This week has been a little quiet – lots of people are out on vacation, reading their books on the beach or another idyllic location. Well, I may be in the office, but that doesn’t mean I can’t make it a beachy environment – with a little help from our stuffed penguin.
As you can see, work is very serious and buttoned-up and no fun at all.
Speaking of vacation, I got to interview the wonderful and hilarious Emma Straub for the Beaks and Geeks Podcast. We talked about road-trips, cold beaches, weird Americana … and even her novel.
I loved hearing about the different types of vacations families take – are you a road-trip, national-park-visiting, camping-and-hiking vacationer or a stay-in-a-hotel, relax-poolside, easy-breezy vacationer?
In other news, First to Read, which lets one read new Penguin books before they are released, just hit 20,000 members last week! It’s such a wonderful program, headed up by our very own John Mercun – who you may remember from his Staff Picks. If you’re not already signed up, hop to it! There are some exciting titles coming up.
This has been an exciting time for our podcast. After posting my interview with Damien Echols and Lorri Davis last week, theBeaks & Geeks Soundcloud pagemore than doubled in track plays. Listeners from all over the world were excited to hear the happily married couple talk about the West Memphis Three case, relationship advice, and moving to New York City.
A Huffington Post article this morning listed 5 Books That Will Rip Your Heart Out (In a Good Way), which features our titles: Me Before You by Jojo Moyes and Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok. I interviewed Jean on the Beaks & Geeks podcast a few weeks ago for her new novel, Mambo in Chinatown, and she could not have been a more excellent guest. She’s intelligent, funny, and sweet, and it’s no surprise that her novels are heartwarming. Amy’s interview with Jojo Moyes will launch soon, so keep an eye out for it.
Can you believe a week from today will be August 1st? Wow, the end of summer really snuck up on us there, didn’t it? Time for last minute sick days, I mean vacation days to the beach. I haven’t even made a dent on all fifty seven thousand summer reads I planned on finishing. After two beach trips, one to Spring Lake, NJ and another to Fire Island, NY (pictured right) you’d think I’d have made it through more than two books…. Can someone please teach me how to speed read?
I’m super excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Paper Towns by John Green. After reading both Looking for Alaska and The Fault in Our Stars, I’ve wanted to read more of his work. Paper Towns is set to be the next movie by the renowned author, starring TFIOS actor, Nat Wolff, as Quentin Jacobsen. We even share a last name, so he’s clearly a fascinating guy. Q has an appealing, familiar voice, just as the protagonists in Green’s other great novels. Green is a master of creating a nostalgic story for the reader while also conveying insightful and compelling quotes that capture your heart. I don’t think a John Green novel is incapable of producing quirky quotes. Just listening to him ramble on about wearing makeup was enough for me to transcribe his one liners for my own amusement. One of my favorite quotes so far in Paper Towns:
“That’s always seemed so ridiculous to me, that people want to be around someone because they’re pretty. It’s like picking your breakfast cereals based on color instead of taste.” –John Green, Paper Towns
Are you enjoying your beach books? I’m interested to hear what you’re reading so maybe I can jump on the bandwagon with you this summer. Also be sure to comment and let me know if you have any speed reading tips. Ah, the woes of being surrounded by books. Life is good.
Thanks everyone, enjoy the rest of July! Stay cool.
It is officially summer in New York City! And with that comes ice cream as a perfectly acceptable choice for lunch, iced coffee with breakfast, lunch and dinner, long searches for the best beach book, stay-cations and vacations alike, and all of the other wonderful things that the warm weather brings.
I hope everyone had a lovely July 4th, and while it was raining on Friday out on the North Fork of Long Island (where I spent the weekend) the rest of the weekend was beautiful and filled with BBQs, the beach, and wine tasting–as all good weekend should be! We were in a little bit of a World Cup fever in the office the week before and while I am not a soccer person I did watch both games while I was stuck inside listening to the game on July Fourth and am both happy and sad to report that soccer made a fan out of me right at the very end! But back to work…
On Tuesday I ran a twitter author chat with Jean Kwok, the author of Mambo in Chinatown. She is a very interesting woman and had a lot of very thought provoking and deep things to say about class and social standing and her experiences growing up. Plus, she has a great sense of humor! I recommend reading the chat thread here and joining us next week at 1PM on Tuesday, July 15th. What I enjoy most about these chats is that every one I do is so different. Sometimes when you are reading a book you forget there’s an author who’s thoughts and experiences brought the story to life. It is nice to be reminded of the person behind the page and hear what they have to say. Often times they have great writing tips too!
I also attended author Celeste Ng’s reading on Wednesday night at the Greenlight Bookstore in Brooklyn. I was interested in the book to begin with but after listening to her reading I just needed to get my hands on it! Lucky for me the book was waiting for me on my desk the next morning. I can tell you right now that Everything I Never Told You will be coming home with me this weekend!
Rather than describing the book myself I thought I would let Celeste. During Wednesdays reading she said that,
“Everything I Never Told You on the one hand it is about the things that people sort of deliberately keep from each other, the secrets that they choose not to tell because they are afraid, because they are ashamed, or because they are embarrassed. But I think it also speaks to the things that often go unsaid just because we don’t realize that other people want to hear them.”
