Thanks to the backing of an anonymous investor, the Ruminator Review ended its nine-month hiatus last week with the publication of its September/October issue. The review had been suspended during the ongoing efforts to save the Ruminator Bookstore of St. Paul, Minn., which closed this summer. The fate of Ruminator Press, however, was not as happy. Pearl Kilbride, formerly a co-owner of the bookstore and publisher of the review and the press, said the press is being liquidated and its titles put out of print.
"Closing the bookstore gave us the opportunity to rethink the magazine and the press. This feels right. We're really excited about the direction we're going in," Kilbride said.
Ruminator Review, a bimonthly book review founded in 1986, has undergone some dramatic changes. It will continue to spotlight literary fiction and serious nonfiction, but the new publication will also feature reviews of genre fiction, music and film. Several new columnists, such as Jessa Crispin of Bookslut.com and Sarah Bunting, a cofounder of Televisionwithoutpity.com, will provide their takes on popular culture, while Ruminator bookstore founder David Unowsky will offer his insights on books and bookselling. "We're not losing our focus on books, but are broadening our perspective to reflect the various interests of our readership," Kilbride said.
The decision to close Ruminator Press was made after efforts to find a buyer came up empty. "We let a few people know that in order for the press to survive, we needed to be part of a larger infrastructure. That didn't pan out. Coming on the heels of the bookstore's travails, it was time to close down," Kilbride said.
In its 10-year existence, the press published 50 titles, with an emphasis on literary fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Authors included Li-Young Li, Chet Raymo and Lawrence Weschler. "I'm proud of all we did at Ruminator Press. But I took it as far as I could," Kilbride said.