One-Minute Book Reviews

September 19, 2007

Great Small Presses #3: Academy Chicago

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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, 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 of Sept. 6, 2007. It does not accept free books from publishers.

(c) 2007 Janice Harayda. All rights reserved.

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