One-Minute Book Reviews

September 20, 2007

Great Small Presses #5: Dalkey Archive

Fed up with the poor quality of so many books from major publishers? This is the fifth and last in a series of posts this week on great small or independent presses that have maintained high literary standards despite the Mitch Albom-ization of America.

Who might publish James Joyce’s Ulysses today if the major firms rejected it?

By Janice Harayda

Suppose that James Joyce were trying to find a American publisher for Ulysses today and the major publishers had turned it down. Who might publish it?

One answer is: Dalkey Archive Press www.dalkeyarchive.com. Critics have used words like “experimental” and “avant-garde” to describe the firm, based in Normal, Ill. But director John O’Brien prefers “subversive” because so many of its titles go against the literary or artistic grain.

An outgrowth of the Review of Contemporary Fiction, Dalkey Archive publishes many translations of books by authors who might not otherwise find an American audience. Its noteworthy titles include Everyday Life by Lydie Salvayre, the daughter of refufees from the Spanish Civil War, who was raised in southern France www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/09/12/. And it has just published a new edition of Philip Wylie’s Generation of Vipers, a scathing critique of the American way of life that was one of the defining books of the postwar era.

One-Minute Book Reviews was the seventh-ranked book review site on Google www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/as of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept books, galleys, catalogs, print or electronic press releases or other promotional materials from publishers.

Tomorrow: A review of and Totally Unauthorized Reading Group Guide to Sara Gruen’s No. 1 bestseller, Water for Elephants.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

http://www.janiceharayda.com

Great Small Presses #4: CavanKerry Press

Fed up with the quality of so many books from major publishers? This is the fourth in a series of posts, appearing each day this week, on small or independent presses that have shown consistently high standards. The series will continue after this week on an occasional basis.

Publishing “gifted though unrecognized” poets and others in attractive books

By Janice Harayda

CavanKerry Press www.cavankerry.com is a not-for-profit literary press that specializes in attractively designed books by “gifted through unrecognized poets,” though it also issues anthologies, essay collections and other works. Based in New Jersey, it has a network of outreach programs that bring art to “underserved communities,” such as prisons, public schools, underfunded libraries and homeless shelters. These efforts include donating a portion of each print run to groups or individuals who might otherwise lack access to books. Noteworthy CavanKerry books include the poetry collection Common Life www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2007/04/05/, by Robert Cording, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker and many other magazines.

One-Minute Book Reviews was the seventh-ranked book review site on Google www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/as of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept free books from publishers.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

September 19, 2007

Great Small Presses #3: Academy Chicago

Filed under: Great Small Presses — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:17 am
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Fed up with the poor quality of so many books from major publishers? This is the third in a series of posts on great small or independent presses that have had high standards for years and sometimes decades.

In addition to its usual reviews, One-Minute Book Reviews will post a short profile of a different publisher each day this week, including a link to its site, which you may want to visit for holiday gift ideas. The series will continue after this week on an occasional basis.

A firm with a diverse list that ranges from film and video guides to reprints of early novels by some of the leading English writers of the 20th century

By Janice Harayda

There’s nothing stuffy or academic about Academy Chicago www.academychicago.com, which bills itself as a publisher of “quality fiction and nonfiction.” This admirable firm publishes new and reissued books, mostly for adults, and has an especially strong line of reprints of 20th-century novels by well-known English writers. On its fiction list: Malcolm Bradbury’s first novel, Eating People Is Wrong, and Fay Weldon’s The Fat Woman’s Joke (a tale of what happens a husband and wife go on a diet together). Other specialties of this Chicago-based firm include murder mysteries, film and video guides, and books about Celtic and Arthurian legends. One of its showpieces: E.M. Delafield’s great Diary of a Provincial Lady and its four sequels, the subject a six-page feature in The New Yorker (“The Diarist,” by Cynthia Zarin, May 2005). The Academy Chicago Web site says it does not publish books with “explicit, gratuitous sex and violence.”

One-Minute Book Reviews was the seventh-ranked book review site on Google www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/as of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept free books from publishers.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

September 18, 2007

Great Small Presses #2: Milkweed Editions

Filed under: Great Small Presses — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:18 am
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Fed up with the poor quality of so many books from major publishers? This is the second in a series of posts on great small or independent presses that have had high standards for years and sometimes decades.

