Fiercely Reading Indie: House of Anansi, 45

New reading projects are rooted in personal indulgence for me.

Those unwieldy spreadsheets? The gobs of time spent thinking about reading and planning my reading?

They eat directly into my reading time and steal from other relationships in my life — the bookish-sort, the non-bookish-sort (which are outnumbered).

And, yet, I revel in them.

I could have read one looooooong book in the length of time that it took me to make my HOA45 reading plans. (That’s the tag I’m using to chart this project, this latest indulgence.)

But you know how it is, when you suddenly realize that there’s something really good in your bookish life.

Maybe it’s a new series you’ve gotten attached to.

Or it’s a reissue of a favourite book

(I’ve already mentioned the immediate and irresistible appeal of the A-list, which is what sparked my current smitten-ness).

Or perhaps a prizelist has opened new reading doors for you.

Or a particular book by an author has urged you to check out their backlist (which happened with Pamela Porter‘s books in my case).

Or, it’s like they say in The Book of Dangerous Women, under INDEPENDENT BOOKSHOPS: “If you value authors — and the small independent presses who discover them — it’s a nice gesture to pay full price. Independent book and record shops matter. They offer expertise and choice.”

When there’s something really good in your bookish life?

And the pages go all-a-flutter?

And that new-book-glow coats your skin?

You want to make a gesture.

That’s what this reading project is for me: a gesture of gratitude.

For a single press, yes, for I am a single reader, but with a network of presses and a network of readers in mind.

In my reading mind, this is a 45-day-long project. 45 days of talking about 45 books.

(Even those who are not mathematically inclined will note that two of those days already have been filled with bookchat, not books, but that’s because there are also some posts planned which will include more than one book. Yes, I have a plan. A plan built on lists. Of course.)

It is 45 Days of House of Anansi, but it’s also 45 days of loving indie presses, of fiercely reading indie.

And, at the end of it all, there will be a draw for $45 worth of books from an independent press.

(Every approved comment left on an HOA45 post will constitute one entry in the draw, and there will be an opportunity to increase your odds as the event unfolds. This is Day Five, but not everyone tracks their Readers daily, so approved comments on the earlier posts still count too.)

More details about all of that later, but the point is to generate discussion about indie-press offerings, to celebrate reading indie, to indulge in bookishness.

And am I ever indulging. I spent last evening literally surrounded by books, with my furry accomplice on the pillows alongside. I’m currently reading books that fit the theme of Lives of Girls and Women, but last night I started reading Frauke Scheunemann’s Puppy Love, and I am freshly smitten with Hercules, the dachshund (via Shelley Frisch’s translation from the German). It’s a true pleasure.

And what about you? Are you fierce about your bookishness?
Do you make a point of reading indie, or do you want to?
Do you have favourite indie presses?
What reading project is currently claiming the bulk of your reading time?



  1. […] And those new thoughts culminated in a new reading project: Fiercely Reading Indie: House of Anansi, 45. […]

  2. Alex in Leeds November 29, 2012 at 8:15 am - Reply

    That quote from The Dangerous Book is perfect for my 2013 project, it’s indie bookshop focused and I have been trying to find a way of summarising it without sounding indier-than-thou about it. I love this project and have had fun reading the posts so far as I don’t really know this press. 🙂

    • Buried In Print November 30, 2012 at 7:50 pm - Reply

      Heheh. Indier-than-thou. I suppose I’d get put in that category in an instant, but I’ll have to live with it. I hope you like what you’ve seen of House of Anansi’s works so far, and I’m curious to see what YOU have planned for 2013!

  3. Danielle November 27, 2012 at 11:26 pm - Reply

    I love your idea–and I love small presses, too. You won’t be surprised I’m sure if I mention a few small mystery presses that I am fond of–Felony and Mayhem and Bitter Lemon Press–both of which I will happily buy any of their books (or almost any of them). Poison Pen Press? I also love Europa Editions and collect them–wish I could only read them as fast as I have acquired them. What about Melville House–am waiting anxiously for my first set of novellas now that I am on ‘standing order’ (just like my library where I work and unpack standing orders!). I feel like reading along in solidarity–at least one book anyway–is it cheating to see what my library has by Anansi Press? I do have a copy of I Have a Bed Made of Buttermilk Pancakes by Jaclyn Moriarty by House of Anansi, which I have owned for years and am just waiting for an excuse to read! 🙂

    • Buried In Print November 30, 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply

      Thanks, Danielle. Mystery presses? I’ve got to check those out. Europa is fantastic: I love them too. Melville House: very nice. And of course it’s not cheating to check your library; I’ll be curious to hear what they’ve got (I’m betting on Rawi Hage, Lisa Moore and Gil Adamson straight away). I made myself choose between Buttermilk Pancakes and Puppy Love (by Frauke Scheunemann), and the four-legged won over the breakfast delights, but you could tempt me into anything with maple syrup without trying very hard.

  4. jessicabookworm November 23, 2012 at 12:01 pm - Reply

    I have dramatically cut down on the challenges and projects I take part in because after a while they were just stressing me out. I’m clearly not such an organised reader as you. I love the idea that you so accurately planned this project. The only project I’m taking part in at the moment is The Classics Club. For this I had to make a list of 50 classics I’d like to read in the next 5 years. Doing well so far.

    • Buried In Print November 27, 2012 at 7:27 pm - Reply

      That project is quite tempting to me; I like long-term reading plans as much as I like quicker bursts of themed reading. Admittedly, I was anxious about the idea of a 45-day-long project; I’ve never tried anything which lasted that long and required regular posting, but it’s just a matter of organizing, and I am a little obsessed with list-making, which, it turns out, comes in handy sometimes, whereas mostly it’s simple obsessiveness fuelled by coffee and chocolate and pageturning.

