The owners of two small presses, for whom the 2013 Boston Marathon bombings were personal, are soon to release books about the tragedy. Through the publications, both are also looking to raise money for The One Fund (and other charities) created to help victims. Local publisher Gail Cleare founded Green Circle Press in Whately, Mass., specifically to release Remember Boston ($39.95 hardcover, April), a collection of photographs taken by Douglas Potoksky of the ad hoc memorial of messages, flags, shoes, running bibs, and other objects that people left in Copley Square in Boston in the days following the explosion.
Originally, Cleare had planned to print the book POD, but then decided to put it out for bid with area printers. The New England sales rep for Friesens America, Mark Paquin, whose wife, daughter, and in-laws had been at the finish line, convinced the company’s owners to help with the printing of the book. As a result, Cleare was able to afford an 11" X 8.5” full-color book printed on 100 pound glossy paper. She signed with IPG’s Small Press United to distribute the book, which will have its launch event on marathon Monday (April 21) at the Barnes & Noble at the Prudential Center in Boston. Photos from the book will be on display in the Huntington Arcade just outside the bookstore for the week leading up to the signing.
Cleare would like to see families share the book and views the audience for it as middle-grade and up. “Hard-to read items are accompanied by captions, and when seen all together,” she says, “the images and text tell a wonderful story of love, hope, resilience, and community.” She will donate a portion of the proceeds to the One Fund. And she is getting ready to open up the submissions for Green Circle for other photography titles along with women’s fiction, literary fiction, commercial fiction, and calendars.
Diane Montiel and her husband, Steve Alexander, founders of Bantry Bay Books in Chicago, were at the finish line watching their daughter run when the first bomb went off across the street. Alexander, who occasionally works as a news and business anchor at WGN Radio in Chicago, called in the first reports of the bombing and did a series of radio reports as well as reports for WGN-TV and the Chicago Tribune. It wasn’t until a few months later that he and Montiel decided to put together a book that would focus on runners, spectators, and those who helped them that day and in the weeks and months that followed.
“It really is a passion project, which I know publishers should stay away from,” says Alexander, adding that they did it “out of our affection for the marathon and the City of Boston." He and his wife cold-called dozens of runners and conducted phone interviews to create If Not for the Perfect Stranger ($16.95 paperback, April). They also got permission to reprint several essays like one by Peter Sagal, host of NPR’s “Wait Wait...Don’t Tell Me!,” which originally appeared in Runner’s World. The book’s name comes from an interview they heard with double-amputee Celeste Corcoran, whose daughter was also seriously injured. She said, “If not for a perfect stranger my daughter might have died.”
Bantry Books has published only a handful of books to date and handles its own distribution. Several bookstores in the Boston area have agreed to carry the book, including Trident Booksellers and Cafe, just blocks from the finish line. The press will have a booth at the marathon expo at the John B. Hynes Convention Center in Boston on April 18-20 and is donating part of the proceeds to several charities, including The One Fund and the Challenged Athletes Foundation.
Although it’s not exactly a new small press, Triumph Books in Chicago, which has been publishing sports books for the past 25 years, is releasing an updated history of the marathon that covers the race from the very beginning up through the 2013 bombings, The Boston Marathon: A Celebration of America’s Greatest Race ($22.95 hardcover, April) by Tom Derderian. In the weeks leading up to this year’s race the author, a member of the National Distance Running Hall of Fame and the National Track & Field Hall of Fame, will sign at Barnes & Noble stores in Burlington, Hingham, and Framingham.