IMG_3238American publishers often hear the grousing that we bring out vanishingly few novels in translation.  While I think things are getting better thanks to the inspired work of outfits like Dalkey Archive, Europa and New Directions, and while I know that in fact some of my own defining editorial experiences have been with fiction in translation, including W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz and Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s The Shadow of the Wind, let’s face it, there’s some truth to the problem.  Not that it’s a mystery as to why.  We’re a fairly monolingual lot, or at least I certainly have no faith in my literary discernment through the haze of my schoolboy French and Spanish.  Publishing debut fiction, period, is hard enough, and falling in love is everything.  How do you know?

In the case of Daniel Galera’s Blood-Drenched Beard I had some help.  First, John Freeman, then editor of Granta and a reader of beautiful taste, curated a Granta “Best of Young Brazilian Novelists” issue, and he led the issue with a story that was in fact the first chapter of this novel.  It made the skin on my arms stand up: a father has called his son to his side to say that he’s literally sick to death of his lingering illness and is going to end his own life; and so he needs his one obedient child to look after his beloved old dog.  Our narrator cycles through emotions from incredulity to outrage to sorrowful acceptance.  And then his father drops his final whopper: his own father didn’t die of natural causes in the beach town of Garopaba: he was murdered, in effect lynched by the town.  Oh, and, we figure out soon enough that our narrator suffers from face-blindness – he is incapable of remembering who people are by sight.

So begins one of the wildest, coolest, slinkiest, most moving existential mystery novels you’ll ever experience.  It’s like nothing else I’ve ever read. If there is a love triangle in this novel, it is between a man, his dog and the ocean, and “oceanic” is the word that comes to mind to describe its power.  The novel’s protagonist is isolated from other people in such a way that every human connection touches us to the quick.  And the novel builds to a furious climax that left me reeling.  Talking sweepingly about national characteristics of prose invites ridicule, usually deservedly – what do “Americans” write like? – but at the same time I have to say that there is a sensuous musicality to Galera’s voice, a velvety toughness, both sophisticated and laced with physical menace, that, while it’s certainly all about the genius of Daniel Galera, somehow also makes me feel connected to the novel’s setting in the way only very special fiction can.  Part of the credit goes to the great talent of translator Alison Entrekin, translator of City of God, and of Chico Buarque, and many other Brazilian novelists.

Speaking of translators, another thing that gave me heart was that Daniel himself is one of Brazil’s most famous literary translators, translating Zadie Smith, David Mitchell, Jonathan Safran Foer and others into Portuguese.  It’s not that this is dispositive of anything in terms of his own fiction in any obvious way, but it’s a good augury on a number of levels.

9781594205743HOur publication also has to do with the trust and friendship Ann Godoff and I feel for Daniel’s Brazilian publisher, the great Luis Schwarcz, the founder and head of one of the world’s most indispensible publishing houses, Companhia Das Letras.  Luiz told me in no uncertain terms that this was going to be one of the best novels he’s ever published, and Daniel a truly giant talent.  And lo and behold, he was exactly right.  I envy anyone the experience of reading Blood-Drenched Beard for the first time.

 

Start Reading an Excerpt!


DirtyChick_photo credit_AC Photography, WhangareiAs a city person living on a farm in New Zealand, it seems I’m always trying new things. I suppose this is honorable: I’m expanding my horizons and acquiring skills. The problem is that novelty so frequently ends in disaster.

There was the “let’s try raising a rooster” phase, resulting in an 18-inch bird pecking furiously at my legs. There was the earnest attempt to “get this cow back in her paddock,” ending with the cow in a neighbor’s garden, eating roses and (I am certain) having a laugh.

After various misadventures with animals, I decided this year to start vegetable gardening, and now it is clear I may die by zucchini. Not realizing just how fertile these sluts of the squash world can be, I planted six varieties and sat back hopefully, anticipating summer luncheons of ratatouille and zucchini tarts.

