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45 Books We’re Excited About from Indie Presses & Indie Authors (2022 Releases)

This book list features 45 books we're excited about from indie presses and indie authors in 2022. Includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from presses like Mason Jar Press, Malarkey Books, UNC Press, and more.

45 Books We’re Excited About from Indie Presses and Indie Authors (2022 Releases)

Curated by Joe Walters

Books We're Excited About from Indie Presses and Indie Authors in 2022

Too many good books are coming out in 2022

I don’t have enough room for them all.

Okay maybe I do.

Maybe I can just move some over. Put some on the ground, stack ’em like a used bookstore. Put ’em on my nightstand, on top of the other ones?

Okay, okay, Kindle. Yes. I’ll read this one before this one. This one too.

It’s April 21st, and I just hit my 30th book of the year. eBooks & audiobooks have changed my world in both dramatic and realistic ways. I’m doing more dishes than ever before, and I’ve been devouring nonfiction that way. In my tiny gaps of freedom with my best little baby friend, I’m sneaking in poems and flash fiction.

So my list of exciting 2022 books from indie presses and indie authors is comprised of…a whole bunch of stuff! And I’m excited about all of it.

And honestly, you should be too.

Authors & presses are doing incredible things right now. Wanna see?

Here’s my list of books to get excited about in 2022.

#1. Jerks

by Sara Lippman

Jerks by Sara Lippman book cover which features two people dressed from the 80s shaking hands after tennis

Released in March 2020

Publisher: Mason Jar Press

Genre: Short Fiction / Literary

About the Book:

With JERKS, Sara Lippmann rides the proverbial clutch between wanting and having. Ambivalent mothers, aging suburbanites, restless teens, survivalist parents, and disaffected wives—desire is a live wire, however frayed, a reminder that life, for all its sputtering stall outs, is still worth living. The messy characters in these eighteen stories may hack up their bed sheets with group sex, anonymous sex, sexual history, infidelity, and a literal handsaw, but there’s tenderness, too, among the lust and rage. Even when fantasy offers a shortcut to oneself, without connection, it’s a lonely escape. With crisp precision, ample honesty and desperate humor, Lippmann delivers an irresistibly fraught cast of characters at various stages of undress.

#2. Coffee, Shopping, Murder, Love

by Carlos Allende

Coffee Shopping Murder Love book cover from Carlos Allende and Red Hen Press

Releases June 2022

Publisher: Red Hen Press

Genre: Thriller / Humor / LGBTQ+

About the Book:

A campy dark comedy for the angry and the disenchanted.

Last November, I found a dead body inside the freezer that my roommate keeps inside the garage. My first thought was to call the police, but Jignesh hadn’t paid his share of the rent just yet. It wasn’t due until the thirtieth, and you know how difficult it is to find people who pay on time. Jignesh always does. Also, he had season tickets for the LA Opera, and well . . . Madame Butterfly. Tosca. The Flying Dutchman . . . at the Dorothy Chandler . . . you cannot say no to that, can you? Well, it’s been a few good months now—Madame Butterfly was just superb, thank you. However, last Friday, I found a second body inside that stupid freezer in the garage. This time I’m evicting Jignesh. My house isn’t a mortuary . . . alas, I need to come up with some money first. You’ll understand, therefore, that I desperately need to sell this novel. Just enough copies to help me survive until I find a job . . . what could I do that doesn’t demand too much effort? We have a real treasure here, anyhow. Some chapters are almost but not quite pornographic. You could safely lend this to nana afterward!

#3. My Volcano

by John Elizabeth Stintzi

My Volcano by John Elizabeth Stintzi book cover featuring a hawk staring on a green background

Releases March 2022

Publisher: Two Dollar Radio

Genre: Literary / Disaster Fiction

About the Book:

My Volcano is a kaleidoscopic portrait of a menagerie of characters, as they each undergo personal eruptions, while the Earth itself is constantly shifting. Parable, myth, science-fiction, eco-horror, My Volcano is a radical work of literary art, emerging as a subversive, intoxicating artistic statement by John Elizabeth Stintzi.

On June 2, 2016, a protrusion of rock growing from the Central Park Reservoir is spotted by a jogger. Three weeks later, when it finally stops growing, it’s nearly two-and-a-half miles tall, and has been determined to be an active volcano.

As the volcano grows and then looms over New York, an eight-year-old boy in Mexico City finds himself transported 500 years into the past, where he witnesses the fall of the Aztec Empire; a Nigerian scholar in Tokyo studies a folktale about a woman of fire who descends a mountain and destroys an entire village; a white trans writer in Jersey City struggles to write a sci-fi novel about a thriving civilization on an impossible planet; a nurse tends to Syrian refugees in Greece while grappling with the trauma of living through the bombing of a hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan; a nomadic farmer in Mongolia is stung by a bee, magically transforming him into a green, thorned, flowering creature that aspires to connect every living thing into its consciousness.

With its riveting and audacious vision, My Volcano is a tapestry on fire, a distorted and cinematic new work from the fiercely talented John Elizabeth Stintzi.

#4. Faith

by Itoro Bassey

Faith cover itoro bassey from malarkey books

Released January 2022

Publisher: Malarkey Books

Genre: African & African American Fiction / Coming of Age

About the Book:

Faith is a coming-of-age tale about Arit Essien, a first-generation Nigerian-American woman born and raised in the U.S. who resettles in Nigeria. The novel is a meditation where several generations of women riff on ideas of faith, expectation, identity, and independence. It’s a poignant conversation between the dead and the living, the past and the present, and a young woman grappling to find her place in it all.

#5. And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing

Edited by Hannah Grieco

And If That Mockingbird Don't Sing edited by Hannah Grieco book cover

Released January 2022

Publisher: Alternating Current Press

Genre: Short Fiction / Speculative / Anthology

About the Book:

An evil teddy bear, a mermaid, a robot daughter, a ghost child. A mother surrendering her baby to the crows. A child consumed by lice from the inside out. A father sending his selkie daughter back to the sea. These flash stories and essays explore the whispered side of parenting—the loss, fear, vulnerability, and deep, deep love that lurks underneath our day-to-day lives as mothers and fathers. One glimpse into And If That Mockingbird Don’t Sing, and you’ll never look at parenting in quite the same way again.

