The books keep piling up! I wish I could give all of them the time and attention they deserve. In the meantime, here’s a rundown of some recent small press titles:
Kergan Edwards-Stout’s Songs for the New Depression follows the adventures of Gabriel Travers, a young man battling AIDS. Despite his doctor’s proclamations to the contrary and rumors of a promising new HIV drug cocktail, Gabriel is convinced he doesn’t have long to live. With the clock ticking, Gabe begins to finally peel back the layers and tackle his demons — with a little help from the music of the Divine Miss M (Bette Midler) and his mom’s new wife, a country music-loving priest. The Advocate writes that “Kergan Edwards-Stout has crafted a work of fiction reminiscent of some classic tales in Songs for the New Depression. Even better, Edwards-Stout’s debut boasts the kind of dark humor that made Augusten Burroughs (Running With Scissors, Dry) a household name.”
Kelly Easton’s Time in the Sleeping Sky is a novel about the mysteries of time. Ben Hawkins has sped through time only to find that he can’t remember his life. His daughter “ticks in reverse,” allowing the past to control her present. A bear named Gertrude, a Persian shopkeeper, an unsolved murder, a farm in Japan, and the star-struck landscape of Los Angeles weave through the trajectory of one family’s journey through time. Publishers Weekly writes, “Easton ably establishes a complex, highly charged atmosphere and mediates with sympathy and intelligence.”
Steve Caplan’s Welcom Home, Sir touches on issues ranging from hypochondria to PTSD. On the surface, Dr. Ethan Meyer is the picture of success. A biochemistry professor, he runs his lab with efficiency and care, projects an air of confidence, and is respected by his peers. Inside, however, he’s coming apart at the seams. While fighting his personal demons and struggling to keep his family together, Ethan must also navigate a series of crises at work. Welcome Home, Sir is Caplan’s second novel.
Diana Salier’s Letters from Robots is a quirky collection of poetry about post-millennial pre-apocalyptic neuroses. Zombies, sandwiches, movie monsters, and Kurt Cobain all make appearances, as does Salier’s lamentation that she should have been an astronaut. Kevin Sampsell, author of A Common Pornography, writes of Letters, “Robots don’t have emotions, but these poems do. Salier is able to bring to life the sad, cold moments of loneliness and turn them into weird, apocalyptic, and sometimes funny scenes.”