Shelf Media hosts the annual Shelf Unbound Best Indie Book Competition for best self-published or independently published book. In addition to prizes, the winner, finalists, long-listed, and more than 100 notable books from the competition are featured in the December/January issue of Shelf Unbound.
IGIST: New Stars
By L.S. Larson
Ever since her mother disappeared, Emi was a light sleeper. Most nights she lay awake, wondering when the plague would strike. It had ruined most of the planet, leaving the Bygones on Earth restless and without hope. There has to be a way, her father had promised her. A way to escape Earth and observe the wonders of space. A way to defeat the plague and save the Bygones. A way to advance science like her mother and achieve her dream of joining the best and brightest inventors in the universe at the Intergalactic Institute of Science and Technology, or IGIST. As old stars die, new stars are born.
By Patrick Finegan
A landmarked midtown Manhattan address. Carnegie Hall and Central Park at your feet. Three hundred units. Thirty-two full-time employees. Five hundred neighbors. You’ve hit the big time. Joined the elite. But what do you know about them, the neighbors? Have you ever met them? Really engaged with them? Or do you gaze down in the elevator, the same way you do on the subway and the street?
Oh sure, you’ve heard a famous writer lives on the fourteenth floor, a retired US senator on the eighteenth. You’ve witnessed so many Broadway impresarios glide through the lobby you’ve lost count. But what about your real neighbors – the couple in 7H, for instance, or the family in 8B? Did you know they once harbored the most wanted fugitive in America?
I Don’t Belong Here
By Melissa Grunow
What does it mean to belong? In a place? With a person? To a family? Where do our senses of security and survival lie? I Don’t Belong Here ruthlessly investigates alienation during moments of transit and dislocation and their impact on women’s identity. These twenty essays—ranging from conventional to lyrical to experimental in form and structure—delve into the root causes of personal uncertainty and the aftershock effects of being a woman in an unsafe world. Provocative, authentic, intimate, and uncompromising, Melissa Grunow casts light on the unspeakable: sexuality, death, mental illness, trauma, estrangement, and disillusionment with precision and fortitude.
Kick-Ass Kinda Girl: A Memoir of Life, Love, and Caregiving
By Kathi Koll
Kathi Koll’s acclaimed and award-winning memoir is both a love story and a survivor’s tale in which Koll courageously unveils an unexpected life of joy, adventure, heartbreak, and even little laughter as she shares the realities of life as a full-time caregiver.
When her husband, Don, called on his way to the hospital, Kathi Koll had no idea how dramatically their lives would change or how her loving heart and indomitable spirit would fight it. From childhood, her life might have seemed charmed —play dates with Lucie Arnaz, real dates with a future TV idol, and a big brother engaged to film star Dolores Hart. But behind the scenes, her role as a caregiver began early with a mother dying of cancer, a father battling alcoholism, and a brother diagnosed with a debilitating disease. Then Kathi found Don Koll–her “rock”–and their joie de vivre and unstoppable moxie made everything feel possible. Until Don woke up “locked in” after a catastrophic stroke.
Little Lovely Things
By Maureen Joyce Connolly
It is the wrong time to get sick. Speeding down the highway on the way to work, her two little girls sleeping in the back seat, medical resident Claire Rawlings doesn’t have time for the nausea overtaking her. But as the world tilts sideways, she pulls into a gas station, runs to the bathroom, and passes out. When she wakes up minutes later, her car – and her daughters – are gone.
The police have no leads, and the weight of guilt presses down on Claire as each hour passes with no trace of her girls. All she has to hold on to are her strained marriage, a potentially unreliable witness who emerges days later, and the desperate but unquenchable belief that her daughters are out there somewhere.
Article originally Published in the December/January 2020 Issue “2019 Indie Best Award Winners”