  5. Vasilly November 22, 2012 at 11:53 pm - Reply

    I think you’re amazing!

    Yes, I try to be fierce in my bookishness. There are some indie presses that I try to read books from like Graywolf Press, Public Affairs, and Feminist Press. I don’t really have any reading projects going on right now though I have been ignoring my Project Fill-in-the-Gaps and my reading plans to read more books about the Great Depression, The American Dreams, and famous artists.

    • Buried In Print November 27, 2012 at 7:24 pm - Reply

      Sometimes I ignore my ongoing projects for awhile, especially when a new project swells up, but I bet you’ll slip back to them before long…it tends to happen.

      You’re right, The Feminist Press: their subscription is awesome…I’ve been thinking about that for ages now. Public Affairs? *off to investigate*

  6. bookish butch November 22, 2012 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Great idea. I love small independent presses and indie bookstores. My favourite indeppendent press is Arsenal Pulp Press, they publish some of my favourite writers-Ivan E. Coyote, Sarah Schulman and may others, young talent. I also enjoy Virago books very much and have gotten a few Persephones that I will be reading in the coming year. Haven’t read as much as I would have wanted to this year, it happens, years with lulls, I intend to come back with a vengeance in 2013

    • Buried In Print November 27, 2012 at 7:22 pm - Reply

      Ah, yes, also Daniel Allen Cox and Billeh Nickerson (loooved McJobs…poetry for every reader): Arsenal Pulp has some great stuff, I agree. Viragos and Persepones are amongst my faves too, and the matching bookmarks and themed endpapers truly cinch the deal there. This was an anti-lull year for me, but I think next year will be quieter, if only because I need to recover somewhat.

      [Edited to add the link to Arsenal Pulp Press.]

  7. claire November 22, 2012 at 1:28 pm - Reply

    P.S. I know exactly what you mean. I spend hours and hours just browsing online for books to add to the wishlist, the exact covers I want, authors’ backlists, planning reading lists for the next year, etc, etc, next thing I know I spent much of the night doing it. Could’ve read a whole book instead. 🙂

    • Buried In Print November 22, 2012 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      In the back of my reading mind, I’m thinking about 2013 too. Though periodically I leaf through all the sheets with other book projects listed out and lament at my slow progress on some of them, which have gotten eclipsed by more pressing present bookish passions, and then I think I should just have a “catch up” year. But, really, they’re all catch-up years when you’re an obsessive list-maker, right?

  8. claire November 21, 2012 at 10:26 pm - Reply

    Absolutely fierce in my bookishness, yes! I want to read indie all the way but my resources don’t allow it, so I will do occasionally. For the most part I do by thrift stores and second hand bookshops and book fairs. Well-loved (or unloved) books that have a history. I will be looking for the Anansi A-List though, you’ve tempted me so. I love Persephone, Hesperus, and New Directions.

    • Buried In Print November 22, 2012 at 3:48 pm - Reply

      Those are fine presses indeed: I agree. I’m also fond of Graywolf and Coffee House in the US (it’s easier for me to itemize the indie presses in the States that I like, because I’m just not familiar with very many, so these stand out). Once I actually had a dream about the Hesperus series (and, yes, it involved buying a stupidly large stack of them). I haven’t actually dreamed about the A-list; maybe there is something to be said for unrequited affections after all.

  9. Aarti November 21, 2012 at 4:01 pm - Reply

    What a great idea! I read the book The King’s English a few years ago and decided to start supporting independent bookstores more but the difficult thing is trying to FIND an indie bookstore near me. They are disappearing quickly, and much as I want to support them, I can’t always find them. But there is always online, I suppose, and that is where I shall venture next.

    I’ve not heard of Anansi before, but I like the A-list logo 🙂

    • Buried In Print November 22, 2012 at 3:43 pm - Reply

      I really liked that book, especially (no surprise) the reading lists in the back. It’s true: they’re getting harder to find. And our women’s bookstore has just recently closed too. Which, I think, leaves only three devotedly feminist bookshops in Canada now (hopefully someone here can correct/amend my stats there). Maybe there’s a good one within driving distance that could, then, serve as the destination for a weekend getaway or day-trip periodically, although nothing replaces the casual, frequent browse (loved your post about that, BTW) I know.

  10. kaggsy November 21, 2012 at 5:50 am - Reply

    Well, yes, I *am* fierce in my bookishness! I’ve always been obsessed with books, since collecting Enid Blyton’s in my youth. I love them in all their variety, from the larger publishing houses (like Penguin) to the smaller ones (like Hesperus). I confess that I read where my mood takes me – currently rediscovering my Russian writer favourites, thanks to Russian Reading Month on the Tuesday in Silhouette blog. And I’m finding that the volumes published by the smaller publishers – Hesperus, Oneworld/Alma Classics – are more nicely put together and the better translations.

    I do applaud you for supporting a small press you believe in – in these days of mass produced, rubbish bestsellers, it’s worth hanging onto indie publishers who will put out the quirky, unusual, interesting stuff that doesn’t fit into the mass produced mould!

    • Buried In Print November 22, 2012 at 3:32 pm - Reply

      There were lots of Blytons to be had in Canada but it was not easy to be a completist with collecting her books as a child, so I took whatever I could find. The only complete set I had was of the Noddy books, but I managed smatterings of most of the other series and re-read my favourites regularly and, I agree wholeheartedly, that set the tone for later obsessions for sure.

      Seems to me that you quite often do read on a theme and always enjoy hearing about your latest, quite often find myself thinking that I’d like to join in with this, that or the other, even when it’s something that I’d not likely have hit upon myself (like your Russians, which I have enjoyed, but vaguely, not passionately).

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