#6. Death Warrant

by Bryan Johnston

Releases June 2022

Publisher: CamCat Books

Genre: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense / Action-Adventure

About the Book:

Death Makes Great TV.

Frankie Percival is cashing in her chips. To save her brother from financial ruin, Frankie―a single stage performer and mentalist who never made it big―agrees to be assassinated on the most popular television show on the planet: Death Warrant. Once she signs her life away, her memory is wiped clean of the agreement, leaving her with no idea she will soon be killed spectacularly for global entertainment.

After years of working in low-rent theaters, Frankie prepares for the biggest performance of her life as her Death Warrant assassin closes in on her. Every person she encounters could be her killer. Every day could be her last.

She could be a star, if only she lives that long.

#7. Jawbone

by Mónica Ojeda

Jawbone book cover by Monica Ojeda

Released February 2022

Publisher: Coffee House Press

Genre: Women’s Fiction / Psychological / Horror

About the Book:

“Was desire something like being possessed by a nightmare?”

Fernanda and Annelise are so close they are practically sisters: a double image, inseparable. So how does Fernanda end up bound on the floor of a deserted cabin, held hostage by one of her teachers and estranged from Annelise?

When Fernanda, Annelise, and their friends from the Delta Bilingual Academy convene after school, Annelise leads them in thrilling but increasingly dangerous rituals to a rhinestoned, Dior-scented, drag-queen god of her own invention. Even more perilous is the secret Annelise and Fernanda share, rooted in a dare in which violence meets love. Meanwhile, their literature teacher Miss Clara, who is obsessed with imitating her dead mother, struggles to preserve her deteriorating sanity. Each day she edges nearer to a total break with reality.

Interweaving pop culture references and horror concepts drawn from from Herman Melville, H. P. Lovecraft, and anonymous “creepypastas,” Jawbone is an ominous, multivocal novel that explores the terror inherent in the pure potentiality of adolescence and the fine line between desire and fear.

#8. Sinkhole

by Davida Breier

Releases May 2022

Publisher: University of New Orleans Press

Genre: Psychological Thriller / Coming of Age

About the Book:

Humidity, lovebugs, and murder.

Lies from the past and a dangerous present collide when, after fifteen years in exile, Michelle Miller returns to her tiny hometown of Lorida, Florida. With her mother in the hospital, she’s forced to reckon with the broken relationships she left behind: with her family, with friends, and with herself.

As a teenager, Michelle felt isolated and invisible until she met Sissy, a dynamic and wealthy classmate. Their sudden, intense friendship was all-consuming. Punk rocker Morrison later joins their clique, and they become an inseparable trio. They were the perfect high school friends, bound by dysfunction, bad TV, and boredom―until one of them ends up dead.

Forced to confront the life she turned her back on fifteen years ago, she begins questioning what was truth and what were lies. Now at a distance, Michelle begins to see how dangerous Sissy truly was.

An ingenious debut from editor and publisher Davida Breier, Sinkhole is a mesmerizing, darkly comic coming-of-age novel immersed in 1980s central Florida. A disturbing and skillful exploration of home, friendship, selfhood, and grief set amidst golf courses, mobile homes, and alligators.

#9. Singing Lessons from the Stylish Canary

by Laura Stanfill

Released April 2022

Publisher: Lanternfish Press

Genre: Historical Fiction / Magical Realism

About the Book:

Georges Blanchard is revered in the small French town of Mireville both as a master serinette maker and for a miraculous incident in his childhood that earned him the title “The Sun-Bringer.” As his firstborn son, Henri Blanchard is expected to follow in his footsteps, but Henri would rather learn to make lace than music boxes. When Henri discovers a stash of American letters in his father’s drawer, he learns he’s not the firstborn son of Georges Blanchard at all: Henri has an older half-brother born to one of Georges’s American customers. When he crosses the ocean to encounter his half-brother at last, Henri discovers that there’s an entire world beyond Mirevilleace and there may be a perfect place for him yet.

#10. Little Foxes Took Up Matches

by Katya Kazbek

Little Foxes Took Up Matches book cover from Katya Kazbek and Tin House

Releases April 2022

Publisher: Tin House Books

Genre: Coming of Age / LGBTQ+

About the Book:

An arresting coming of age, an exploration of gender, a modern folktale, a powerful portrait of a family―Katya Kazbek breaks out as a new voice to watch.

When Mitya was two years old, he swallowed his grandmother’s sewing needle. For his family, it marks the beginning of the end, the promise of certain death. For Mitya, it is a small, metal treasure that guides him from within. As he grows, his life mirrors the uncertain future of his country, which is attempting to rebuild itself after the collapse of the Soviet Union, torn between its past and the promise of modern freedom. Mitya finds himself facing a different sort of ambiguity: is he a boy, as everyone keeps telling him, or is he not quite a boy, as he often feels?

After suffering horrific abuse from his cousin Vovka who has returned broken from war, Mitya embarks on a journey across underground Moscow to find something better, a place to belong. His experiences are interlaced with a retelling of a foundational Russian fairytale, Koschei the Deathless, offering an element of fantasy to the brutal realities of Mitya’s everyday life.

Told with deep empathy, humor, and a bit of surreality, Little Foxes Took Up Matches is a revelation about the life of one community in a country of turmoil and upheaval, glimpsed through the eyes of a precocious and empathetic child, whose heart and mind understand that there are often more than two choices. An arresting coming of age, an exploration of gender, a modern folktale, a comedy about family, Katya Kazbek breaks out as a new voice to watch.

#11. Are We Ever Our Own

by Gabrielle Lucille Fuentes

Releases May 2022

Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.

Genre: Short Fiction / Hispanic & Latino Fiction

About the Book:

Moving between Cuba and the U.S., the stories in Are We Ever Our Own trace the paths of the women of the far-flung Armando Castell family.

