I'm a bit tardy getting myself launched today because yesterday I received a big pile of books from Legend Press and in there a little treasure called Salt and Honey by Candi Miller.I gave it the first twenty pages treatment over my pot of Earl Grey this morning and seventy pages later I was a bit annoyed that really I probably should get out of bed.
Hands up I hadn't heard of Legend Press and I'm beginning to wonder how I might have done had they not contacted me. Except I have just been to The Book Depository and they have them featured as their Publisher of the Week.
I was at The Book Depository because I was kicking myself to read online this morning, on another Literary site, that a book I have eyed up for ages won the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award yesterday.I do like to be ahead of the game but Out Stealing Horses by Per Petterson a Norwegian writer, all with that suitably Nordic look about it, on its way to me after the event.
There is a great interview at The Book Depository with Tom Chalmers who set up Legend Press back in 2005 and I read with interest as he also defined something that I tried to earlier this week
"I hate terms like ‘x-factor’, but the writing simply must stand out, excite us and have that edge that snares our attention and interest."
So many books I rabbit on about here do exactly that and I find myself jumping up and down here in Devon (it's good no one can witness this) when I come across a book with that extra something, because I now know that I have lots of people I can share it with.
In the olden days pre-blog I might have had a conversation with the cats, but that was it because few people I meet in my day job are interested in reading or books to the extremes that I am.
The Independent publishers are storming ahead and if you look at the end of that interview piece there's a great long list of a load more I have yet to discover.
Another little touch that makes all the difference, a great personal intro letter from Legend giving me useful background on the diverse contemporary fiction titles they had sent and worded in a way that has me itching to read them.Small publishers are obviously making time and giving thought to this new world order.
Back to Salt and Honey and I gather this has had big bookstore promotions but I missed it (as you do in deepest rural Devon) One of the most compelling first seventy pages you could ever hope to read, set in South Africa during Apartheid and young Koba has witnessed her family, Kalahari tribesmen, being murdered by a party of white hunters. I will be back with much more about this one soon and I suspect another whole reading trail will make itself known to me because of course another prize winner this week, Chinau Achebe who has deservedly won the Man Booker International Prize and not forgetting Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and the Orange.Perhaps I was ahead of the game there because at least I did mention them both in the same post last week.
It's pretty obvious which country my armchair reading should take me to next, but with a diversion to Norway and meanwhile thanks to The Needle in the Blood by Sarah Bower I've also currently got my feet up in front of The Bayeux Tapestry.