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Resolve to Read Small in 2018


Small presses, I mean. They make a big impact! If you’re looking for daring, inventive, exciting new voices, award-winning books, books that make you go “hmmm!”, then look to the little guys, many of which are nonprofits motivated more by art than profit.

These are a few of my favorite small presses:

Coffeehouse Press “is an internationally renowned independent book publisher and arts nonprofit based in Minneapolis, MN; through their literary publications and Books in Action program, CHP acts as a catalyst and connector—between authors and readers, ideas and resources, creativity and community, inspiration and action.” Check out: The Story of My Teeth by Valerie Luiselli, Stephen Florida by Gabe Habash

Haymarket Books “is a radical, independent, nonprofit book publisher based in Chicago, a project of the Center for Economic Research and Social Change”. Check out: Men Explain Things to Me by Rebecca Solnit, Electric Arches by Eve L. Ewing

Button Poetry “produces and distributes poetry media, including: video from local and national events, chapbooks, collaborative audio recordings, scholarship and criticism, and many other products.” They are also out of Minnesota, a Midwestern goldmine of literature, fabulous bookstores, and book arts. Check out: I Still Can’t Do My Daughter’s Hair by William Evans, Helium by Rudy Francisco

The Feminist Press “is an educational nonprofit organization founded to advance women’s rights and amplify feminist perspectives”. Check out: Black Wave by Michelle Tea,  August by Romina Paula

YesYes Books “has been publishing provocative collections of poetry, fiction, and experimental art since 2011”. Check out: I’m So Fine by Khadijah Queen, [insert] Boy by Danez Smith, About i be, but i ain’t by Aziza Barnes

Akashic Books “is a Brooklyn-based independent company dedicated to publishing urban literary fiction and political nonfiction by authors who are either ignored by the mainstream, or who have no interest in working within the ever-consolidating ranks of the major corporate publishers”. Check out: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon (fans of Octavia Butler rejoice!), The Noir Series

Two Dollar Radio “is a family-run outfit founded in 2005 with the mission to reaffirm the cultural and artistic spirit of the publishing industry.” Check out: The Vine That Ate The South by J.D. Wilkes and They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us by Hanif Abdurraqib, and Found Audio by N.J. Campbell

Tyrant Books “is an independent publishing house based in Rome, Italy and New York, New York”. Check out: The Sarah Book by Scott McClanahan and Preparation for the Next Life by Atticus Lish

So, when you’re jotting down goals for 2018, consider putting a bullet point for supporting small presses on your list. They have zero calories, and they contribute greatly to quality and diversity in literature. Here are a few tips from Book Riot on how to support independent presses. One thing I would add to the list is to request them and check them out from your local library. Be daring this year!