The resulting zucchini torrent brought me to the brink of collapse. They surged from the garden, some slender and demure, most wide and menacing as a cudgel. We baked, grilled and fried them, and when we could eat no more we tried feeding them to the cow, who glanced up critically but refused to cooperate. They sprang up overnight, sometimes a dozen in a day. At night I lay awake, certain I could hear them growing then slithering, Triffid-like, in the dark.

Then there was the matter of the sorrel. I planted this weed with fond thoughts of France, remembering a classic soup from childhood. I’d blend it with stock from the turkeys we’d raised, and smooth it with eggs from our chickens. I imagined the soup bright green, bursting with sunlight and flavor from the garden I’d planted myself.

Just picked, the leaves were beautiful, as springy and vibrant as I’d remembered. But in contact with heat they faded, the green leaves surrendering to grey, then capitulating to the muddy consistency of pudding.

I persevered, straining the soup, tempering the cream, smoothing and correcting the seasoning. And though the resulting flavor wasn’t too terrible, pleasantly citrusy if a bit strong, I couldn’t get past the look of it. This soup just looked like a swamp.

“That’s all right, I’ll feed it to the chickens,” I thought, comforting myself with the wisdom that nothing is wasted on a farm, that the chickens would turn this culinary failure into good eggs for our family.

But even the chickens wouldn’t taste my crappy soup, and the next morning I found the bowl untouched in their enclosure, while my hens pecked for beetles in the grass.

Meanwhile, I’d turned my back on the garden for an entire day, and the result was zucchini anarchy. These plants have oversize leaves, large enough to hide a toddler or, in this case, the most perversely large squash I had ever laid eyes on.

Antonia in her garden

Antonia in her garden

This zucchini was nearly four feet in length, far beyond the pornographic specimens I’d contended with in the past. When they get that large, they’re not even called zucchini, but rather “marrow,” reminding me uncomfortably of the human bones they might suck if they ever grew teeth.

A New Zealand friend named Zane came round to commiserate, and when he saw my marrow he laughed out loud. “You can’t eat that,” he told me pointlessly, as though I would have dared to attempt such folly. “You can make a rum, though.”

At this, my ears perked up. “Make rum? To drink?”

“Yep, my grandmother did it, when times were tight. Hollowed out the inside of the thing and packed it with sugar, then hung it in an old stocking over a bucket. Stuff that drips out is a real strong alcohol. Marrow rum, they called it.”

Every now and then, as I try out new things, I learn something great: like how to turn a monster into a cocktail. And so I no longer pick my zucchini. Instead, I let them grow large and luxurious, ballooning out into the glorious rum vessels I now know them to be. Come fall, I’ll hang them from the rafters, each packed with sugar, until they release their essence, drip by delicious drip.

And in a few months, I’ll have marrow rum, enough to make everything better—the angry rooster, the obstreperous cow, this life in the country where we constantly stumble and fall. Maybe, if I drink enough of it, that marrow rum will improve the taste of sorrel. Or at least, I won’t worry about it, one way or the other.

DirtyChick

 

Read more faming life woes in Dirty Chick, which chronicles Antonia’s first year of life as an artisan farmer. Having bought into the myth that farming is a peaceful, fulfilling endeavor that allows one to commune with nature and live the way humans were meant to live, Antonia soon realized  that the reality is far dirtier and way more disgusting than she ever imagined. Part family drama, part cultural study, and part cautionary tale, Dirty Chick will leave you laughing, cringing, and rooting for an unconventional heroine.


photoIt was during the ambiguous time before the impending holiday office closure that I first heard about Watch Me Go by Mark Wisniewski. I was at a holiday party, in fact, standing in a small circle chatting with friends when I was introduced to a new face—a literary agent who, as it turned out, was someone I’d for months been trying to schedule lunch. How serendipitous. We made small talk about holiday plans and promised to see each other in the New Year. As I moved away to say hello to some other friends, he casually mentioned a novel he was getting ready to send out. Would I be interested in seeing it? His pitch was The Wire meets Winters Bone. How could I say no?

