independent stocking

I'm a bit late putting this up, but just in case anyone is as last minute at Christmas shopping as I am, or enjoys reading recommendations with or without a festive motivation to buy, I thought I'd gather together some of my purchases this year from independent publishers, writers and artists:

Getting Out of There by M John Harrison and M by Hilary Scudder
Nightjar produce incomparably good limited-edition single story chapbooks (and, yes, I'm biased, but my love for them is genuine). M John Harrison's story intensely evokes the bleak and uncanny in a seaside town. The reality at the centre of the story feels like something you don't quite want to touch with your mind, but you're compelled to attempt it anyway. Hilary Scudder's story filled me with so much fear for the protagonist that it was an enjoyable, but almost painful read. There are several other Nightjar titles still available. Stock up while you can as Nightjars will be taking on a different form after spring 2014.
Available to buy from Nightjar Press.

The Longest Night – Five Curious Tales
A collection of unsettling winter tales from Tom FletcherJenn AshworthEmma Jane Unsworth, Richard Hirst, and Alison Moore with beautiful illustrations by Beth Ward (whose eerie birches, in particular, are stunning). My copy's just arrived and I'm looking forward to spending some cold evenings tucked up with this in one hand and a whisky in the other.
Available to buy here.

Moss Witch and Other Stories by Sara Maitland
This is the first single author collection to spring from Comma's Science into Fiction project. The title story is one of my favourite contemporary fairy tales and the strong vein of the mythic throughout presents enjoyable proof that a writer's engagement with science doesn't always come down cleanly on the side of sf or of literary realism, Sara's stories are often something else entirely.
Available to buy from Comma Press

Sea-creatures and Lune by Sarah Hymas
Sarah makes these beautiful creations in which the form of publication and poems intertwine to make a whole. Sea-creatures features maps and torn pages that echo the tide, Lune streams like the river it's named for across the page. Both publications are full of salt and water; there are mussels, brittle stars, selkies, seabirds, and a multitude of 'fragments of one world...washed up by another'.
Available to buy here.

The Hermitage 2014 Calendar by Rima Staines
This calendar allows you to fill a year with Rima's wonder-filled artworks, and let the strange beauty in her images tug at you from the wall every day. The calendar is brilliantly designed by Tom Hirons and printed on recycled card by Footprint Workers Co-op. It's the only calendar I've ever owned that tells me the names of the full moons.
The first two print runs have sold out. Keep an eye on Rima's Etsy shop just in case more become available.

A Lancaster Alphabet and Sum of the Parts by Simon Hawkesworth
These books aren't just for Lancastrians, (although I admit the Alphabet has provided me with an excellent way to explore my new home). They are also books for font aficionados, exploring social history through lettering and letterforms through their stone homes. The books are lovingly designed and produced with great attention to detail (quality paper, lovely bindings, semi-transparent dust jacket on one, French flaps on the other!)
Available to buy from Fast Foot Press.

The writing, the photography, in fact everything about this magazine of nature and writing, leaves me feeling like I've taken a long walk, often in landscapes that are completely unknown to me, with knowledgeable, welcoming guides.
Subscriptions available here.

Peirene Press
Peirene's beautifully designed and excellently selected novellas of translated European fiction are often understated yet visceral. Billed as two hour reads, every one I've read may have been short but they're the kind of stories you carry with you for a long time after.
Subscriptions available here.

And, if you have children, I can't praise Okido, the arts and science magazine for 3-8 year-olds, enough (not pictured above because my boys' copies are all so well loved they no longer have covers). Information-packed, funny and with frequently bizarre illustrations, subscriptions are available here.

And on my Christmas list... Posthumous Stories by David Rose available from Salt. David's stories are always subtle and often unexpected. This long-overdue collection gathers together twenty-five years of his work. Strong Room, a collaboration between artists Roelof Bakker and Jane Wildgoose, is inspired by the 'loss of tangible experiences and lack of physical presence in the digital world'. Not due out until late January, but worth the anticipation, it will be available from Negative Press. I'm also looking forward to the imminent arrival from Unsettling Wonder of my pre-ordered copy of Sister Fox's Field Guide to the Writing Life by Jane Yolen, which draws on trickster tales, copious treasures from fairy tale and myth, and the wonder in a life making stories. And can I please have a bucketful of time to make it possible for my reading to keep pace with my book buying habit?