Riot Headline 10 Exciting Books to Read this Summer

6 Small Press Books to Read in June

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Susie Rodarme

Staff Writer

Susie Rodarme is obsessed with small press literary fiction and tea. Other notable skills: chainmaille weaving, using Photoshop semi-correctly, and drinking gin.

Whew, there’s a whole bunch of books coming out right now, so let’s dispense the lead-in and get to it!

The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book 1. The Big Gay Alphabet Coloring Book by Jacinta Bunnell and Leela Corman (June 1, 2015 from PM Press)

Adult coloring books are all the rage right now, and I can’t think of a more perfect topic than LGBTQP (their acronym) culture. The book covers 26 terms that highlight LGBT history and culture. While I have to admit that all of the terms didn’t make sense to me (A was for Astrology for example–and none of the LGBT folks I know really take stock in it), the illustrations are darling and turn the focus away from the idea of heteronormality. Plus–coloring!

Smoking Cigarettes Eating Glass by Annita Perez Sawyer 2. Smoking Cigarettes, Eating Glass: A Psychologist’s Memoir by Annita Perez Sawyer (June 1, 2015 from the Santa Fe Writer’s Project)

After having a breakdown as a teenager, Sawyer was admitted to a treatment facility, misdiagnosed, and given dozens of shock treatments that caused her to lose memories. Years later, now a psychologist herself, she rediscovered the files that outline the treatments she received and began to work through her memories of a broken childhood and a broken treatment system. She writes in her memoir about working through PTSD and suicidal tendencies in an honest way that makes room for hope and greater understanding of a difficult illness while also condemning bad treatment practices.

Literary Rivals Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books3. Literary Rivals: Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books by Richard Bradford (June 2, 2015 from The Robson Press)

We all want dirt on our favorite authors, and lucky for us, Richard Bradford has done some digging. If you want to know what love interest drove a wedge between Coleridge and Wordsworth, or what beef there might have been between Hemingway and Gertrude Stein, this book will quickly engross you. Beware, though: you might see one of your favorite authors committing some unsavory behaviors.


Haints Stay by Colin Winnette4. Haints Stay by Colin Winnette (June 2, 2015 from Two Dollar Radio)

Haints Stay is a gritty, modern acid western that follows a couple of bounty hunters and a young boy that they pick up between towns. It has humor and gore and personal journeys and unexpected dark heroes–you know, basically everything you want in a post-McCarthy western. Flavorwire called it the most anticipated independent novel of the summer; I gotta be real, though: this is me whenever any new Two Dollar Radio title comes out:


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So, I’ll be picking that up ASAP.

The Sun Gods by Jay Rubin5. The Sun Gods by Jay Rubin (June 9, 2015 from Chin Music Press)

First: if you’re into contemporary Japanese literature, you might do well to slide on over to the Chin Music Press website and have a look-see. Second: if you’re into Haruki Murakami, you might already be familiar with Jay Rubin, as he does quite a few of Murakami’s English translations.

The book follows a blended family during World War II. Japanese-born Mitsuko marries a widowed American pastor, Tom, becoming the stepmother of his son. When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor, the family is mandated to live in an internment camp. Mitsuko goes with the child, Bill; Tom, now uncomfortable with all things Japanese, stays behind. Years later, Mitsuko is gone and Bill decides to go in search of her and their shared past.

The Sun Gods doesn’t always portray America at its best–a good thing, in this case.

The One That Got Away Carol Rosenfeld 6. The One That Got Away by Carol Rosenfeld (June 23, 2015 from Bywater Books)

Bambi Devine, aka B.D., is a middle-aged bridal consultant who finally leaps out of the closet–to absolutely no surprise whatsoever among her friends. She meets the woman of her dreams, but alas, her dreamlady already has a dreamlady of her own . . . or does she? Because some rumors indicate differently. The One That Got Away is a fun, drama-filled ride about unrequited love and lust in New York City queer life.

What great small press books have you read lately? Let me know in the comments!


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