend.’

Adventure stories that feature werewolves are a weakness of mine.

‘Curse of the Wolf Girl’ – Martin Millar (Red Lemonade Press)

‘Kallix, a morose, laudanum-addicted, unschooled, slightly anorexic werewolf is still on the run. The youngest daughter of the Thane of the MacRinnalch Clan of werewolves, held responsible unfairly for the death of the Thane, and justifiably responsible for the deaths of a great many other werewolves, remains prohibited from returning to Scotland in order to maintain the uneasy peace that temporarily prevails in court, despite the endemic debauchery and degeneracy always threatening to again spiral out of control.’

A sequel to ‘Lonely Werewolf Girl’. I had that awful full of typos copy of the first book, but thought it was very original and want to find out what happens to all the characters (especially Marcus and Kallix).

‘The Islands’ – Carlos Gamerro (And Other Stories)

‘After a decade spent immersed in drugs and virtual realities, trying to forget the freezing trench in which he passed the Falklands War, Félix is forced to confront the city around him – and realises to his shock that the war never really ended.’

Meike at Peirene Press told me about this publisher and I’m eager to try one of their titles. This sounds almost SF like and gritty.

'Girl in the Blue Dress’ – Gaynor Arnold (Tindal Street Press)

‘Beloved writer Alfred Gibson’s funeral is taking place at Westminster Abbey, and Dorothea, his wife of twenty years, has not been invited. Gibson’s will favours his many children and secret mistress over Dorothea – who was sent away from the family home when their youngest was still an infant. Dorothea hasn’t left her apartment in years, but when she receives a surprise invitation to a private audience with Queen Victoria she is shocked to find she had much in common with Her Majesty.’

I’ve heard so many good things about this book from different bloggers that I have no idea why I haven’t read it yet. Bad reader!

So which titles from small publishers are you most excited about?

Join the tour tomorrow at The Sleepless Reader where Alex will be talking about Tindal Street Press.

Note: All book blurbs indicated by block quote formatting have been taken from publisher websites and I am in no way claiming authorship of those words.

[identity profile] 2012-07-03 08:29 pm (UTC)(link)
Great list! Half-Blood Blues and Lonely Wolf Girl are both on my reading list. I had no idea about the typos. The Island sounds pretty interesting.

(Anonymous) 2012-07-04 01:58 pm (UTC)(link)
I hadn't actually heard of most of those publishers so I'm off to get some knowledge (this despite having seen Half Blood Blue on many sites). I'm excited about the next Peirene too! Pictures will make for an interesting addition. - Charlie (The Worm Hole)

[identity profile] 2012-07-05 02:52 pm (UTC)(link)
Heartland has a great cover. I'd stop for it.