The next morning my inbox greeted me with an email containing the promised manuscript. I began reading that day and was hooked within the first five pages. Very early on in Watch Me Go, the reader learns about a sealed oil drum whose contents weigh enough and smell bad enough to contain a human corpse. One of our main characters, Deesh, is headed with two buddies up the New York State Thruway, far north of their Bronx hometown, to take on a seemingly standard junk-hauling job—to dispose of this oil drum. It’s only after they collect their $1,000 and dump the drum in an empty field that they begin to suspect there may have been a dead body inside that steel barrel. It’s from there that Deesh’s life begins to spiral out of control: After a fatal confrontation with a police officer, he’s on the run, the prime suspect of two homicides.

As I turned the figurative pages of my old e-reader, I realized that I’d read only a hundred pages. I was barely knee deep into Deesh’s heart-pounding story and I already had that exhilarating feeling that this was one I had to have. This bold, gritty novel really got me! When it comes to fiction, I look for books that will make you forget what you’re doing—whether it’s because of the beautiful writing, the power of the story, or the lasting impact of the characters, and in a perfect world it’s all three of these. So by the time I got to the end of Watch Me Go the following morning, I knew I’d just read a novel that brilliantly mixed all the elements the best fiction is made of. Watch Me Go perfectly blends suspense, family drama, and love story, while movingly speaking to today’s important issues like racism and social inequality.

WatchMeGoIt didn’t hurt that Mark Wisniewski is a Pushcart prize, Tobias Wolff Award-winning writer who’s been in the literary scene for decades. After an unforgettable initial conversation with Mark, I learned that the genesis for Watch Me Go was a short story he wrote a few years back that received such amazing praise, Salman Rushdie chose it for 2008 Best American Short Stories, calling it “irresistible.” I sure couldn’t resist Watch Me Go and I bet you can’t either!

 

 

Watch Me Go is an edgy, soulful meditation on the meaning of love, the injustices of hate, and the power of hope.

Start Reading an Excerpt from Watch Me Go!


JanStaffPicksWelcome to a shiny new year, readers! It’s a time for resolutions, reflection, and goals for 2015.

If you’re resolved to read more or branch out into new genres, look no further. Nine Penguin employees picked their favorite books from all different genres. This month is especially good – I’m always getting intrigued by new titles I hear about through this feature.

 

 

 

 

girl

In fact, over the holidays, I read THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN, just because the last two lists of Mystery/Suspense Staff Picks included it. I don’t even read mysteries! I ended up really enjoying it, and gobbled it up in just a couple days. The writer is quick and sharp and smart, the storyline keeps you guessing, and the characters each get a rounded-out voice and point of view. THE GIRL ON THE TRAIN comes out this month if you’re looking for an exciting read.

 

 

 

 

I try not to be too strict with myself with reading goals, but last January I decided to keep track of every book I read in 2014. It’s just a simple grid, no ratings, no long responses or notes, but it’s almost like a diary: I remember parts of the year based on what book I was reading at the time. I think I’ll keep it up this year too – what about you? Do you note down what you read?

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What are you looking forward to reading this year? I’m excited for THE HALL OF SMALL MAMMALS, MEET ME IN ATLANTIS, and THE TUTOR.

atlantistutorhall

Happy reading!


patricknolan

I’m Patrick Nolan, Vice President, Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher of Penguin Books and I never go on vacation without a few Penguin Classics in my suitcase.

 

 

 

 

 

poetics

The Poetics of Space, by Gaston Bachelard

Be warned: this is the kind of book you can’t help but to sit around all day underlining every phrase (when you’re not staring off into… well, space). A book that speaks to those who love interior design and architecture like me, Gaston Bachelard’s musings on the spaces where we spend our lives and the worlds we create within them is rare among even the greatest thinkers: a work at once full of moments of dense philosophy as well as stunning insight into daily life.  This beautiful edition includes a foreword by Mark Z. Danielewski, who drew inspiration from Bachelard for his mind-and-page bending House of Leaves, and let’s just say he’s included some of his signature surprises – Penguin Classics forewords will never be the same.

