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Fall has fallen, and that means… book season! This Monday kicked off the Brooklyn Book Festival, which is a great series of events for readers, librarians, publishing professionals, etc. For me, it meant going to this Opening Night party, where I gawked at famous internetty book people, saw friends, and watched the Knausgaard Mad Libs.

If you’re in the New York area, swing by on Sunday to learn about book design, ebook reading, creativity and how to write. Here’s the full list of events.

This week, I got to explore Blue Rider and Portfolio‘s Book Room! It’s often important to have backlist copies of books in the office – at any given point, each imprint has about twenty copies of their book list. It’s a part of book publishing one might not necessarily see or know about, so I was glad to check it out and get to share with you all.

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Lastly, I have some exciting news: the official Penguin Tumblr has launched. Follow us for behind-the-scenes office tours, posts about cover art design process, vintage ads and photos and much, much more.

What would you like to see more of? My favorite series so far is First Line Fridays. The first lines of books we love are often particularly memorable, set a tone, or reveal something about the author. Just look at this one from The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde.

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Do you have any first or last lines memorized? Any one you’d particularly like to see on tumblr?

It’s been a busy week, readers. Hope you’ve got lots of exciting plans for the weekend! Enjoy.

 

 


diaryofamaddivaWords can’t really express how surreal it feels knowing that Joan Rivers has passed away. It’s simply hard to believe. Salacious and sharp from Johnny Carson to the Fashion Police, Joan’s quick wit truly made her eternal. She knew the key to a brilliant life is to laugh. Never take anyone or anything too seriously. Laugh at the world and, most of all, laugh at yourself. She was groundbreaking, she was hilarious, she was fierce…and she was part of our big Penguin family.

“Never be afraid to laugh at yourself, after all, you could be missing out on the joke of the century.” – Joan Rivers

Our thoughts are with Joan’s daughter Melissa and her grandson Cooper, her family and friends, and all of those around the world who were touched by her humor, her big heart, and her extraordinary generosity of spirit.

joanriversJoan has two books with us, the New York Times bestseller  I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me, and the newly published Diary of a Mad DivaI must admit that as someone who thought she would live forever, I’ve yet to read these and now plan to immediately. Her legacy will forever live on through television, film, web, and literature. Let’s not forget all the zingers comedians will pass on in her name. My friends and I have tickets to The Comedy Cellar tonight, and we’re looking forward to all the touching yet hilarious tributes ahead. Because in the end, how can anyone who cherishes comedy go easy on the ultimate roasting legend?

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While we’re on the subject of awesome people that happen to be Penguin Random House authors, Lena Dunham posted an Instagram photo of the book Women in Clothes. I’ll let the overview quote itself: “It is essentially a conversation among hundreds of women of all nationalities—famous, anonymous, religious, secular, married, single, young, old—on the subject of clothing, and how the garments we put on every day define and shape our lives.” Just in time for New York Fashion Week, this book will be a staple for women everywhere who acknowledge that appearance gives us confidence and connects our personalities to those around us.

Lena Dunham’s memoir Not That Kind of Girl is on sale at the end of this month, 9/30. She did a reading at Book Expo America this year. Maybe I’m biased…Okay, I’m definitely biased, but this book will be hilarious. Much like her usual self-deprecating humor, Lena’s personal musings kept the event hall roaring with laughter. Even in a moment of tongue twisting, she broke out of her narrative to rewind and reread in a bit of improv. Lena, much like Joan Rivers, enjoys poking at herself probably more than others do. She is certainly a “creative wonder” as quoted by Judy Blume.

In other influential and culturally relevant news, check out our CEO, Markus Dohle, who participated in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. He, in turn, nominated author Dan Brown. Fingers crossed he’ll pull through. If you wish to donate to ALS, click here.

Have a lovely weekend, and don’t forget to laugh.

-Lindsay


The leaves have started falling

The leaves have started falling

Summer is official coming to an end and we are feeling it in the office. It has been a rather quiet August at Penguin, with everyone jumping to take their last summer vacation before we all take a deep breathe and hunker down into our desks for the Fall publishing season.

There have been dozens of beach photos filling our Facebook feeds, endless alfresco dinning after work, and a steady stream of picnic, boating, kayaking, brunch, and rooftop pictures overwhelming Instagram. Summer is coming to an end and we are sending it out in style by cramming as many outdoor things into the small amount of time that is remaining.

