House of Anansi 45 Project, In Hindsight

Towards the end of 2012, I was overwhelmed by the idea of being just one indie-minded reader in a literary world dominated by mega-publishers and mega-retailers, unsure how to affect change, how to respond to the sense of despair swelling within my reading heart and mind.

I decided that making a change, even just One Reader at a Time, was still making a change (which made me much happier), and those new thoughts culminated in a new reading project: Fiercely Reading Indie: House of Anansi, 45.

So, for the next 45 days, I read from the House of Anansi catalogue, including their Groundwood and Granta books. And even though I had expected to find lots of great reading in those 45 days, I was truly amazed by the breadth of the content and the consistent quality. In short, soooo much great reading!

The more that I read, the more that I wanted to read. And the more impressed by this press that I became, the more that I wanted to explore the offerings of other indie presses.

Nonetheless, this is the first time that I have posted their logos here, because as much as I was determined to concentrate on a single press, as much as I was motivated by the idea of what a single reader can do, this reading project was, for me, about the diversity and promise inherent in the publishing landscape.

It’s about a very personal relationship, between a reader and her reading. Just one reader. Reading fiercely. (Though, in this case, the books I was reading wore these logos…so now you know what they look like!)

Some of you wanted to be in on this project (Sandra contributed four guest posts: thank you, Sandra!) and some of you have e-mailed to say that you went hunting on your bookshelves to see how many HoA titles were there and some of you went shopping online for the books discussed here and some of you mentioned other favourite indie-presses in the discussions that this project has generated…all of this reminded me that being just one reader doesn’t make you a lonely reader. 

So, if I hadn’t already wanted to have a giveaway be a part of this event, I would have lit upon the idea as this project took hold, because you all made it even more fun. Some of you already have entries for this giveaway:  if you have already commented on the posts linked below (not including those readers who contributed to the project with guest posts), you have two entries for each comment that was made prior to today’s date. (Yes, I have a spreadsheet. I love book-related spreadsheets.)

If you don’t, how can you get some? (How can you edge yourself closer to $45 — or the equivalent of that many Canadian dollars in your currency — worth of indie-published books?)Those of you who may have missed out on this project or the related posts, but who choose to check out the books and leave comments after today?

You will receive one entry per post for comments made there.In addition, the books I read were arranged into ten themes throughout the project — some of these themes were named overtly in the posts, as they unfolded, and others were more mysterious — those of you who email me (buriedinprintATgmailDOTcom) an accurate description of these themes — and some of them are obvious, from the book titles alone — will receive an additional entry for each one that you correctly identify.* (See small print below.)

Theme One:

Theme Two:

Theme Three:

Theme Five:

Theme Six:

Theme Seven:

Theme Eight:

Theme Nine:
Theme Ten:

How about you? What reading project is exciting you these days?

*Small print. This is my giveaway and these are my book-buying dollars to giveaway; I make the rules, and I can change them on a whim.



  1. Buried In Print April 5, 2013 at 8:27 am - Reply

    Vasilly – When you’ve got as much schoolwork to plan as you do, I can imagine your reading projects wouldn’t always be the elective sort, but when you’re done with the classes, I bet it’s a different story!

    Melwyk – Those would all be great presses to try this with, especially with their backlists…lots of good stuff there too. Coteau was one of the first imprints that I remember discovering and thinking “more” (back when I was also learning to obsess about Phyllis Bruce’s curated books).

    Karen – MA has several books available through HoA and I suspect there’s a good bit of loyalty thanks to their early support of both The Circle Game and Survival, but I think the bulk of the novels are available through larger houses (which might be due to distribution capacity, as connections with that kind of thing are complicated, I hear).

    Olduvai – Thanks! We should put our TBRs alongside each other and see how often they intersect…your library loot is fantastic/terrible for adding to my own weekly haul. Hehe.

  2. olduvai April 2, 2013 at 8:58 am - Reply

    I just wanted to say congrats on a successful project! I had a great time following along and adding books to my TBR list!

  3. Karen March 30, 2013 at 3:02 am - Reply

    This is a wonderful idea – bravo for supporting the indies. Surprised to find such a big name as Attwood published by an indie – are all her titles published by the same company or was this a one off?

  4. Melwyk March 29, 2013 at 11:09 pm - Reply

    I don’t have anywhere near the organizational skills you do when it comes to book projects and spreadsheets! I do have my own challenge that is loosely guiding some of my reading, and I love reading small press Canadiana… though I’ve never codified it in the way that you have with your Anansi project. I love the idea, and I love so many presses that could be read through like this! Some that would fascinate me: Coteau, Cormorant, Porcupine’s Quill, NeWest… where to begin? or end?

  5. Vasilly March 29, 2013 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I love reading your thoughts when you start and execute a project. I love your passion and your thoughts. I don’t have a reading project but I want one. 😉

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