Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Look at Some Unbridled Books

Are you familiar with Unbridled Books?  I wasn't, until Safe From the Sea won the ndie Lit Award for Fiction last year.  In fact, that is what really opened my eyes to small publishers in general.  Are there any small publishers that have caught your attention or earned your loyalty?  Often, though the books they publish aren't all the same, there is a noticeable quality or characteristic they share--making each read a new, and yet familiar, experience.
"Unbridled Books is a premier publisher of works of rich literary quality that appeal to a broad audience. We want to be able to continue our longtime discussion about what allows a novel to touch our hearts and our minds at once. And we want our readers, booksellers, and reviewers to trust that when they pick up an Unbridled book, we’re inviting them to enjoy that rarest of pleasures, a good read." (from Unbridled's site)
My experience with Unbridled Books isn't as broad as I'd like--I've only known them for a year--but I have plenty of their books loaded on my Nook, and plenty more I'm interested in.  This year, I've read a handful of their books that I'd like to mention.

First, as I mentioned, was Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye.  (see my review here)  It's a little father/son estrangement/reconciliation, a little bit of history and life on the water, a little bit family/marriage and infertility, all mixed into spare, vivid writing, realistic characters, and a plot that keeps you reading.  I was impressed out how balanced the book was, in the writing, characters, and plot.  It really would appeal to wide audience & is one that I plan on re-reading soon.

The next book I read of theirs was After Hours at the Almost Home by Tara Yellen, a title from their backlist (2008).  It interested me partly because it sounded like an interesting combination of humor, quick-paced plot, and introspective character study.  It was indeed a quick read, taking place in a few hours at a bar.  We peek into the lives of all the employees--scattered pieces that add up to a full and complete story, reminding us that there is more to each of us than may initially meet the eye.  If you appreciate some depth to a story, but are in the mood for a quick read, this is a perfect pick.  As with Safe From the Sea, this is deceptively simple, quick to read, full of good writing and realistic, flawed characters.

After my second success with Unbridled Books, I was thrilled to receive Miss Entropia and the Adam Bomb by George Rabasa from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. (see my review here)  This is one of those incredibly unique books that tells a serious, heavy, story in a lighthearted, humorous way, and manage to balance the two perfectly.  Again, the writing is easy to read yet unique and beautiful, the characters have a depth that has made them occasionally pop into my memory as real people (takes me a minute or two to remember they were characters.)  He explores how we define mental illness, family, and our part in society.  Highly, highly recommended.

The only book I've read from my Nook books so far is Small Acts of Sex and Electricity by Lise Haines.  This was the first time in a long time that I've dipped into a book so relational.  I was a little nervous, to be honest, to read about a girl who steps into her best friend's life (husband and kids included) after the flaky lady skips town.  It was a little more romantic and drama-oriented than what I prefer, and yet the level of writing elevated above the common fare I expected.

I have many other books of theirs that I'm looking forward to reading, and they seem to be coming out with new must-reads all the time.  They seem to pick books that bridge the gap between simple and complex--they are like guilty pleasures, and yet they make you think and feel--making them a perfect choice for someone who isn't used to literary fiction, as well as those who are used to it.  Perfect vacation reading for me--treat yourself to an Unbridled Book today! (and no, I'm not affliated. just a fan!)

I'd love to know what small publishers (or imprints of larger publishers) that you love and trust--or maybe just keep your eye on...what has impressed you about them?  Who should I look into?


  1. This brings back such good memories! Remember the 25 books for 25 cents each? We both had to purchase a Nook first. I've only read one of those too but I also bought another one from them. I dig Unbridled very much. They totally get this reader.

  2. I'm so so happy with the Nook too. Which one of the 25 did you end up reading? Was it good?

  3. Rain Village by Carolyn Turgeon and You Believers by Jane Bradley. Both excellent reads.


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