Saturday 27 February 2016

Make Mine an Indie: Pushkin Press

Another Saturday, another Make Mine an Indie! The list of posts in this series now means that really neither I nor anyone else has any excuse to not know where to start with independent publishers, and although I'm discovering some brilliant stuff and have a few go-to indie publishers now, I still feel like I've not even touched the tip of the iceberg... I've also been struggling recently with how I define 'independent', because a lot of the publishers I want to feature have a few imprints and the purist in me wants to argue that they're no longer independent since they own these other imprints now, but I've finally decided that if the publisher itself isn't owned by a big corporation or another publisher then it counts. 

Pushkin Press logo

This week's publisher combines two of my great passions for 2016: independent publishing and literature in translation. Founded in 1997, Pushkin Press publishes pretty much anything and claims to publish "the world's best stories". The vast majority of Pushkin's titles are translated, from a dizzying array of different languages, and that's particularly exciting for me as I've struggled with how to discover books in translation. Their imprints are One, which publishes one exceptional fiction and one non-fiction book per season, or two a year, and Pushkin Vertigo, publishing crime and mystery books. 

Also, and if you know me you'll know how excited this makes me, they have the option to subscribe. I did this with And Other Stories this year but have decided to subscribe to a different indie each year and will be seriously considering Pushkin for next year! You can pay £95 and receive a Pushkin title each month for a year, or you can do the teaser subscription, which is one title a month for three months for £30. I just love the option this gives to easily add something new and exciting into your reading. You don't have to do any choosing, and something random turns up on your doorstep, which may even push you out of your comfort zone a little! (always a good thing, in my opinion!) 

Another thing to mention is that the design of their books is gorgeous. A little one you may have heard of, demonstrating that when they say that One publishes one exceptional title they really do mean exceptional, is Chigozie Obioma's The Fishermen which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize last year and which I almost managed to finish before another library patron snatched it from my hands. 

As usual, some titles I'm excited to get my hands on:

One Night, Markovitch by Ayelet Gundar - Goshen
From the Pushkin Press Website:

One Night, MarkovitchIn the late 1930s, two men - Yaacov Markovitch, perennially unlucky in love, and Zeev Feinberg, virile owner of a lustrous moustache - are crossing the sea to marry women they have never met. They will rescue them from a Europe on the brink of catastrophe, bring them to the Jewish homeland and go their separate ways. But when Markovitch is paired with the beautiful Bella he vows to make her love him at any cost, setting in motion events that will change their lives in the most unexpected and capricious of ways.

This sounds like it could be really hilarious, and I'm on a bit of an Israel kick at the moment, after finishing The People of Forever Are Not Afraid.

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L Konigsburg
From the Pushkin Press website:
The million-selling, award-winning classic novel - finally available again in the UK!
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. FrankweilerNew York City girl Claudia, a mere month shy of being a twelve-year-old, has resolved to run away from home with her younger brother, Jamie. She knows that she could never pull off the classic spur-of-the-moment departure without a destination (inevitably involving having to eat outside with the insects, and cupcakes melting in the sun); so she plans everything to perfection, including their destination: the grand, elegant, beautiful, all-encompassing Metropolitan Museum of Art. However, no sooner have Claudia and Jamie settled into their new home, than they are caught up in the mystery of an angel statue bought by the museum for the bargain price of $225. Is it in fact an as yet undiscovered work by Michelangelo, worth millions? Claudia is determined to find out, and her quest leads her to the remarkable, secretive Mrs. Frankweiler, who sold the statue to the museum - and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself. Since its first appearance nearly 50 years ago, The Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has gained a place in the hearts of generations of readers - and has rightly become one of the most celebrated and beloved children's books of all time. 

I actually picked this up already on the London Bookshop Crawl and loved the edition - it's extremely beautiful. I've been hearing about the book for years and never read it as a kid, but I'm looking forward to reading it to my own kids!

Bonita Avenue by Peter Buwalda
From the Pushkin Press website:

Bonita AvenueProfessor Siem Sigerius-maths genius, jazz lover, judo champion, Renaissance man. When Aaron meets his girlfriend Joni's family for the first time, her multitalented father could hardly be a more intimidating figure, but somehow the underachieving photographer manages to bluff his way to a friendship with the paterfamilias. With his feet under the table at the beautiful Sigerius farmhouse, Aaron feels part of a perfect family. Until, that is, things start to fall apart. A cataclysmic explosion in a fireworks factory, the advent of Internet pornography, the reappearance of a discarded, dangerous son, and a jet-black wig-all play a role in the spectacular fragmentation of the Sigerius clan... and of Aaron's fragile psyche.Bonita Avenue is a suspenseful, incendiary and unpredictable debut-of relationships torn apart by lies, and minds destroyed by madness.

I really love a good story about a family, particularly when it's as drama filled as this sounds to be!

Butterflies in November by Audur Ava Olafsdottir
From the Pushkin Press website:
A hilarious and moving road trip around Iceland in an old car, told by a recently divorced woman with a five year-old boy 'on loan'
Butterflies in NovemberAfter a day of being dumped-twice-and accidentally killing a goose, the narrator begins to dream of trop- ical holidays far away from the chaos of her current life. Instead, she finds her plans wrecked by her best friend's deaf-mute son, thrust into her reluctant care. But when a shared lottery ticket nets the two of them over 40 million kroner, she and the boy head off on a road trip across Iceland, taking in cucumber-farming hotels, dead sheep, and any number of her exes desperate for another chance. Blackly comic and uniquely moving, Butterflies in November is an extraordinary, hilarious tale of mother- hood, relationships and the legacy of life's mistakes.
I actually nearly bought this on the bookshop crawl, but it was at the last stop of the day and my pile was already making me over budget so it was bumped in favour of the final installment of The Sandman. I really want to read it though, it just sounds like fun. 
I seem to say this every week now, but I could have gone on forever this week! I've signed up to the mailing list and will be spending lots of pennies on Pushkin books in the very near future, I forsee!
Find Pushkin Press at their website, twitter or Facebook page. Catch up with the rest of the Make Mine an Indie series here and add your own suggestions on twitter via #MakeMineanIndie. 

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