Friday, March 6, 2009

A Favorite... Small Publisher?

I've always been fascinated by stories, by books. I guess that's why I'm in the book business. Just the natural evolution of my career path. I've never not known a life without books. Both my parents were teachers, both were readers, both loved the written word.

When I had the chance to start working in bookstores, more than 15 years ago now, I leaped, headfirst, into that shallow pool of income, for the love of books. Certainly not for the love of a big paycheck.

Over the years I have come to find favorites in genres and authors. While I'll read any book I can, I naturally gravitate toward mysteries. My first memorable favorite author was Robert Heinlein (back in my science fiction days). I think it's natural for most readers to favor a genre or author, reading more heavily from those than from anything or anyone else.

In the last couple of years, I have come across another favorite. This falls into a category of books where you don't generally find readers picking favorites. This category crosses multiple genres and encompasses many different authors. But, having said that, I have found a favorite small publishing house- Unbridled Books.

Why, you ask, would I have a favorite small publisher? It is simply this. I have never read a book from Unbridled that I didn't like. That is saying a lot. Unbridled seems to have a knack for picking great authors who write great books.

I was first introduced to Unbridled by Caitlin Hamilton Summie, Unbridled's marketing director, when she presented her picks for great books for the 2007 fall season. I was particularly taken by her description of The Pirates Daughter by Margaret Cezair-Thompson, which convinced me to read it. I loved it.

I have since read The Lamentations of Julius Marantz by Marc Estrin, Hick by Andrea Portes, Abbeville by Jack Fuller, and more. I am currently reading, and thoroughly enjoying, Last Night in Montreal by Emily St. John Mandel and Shimmer by Eric Barnes with The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire by C. M. Mayo and Madewell Brown by Rick Collignon sitting at the top of my "to be read" pile.

While there are many other publishers whose books and authors I enjoy, I find it hard to say that I have enjoyed every book I've read that they've published. But to this point, Unbridled, in terms of my other great passion, baseball, is batting a thousand.

So, here's to Unbridled Books, a publisher who has yet to disappoint me.

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