The Big Indie Books of Fall 2014
Small and university presses have long been an integral part of the literary landscape. But as large houses—Random House and Penguin, Harper and Harlequin—continue to consolidate, the idiosyncratic viewpoints often represented by indies are more important than ever.
I typically scour the small, indie, and university press catalogues as early as possible,” says Jonathon Welch, cofounder of Talking Leaves Books in Buffalo, N.Y. “Independent and university presses are cauldrons of both innovation and tradition, of the best, most interesting, and/or the most challenging writing and thinking. We need them and savor them for what they bring into the fields of our endeavor—diversity and distinction.”
That diversity is on display this season with books ranging from The Business of Naming Things, a story collection by Michael Coffey, PW’s former co-editorial director, to Lit Up Inside, a collection of Van Morrison’s lyrics that the singer/songwriter specifically wanted published by City Lights and its founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti. There are also many fine essay collections, including Rebecca Solnit’s Encyclopedia of Trouble and Spaciousness, on history and justice.
In children’s books, Seven Stories is publishing The Graphic Canon of Children’s Literature, a follow-up to its three-volume The Graphic Canon. And Grammy-winning songwriter Cynthia Weilhas a novel for teens titled I’m Glad I Did, as well as four related songs that she’ll be performing on tour.
Below is a selection of the many outstanding university and small press titles due out this fall. Some were buzzed about at BEA this past June, and more than a few have received starred reviews fromPW. Links to reviews are provided when available.
(dist. by PRH)
Those Who Leave and Those Who Stay by Elena Ferrante (Sept., $18 paperback original)
Brooklyn Book Festival; profiles in Vogue and Harper’s
In the third book in Ferrante’s Neapolitan series, which PW said “surpasses the rapturous storytelling of the previous titles,” Lila and Elena are reunited. Lila has left her husband and now works as a laborer, while Elena has graduated from a university in Pisa and published a successful novel. Translated by Ann Goldstein.