All week, we've been participating in Small Press Week, the brainchild of Upper Rubber Boot Books. Today, we're talking about books from other small presses that we've read and loved. A few of our staff members recommend a small press book (or two) they read this year.
Trysh Thompson, Assistant Editor
The very first book hangover of 2016 for me was far and away one of the best: Blackbird Summer by Em Shotwell (City Owl Press). I loved the southern charm, the special powers, and it got to me so much, I literally tweeted the author my distaste for one of the main character’s decisions. It wasn’t my typical read, but I’m so glad I picked it up.
A second one that got me from word one was Beautiful Masterpiece by Gen Ryan (Hot Tree Publishing). Once again, not my typical read, but so glad I did. It’s dark from page one but once I started I absolutely could not put it down until I got to the bitter end. I was absolutely destroyed by the ending—but to be emotionally invested enough that it touched me that deeply has got to say something.
Rhonda Parrish, Assistant Editor & Anthologist
I haven't finished it yet (because of a lot of demands on my time, not because of an absence of desire to read it) but I'm about halfway through E.C. Bell's Drowning in Amber from Tyche Books and I'm really enjoying it. It's darkly funny, but also has sincere emotions, interesting characters and--I won't lie--some appeal because it's set in Edmonton. I read and liked the first book in Eileen's series so I wasn't surprised to discover I was enjoying this one, but so far I actually like it better than the first. That's not something that happens very often!
Sarena Ulibarri, Editor-in-Chief
I've heard this book described as "Drag queens fighting aliens," and that was enough to sell me on it. The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again by A.C. Wise (Lethe Press) is most definitely that, but it's also so much more. This collection of connected short stories is about a group of fabulous ladies (about half of them trans*, half of them cis) saving the world in high heels (or roller skates) and lamé dresses. It's book-ended by ensemble adventure stories, and each of the tales in between zooms in to one of the characters, many of them telling the story of how each one came to join the Glitter Squadron. These stories are just as pulpy and silly as you would expect them to be, but A.C. Wise is a damn fine writer who always keeps the characters deep and the plot coherent. The stories have darker moments too, which often delve into important LGBT+ issues, but do so in a way that I feel is authentic without being triggering. I read one of these stories in the magazine where it was originally published, and I'm very glad I picked up the whole volume.
I've also been dipping in to The Shapeshifter Chronicles (Windrift Books) whenever I have the chance, and every time I do, the stories blow me away.
Check the hashtag #SPWreads for more small press book recommendations!
World Weaver Press
Publishing fantasy, paranormal, and science fiction.