Indie Publisher and Prologue Bookshop Manager Gary Lovely Chooses His Top Reads of 2022

Discover five books by Central Ohio authors that are sure to satisfy a literary loved one this holiday season.

Gary Lovely
Bookstore manager and independent publisher Gary Lovely chose these books as this five favorites from Central Ohio authors in 2022.

Columbus is a book town. I’ve been telling this to everyone I meet since I moved here in 2016. Ripe with poets, essayists and novelists (both known and unknown), and award-winning bookstores and publishers, the city is filled with people creating art so fast I can hardly keep up—though it is my job to try. For the holiday season, I’ve assembled a list of works published in 2022 that would make remarkable gifts to someone you love, especially yourself. I also implore you to not only read these books, but to research the authors, who are doing meaningful work in our communities, both with their words and in our streets.

Gary Lovely is the store manager of Prologue Bookshop and the founder of Harpoon Books, a Columbus-based independent publishing company.

“clawing at the grounded moon” by Darren C. Demaree

Demaree’s book is a beautiful clash of science fiction and poetry that brings us into a world where the moon has crashed into the Midwest. Small enough to fit in your back pocket, but large enough to fill a room with gorgeous narrative, this 72-page volume is a perfect gift for poetry lovers. (April Gloaming Publishing)

“Alive at the End of the World” by Saeed Jones

The winner of the Kirkus Prize for nonfiction for his memoir, “How We Fight for Our Lives,” Jones continues to tear through the hopelessness to find beauty. This poetry collection is an examination of grief, love and apocalypse, exploring the haunted intimacy of sadness in a way I’ve never seen. A must-read. (Coffee House Press)

“Other Ever Afters: New Fairy Tales” by Melanie Gillman

This wonderful, needed collection of feminist, queer, fairy-tale reimaginations is full of life lessons and gorgeous illustrations made in colored pencil. Gillman, creator of the Stonewall Award-winning graphic novel “As the Crow Flies,” creates a world that is kind, accepting and beautiful. It’s an ideal choice for any young queer person (or adult) who feels underrepresented in the fairy-tale genre. (Penguin Random House)

“America, Goddam: Violence, Black Women, and the Struggle for Justice” by Treva B. Lindsey

Lindsey, a professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies at Ohio State University, confronts the insurmountable injustices against Black women in America, both historical and contemporary. Kirkus Reviews called the book “required reading for all Americans.” I wholeheartedly agree. (University of California Press)

“When They Tell You To Be Good: A Memoir” by Prince Shakur

The first book chosen by Tin House editor-at-large Hanif Abdurraqib, “When They Tell You To Be Good” has been listed as one of the best books of the fall by Time, The Washington Post, BuzzFeed, Publishers Weekly and several other publications. Shakur’s coming-of-age memoir is intentional and raw as he navigates queer identity, trauma and justice. (Tin House)

This story is from the December 2022 issue of Columbus Monthly.