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Celebrating Independent Bookshop Week

By Zoe Doyle, Amy Wright and Ana Matute


Independent Bookshop Week celebrates the role of independent bookshops in both the publishing industry and local communities. Most independent bookshops are run by individuals with a real passion and knowledge for books who strive to recommend the perfect read for customers whilst also giving upcoming publishing houses the opportunity to share their work. With Griffin Books, a small bookshop in South Wales, recently receiving the British Book Award for Best Independent Bookshop, we wanted to champion other indies in the industry by sharing some book recommendations from indie publications and diverse authors.


The Bear and the Rose by​​ Erin K. Larson-Burnett


This book is perfect for readers who loved the lyrical prose of Katherine Arden’s The Bear and the Nightingale and the rich folklore in Naomi Novik’s Spinning Silver. For bearslayer Rhoswen of Hazelfleur, springtime is a time of violence as bears, commanded by the Goddess Artio, attack village after village. Despite her anxiety, Rhoswen sets out to put an end to Artio’s reign and liberate her people. Her resolve is further strengthened when she happens upon a mysterious forest longing for freedom. Inspired by Celtic mythology, Larson-Burnett’s The Bear and the Rose echoes classic myths and legends whilst still feeling new. There are rustic villages, depthless forests and tricky deities as well as mental health representation and a touching sapphic love story. The writing is evocative and highly atmospheric, conjuring a world that is easy to get lost in.


How To in 2022 by Amanda Benneyworth


How To in 2022 is a short, funny and relatable read, perfect for fans of Dolly Alderton’s Everything I Know About Love. The book is a witty exploration of what it’s like to live in the 2020s, and how we navigate the various challenges that modern life throws at us. The book explores topics such as the online world, social media and life during the pandemic. You will recognise some of your own experiences in this book and may find that you can connect with the author’s observations of what life has been like over the last couple of years. The hilarious anecdotes within this book make is a read that you can go back to multiple times and read sections of it in any order. How To in 2022 is a fun and light-hearted read that would be enjoyable for anyone who doesn’t like to take life too seriously.


Secrets at No.6 by Jemma Hatt


Jemma Hatt, a children’s author hailing from Kent, made the leap into self-publishing in 2018 with her Famous Five-like Adventurers Series. The series now has six novels, translations in Spanish, Finnish, Polish and Estonian and two awards to its name. Hatt has now launched a new series through her own press, still preferring to self-publish in the domestic market. Published on 27 April, Secrets at No.6 is an Edwardian whodunnit and the first ever tale in the Mysterious Mansions series. After a robbery disturbs a grand Belgravia townhouse, trainee servant Alice and unworldly young aristocrat Theo team up to solve the case. The pair’s search for the culprit leads them into a Dickensian underworld of twisting streets and East End docklands.


Hatt gained a dedicated readership with her Adventure Series and judging by her first Mysterious Mansions, she seems to have struck gold again. Full of exciting twists and funny and eccentric characters, Secrets at No.6 is a rollicking page-turner perfect for a younger reader. Hatt, as always, does an excellent job at placing relatable characters in a convincing historical setting.


Natural Enemies of Books, edited by MMS (Maryam Fanni, Matilda Flodmark and Sara Kaaman)


Natural Enemies of Books is a collection of essays about the role of women in the history of books. The collection establishes a dialogue with Bookmaking on the Distaff Side, a book made by women artists in 1937. This publication focuses on exploring the changes in the materiality of bookmaking, while simultaneously delving into themes of modernity, technology and work. This book is perfect for publishing hopefuls who want to expand their approaches to the contemporary book industry.

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