Related but unknown to each other, these women are exiles, immigrants, artists, outsiders, all in search of a sense of self and belonging. The owner of a professional mourning service investigates the disappearance of her employees. On the eve of the Cuban revolution, a young woman breaks into the mansion where she was once a servant to help the rebels and free herself. A musician in a traveling troupe recounts the last day she saw her father.

Linked by theme and complex familial bonds, these stories shift across genres and forms to excavate the violence wreaked on women’s bodies and document the attempt to create something meaningful in the face of loss. They ask: who do we belong to? What, if anything, belongs to us?

#12. Unlawful DISorder

by David Jackson Ambrose

Releases June 2022

Publisher: Jaded Ibis Press

Genre: African & African American Fiction / LGBTQ+

About the Book:

Bowie doesn’t intend to hurt his mother-he just wants to collect his social security check from her. But when she throws around words like hallucinating and tells him he’s “hearing things,” his fear is triggered, and he takes action. This event, coupled with a history of reported psychotic episodes, a gambling addiction, and his sexual preference for other men, sets him on a collision course with mental health professionals, the police, and the prison system.

#13. Mage of Fools

by Eugen Bacon

Releases March 2022

Publisher: Meerkat Press

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Dystopia

About the Book:

In the dystopian world of Mafinga, Jasmin must contend with a dictator’s sorcerer to cleanse the socialist state of its deadly pollution. Mafinga’s malevolent king dislikes books and, together with his sorcerer Atari, has collapsed the environment to almost uninhabitable. The sun has killed all the able men, including Jasmin’s husband Godi. But Jasmin has Godi’s secret story machine that tells of a better world, far different from the wastelands of Mafinga. Jasmin’s crime for possessing the machine and its forbidden literature filled with subversive text is punishable by death. Fate grants a cruel reprieve in the service of a childless queen who claims Jasmin’s children as her own. Jasmin is powerless—until she discovers secrets behind the king and his sorcerer.

#14. The Covenant of Shihala

by Laya V Smith and Kyro Dean

Released March 2022

Genre: Fantasy / Romance / Middle Eastern

About the Book:

Lying is easy. You simply must either care far too much or far too little. But even human eyes will give away true intentions soon enough.

For ten years, street musician Ayelet has been on the run from the faceless slave master who tormented her childhood. Traipsing across the Middle East, the Ottoman empire, and Eastern Europe, she only stays ahead of the faceless man because the sight of a wisp or the jewel-toned eyes of a djinn warn her when evil draws near. Far from the ghosts of mythology and fairytales, she knows djinn for the demons they are. So she keeps moving and forsakes love for anyone or any place.

But lost souls long for homes, and when she returns to her country of medieval Turkey and meets up with an old friend, she finds herself lingering. One last performance, one last song. Then she will leave. But evil rarely waits, and when Ayelet sees a djinn watching her from the back of an eager crowd, she knows she stayed far too long.

Jahmil Amir, the displaced heir to the throne of the magical land of Shihala, has his own problems. Betrothed to a wretched djinn queen and in search of his mysteriously vanished army of darkontes, he has no time for music or love. Instead, his heart is consumed with revenge and the desire to obliterate the bloodthirsty hoards that destroyed his home.

When lava giants and bone-crunching ghouls from an ancient world force them together, the magic fire of djinn and Shihala have different plans for the fated lovers. But while love tempts them both with a promise as beautiful as it is forbidden, evil continues to stir.

#15. Dark Factory

by Kathe Koja

Dark Factory Kathe Koja book cover releasing in 2022

Releases May 2022

Publisher: Meerkat Press

Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Cyberpunk

About the Book:

Welcome to Dark Factory! You may experience strobe effects, Y reality, DJ beats, love, sex, betrayal, triple shot espresso, broken bones, broken dreams, ecstasy, self-knowledge, and the void. Dark Factory is a dance club: three floors of DJs, drinks, and customizable reality, everything you see and hear and feel. Ari Regon is the club’s wild card floor manager, Max Caspar is a stubborn DIY artist, both chasing a vision of true reality. And rogue journalist Marfa Carpenter is there to write it all down. Then a rooftop rave sets in motion a fathomless energy that may drive Ari and Max to the edge of the ultimate experience. Dark Factory is Kathe Koja’s wholly original new novel from Meerkat Press, that combines her award-winning writing and her skill directing immersive events, to create a story that unfolds on the page, online, and in the reader’s creative mind.

#16. Dear Inmate

by Lisa Boyle

Released March 2022

Genre: Historical Fiction / Irish & Irish American

Print Length: 410 pages

About the Book:

Their silent disgust failed to affect me anymore. But this was not silent. This was loud and forceful and violent. I could not ignore it.

Massachusetts, 1854. The anti-foreigner American Party, better known as the “Know-Nothings,” take power throughout the state. The city of Lowell elects Leonard Ward, a member of the party, as its mayor. Suddenly the “Know-Nothings” are everywhere. And they’re going after the Irish.

Rosaleen is ready to fight back. Emboldened by strange conspiracies about the Catholic Church, violent mobs and corrupt government officials are making life nearly unbearable for her people. Lowell’s newly formed police department is committed to ridding the streets of “Irish filth,” beating and arresting anyone who crosses them. When Rosaleen uncovers a horrific truth, it will test her in ways she could never have imagined.

Targeted by dangerous opposition, she needs help. But are her friends as loyal as she believes?

#17. What Ben Franklin Would Have Told Me

by Donna Gordon

Releases June 2022

Publisher: Regal House Publishing

Genre: Literary / Historical Fiction

About the Book:

WHAT BEN FRANKLIN WOULD HAVE TOLD ME explores the story of Lee, a vibrant thirteen-year-old boy who is facing premature death from Progeria (a premature aging disease); his caretaker Tomás, a survivor of Argentina’s Dirty War, who is searching for his missing wife, who was pregnant when they were both “disappeared;” and Lee’s single mother, Cass, overwhelmed by love for her son and the demands of her work as a Broadway makeup artist. When a mix-up prevents Cass from taking Lee on his “final wish” trip to Washington, D.C. and Philadelphia to pursue his interest in the life of Ben Franklin, Tomás–who has discovered potential leads to his family in both cities–offers to accompany Lee on the trip. As one flees memories of death and the other hurtles inevitably toward it, they each share unsettling truths and find themselves transformed in the process. Set during the Ronald Reagan presidency, this lyrical novel transcends an adventure story to take the reader on an unforgettable journey which explores love, family and the inevitability of change.