To round out the week a few of us from the office decided to have a friendly darts competition last night. Amy and I won the first round. By the second round, there was as much tension as the World Cup, even though we lacked the skill to back up our trash talking. However all of our collective competitiveness came to a grinding halt when Sarah, one of our Web Designers, stood up and casually hit a lucky bulls eye, silencing the group and putting us all to shame.
I am not the only one who gets competitive during friendly games am I? If you have a story I would love to hear it! Have a great weekend and talk to you soon!
I’m so excited to announce that Beaks & Geeks, the new Penguin podcast, has launched! I live and breathe podcasts, so I feel so lucky to do one for work. Lindsay and I are co-hosts, and we’ve been busy interviewing some of your favorite authors.
We’d love to hear your thoughts and who you’d like to be a guest on the show! Tweet us: @penguinusa with the hashtag #beaksandgeeks
It’s been a very James Joycean work-week for me! Monday was Bloomsday, and I was lucky enough to interview author Kevin Birmingham – his new book is about the writing and publication of Ulysses. We had a great conversation about obscenity laws, literary piracy, and modernism. Today, Ulysses is considered classic literature, but its journey to publication was full of scandal and controversy. Luckily, some early champions of Joyce recognized the greatness of the novel. Birmingham said,
“For them it was powerful and it was dangerous and it was important and it was rebellious and that’s the sort of Ulysses that I want to recover in this book”
Wow, what a week it has been here at Penguin headquarters. Between the 3 days of Book Expo America (BEA) and The Fault in Our Starspremier last night, the office has been buzzing with excitement.
This past weekend, at BEA and BookCon 2014, Amy and I sat down with fourteen authors in attendance. Recording device and microphone in hand, we asked your favorite authors all things books, writing, hobbies, and more. Jonathan Tropper, Lev Grossman, and Deb Harkness are a few of the many authors we were able to chat with last week. We’re in the process of wrapping up our editing for the Penguin podcast. After a few suggestions, we decided to name our show “Beaks and Geeks.” Do you guys like it? Comment and give us your feedback. As for the logo reveal for the new podcast, you’ll have to see that for yourself, this Monday, 6/9, when we launch our newest endeavor. Stay tuned!
Another really exciting BookCon event was Jonathan Tropper’s This Is Where I Leave Youpanel. This Is Where I Leave You is the hilarious novel that was adapted into a film starring Tina Fey and Jason Bateman, directed by Shawn Levy (pictured above). Fortunately for fans of his work, Tropper wrote the screenplay. The event hall was full of laughter while watching clips of the movie. Tina and Jason have perfect comedic chemistry as brother and sister. I can’t wait for this movie to premier in September of this year.
On the note of cinema, last night I attended The Night Before Our Stars, an event premiering The Fault in Our Stars and a live post-movie Q&A. What a beautiful movie–and it remained true to the story. An adapted film that satisfies the fans of its book is truly a special work of art. While I read the The Fault in Our Stars, I was not mentally prepared for the feels being felt. Did I use plenty of tissues? Yes. Did my glasses fog up? Maybe. Was I smiling and crying at the same time? It’s possible. But I also found it difficult not to laugh at the sobbing, alien noises being projected throughout the audience. TFIOS movie is truly a roller coaster of deep emotions, just like its original story. What I’m saying is, go see it. And if you haven’t read John Green’s novel, I suggest you do immediately.
With the warm weather approaching, things are getting busier and busier here as we gear up for our summer season. Next week Penguin heads to Book Expo America (BEA), the industry book and author conference in New York City, which we are all very excited for. (Stop by the Penguin Booth and say hi if you are attending this year!) We have a lot of great authors going and it should be a lot of fun—look for our BEA wrap-up post coming soon where Amy, Lindsay, and I will all share our BEA 2014 photos and stories!
There is always something going on in our offices and this week (for me at least) it has been a busy one, but let’s focus on the fun bits from the last few days!
Beartiz Williams signing her new book THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT
On Thursday, New York Times bestsellingA Hundred Summers author Beatriz Williams stopped by to say hello and sign copies of her new book The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which comes out next week on Tuesday, May 27th and which I am very excited to read. Amy and I went up to say hello and grab a picture. See you next week at BEA, Beatriz!
Today, Friday, we have a half-day to kick off Memorial Day weekend.
Just your typical week at the office…and now I am off to sunny (fingers crossed) Long Island to sit outside and enjoy the weekend. What are your Memorial Day plans?
Ever wonder what goes on at the Penguin headquarters in New York? Every other Friday, one of the three of us will give you the inside scoop – photos, tours, and sneak-peeks from our office. We’ll introduce you to Penguin employees, show off our books, photograph author signings, and much, much more.
Lindsay Jacobsen: Is the Senior Online Content Coordinator. When she isn’t reading or binging on Netflix, she can be found attending concerts and comedy clubs.
Amy Brinker: Is the Consumer Engagement Coordinator. She lives in Brooklyn where she makes pie and puns. She loves classic novels and terrible movies.
Shelby Hearn: Is the Consumer Marketing Assistant. She is fighting a debilitating caffeine addiction and sipping a large cup of coffee (no milk) as we speak.