Across publishing, but definitely in my department of Consumer Marketing, we have a noticeable slow down in our workload during the summer months as less books are being published and more people are off enjoying vacation. But with “Back-to-School” now literally just around the corner, there is no ignoring the fact that our casual and relaxed summer work days are at an end. Fall is fast approaching as evident by the ever surprising piles of fallen leaves littering the sidewalks of New York City, the cool (and getting cooler) breeze that meets me as I leave my apartment in the morning, and the fleet of food trucks that slowly at first and now in force have been returning to our corner of Manhattan.

IMG_0867While most people I know are dreading September, I have been looking forward to it since the very first day of summer. (I am not a summer person.) I am relatively new to Penguin and to the adult work world. This is only my second Fall as a full-time employee and I am just as surprised now as I was then, that being an adult doesn’t mean your calendar year changes. Publishing (at least in my experience) follows the academic school year, which makes sense as that is when a significant percentage of the population is reading.

Over the last month we have begun making Fall site and digital marketing plans. We been gathering information from departments across the company, making Fall digital marketing plans, reviewing the Fall book list, and sitting quietly at our desk, knowing that this is in fact the lull before the storm. The wave of work is just around the corner!

Wandering the West Village

Wandering the West Village

As someone who not so long ago was in college, I can’t help but see the similarities between school and work. Gathering up your things to move back to campus, making plans to see your friends, back-to-school shopping, and reviewing the syllabi. It is amazing how similar the feeling of nervous excitement and anticipation that I have now is to back then!

We have a solid Fall coming with our plans hashed out for the next few months and are gearing up to start our winter planning (because you can never be too prepared!). It is going to be a busy and a fun one and I cannot wait, because Fall really is New York City’s best season! And if you don’t believe me I will defer to one of my favorite quotes:

 

“Don’t you love New York in the fall? It makes me wanna buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of newly sharpened pencils…” – You’ve Got Mail

What are your favorite places to go and things to do in the city during the Fall?


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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.

Hope you have great weekends, readers!

-Amy


This has been an exciting time for our podcast. After posting my interview with Damien Echols and Lorri Davis last week, the Beaks & Geeks Soundcloud page more 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. fireisland 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. PaperTownsimageQ 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.

-Lindsay


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…

Screen Shot 2014-07-11 at 11.22.06 AMOn 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!

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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.”

dartsTo 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!

-Shelby


Beaks & Geeks

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

Start listening on our SoundCloud page here.

 

 

Most Dangerous Book

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”

Listen to my interview with Kevin Birmingham, author of The Most Dangerous Book:

 

Dubliners

That same day, Symphony Space celebrated its 33rd annual Bloomsday on Broadway event, and the centennial anniversary of The Dubliners!

The event was a mix of musical performance and readings, featuring Cynthia Nixon, Malachy McCourt, Kelli O’Hara, Colum McCann.

Everyone was wonderful, but I especially enjoyed hearing “The Dead” read aloud- I’m planning on revisiting that story soon. Is there any great piece of literature you’ve been meaning to pick up again?

 

 

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Pictured above is the special anniversary edition of the book – I can’t stop looking at the gorgeous cover art.

Colum McCann wrote the introduction and is pictured here with Belinda McKeon at the event (photo credit: Symphony Space).

So glad I got a chance to see these talented readers and writers celebrating James Joyce’s life and work.

Have a great weekend, readers!

-Amy


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 Stars premier last night, the office has been buzzing with excitement.

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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 You panel. 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.

photo 1On 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.

Enjoy your weekends!

Signing off,

Lindsay


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Welcome to Penguin This is my desk.

Welcome to 375 Hudson Street!

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!

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This Wednesday, the Penguin Twitter Book Club held its second May #ReadPenguin chat with Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Tell Martha—my favorite question from the chat was “How do you clean a lasagna spill off the street?” If you are not already joining our Book Club chats you should, because we get to talk about fun things like lasagna (and books too, of course!) Next month we are chatting with Yours for Eternity authors Damien Echols and Lorri Davis.

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Beartiz Williams signing her new book THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

 

On Thursday, New York Times bestselling A 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?

Until next time,

Shelby


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.

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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

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

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.