#18. Out Front the Following Sea

by Leah Angstman

Out Front the Following Sea book cover releasing in January 2022

Released January 2022

Publisher: Regal House Publishing

Genre: Historical Fiction / Women

About the Book:

Out Front the Following Sea is a historical epic of one woman’s survival in a time when the wilderness is still wild, heresy is publicly punishable, and being independent is worse than scorned—it is a death sentence. At the onset of King William’s War between French and English settlers in 1689 New England, Ruth Miner is accused of witchcraft for the murder of her parents and must flee the brutality of her town. She stows away on the ship of the only other person who knows her innocence: an audacious sailor—Owen—bound to her by years of attraction, friendship, and shared secrets. But when Owen’s French ancestry finds him at odds with a violent English commander, the turmoil becomes life-or-death for the sailor, the headstrong Ruth, and the cast of Quakers, Pequot Indians, soldiers, highwaymen, and townsfolk dragged into the fray. Now Ruth must choose between sending Owen to the gallows or keeping her own neck from the noose.

#19. Small Moods

by Shane Kowalski

Released February 2022

Publisher: Future Tense Books

Genre: Short Fiction / Literary

About the Book:

Like a cracked crystal ball tagged with black spray paint, these discomforting and darkly hilarious stories unveil a past, present, and future of unexplainable yet bizarrely poetic prophesies and moods. In ninety-five flash fictions, Shane Kowalski’s SMALL MOODS presents lovers, dogs, bathtubs, hands, jewels, bananas, peasant boys, cuckolds, Jesus, dildoes, shoes, nudes, cults, sadness, the movie Carrie, and much much more. Can you imagine a love child of Lydia Davis and Richard Brautigan? How about Russell Edson’s ghost having tea with Diane Williams? Reading SMALL MOODS is like entering a weird and private room of reject fairy tales and goofball fables. It’s a room that belongs to Shane Kowalski, and he is welcoming you with strong, open, sweat-drenched arms. Don’t be afraid. He made you something.

#20. Asylum

by Nina Shope

Releases May 2022

Publisher: Dzanc Books

Genre: Historical Fiction / Psychological

About the Book:

A work of brilliant and innovative historical fiction, Asylum delves into the disturbing and seductive relationship between a young hysteric named Augustine and renowned nineteenth-century French neurologist J.M. Charcot. As Charcot risks his career to investigate the controversial disease of hysteria, Augustine struggles to make him acknowledge their interdependence and shared desires—until a new lover, M., drives them all to the brink of fracture.

Drawing upon the medical photography, hypnotic states, and “grand demonstrations” that accompanied Charcot’s research, Asylum traces the deterioration of the dynamic between doctor and patient as they transform from mutually entranced creators to jealous and spurned paramours, to fierce rivals, and finally to bitter enemies. Told in lyrical, feverish, and sometimes delirious prose, Nina Shope delivers a captivating narrative at the crossroads of Mary Shelley and Donna Tartt.

#21. Circus of Shadows

by Kimberlee Turley

Releases May 2022

Genre: Young Adult / Gaslamp Fantasy

About the Book:

When seventeen-year-old Gracie Hart gets caught stealing a ride on a circus train, she expects to be arrested. Instead, she is offered a job as the new assistant to the circus magician and knife-thrower, Jack. He’s charismatic and genteel, but his aim isn’t perfect-hence the position opening.

The work is better than jail, but once Gracie starts performing with Jack, she begins finding threatening notes hidden in her costume.

At first, she thinks she’s being haunted by the ghost of the last assistant, but she can’t shake the feeling that things are even stranger than they appear. Plagued by reoccurring déjà vu, cryptic notes, and suspicions that Jack may not be who he seems to be, Gracie is swept into supernatural secrets surrounding Vincenzio’s Circus Troupe and Menagerie.

And when a second death is discovered in the circus, one thing becomes threateningly clear: if Gracie can’t figure out the mysteries under the big top, her next venue might be the afterlife.

#22. Grape, Again

by Gabriel Arquilevich

Releases July 2022

Publisher: Fitzroy Books

Genre: Middle Grade / Contemporary

About the Book:

Good news! Principal Clarkson says Grape is ready for junior high. He doesn’t have to go to Riverwash, the school for troubled kids! But there’s also bad news. Grape’s best friend, Lou, has moved to New York, leaving Grape alone to ride his Evel Knievel bike, sail with his family, and start his bar mitzvah training—all this while navigating a new school with new teachers, and, of course, the “spiders” in his brain. To make matters worse, Clair, Grape’s crush, has eyes on Maxwell, the new kid with feathered hair. Sherman and Bully Jim provide some company, but it’s his bond with Heidi—a wheelie-popping, cigarette-smoking foster kid—that teaches him what matters most in life. Full of hilarity and sadness, confusion and love, Grape, Again! is an unforgettable coming-of-age story.

#23. Bibi Blundermuss and the Tree Across the Cosmos

by Andrew Durkin

Releases March 2022

Publisher: Yellow Bike Press

Genre: Middle Grade / Fantasy

About the Book:

Twelve-year-old Bibi Blundermuss is terrified of trees. Being around them makes her dizzy and sick to her stomach—even comatose. So, when her only to chance to find her missing parents means climbing a magic tree in the forest near her home, she almost doesn’t take it.

When Bibi grits her teeth and scales the trunk, the tree grows—so violently that she and her cat Eek are catapulted into another world. Here, she befriends a herd of elk, on the run from a pack of vicious white lions. And she discovers, to her amazement, that her mother is a witch who has been protecting the elk with a poison flower spell, which keeps the lions away.

Yet the longer Bibi stays in the world of the elk and lions, the less sure she is that her mother is truly on the elks’ side—or even on Bibi’s side. In the end, a dangerous journey into the lions’ lair and a reunion with both parents uncovers a secret that changes Bibi’s life forever. Drawn into an epic snowbound battle against an army of zombie trees, she must face her greatest fear to discover her greatest power.

