It's Saturday, welcome back to another feature on one of the UK's many independent publishers! If you're just joining us, each Saturday here on the blog I post about an independent publisher - mostly from the UK but occasionally not - and talk about some of their books that I'm excited to read.
This weeks publisher has a pretty awesome backstory. You can check it out here but the basic gist is thus: a guy decides to publish his own book and puts the name of a fictitious publishing house on the back cover. This attracts interest from other authors and charitable organizations and by the time he graduates (!!) he has published 10 books under the originally fictitious name. Six years later and the now very real publishing company, Valley Press, have published more than seventy books, and that, I believe, is the answer next time somebody asks in a condescending tone what it is you're planning to do with your English Literature degree.
I had to write about Valley Press this week because there were just so many of their books I was excited to share with you that it couldn't wait. I really urge you to check out their website for yourselves as well as I have limited space here. They've published some amazing stuff!
Gatecrashing Europe by Kris Mole
not to return home to England until he had visited every
capital city in the mainland European Union. He set himself
eight simple rules, most importantly A) that no money would
be spent or handled during the journey, and B) no credit
cards would be used either. Thus, the great Euro Freebie
Challenge began: twenty-three cities to be visited, 6000
miles to be covered, without spending a single penny on the
journey – to raise money, in fact, for Cancer Research UK.
The colourful story of this six-month trip was first told by
charismatic, wise-cracking, semi-anti-hero Kris via a series
of blogs, and followed by readers of The Daily Mail, The
Telegraph and the BBC website. Readers found Kris drawing
on his formidable resourcefulness to acquire all of life’s
necessities for free, resting wherever he could find a place,
and travelling by foot, hitch-hiking, or stowing away on
trains – experiencing, as you might expect, a wild emotional
ride in the process.
If you know me at all you will probably immediately see why this appeals. Travelling? With no money? Being resourceful? Yes please!
From the Valley Press website:
her trademark mix of memory, myth and magic; a window
to a unique world where the unvarnished reality of OAP
shopping trips (‘Finding the deepest trolleys, we fill our
day’) sits alongside breathtaking flights of imagination (‘a
turtle sings, fathoms deep, a boy held safe upon her back.’)
The magic of Life Class is found in the single consciousness
that connects the poems; be they set in the world of 1960s
Soho, on the edge of an estuary, on a Greek island, or in the
hearts and minds of Jo’s inimitable female protagonists
(and the men they love – or more frequently, tolerate). An
invaluable chance to spend more time in the company of
this much-loved poet.
I don't read much poetry anymore, but I used to read and write a lot of it in Uni. I'm thinking it might be time to get back to it, and this sounds like a great way to do that.
Grandmother Divided by Monkey equals Outer Space by Nora Chassler
mother Viv and her teenage boyfriend, Arnie – live in a one-
bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Viv smokes
marijuana continually, laying out her bizarre version of
reality to anyone who will listen. Eleven year-old Carrie’s
budding OCD manifests in attention to detail at the expense
of the big picture. Her angry older brother Eli just wants to
make it to a showing of The Shining that isn’t sold out.
Around the corner – ‘above the smaller dry cleaners’ – the
psychic Miss Rosa’s neon rose glows above the street. Keener
on recounting the past than predicting the future, Miss Rosa
(a.k.a. Phoebe Curtis) befriends the Martians one by one, and
shares a part of her story with each of them – a story that
resonates disturbingly with their own lives. But the Martians
have other things to worry about: can Carrie afford a Red
Devil costume for the Halloween parade? Who really has the
longest fry? And how will Viv buy pot and pay the rent?
Firstly I was attracted to this book by the amazing title, but then it just sounds really quirky, and quirky is always a good thing.
Love and Eskimo Snow by Sarah Holt
defined precisely as ‘a strong feeling of affection’. But that’s
not Missy’s experience of love. For her, affection and
passion play second fiddle to commitment and pledges. It’s
not Elizabeth’s sense of the word, either; she’s got it pegged
as intimacy and confidences.
Then there’s Claire, for whom love is bed, and Bea, who has
spent a lifetime pondering the true meaning of love – right
up until the fateful October morning on which this story
starts. But is it ever possible to pick genuine, ‘true’ love out
in an identity parade? Or is love more like the Sami Eskimo
concept of snow: summed up only in two hundred different
words, and never falling the same way twice?
Sarah Holt’s debut novel is chick-lit with a twist, romantic
fiction taken to its post-modern conclusion: ingenious,
imaginative, surprisingly informative, and above all, a
I love the sound of this - it just seems like a lot of fun!
You can find the other posts in the Make Mine an Indie series here.