Saturday, 20 February 2016

Make Mine an Indie: Bluemoose Books

Happy Saturday everyone, and welcome back to another edition of Make Mine an Indie; my weekly series featuring independent publishers and bookshops. Since starting this project I've been keeping a list and whenever I discover a new indie through browsing in bookshops, people tweeting stuff, blog posts or just idle googling, they get added onto the list. It's currently a little bit obscene, and the more publishers I add to it the more ashamed I am that only 30 or so of my 300 strong TBR is published by independents. There is no reason for this besides laziness really and I shall rectify it!

The Bluemoose Books logo (a drawing of the head of a blue moose)

Which brings me onto this weeks publisher. Bluemoose Books have an absolutely incredible logo, as you can see, but as well as that they publish some brilliant sounding books! They were founded by Kevin and Hetha Duffy in 2006 in response to a deluge of celebrity biographies taking up all the shelf space and most of the budgets of the big publishing houses. Bluemoose exists (in their words) 'to publish cracking stories that engage and inspire'. They work very hard on the design of their books and want them to pass the 'strokeability' test (come on, we've all done it) and they operate as a family of readers and writers. So far while researching this series this has been my favourite thing about independents vs. the big publishing houses - they feel so much closer knit and like you as the reader can get much closer to them. 

Sometimes when I'm browsing catalogues looking for things to put in this section I have to push myself a little - not that I'm ever not looking forward to the things I say I'm looking forward to, but some more than others- but this week there was no pushing. It was difficult to make myself stop at four!

Beastings by Benjamin Myers

The cover of 'Beastings' by Benjamin Myers'.A girl and a baby. A priest and a poacher. A savage pursuit through the landscape of a changing rural England. When a teenage girl leaves the workhouse and abducts a child placed in her care, the local priest is called upon to retrieve them. Chased through the Cumbrian mountains of a distant past, the girl fights starvation and the elements, encountering the hermits, farmers and hunters who occupy the remote hillside communities. Like an American Southern Gothic tale set against the violent beauty of Northern England, Beastings is a sparse and poetic novel about morality, motherhood, and corruption.

I have to say I really love the cover of this novel and that was what first caught my eye, but when I read the synopsis it sounds fascinating. 

If you look for me, I am not here by Sarayu Srivatsa
The cover of 'If You Look For Me, I Am Not Here' by Sarayu Srivatsa.When Mallika loses her longed-for daughter at birth, it is not the only loss in the family: the surviving twin - a boy - loses the love of his mother. He grows up needing to be the daughter his mother wants, the son his scientist father accepts, and more, with the guilt of being the one who survived. In a recently independent India, haunted by its colonial past and striving to find its identity, he struggles to find his own self. Sarayu Srivatsa has created a moving family portrait, richly-coloured by the vibrant culture and landscape of India, where history, religion and gender collide in a family scarred by the past and struggling with the present.

This sounds really fascinating and ties in with my challenge to read more diversely as well as to support indies. 
A Modern Family by Socrates Adams
The cover of 'A Modern Family' by Socrates Adams.Television’s most popular car show presenter lives his life in the shadow of his career and his persona. He has the perfect job. He doesn’t have the perfect family. His wife retches in the bathrooms of exclusive restaurants; his daughter’s obsession with a friend is consuming her; his son lives a double life selling pornography by day and gaming on-line by night. The presenter views his family from the outside and watches as they slowly disintegrate in front of him, unable to control anything that is not scripted.
Socrates Adams perfectly mirrors what magazines sell to their readers in a bleak, satirical look at what modern families might think they want to be.

I love the sound of this. I'm always interested in books that have famous people as their protagonist, especially when they centre around the family dynamics. Honestly I just enjoy books that are about families and the way they work (or fail to) and this sounds fantastic. 
King Crow by Michael Stewart
The cover of 'King Crow' by Michael Stewart.Paul Cooper is an outsider. When he looks at people he wonders what bird they are. He finds making friends difficult especially when he has to move from school to school, so he obsesses about ornithology until he meets Ashley.
Ashley is everything that Cooper isn’t, he’s tough and good looking, with so much street cred he can divvy up some for Paul as well. When they get into trouble with a local gang they steal a car and head for the Lakes – Ashley because he thinks he may have killed somebody, and Cooper because he wants to see ravens. Their flight is hectic and intense, and in the middle of it all one of them meets a girl and the other feels pushed out. The three of them find refuge for a time in Helvellyn, but things are falling apart and soon their road trip makes national headlines… for all the wrong reasons.

This just sounds awesome to be honest. I have no better reason than that. 

Find Bluemoose Books on their website and twitter
Catch up with the Make Mine an Indie series here.

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