#24. The Believer

by Sarah Krasnostein

Released March 2022

Publisher: Tin House

Genre: Anthropology / Essays

About the Book:

An unforgettable tour of the human condition that explores our universal need for belief to help us make sense of life, death, and everything in between.

For Sarah Krasnostein it begins with a Mennonite choir performing on a subway platform, a fleeting moment of witness that sets her on a fascinating journey to discover why people need to believe in absolute truths and what happens when their beliefs crash into her own. Some of the people Krasnostein interviews believe in things many people do not: ghosts, UFOs, the literal creation of the universe in six days. Some believe in things most people would like to: dying with dignity and autonomy; facing up to our transgressions with truthfulness; living with integrity and compassion. 

By turns devastating and uplifting, and captured in snapshot-vivid detail, these six profiles of a death doula, a geologist who believes the world is six thousand years old, a lecturer in neurobiology who spends his weekends ghost hunting, the fiancée of a disappeared pilot and UFO enthusiasts, a woman incarcerated for killing her husband after suffering years of domestic violence, and Mennonite families in New York will leave you convinced that the most ordinary-seeming people are often the most remarkable and that deep and abiding commonalities can be found within the greatest differences. 

Vivid, unconventional, entertaining, and full of wonder, The Believer interweaves these stories with compassion and empathy, culminating in an unforgettable tour of the human condition that cuts to the core of who we are as people, and what we’re doing on this earth.

#25. Enjoy Me Among My Ruins

by Juniper Fitzgerald

Enjoy Me Among my ruins is a book by juniper fitzgerald that comes out in August 2022

Releases August 2022

Publisher: The Feminist Press

Genre: Memoir / Feminist

About the Book:

Combining feminist theories, X-Files fandom, and memoir, Enjoy Me among My Ruins draws together a kaleidoscopic archive of Juniper Fitzgerald’s experiences as a queer sex-working mother. Plumbing the major events that shaped her life, and interspersing her childhood letters written to cult icon Gillian Anderson, this experimental manifesto contends with dominant narratives placed upon marginalized people, ultimately rejecting a capitalist system that demands our purity and submission over our survival.

#26. Possums Run Amok

by Lora Lafayette

Releases May 2022

Publisher: Mercuria Press

Genre: Memoir / Women

About the Book:

Possums Run Amok is a rollicking, slyly hilarious, at times uncomfortable and dark memoir wherein the author and two friends are nicknamed The Possumettes. With fearless candor, Lora Lafayette recounts her life from a delinquent, late 1970s punk rock adolescence through a crooked, manic, transatlantic path to adulthood and her eventual terrifying descent into schizophrenia. Whip smart, daring, and inventive, Lafayette navigates the harsh realities of being a risk-taking adventurous young woman while seeking to wrest all the wild joy she can out of life. Her story reveals how blurry the line can be between real and unreal, choice and force. It lays bare the startling lack of empathy and services in society for those in crisis. Her voice is singular, her language full of shining unconventional metaphor. Deeply uncomfortable, laugh-out-loud funny, and devastatingly moving, Possums Run Amok is equal parts challenging and entertaining.

#27. Whole Body Prayer

by Yan Ming Li

Releases April 2022

Genre: Spirituality / Asian & Asian American Literature

About the Book:

“The same energy that created stars and galaxies lies dormant within your belly.”

So begins Master Yan Ming Li’s spellbinding memoir recounting the challenges of growing up as a spiritually-gifted child in a land where exploration of the unseen realms was forbidden. Like a Chinese Harry Potter, Li found solace in a mysterious and powerful force he called the Light.

But this is not a work of fiction. It’s a true story. In the pages of this book, we learn how all of us can gain access to this benevolent, healing, and boundless Light.

It is, in fact, our birthright.

Raised under harsh conditions during the Cultural Revolution in Maoist, China, Li learned early on that he was born with a spiritual gift which he needed to keep secret. Li used the gift many times, nonetheless, to heal others, including members of his own family.

Since emigrating from China to the West in 1994, Li has shared his gift with people of every major religion. Now, he feels compelled to share his inspiring story and teaching with the world.

Whole Body Prayer is a meditation and healing technique developed by Li that returns us “original spirituality” by combining ancient practices from the world’s major religions.

#28. Dream Pop Origami

by Jackson Bliss

Dream Pop Origami comes out from Unsolicited Press in July 2022

Releases July 2022

Publisher: Unsolicited Press

Genre: Memoir / Asian & Asian American Literature

About the Book:

Dream Pop Origami is a beautiful, ambitious, interactive, and engrossing lyrical memoir about mixed-race identity, love, travel, AAPI masculinities, and personal metamorphosis. This experimental work of creative nonfiction examines, celebrates, and complicates what it means to be Asian & white, Nisei & hapa, Midwestern & Californian, Buddhist & American at the same time. In this stunning collection of choose-your-own-essays and autobiographical lists, multiracial identity is a counterpoint of memory, language, reflection, and imagination intersecting and interweaving into a coherent tapestry of text, emotion, and voice.

#29. The Understory

by M. E. Schuman

Releases January 2022

Genre: Nature & Ecology

About the Book:

Tragedy haunted her. Her instinct to survive drove her. On the savanna of Zimbabwe, Michelle Schuman watched the tears fall from the eyes of a baby elephant as it mourned its mother, a bloody emptiness where her trunk and face were missing because of ignorance and self-indulgence. Deep in the bamboo forest of the Virunga Mountains, she was touched by a Mountain Gorilla. On the once-pristine shores of Prince William Sound, she bore witness to the sobering spectacle of hundreds of seals ready to give birth, dragging their blackened, distended bellies through the oozing black death of greed spilling from the guts of the Exxon Valdez.

