Searching for Innovative Fiction or Off-the-Wall Nonfiction?

Places like the National Library Service for the Blind, Bookshare, Recordings for the Blind and Dyslexic and even Audible are great sources for audio books. However, selection can be limited to bestsellers or classics and, in the case of Audible, books can be quite costly.

Librivox has been offering free downloads of classics in the public domain (Mark Twain, Grimm’s Tales, etc). Now, the people  who run Librivox have started iambik. Iambik offers books from small, independent presses, which means these are novels, short stories and essay collections that are sometimes avant-garde, experimental or just wacky and fresh.

For example, there is Icelander, by Dustin Long. This book is published by McSweeney’s—a local San Francisco press who has published such indie lit stars as Dave Eggers and Nick Hornby.

Description of Icelander:

The daughter of a local legend of the investigative arts, Our Heroine searches for her dog while avoiding her biological impulse to solve the mystery of her best friend’s recent murder.

So establishes the baseline of Icelander, which pulsates even more deeply with Norse legend, an alternate reality and a cast of supporting characters including a “rogue library-scientist,” a pair of philosophical investigators, and a many-faced villain. Built on mazes of time, language, and narrator, this literary fireworks display shows you what might happen if Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple had been penned by Nabokov then run through Hitchcock’s lens.

There is also The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto by Bernard DeVoto, published by Tin House Books. This book is  described as

One part celebration, one part history, two parts manifesto, Bernard DeVoto’s The Hour is a comic and unequivocal treatise on how and why we drink—properly. The Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award–winning author turns his shrewd wit on the spirits and attitudes that cause his stomach to turn and his eyes to roll (Warning: this book is NOT for rum drinkers). DeVoto instructs his readers on how to drink like gentlemen and sheds new light on the simple joys of the cocktail hour. With an introduction by Daniel Handler.

One of the coolest things about iambik is that their books range in price from $7 to just $5, and you can listen to an excerpt of the book before you purchase it. They only come in one format, mp3—but this is sans digital rights management, so you will have no trouble using the book on multiple devices, like an iPod or a Victor and/or saving a copy to your hard drive.

For now, iambik is brand new and only has a tiny library. But hey are open to suggestions for new books, so you can send them an email with your thoughts. As a visually impaired reader, writer and teacher of innovative, off-the-beaten path kind of literature, I am super excited about iambik.

–Amber DiPietra, LightHouse Resource blogger