I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour celebrating the launch of the new book subscription box focusing on independent publishers.
Firstly about the box itself:
Ninja Book Box is a new quarterly box shipping worldwide from the UK and featuring books published by independent publishers. We aim to introduce excellent books (both backlist and new releases) particularly those which our team & the publishers we work with feel haven’t received the recognition they deserve, and help you find favourites in genres you wouldn’t necessarily pick up for yourselves. Supporting primarily UK based small businesses, each box will contain a book (often signed by the author & with additional material) plus at least two gift items and lots of other fun extras and will take its theme from the book. We want to support excellence and promote exploration and discovery in all aspects of the box. Subscribers will also gain access to lots of additional community perks. For more information sign up to our newsletter, or check out our website for details of how to get the first box!
Guest Post – Awesome Indie Books
I’m Bex, founder of many crazy internet-inspired projects but I’m here today because of my most recent brainwave; the Ninja Book Box. This is a UK based quarterly box that will ship worldwide and will contain a book (or books) published by an independent publisher plus gift items to help you learn about and immerse yourself in the world of the book. I feel very strongly about shopping locally and independently as much as possible, and I’ve made 2016 my year of indies (about which you can see more here).
Sometimes it can be hard to know where to start with independent publishers (if you’re not sure exactly what I mean when I say independent publisher, I wrote about my own personal definition of them here). They can be difficult to stumble on accidentally and mainstream bookshops tend to stock fewer indie titles. Also indie books often get a lot less hype online than titles published by the ‘big five’ (Simon & Schuster, HarperCollins, PenguinRandomHouse, MacMillan and Hachette in case you don’t know/are interested), so I’m here today to pass along a few of my absolutely favourite independently published titles. Use them as a starting point and go explore the indie universe! You are so very welcome.
Our Tragic Universe by Scarlett Thomas (Canongate)
Actually everything by Scarlett Thomas but I’d start with this one because sometimes her books get a liiiiittle bit weird and this one is the most accessible I think. It’s set in the beautiful, peaceful Devonshire countryside and is about writing, sock knitting, the beast of Dartmoor and the end of the world. Like I said, a little bit weird but stick with it.
The Outrun by Amy Liptrot (Canongate)
You’ve probably seen this one around – it’s got such a gorgeous cover it’s hard to miss and it did just win the Wainwright Prize so not really a hidden gem, but a gem nonetheless. An unusual mixture of memoir and nature writing, there is so much in The Outrun. It’s Amy Liptrot’s story of overcoming alcoholism and her return to Orkney, where she was raised. She narrates her return to sobriety through the landscape of the Orkney isles and there’s a huge amount of incredibly interesting and beautifully written stuff about birds, stargazing, wild swimming and uninhabited islands among her personal story.
They Were Sisters by Dorothy Whipple (Persephone)
This book was sold to me as a ‘hot water bottle book’ – i.e one to curl up on the sofa with a hot water bottle and spend an afternoon inside reading (this was back in February when it was still cold!) and I will probably never forget that description, nor how accurate it was. The book tells the story of three sisters and the very different directions that their lives go in after they all marry very different men. It’s not a light story but it is fantastic and so well written. I’m willing to bet it will make you want to read anything Persephone publish.
The Rental Heart and Other Fairy Tales by Kirsty Logan (Salt)
I loved Kirsty Logan’s (not independently published) The Gracekeepers and was so excited to read The Rental Heart, a very surreal collection of short stories with a massive dose of magical realism. Kirsty Logan is a beautiful, beautiful writer who takes really fantastical subjects and makes them completely believable. I raced through this collection and just want to read everything she ever writes. You’ll probably be thinking about the stories in this collection for a while.
Seconds by Bryan Lee O’Malley (Self Made Hero)
He of Scott Pilgrim fame. Seconds is about Katie, a chef who is going to open up her own restaurant until everything goes wrong. Thankfully (or is it?) a mysterious girl turns up in the middle of the night with a way for Katie to get a second chance. If she follows instructions all the bad things will have never happened, but at what cost? Bryan Lee O’Malley is the king of slightly weird but not too weird to be believed graphic novel excellence. It won’t take you long to read, I recommend you do it now.
Other excellent indie titles that I didn’t include purely because you’ll probably have heard of them already (also a lot are only published by indies here in the UK so if you’re abroad they’re not but are still excellent!) are: Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan (Atlantic Books), Wild by Cheryl Strayed (Atlantic Books), The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Drown, and This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Diaz (Faber & Faber), everything Kazuo Ishiguro has written, especially The Remains of the Day (Faber & Faber),Saga by Brian K. Vaughan & Fiona Staples (Image), and The Year of Living Danishly by Karen Russell (Icon).
I hope that I’ve managed to add some titles to your TBRs and sent you exploring the websites of these fantastic publishers! If you’re interested in the concept of the Ninja Book Box we are currently crowdfunding through Kickstarter and have loads of excellent rewards for backers including being the only way (besides entering the international giveaway below!) you can get yourself a copy of the first ever box! To find out more about the project or sign up for our newsletter have a look at our website or get in touch on twitter.
If you like the sound of the book box you’re in luck because I’m giving away one of the very first ever limited edition Ninja Book Box, the theme of which is ‘slightly surreal’ (because of the book and also because that’s what the whole experience has been for me!). The giveaway is international, and to enter all you have to do is check out the Rafflecopter below and do what it says! If you’re already getting a box as a Kickstarter reward you can still enter the giveaway. If you win you can either get another box for a friend, or you can redeem your February box for free!
Thanks so much for having me on the blog today!
Finally – a giveaway
For a chance to win the first Ninja Book Box, enter through the Rafflecopter – the giveaway is open internationally.
Massive thanks to Bex for stopping by today – wishing you lots of luck with the new venture 🙂