Although she also suffered an unbearable loss, and the dangers of working in remote areas of Alaska were real and tangible, the true threat to her survival was not from the natural world, but from the world of men who sought to tame her. Passion and peril are intertwined in this true tale of Michelle’s drive to make the natural world a better place; she found her greatest hindrance not in physical challenges but in human adversaries. In the understory, largely concealed from view, are saplings and shrubs, herbs and grasses, rooted in a carpet of moss, beneath the canopy of trees. They provide the sustenance for the magnificent forest, and this is the inspiring story of one woman’s battle from beneath the forest canopy to the beyond—in a scramble to undo what has been done.

#30. Refuse to Be Done

by Matt Bell

Released March 2022

Publisher: Soho Press

Genre: Writing & Publishing

About the Book:

They say writing is rewriting. So why does the second part get such short shrift? Refuse To Be Done will guide you through every step of the novel writing process, from getting started on those first pages to the last tips for making your final draft even tighter and stronger.

From lauded writer and teacher Matt Bell, Refuse to Be Done is encouraging and intensely practical, focusing always on specific rewriting tasks, techniques, and activities for every stage of the process. You won’t find bromides here about the “the writing Muse.” Instead, Bell breaks down the writing process in three sections. In the first, Bell shares a bounty of tactics, all meant to push you through the initial conception and get words on the page. The second focuses on reworking the narrative through outlining, modeling, and rewriting. The third and final section offers a layered approach to polishing through a checklist of operations, breaking the daunting project of final revisions into many small, achievable tasks.

Whether you are a first time novelist or a veteran writer, you will find an abundance of strategies here to help motivate you and shake up your revision process, allowing you to approach your work, day after day and month after month, with fresh eyes and sharp new tools.

#31. Pauli Murray’s Revolutionary Life

by Simki Kuznick

Book cover for Pauli Murray's Revolutionary Life releasing in March 2022 by Rootstock Publishing

Releases March 2022

Publisher: Rootstock Publishing

Genre: Biography / Social Activists

About the Book:

Inspiring and timely, Pauli Murray’s Revolutionary Life is the riveting story of an African American woman, born in 1910, who blazed through the barriers of race and gender decades before the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements. Pauli Murray fearlessly rode freight trains dressed as a boy during the Great Depression and befriended First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt before embarking on a pioneering life of social activism, legal scholarship, and many firsts. In 1944, Pauli graduated first in her class at Howard University; in 1965, she was the first Black woman to earn a doctorate in law from Yale University; in 1966, she was a founder of NOW, the first National Organization for Women; and in 1977, Pauli was the first Black woman to be ordained as an Episcopal priest. Pauli never faced a barrier she couldn’t smash through, and her life as a feminist, civil rights lawyer, poet, author, activist, and priest paved the way for all to live a life of equality and purpose.

#32. Water Under the Bridge

by Jennifer A. Payne

Released February 2022

Publisher: Three Chairs Publishing

Genre: Memoir / Creative Nonfiction

About the Book:

“She thought about him often over the years. Looked him up online occasionally to see where he was and if he was all right. It wasn’t until last fall that she found his email address, and several months more before she got up the courage to write.”

So begins the epistolary novel WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE by Connecticut writer Jen Payne, a sort-of love story told through a series of emails, about two people who reconnect after 15 years apart and work to reconcile their pasts…and futures. Influenced by the work of Brené Brown and a proponent of the bravery of storytelling, Payne says “WATER UNDER THE BRIDGE is about having the courage to speak our truths; it’s about trust and vulnerability, and about the true blessings found when we open our hearts – come what may.” 

#33. Who Should We Let Die?

by Koye Oyerinde

Releases April 2022

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Genre: Health / Policy

About the Book:

Embedded in the “Health for All by the Year 2000” slogan was the notion of health as a human right. Yet, when we don’t guarantee health services to all, we are unwittingly answering the question, Who Should We Let Die?

America doesn’t provide healthcare services as a right of citizenship. Instead, it has a treatment system dominated by profit-orientated healthcare insurers, hospital corporations, medical device companies, and pharmaceutical corporations. In Who Should We Let Die? Dr. oyerinde describes it as a GoFundMe health system because almost half of the supplicants on the eponymous website are there to raise funds to pay for hospital bills.

The Covid-19 pandemic has taught us that poorly handled local epidemics become pandemics. As enunciated in the Alma Ata Declaration, we need quality primary healthcare-based systems to detect diseases early and promptly alert health authorities to outbreaks. Such a system will not depend on GoFundMe campaigns or out-of-pocket payments for health services. Only a groundswell of demand by the public for good governance will get us to universal health coverage by 2030. Dr. Oyerinde presents illustrative anecdotes provoking conversations that could lead America and developing countries on their path to universal health coverage.

#34. Multiple Joyce

by David Collard

Multiple Joyce from Sagging Meniscus Press is coming out in June 2022 by David Collard

Releases June 2022

Publisher: Sagging Meniscus Press

Genre: Literary Interest / History

About the Book:

In one hundred short essays David Collard navigates James Joyce’s astonishing cultural legacy in the century since the publication of Ulysses in 1922.Holding up a funhouse mirror to our times, Collard finds a multitude of Joyces, in often ludicrous disguises, wherever he looks-whether at Ally Sloper, Borsalino hats, Anthony Burgess, Cher, first editions, Flann O’Brien, Guinness, Hattie Jacques, John Cage, Kim Kardashian, Lego, Moby-Dick, numismatics, perfume, pianos, Princess Grace, puns, The Ramones, Sally Rooney, Stanley Unwin, Star Wars, waxworks or Zylo spectacles. Endlessly reinvented and exploited, Joyce emerges as a ubiquitous, indispensable and ruthlessly commodified Everyman.As Rónán Hession puts it in his foreword, Collard is above all “good company”. Whether you’re a devout admirer or wary newcomer, this surprising, unconventional handbook offers an entertaining prompt to dive into the depths of Joyce’s ever-expanding universe with a new awareness that it is very much our own.

#35. Another Appalachia

by Neema Avashia

Another Appalachia Coming Up Queer and Indian in a Mountain Place book cover for memoir coming out in 2022

Released March 2022

Publisher: West Virginia University Press

Genre: Biographies & Memoirs / Southern US / Indigenous & Aboriginal

About the Book:

“Commands your attention from the first page to the last word.” —Morgan Jerkins

When Neema Avashia tells people where she’s from, their response is nearly always a disbelieving “There are Indian people in West Virginia?” A queer Asian American teacher and writer, Avashia fits few Appalachian stereotypes. But the lessons she learned in childhood about race and class, gender and sexuality continue to inform the way she moves through the world today: how she loves, how she teaches, how she advocates, how she struggles.