 

tales

Tales of the Marvellous and News of the Strange, Translated by Malcolm C. Lyons

The stories in this medieval Arab fantasy collection have had quite a trip before they made it to your bookshelf! Some date back over a millennium ago, and they have all spent centuries closed within a ragged old manuscript in a library in Istanbul. Now these tales of sword wielding, princes and princesses, monsters and prized jewels are finally available in English, in a beautiful translation by Malcolm C. Lyons, and gorgeous foil-stamped package.

 

 

 

decameron

Decameron, by Giovanni Boccaccio

Fans of Edgar Allan Poe should drop everything and read this 14th century classic, the major influence for The Masque of the Red Death. Seven women and three men huddle in an abandoned villa outside Florence, hiding in fear of the Black Death. As the few survivors spin tales to pass the time, readers are introduced to the world of 14th century Italy and the endless imagination of master craftsman Boccaccio. Is it a precursor to post-apocalyptic fiction? Who cares – it’s great!

 

 

 

essays

The Essays, by Michel de Montaigne

One way of defining a classic is when someone writing centuries ago can so perfectly express exactly what I need to hear right now, today. For me, there’s no better example than the work of Michel de Montaigne, the French statesmen and writer who popularized the essay as a literary genre and influenced generations of thinkers to come, from Nietzsche to Hitchens. For almost five centuries readers have been turning to Montaigne for his thoughts on love, friendship, work, and just about anything else life has to throw at you.

 

 

 

autobiography

Autobiography, by Morrissey

What can I say about Morrissey he hasn’t said about himself? After decades of pouring his literature-loving genius into songwriting, we now have the story of Manchester’s Muse on the page, written in his own flowery prose. Take a trip back to a young Steven Morrissey’s childhood on the streets of 1960s working class England, and follow him in his own footsteps on his rise to becoming music’s pop darling. No pompadour required.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


carly

As a copywriter for Berkley and NAL, Carly Hoogendyk writes all the words you see on the outside of genre fiction books. In her spare time, she likes to read the insides of literary fiction books. She’s been an employee at Penguin since 2013.

 

 

 

 

 

interestings

The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

Following a group of friends from their childhood arts summer camp to adulthood in New York City, The Interestings is an insightful story of talent, opportunity, and envy told with equal parts humor and heartbreak. I book-and-wine-clubbed this with a group of old college friends—a perfect choice, since the themes and characters hit close to home with our creatively-inclined friend group. (And not for nothing, that cover is like high book-fashion—a must-have accessory for your next subway ride.)

 

 

 

magicians

The Magicians Trilogy, by Lev Grossman

I’ve heard more than a few recommendations of The Magicians Trilogy that conjure the “grown up Harry Potter” comparison. Here’s why I think that is fair: The last time I tore through a fantasy series with such absorbed, maniacal velocity was when I inhaled six books about everyone’s favorite boy wizard (…and obviously, no regrets). But what Lev Grossman achieves with this series is uniquely marvelous (and for many reasons it merits the “literary fiction” classification). Quentin’s passage from childhood to adulthood is as filled with magical heroics as it is by mordant realism. Because as soon as Quentin graduates from his enchanted boarding school, he faces a life exactly like ours: where the search for adventure and meaning has a FAR lower success rate than in our beloved escapist fiction.

 

iamradar

I Am Radar, by Reif Larsen

After hearing that the plot drew on “the furthest reaches of quantum physics, forgotten history, and mind-bending art,” I knew I needed to snag an advance reader’s copy (this releases in February 2015). And it turned out to be the most gloriously surreal and imaginative book I read this year—also, I’ll say without trying to brag or scare you off, the one with the most pages. It’s an ambitious novel that only gets better and better as you go—especially if you like novels with storylines that converge satisfyingly despite what at first seems like a too-epic scope.

