What kind of work do you do at Penguin? Do you have a crowning achievement, or memorable experience from your time here?
As the account manager at Amazon, I’m responsible for selling all our Penguin Young Readers product to Amazon. I get to spend my time finding creative ways to feature the books on the site, analyzing our sales, and reporting back on the results. I’ve been working in sales with Penguin Young Readers since I moved to New York five years ago, and there have been plenty of memorable experiences. But one of my favorites from this year was working on An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir. I remember everyone in the office couldn’t stop talking about this incredible debut novel, and I was lucky enough to share the book with Amazon. Having them select it as the #1 Young Adult Book of 2015 was a big highlight! Seeing others become as passionate as I am about a new book is one of the most satisfying parts of the job.
When you aren’t busy at work with books, do you have a hobby? Do you have any book recommendations related to this hobby?
I have a major sweet tooth and spend time feeding my addiction with baked goods. For everyday baking there is nothing better than the shortbread recipes in Cookie Love by Mindy Segal or the Skillet Brownies from Ina Garten’s Make It Ahead cookbook. I’m also a big fan of Deb Perelman’s Smitten Kitchen cookbook. She manages to cook outrageously impressive recipes from the confines of a tiny NYC kitchen, so it gives me hope. There’s a recipe in Smitten Kitchen for a cake made entirely out of alternating layers of crepes and hazelnut pastry cream that I highly recommend for special occasions.
Which books are you most excited about gifting this year?
I’m gifting a lot of celebrity books this year that I think are surefire crowd-pleasers. Mindy Kaling’s Why Not Me?, Aziz Ansari’s Modern Romance, and Carrie Brownstein’s Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl are all on the list.
What is your favorite holiday read of all time?
While totally unoriginal, The Night Before Christmas is my favorite. My family reads the story aloud every Christmas Eve, with each person taking a turn to read a page. Over the years everyone’s recitations have become over-the-top and completely outrageous. It’s a small tradition, but every time I hear it read aloud I immediately think of my family.
What’s your favorite part of working the Penguin Hotline?
I think the books you read as a child can stay with you forever. We all have a book that we read at an early age that just never left us. As a “genre expert” for children’s and young adult books, I always hope one of our recommendations could become that book for someone and it is easily my favorite part of working the Hotline.