Another Appalachia examines both the roots and the resonance of Avashia’s identity as a queer desi Appalachian woman, while encouraging readers to envision more complex versions of both Appalachia and the nation as a whole. With lyric and narrative explorations of foodways, religion, sports, standards of beauty, social media, gun culture, and more, Another Appalachia mixes nostalgia and humor, sadness and sweetness, personal reflection and universal questions.

#36. Ways of Walking

Edited by Ann de Forest

Essays about walking edited by Ann de Forest coming out in May 2022

Releases May 2022

Publisher: New Door Books

Genre: Essay Anthology / Nature / Walking

About the Book:

Is walking a subversive act? For the authors of this book, it can be.

Ways of Walking brings together 26 writers who reflect on walks they have taken and what they have discovered along the way. Some walk across forbidden lines, violating laws to seek freedom. Some walk to bear witness to social injustice. Still others engage in a subtler subversion—violating the social norm of rapid, powered transportation to notice what fast travelers miss.

Through walking, these authors become more attuned to the places they move across, more attentive to intricate ecologies and layered histories—and more connected to themselves as well. Their small steps of rebellion lead to unexpected discoveries.

#37. The Backpack Years

by Stefanie Wilson and James Wilson

Releases June 2022

Genre: Memoir / Travel / Romance

About the Book:

Part travel story, part romance, part tale of sucking at life, The Backpack Years intertwines two memoirs, charting Stef and James’s turbulent six-year journey from wandering freely to reluctantly settled—and back again.

Straight-laced Stef left America to study abroad in Spain, letting loose and falling head over heels for two things: a handsome local and travel. Travel won out.

James had a ‘slowly-lose-the-will-to-live’ job in England and a future he felt he’d already destroyed. Fueled by crippling debt and a deteriorating relationship with his father, James fled to Australia in search of a better life.

Though their lives are heading in different directions, Stef and James fall in love in Sydney and ditch the carefree single life to forge a path together.

Can the two navigate their way through red-tape, relocation, miscommunication, and a last ditch, make-or-break trip to try to save their relationship, or will this be their last adventure as a couple?

Spanning thirteen countries and four continents, The Backpack Years is a story about how far we’re willing to go to be with the one we love.

#38. Dreaming the Present

by Irvin J. Hunt

Releases April 2022

Publisher: University of North Carolina Press

Genre: History / African American Literature

About the Book:

This is a story of art and movement building at the limits of imagination. In their darkest hours, W. E. B. Du Bois, Ella Baker, George Schuyler, and Fannie Lou Hamer gathered hundreds across the United States and beyond to build vast, but forgotten, networks of mutual aid: farms, shops, schools, banks, daycares, homes, health clinics, and burial grounds. They called these spaces “cooperatives,” local challenges to global capital, where people pooled all they had to meet their needs. By reading their activism as an artistic practice, Irvin Hunt argues that their primary need was to free their movement from the logic of progress. From a remarkably diverse archive, Hunt extrapolates three new ways to describe the time of a movement: a continual beginning, a deliberate falling apart, and a simultaneity, a kind of all-at-once-ness. These temporalities reflect how a people maneuvered the law, reappropriated property, built autonomous communities, and fundamentally reimagined what a movement can be. Their movement was not the dream of a brighter day; it was the making of today out of the stuff of dreams. Hunt offers both an original account of Black mutual aid and, in a world of diminishing of futures, a moving meditation on the possibilities of the present.

#39. La Syrena

by Banah el Ghadbanah

La Syrena comes out from Dzanc Books with a beautiful syrian mermaid from space on the cover

Releases August 2022

Publisher: Dzanc Books

Genre: Middle Eastern Poetry / LGBTQ+

About the Book:

LA SYRENA. For me home is in the water. When I go to the sea I want to swim forever and never look back. But I know I would die and the earth needs me on shore. My home is Syria and Syria for me is like the sea. I want nothing more than to jump in and swim around forever. In Syria I am declared wanted, like so many of us displaced lunar divas. The longing I feel is the deepest kind. It could crack the whole earth open. I am a Lumerian from Ancient Sumeria, a southern space creature in a northern world, LA SYRENA, zhe is my destiny.

To be queer and syrienne and femme is like being a mermaid in space. You are doubly displaced—both from the water and from the land. You come from the ancient waters of another planet, and you float among the stars, searching for a place to call home. On your journey you meet other displaced lunar beings and they remind you of your ancestors. Together you form satellite cartographies, you become a dance of ancestral water and the lush starry landscape where possibility lives.

In this collection, each poem flows like water on the page. The author weaves in stories و mantras و revolutionary messages و the movement of arabic letters و the memory of Sumerian cuneiform. This book is a hybrid creature between poem-story-form that crosses genres like it crosses dimensions. In this work, you are the mermaid. You are the forever migrant, a traveler between the oceanic and the extraterrestrial, across continents and planets. You are a time traveler, and you speak many languages. You are LA SYRENA, conjuring your own space to feel free.

#40. Spirit Matters

by Gordon Henry

Releases June 2022

Publisher: Holy Cow Press

Genre: Indigenous & Aboriginal Poetry

About the Book:

A major new collection of dazzling, surrealistic, entirely original poems by an American Book Award-winning Ojibwe author, whose work appears in two new Joy Harjo-edited anthologies.

In parcels and particles, letters, images, repetitive themes, rhythms and sounds, “Spirit Matters” invites views into shadow spheres, of creative memory, reinvention of storied characters and place, as reminders of how poetry might turn longing, back to the very sound memory makes as we honor the imaginative lives of people and place. A collection of poetry, informed by irretrievable letters of loss, love, trauma, forged by musing on imagined relatives, living, dead, yet to be, shaped by spirit of places of we can never return to without understanding the living power of memory, story and song.

