OK, are we all reading TNBBC’s The Next Best Book Blog? Because if you’re not, you really should be. Aside from the oddly recursive title, which I find endearing, this is a sharp, nonfat spotlight on new and upcoming books from independent presses. While a lot of indie lists are genre-specific, or focus on the same 20 books of the season that everyone else is talking about—and there’s nothing wrong with that, to be sure, because it’s good to see small presses swept along on those broad currents of love—proprietor Lori Hettler has a keen eye for the under-the-radar, the out-of-the-mainstream, and the overlooked.
The blog was born in 2009 from a Goodreads group, and she’s managed to keep the energy going nicely over the past couple of years. In addition to reviews she features new short stories, profiles independent presses, and is brave enough to include self-published books in her widely-cast net. Obviously word on the street is good. But I think at least part of its success is due to Hettler’s infectious enthusiasm and her generosity—toward authors, especially, but also publicists and her fellow bloggers. There’s a refreshing lack of hipsterism to the site—no, really, that’s a good thing—and no agenda beyond shining a little light in the darkness. If your reading habits need a little light, or even if you don’t think they do, go take a look.