The best independent books you’ve never heard of

Adam Oster Author Of The Agora Files - Part 1
By Adam Oster

Who am I?

As an independent author, I’ve been lucky enough to find a wealth of other independent authors out there. People who are doing things that aren’t quite mainstream. Artists who are experimenting with the written word and doing truly unique things. Where the world is filled with books made for the sole purpose of being turned into movies, these authors are creating works of fiction that are suited for the written word. Masterpieces that will make you think and want to find even more new forms of fiction. Simply put, independent authors are pushing books into new realms that you simply can’t find in the mainstream market.


I wrote...

The Agora Files - Part 1

By Adam Oster,

Book cover of The Agora Files - Part 1

What is my book about?

When dying alone on the hot sands of the Mohave Desert, Cyrus has no regrets. He loves a challenge. Being tasked with running from San Francisco to Boston in fifteen days, while the United States government and a host of bounty hunters hunt for him, sounds like fun. Being at death’s door only a day into his trip doesn’t faze him either. It’s when he’s joined by fellow runner Eve, bringing new emotions to the surface, his confidence cracks.

The Agora Files follows Cyrus Rhodes, a smuggler in a dystopian near-future, as he unwillingly works to take down a corrupt government. This series is a non-stop thrill ride of a road trip across America that looks to expose who the real villains are.

The books I picked & why

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The Girl on the Red Pillow

By Angelika Rust,

Book cover of The Girl on the Red Pillow

Why this book?

A thinly veiled discussion about depression, The Girl on the Red Pillow does something I never thought possible: make depression humorous and interesting. Well...it doesn't actually make depression humorous but allows for humor to exist in a story about the topic.

From the first moment you get to meet the wall building dwarf, to the final moment when Annalee finally comes to terms with her depression and looks toward the future, you will be urged forward as you hope Annalee finds the answer to her troubles, especially if you're someone who has dealt with their own wall-building dwarf.


The Astrocytoma Diaries: Me & My Brain Tumour

By Ken Mooney, Eleanor Hopkins (illustrator), Melissa Conlon-Flynn (illustrator)

Book cover of The Astrocytoma Diaries: Me & My Brain Tumour

Why this book?

The Astrocytoma Diaries by Ken Mooney is something I feel everyone absolutely must-read. At its most simplest, it's a first-hand account of what it is like to battle cancer. But its heart is much more than that. It's a detailed look at the human condition, of how a person can be given the terrible news that they have a tumor on their brain, and can choose to not only not give up, but face that battle head-on.

Read this book. It's heart-wrenching. But it's a book about survival. A book about war. A book about the human spirit. As well as being a book about cancer.


The Gospel According to St. Rage

By Karen Eisenbrey,

Book cover of The Gospel According to St. Rage

Why this book?

Loser girl turned punk rock superhero... Those six words should sell you on The Gospel According to St. Rage alone. But that still doesn't do this book any sort of justice because this isn't really a superhero book. Sure, Barbara may have the powers to cause flocks of birds to release their...um...payload onto her enemies with the simple flick of a finger, but she's not out to save the world, she's just out to finally live the life she's been hiding from.

Eisenbrey brought me back to my own high school days with this book that feels like a punk rock song. To those days of trying to make friends, of trying to define who I am. And she does so with rock star class.


Time Out

By J. Cassidy,

Book cover of Time Out

Why this book?

Although this book is only 16 pages long, it tells a story that could easily have been a novel, which is that she is capable of condensing something so dense down to so few words without making it feel like anything was left out. Here we see a rather fantastical time travel tale, but one that, although at first seems quite light-hearted, ends up being one of the darkest of such tales I've ever read...and the most thought-inducing.

I loved this book and have a very difficult time reviewing it without giving too much away, but if you've got a spare thirty minutes (you know, for you slow readers), I'd highly suggest you pick this one up immediately.


The Year of Dan Palace

By Chris Jane,

Book cover of The Year of Dan Palace

Why this book?

Like a male version of Eat Pray Love, where the main character doesn't seem to really learn anything from the experience and already started out rather selfish, The Year of Dan Palace shows us Dan's ongoing struggle with love in a world where he believes the end is nigh. His constant internal battle with himself over how he wants to live his life is at the forefront of every single moment in this captivating text, as we find ourselves yelling at the book in an attempt to convince Dan to get over himself and just start living life for once.

This book will grab you and hold you until you finish the final pages, all the time hoping that Dan does find some happiness, or at least validation of his greatest fears, by the time the book ends.


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in punk rock, dinosaurs, and depression?

5,810 authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about punk rock, dinosaurs, and depression.

Punk Rock Explore 31 books about punk rock
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Depression Explore 54 books about depression

And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

We think you will like The Minutemen's Double Nickels on the Dime, Dance of Days, and Get in the Van if you like this list.