In addition to its usual reviews, One-Minute Book Reviews will post a short profile of a different publisher each day this week, including a link to its site, which you may want to consult for holiday gift ideas. The series will continue after this week on an occasional basis.

An independent publisher that wants to make “a humane impact on society”

By Janice Harayda

Milkweed Editions www.milkweed.org bills itself as “the largest independent, nonprofit literary publisher in the United States.” Founded in 1979, it seeks to make “a humane impact on society, in the belief that good writing can transform the human heart and spirit.”

Unlike commercial firms, Mikweed receives grants from foundations that enable its editors to look for books of exceptional merit, not exceptional profitability, for adults and children. The outside financial support also enables the Minneapolis–based press to publish unusually well-designed books.

The most admired Milkweed books include Susan Lowell’s young-adult novel, I am Lavina Cumming, winner of the Mountains & Plains Booksellers Association Award for its beautifully told story of a 10-year-old girl who travels by train from the Arizona Territory to California, where she survives the San Francisco Earthquake. The site for the press lists other award-winning titles. Milkweed is also the American publisher of Jutta Richter, one of Germany’s most honored children’s authors.

On Saturday One-Minute Book Reviews will review The Summer of the Pike, Richter’s first young-adult novel to be published by Milkweed.

One-Minute Book Reviews was the seventh-ranked book review site on Google www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/as of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept free books from publishers.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

September 17, 2007

Great Small Presses #1: David R. Godine, Inc.

Filed under: Great Small Presses — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 12:09 am
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Fed up with the poor quality of so many books from major publishers? This is the first in the series of posts on great small or independent presses that have had high standards for years and sometimes decades.

In addition to its usual reviews, One-Minute Book Reviews will post a short profile of a different publisher each day this week, including a link to its site, which you may want to visit for holiday gift ideas. The series will continue after this week on an occasional basis.

Dr. Phil and Howard Stern don’t stand at chance at a Boston-based press known for books that are as intelligent as they are beautifully designed

By Janice Harayda

Diana Vreeland, the late Vogue editor, might have been talking about publisher David R. Godine www.godine.com when she said, “Elegance is refusal.” For more than 35 years, Godine (go-DEEN) has refused to give in to the market forces that have caused publishing standards to plummet.

Dr. Phil and Howard Stern don’t stand a chance at his firm, and if Lindsay Lohan writes an autobiography, she’ll have to pray that Simon & Schuster will take it on. Instead of chasing celebrity tell-alls or advice manuals, Godine has made a grail of producing books that are as intelligent as they are beautiful. He published Donald Hall’s wonderful essay collection, String Too Short to Be Saved, decades before its author became the U.S. Poet Laureate and issued one of the finest editions of Dylan Thomas’s A Child’s Christmas in Wales, illustrated by Edward Ardizzone.

More recently Godine has launched two new series with an international accent. Imago Mundi publishes books on photography and the graphic arts, such as Julie Saul’s Jean Cocteau: The Mirror and the Mask. Verba Mundi issues world literature in translation, including books by Isaac Babel and Jose Donoso. The many fine titles from Godine’s Boston–based firm include the late essayist Noel Perrin’s Best Person Rurual www.oneminutebookreviews.wordpress.com/2006/11/20/.

One-Minute Book Reviews was the seventh-ranked book review site on Google www.google.com/Top/Arts/Literature/Reviews_and_Criticism/as of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept books, galleys, catalogs, print or electronic press releases or other promotional materials from publishers.

© 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

www.janiceharayda.com

September 16, 2007

Fed Up With the Poor Quality of Books From Major Publishers? A Series on Great Small Presses Begins Tomorrow

Filed under: Great Small Presses — 1minutebookreviewswordpresscom @ 8:41 pm
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No, all publishers aren’t lowering their standards or dumbing-down their books. But it sometimes looks that way when you visit the front tables at bookstores.

Tomorrow One-Minute Book Reviews begins a series on great small or independent presses that have had high standards for years or even decades. In addition to its usual reviews, this blog will have a profile of a different publisher each day this week and a link to its site, which may help with your holiday shopping. After this week, the Great Small Presses series will continue on an occasional basis.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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