 

 

 

highfidelity

High Fidelity, by Nick Hornby

Nick Hornby is an impeccable storyteller. He writes books that are intellectual yet completely unpretentious—and best of all, he drops effortless one-liners that dependably make me laugh out loud. High Fidelity is the story of a heart-sick slacker with an encyclopedic knowledge of pop music re-tracing his romantic steps to determine whether there’s something wrong with him (spoiler: there is). You might remember it as a John Cusack movie, but I lovingly credit Hornby’s canonical masterpiece of “dick lit” with any understanding I will ever have of my boyfriend’s relationship to his vinyl collection. And in case you’ve already read everything by Nick Hornby (good on you!), he’s got another wit-fest of a novel that you can look forward to this summer called Funny Girl.

 

Find more books on the Literary Fiction page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


wendymccurdy

Wendy McCurdy is an Executive Editor at Berkley Books.  As you can see from her picture, in which she is holding several childhood favorites that she rescued from her parents’ house before they down-sized, she has been a romance reader pretty much since she learned how to read.  So the fact that she is able to indulge her taste for romantic fiction in her profession is a dream come true.

 

 

 

forbiddenrose

The Forbidden Rose, by Joanna Bourne

Joanna Bourne’s books have been staff picks at least twice before.  Pretty soon we are going to run out of titles.  Joanna, if you are reading this, please write faster!  But in the meantime, I’m highlighting THE FORBIDDEN ROSE, a beautifully written, completely captivating historical romance that accomplishes what I might have thought impossible: turning Doyle, the unforgettable and gruffly lovable British spy who is Grey’s partner in THE SPYMASTER’S LADY, into a romantic lead.  And what a hero he turns out to be. THE FORBIDDEN ROSE is a tour de force of sheer romance.

 

 

lastrenegade

The Last Renegade, by Jo Goodman

Jo Goodman has been writing excellent western historical romances  filled with intelligence and humor for many years now, and she just keeps getting better.  Even her love scenes are filled with intelligence and humor.  THE LAST RENEGADE is one of her finest, along with IN WANT OF A WIFE, which I also can’t resist mentioning.

 

 

 

 

redbikini

The Red Bikini, by Lauren Christopher 

A lovely debut novel  about a divorced mother who flees to her sister’s California beach house for a two-week getaway and encounters romance in the form of a very hot celebrity athlete who is lying low after some mistakes in the past. This is charming and funny–a delicious read.

 

 

 

 

 

surrender

The Surrender of Miss Fairbourne, by Madeline Hunter

All of Madeline Hunter’s romances are wonderful, but this one is a particular favorite of mine. Watching the headstrong Emma Fairbourne take on the arrogant Earl of Southwaite is a pleasure.  What I really appreciate here are the undercurrents, the way Madeline conveys what’s really going on—usually something pretty hilarious—without ever overtly stating it.  The hot love scenes don’t hurt either.

 

 

 

 

practice

Practice Makes Perfect, by Julie James

Julie James has also been a staff pick in the past for JUST THE SEXIEST MAN ALIVE.  I’m choosing to highlight PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT,  her second novel, and a real gem of romantic comedy.  Our two main characters are lawyers who are battling it out to make partner at a Chicago law firm.  How they try to get the better of each other results in some of the funniest scenes I’ve ever read—and also makes it that much more romantic when their dislike for each other begins to turn into something else.

 

 

 

piecesofsky

Pieces of Sky, by Kaki Warner

What a wonderful piece of romantic western fiction this is.  Kaki deservedly won kudos for this splendid novel that kick-started her career as one of the today’s finest western romance writers.  It is one of my favorite books that I ever acquired, not only because it’s such a great read, but because I still remember how it felt to take the rubber band off that first manuscript—which actually came in through the mail—and start reading, and to know instantly that this was going to be a great read.  (This may actually be my last acquisition that came in via mail rather than email!)

 

 

 

ravishing

Ravishing the Heiress, by Sherry Thomas

After the hundreds—probably thousands—of romances that I have edited, it is rare for me to be as moved by a romance as I was by this one.  I’m not even going to try to articulate what it was about this novel that so got to me.  All I will say is that those with a taste for an exquisitely rendered historical romance should not miss RAVISHING THE HEIRESS or any of Sherry Thomas’s novels.