#41. From Your Hostess at the T & A Museum

by Kathleen Balma

Releases August 2022

Publisher: Eyewear Publishing

Genre: American Poetry

About the Book:

FROM YOUR HOSTESS AT THE T&A MUSEUM is a stunning series of imaginative leaps and encounters, as playful as it is momentous. Not only poetry lovers, but enthusiasts of art history, fantasy fiction, sci-fi, westerns, travel narratives, nature documentaries, and historical fiction will delight in its genre-bending adventures and inventions. How did Abraham Lincoln build the log cabin he was born in? What happens at an invisible gun show? Are aliens really controlling a Chicago musician’s ears? Kathleen Balma crafts answers to these and other metaphysical questions with a language all her own. Known for her deadpan humor and lack of pretense, Balma has given us a first book that is both light to carry and hard to put down.

#42. Field Notes from the Flood Zone

by Heather Sellers

Field Notes from the Flood Zone book cover Heather Sellers

Releases April 2022

Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.

Genre: Nature & Climate

About the Book:

From the frontlines of climate catastrophe, a poet watches the sea approach her doorstep.

Born and raised in Florida, Heather Sellers grew up in an extraordinarily difficult home. The natural world provided a life-giving respite from domestic violence. She found, in the tropical flora and fauna, great beauty and meaningful connection. She made her way by trying to learn the name of every flower, every insect, every fish and shell and tree she encountered.

That world no longer exists.

In this collection of poems, Sellers laments its loss, while observing, over the course of a year, daily life of the people and other animals around her, on her street, and in her low-lying coastal town, where new high rises soar into the sky as the storm clouds gather with increasing intensity and the future of the community―and seemingly life as we know it―becomes more and more uncertain.

Sprung from her daily observation journals, haunted by ghosts from the past, Field Notes from the Flood Zone is a double love letter: to a beautiful and fragile landscape, and to the vulnerable young girl who grew up in that world. It is an elegy for the two great shaping forces in a life, heartbreaking family struggle and a collective lost treasure, our stunning, singular, desecrated Florida, and all its remnant beauty.

#43. Still Life

by Jay Hopler

Releases June 2022

Publisher: McSweeney’s Publishing

Genre: American Poetry

About the Book:

Confronted with a terminal cancer diagnosis, Jay Hopler―author of the National Book Award-finalist The Abridged History of Rainfall―got to work. The result of that labor is Still Life, a collection of poems that are heartbreaking, terrifying, and deeply, darkly hilarious. In an attempt to find meaning in a life ending right before his eyes, Hopler squares off against monsters real and imagined, personal and historical, and tries not to flinch. This work is no elegy; it’s a testament to courage, love, compassion, and the fierceness of the human heart. It’s a violently funny but playfully serious fulfillment of what Arseny Tarkovsky called the fundamental purpose of art: a way to prepare for death, be it far in the future or very near at hand.

#44. Z Is for Zapatazo

by Ruben Rivera

Released March 2022

Publisher: Atmosphere Press

Genre: Hispanic American Poetry

About the Book:

Ruben Rivera, Ph.D., was born in New York City to a mixed-race Puerto Rican family and raised in southern California in that time “when children should be seen and not heard.” As a working-class brown Latino boy, Ruben was invisible in the public school curriculum, on TV and media – except for anomalies like Tonto whose name in Spanish meant Dummy – and America as a whole, even as the long-ignored were struggling to be seen and heard in the era of Jim Crow, Civil Rights, the Chicano movement, anti-war marches, and the threat of cold war doom.

In Z is for Zapatazo, Ruben’s poetry depicts family upheaval, social injustice, and suffering summarized by the Spanish word Zapatazo. But his writing also elaborates on the joys of love, family, faith, and hope for a better world. Experiences in the spaces between freedom and favoritism, ideals and reality, suffering and hope are rendered in a range of poetical forms with vivid imagery, deadly seriousness, and humor. Although his poetry has won awards in various contests, Z is for Zapatazo is Ruben’s first published collection.

#45. Muscle Memory

by Jenny Liou

Releases September 2022

Publisher: Kaya Press

Genre: Asian & Asian American Poetry

About the Book:

Jenny Liou’s debut poetry collection conjoins the world of cage fighting and the traumas of immigration

In Muscle Memory, Washington-based poet Jenny Liou grapples with violence and identity, beginning with the chain-link enclosure of the prizefighter’s cage and radiating outward into the diasporic sweep of Chinese American history. Liou writes with spare, stunning lyricism about how cage fighting offered relief from the trauma inflicted by diaspora’s vanishing ghosts; how, in the cage, an elbow splits an eyebrow, or an armbar snaps a limb, and, even when you lose a fight, you’ve won something: pain. Liou places the physical manifestation of violence in her sport alongside the deeper traumas of immigration and her own complicated search for identity, exploring what she inherited from her Chinese immigrant father―who was also obsessed with poetry and martial arts. When she finally steps away from the cage to raise children of her own, Liou begins to question how violence and history pass from one generation to the next, and whether healing is possible without forgetting.

There are more! There are more! These are some of the books from indie presses and indie authors that we’re excited about. Which 2022 books did we leave off the list?

About the Curator

Joe Walters IBR founder

Joe Walters is the founder and editor-in-chief of Independent Book Review and a book marketing specialist at Sunbury Press. When he’s not doing editorial, promoting, or reviewing work, he’s working on his novel and trusting the process. Follow him @joewalters13 on Twitter.

Thank you for reading “45 Books We’re Excited About – 2022 Releases” curated by Joe Walters! If you liked what you read, please spend some more time with us at the links below.

4 comments on “45 Books We’re Excited About from Indie Presses & Indie Authors (2022 Releases)

  1. Wonderful! We are so happy to see Jackson Bliss’s book here. And look at all these other great titles!

  2. Nina Shope

    Thank you for including Asylum on this excellent list of Indies!

  3. Pingback: A Marketer's Guide to Book Promotion | IBR Book Marketing Series: Part 2 - Independent Book Review

  4. Pingback: 30 Indie Books to Look Out for in Early 2023 - Independent Book Review

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