Photograph by Tim Hout
In an age when Barnes & Noble's shelves seem to be stocked by a handful of companies and every dinner-party conversation revolves around the same five books, finding a fresh read can be daunting. Rather than plodding through a string of letdowns, seek out niche publishers that curate their lists with care and taste. Here are three of the best bets. Timothy Hodler
This publisher was launched in 1984 as a side project of the Review of Contemporary Fiction, and landed works by many of the last century's most challenging writers, like Stanley Elkin, Gertrude Stein, and David Markson.
Started in 2005 by Eric Obenauf, a bartender, and his wife and brother, this tiny upstart has already produced an impressive array of subversive fiction from former literary big-leaguerslike Rudolph Wurlitzer and Jay Neugeboren.
Founded by Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners) and her husband, this quirky press puts out surreal fiction by such undersung storytellers as Sean Stewart, Maureen McHugh, and John Crowley.