We all know how certain books, read at key moments in our lives, remain memorable and influential for years afterward. Brooklyn indie publisher Ig Publishing plans to document that experience with Bookmarked, a new series scheduled to launch in 2016, which will feature personal narratives by authors about the books that influenced their desire to become writers.
Ig publisher Robert Lasner compared Bookmarked to 33 1/3, a series published by Bloomsbury that commissions authors to write short books about influential music albums. “A few years ago I had the idea that it would be cool to do a book-focused version of 33 1/3,” Lasner said. Although several “big-name authors,” were interested, they turned out to be too busy to take on the project, so Lasner turned to novelist Kirby Gann, who will now edit the series as well as write one of the books. Gann is the author of Ghosting, published in 2012 by Ig Books, and other works. “It’s a writers’ series for other writers,” Lasner said, “and it can be books that meant a lot to them 20 years ago, or something they read more recently.”
Lasner said the house has signed four books for the series so far, with plans to publish the first two books in March 2016. The first two titles will be John Knowles’ A Separate Peace: Bookmarked, written by Gann, and Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughterhouse Five: Bookmarked, written by novelist Curtis Smith, author of Truth or Something Like It in addition to other works. Also in spring 2016, the house will publish Bookmarked titles on Stephen King’s Different Seasons, by Aaron Burch, editor of the literary magazine Hobart, and Christina Stead’s The Man Who Loved Children, by Soho Press novelist Paula Boma.
Lasner said the Bookmarked series is not intended to be “literary criticism or Cliff’s Notes. The writers can do whatever they want—it’s about how a book inspired them or turned out to be a stepping stone to some point in their lives.” Lasner said the series should be “a no-holds-barred personal narrative detailing how a particular novel influenced an author on their journey to becoming a writer.” He added that “it can be a writer loving a book, or hating it after they’ve returned to it.”