 

 

 

 

A FINAL NOTE: It was very difficult to limit myself to seven romance picks.  I have at least seven more that I want to add. But I will save those for next time.

 

Find more books on the Romance page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


carmelaiaria

Carmela Iaria is the Executive Director of School and Library Marketing for Penguin Young Readers. She’s worked in children’s publishing for over 15 years and really loves kids’ books, so choosing 5 favorites was really hard.

 

 

 

janeExtraordinary Jane, by Hannah E. Harris

This was my very FIRST favorite picture book from Penguin Young Readers. I read it in my first month at Penguin, about one year ago, and was utterly delighted. The story is simple but charming, and the illustrations are darling. I immediately took it home to read to my two-year-old daughter.  And she LOVED it for many reasons…

Jane is an ordinary dog in an extraordinary circus. She isn’t strong, graceful, or brave like her family. But what she learns is that being herself – kind and loyal – makes her just as special.

 

 

laststop

Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Peña and illustrated by Christian Robinson

This review is courtesy of my colleague Venessa Carson, who chose it as a staff pick for our librarian newsletter last month – and sums up the beauty of the book so perfectly…

We should all ride the bus time and again with CJ and his Nana, simply to be reminded that there’s beauty all around us, most especially in the unexpected. “Crumbling sidewalks and broken-down doors, graffiti-tagged windows and boarded up stores.” CJ asks his grandma how come they always have to get off in the dirty part of town? “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, CJ, you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

This award-winning pair of picture book collaborators, Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson, take readers on a trip through a vibrant urban town in LAST STOP ON MARKET STREET, reminding us to look on the bright side and to take in the charm and magic around us, no matter where we live in the world.

dory

 Dory Fantasmagory, by Abby Hanlon

Every so often, I see a chapter book that demands to be recommended to scores of young readers. This is one of them! Dory is a lovably energetic little sister with a BIG personality—and an imagination to match. The writing is fresh, funny, and true (the author is a teacher and obviously pulls from the hilarity of every day life). The illustrations are irresistible and compliment the text perfectly. Stay tuned for more books in the series coming later this year!

 

 

 

browngirldreaming

Brown Girl Dreaming, by Jacqueline Woodson

Winner of the National Book Award for Young People’ Literature, Brown Girl Dreaming is one of the most stunning novels I have ever read. Beloved author Jacqueline Woodson shares the poignant, the gritty, and the sweet memories of her childhood—as well as revealing the first sparks that ignited her writing career—in these lyrical poems about growing up in the North and South. This book is for everyone: teachers, librarians, young readers, adult readers, audio book listeners, everyone. It will make you feel as you simultaneously admire the luminous language and radiant soul.

 

 

alexcrowThe Alex Crow, by Andrew Smith

My professor in college, Justin Cronin, taught me to love modular storytelling. To masterfully blend multiple storylines to tell one cohesive story with a powerful message is pure writing magic. Andrew Smith is a magician. The Alex Crow is the story of a fifteen year-old refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his village. Now living in Sunday, West Virginia his story is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic “melting” bomber and the diaries of a failed Arctic expedition from the late nineteen century. How will their lives converge?

As with Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Winner Grasshopper Jungle, Andrew Smith delivers a genre-bending literary piece of awesome that explores both the realities of our modern world and the absolutely absurd. It is surprising and smart and, perhaps most impressive of all, utterly original.

 

Find more books on the Young Readers page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


roshe

Roshe Anderson works in Gotham and Avery Books. When she is not preparing recipe to-do lists from the cookbooks, she can be found reading other health and self-improvement books as well as fiction. She also enjoys exploring health-related topics on her blog.

 

 

 

 

52

The 52 New Foods Challenge, by Jennifer Tyler Lee

I love the simplicity of the recipes. Because the challenge encompasses taking on one new food a week, the recipes also cover a wide variety of whole foods. Whether or not you attempt to prepare all fifty-two foods, you will find the book to be a gentle guide, helping you take small steps toward what is often intimidating: trying something new. I have a list of recipes from the book which I am eager to make for the first time, including a simple butternut squash soup, pumpkin puree, and Jennifer’s version of an avocado-based chocolate pudding.

