Happy 2012! We're looking forward to another year filled with literary wonder. So far, 2012 has found us rekindling our Indiespensable relationship with Algonquin Books. Algonquin, an independent (and Southern!) publisher, is beloved by authors, readers, and booksellers alike for their hand-picked gems that other houses might overlook. We had the perfect opportunity to work with them again when Naomi Benaron's debut novel, Running the Rift, blew us away.
Running the Rift is the story of Jean Patrick Nkuba, a boy growing up in Rwanda before and during the genocide. He plans to become an Olympic runner, hoping that that might secure some measure of safety for his family and people. As Benaron says in her interview: "[T]his isn't a just book about genocide. It's about what human beings can do to each other. But it's also, more importantly, about how humans rise above what is done. It's about the strength of the human spirit. It's not a book of graphic violence; it's a book of beauty. I hope, anyway. " Barbara Kingsolver awarded Running the Rift the Bellwether Prize, which is given to novels that address issues of social justice. (Mudbound, an earlier Indiespensable selection from Algonquin, won the same award in 2006.) In a starred review, Library Journal writes, "[An] unflinching and beautifully crafted account of a people and their survival....Highly recommended."
In addition to the special edition of Benaron's novel, we're including the marvelous inaugural issue of the Algonquin Reader, in which five Algonquin authors (including Robert Olmstead and former Indiespensable author Robert Goolrick) introduce their work in their own words. Excerpts from their five upcoming novels are included, as well as original essays from each author explaining an inspiration for their work.
And, finally, we're very excited to include a tea and postcard set from the book Glaciers (Tin House New Voice), the gorgeous novel by former Powell's employee Alexis Smith. Newly released by Tin House Books, Glaciers is already garnering impressive reviews. Publishers Weekly calls it "lyrical and luminous" in a starred review, and Karen Russell, author of Swamplandia!, raves, "Alexis Smith's brilliant debut novel, is filled with kaleidoscopic pleasures....Line by line, in and out of time, this is a haunted, joyful, beautiful book — a true gift."
As always, we'd love to hear what you think of this installment. Drop us a line at email@example.com or leave a comment on our blog.
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A collective of high muckamucks, the Panjandrums largely spend their time in competitive Bananagram duels and negotiations regarding Pie Friday — not to mention painstakingly designing each installment of Powell's subscription club, Indiespensable, with the help of independent publishers and local merchants. From time to time, they find it entertaining to give you a look at the hows and whys behind the what. But, if you're yearning for more, send questions, suggestions, and random anecdotes to firstname.lastname@example.org. (They especially like stories about pets, babies, and pie fillings.)
Books mentioned in this post