 

simplerecipes

Simple Recipes for Joy, by Sharon Gannon

Imagine a summer salad with real flowers…The gorgeousness of the cover and the dishes within Simple Recipes is undeniable. Thus, food intertwined with Sharon’s philosophy of compassion make a strong impression. The passionate foreword written by Kris Carr, a well-known natural food advocate, adds an extra wow factor to what already feels like a work of art. For people who have been to Sharon’s restaurant, the Jivamuktea Cafe, this cookbook will feel like being let into a secret. The spirulina millet and “Spaghetti All’aglio e Olio” are among my favorite recipes. I love forward to making the “Brown Rice Salad” soon.

 

365

365 Vegan Smoothies, by Kathy Patalsky

365 is a non-prescriptive road map, helping you to enjoy the fun and creativity involved in making smoothies. All of the ingredients the author suggests are available at your local market. Kathy also offers advice on how to substitute one ingredient for another, further encouraging you to use what you have on-hand or experiment. The book is perfect for people like me, who would prefer that their nutrient-dense smoothies taste like cinnamon buns or decadent desserts.

 

 

 

ohsheglows

The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon

Two words: overnight oats. I am addicted to the opening recipe which features uncooked oats soaked in plant-based milk. All of the dishes displayed in the book are stunning! Angela’s reputation as well as her commitment to reworking recipes and seeking approval from non-vegans reassures you that you are in good hands. Creative, smart snacks like “Salt & Vinegar Roasted Chickpeas” and vegan remakes of popular dishes like cookie dough make eating healthfully look really cool.

 

 

 

success

Success Through Stillness, by Russell Simmons

Russell Simmons explains the effects of stress in clear language, elucidating the connection between stress and brain chemistry. Russell’s goal to dispel the myth that one is simply not good at meditation struck a chord with me. The book offers real tools for persisting in the practice of meditation. Also, I loved Russell’s description of being focused on the process and the work rather than the success or the failure.

 

 

 

 

To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


Meredith Dros

Executive Managing Editor/Publishing Manager: I am responsible for coordinating the editorial, production, copyediting, art, and design processes for seven imprints here at Penguin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

godsofgotham

The Gods of Gotham, by Lyndsay Faye

Set in 1845 as new York City is forming its first police force, this is a detective story that has been compared (with good reason) to The Alienist. The story and the writing are that good.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

yardThe Yard, by Alex Grecian

It is the late 1880s in the newly formed Scotland Yard in London. A group of homicide detectives dubbed “The Murder Squad” must solve a bizarre string of crimes, where the latest target is one of their own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

girlonthetrain

The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins

Stop what you are doing and read this book. Do it now. This is such an exciting, twisty, must-get-to-the next-page-to-see-what-happens novel. It starts with Rachel, who sees something terrible one day on her daily train commute. I’m not going to tell you anything else; you’ll see why.

 

 

 

 

 

brokenharbor

Broken Harbor, by Tana French

Everyone has their own favorite Tana French novel, and this is mine. The setting is a half-finished development in the suburbs of Dublin left abandoned in the global economic crisis where a family is found murdered, and what looks like it should be an open-and-shut case turns out to be way more complicated.

 

 

 

 

 

littlestranger

The Little Stranger, by Sarah Waters

Sarah Waters is on fire right now with her wonderful novel, The Paying Guests. I would invite you to take a stab at The Little Stranger. It is one of the creepiest, most mysterious books I have ever read.

 

 

 

 

 

rulesofprey

Rules of Prey by John Sandford

I love John Sandford. In 2015, we will publish his 25th “Prey” novel, so I decided to go back and read the first one in the series where we first meet Minneapolis detective who plays by his own rules, Lucas Davenport. Rules of Prey is so scary because we get our hero’s point of view as well as the killer’s. Sleep with the lights on after reading this one.

 

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories!