Marissa

Marissa Grossman is an Editorial Assistant at Razorbill, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Like any self-respecting pop culture addict, she watches far too much television and loves all things social media. You can find her on Twitter @marissagrossman.

 

 

 

 

The Law of Loving OthersThe Law of Loving Others, by Kate Axelrod

I might be cheating a little, since this book won’t be available until 2015, but I can’t imagine leaving it off my list. The Law of Loving Others tells the story of Emma, who returns home from boarding school to find that her mother is in the middle of a schizophrenic break. Debut author Kate Axelrod’s stunning, emotional novel takes us inside Emma’s mind as she struggles with the shocking news of her mother’s condition and the questions it raises about her own mental health. Are Emma’s moments of anxiety and distant feelings toward her boyfriend a normal reaction to something so stressful, or could they be a precursor to her own battle with schizophrenia? Can she handle such upheaval in her family, or is she just too fragile? Even if you’ve never had to deal with mental illness in your own life, you’ll definitely relate to Emma’s heart-wrenching journey as she learns what it means to love others–and herself–unconditionally.

spudSpud, by John van de Ruit

Somehow, this South African import has remained a mostly undiscovered gem. Sharing Catcher in the Rye’s wit and prep-school setting, Spud is a rollicking update on Salinger’s classic. The novel takes place in 1990 South Africa, just as Nelson Mandela is being released from prison and the country is beginning its march toward the end of apartheid. It’s a seminal moment in South Africa’s–and the world’s–history, but it’s seen through the eyes of 13-year-old John “Spud” Milton, who’s just trying to get through his first  year at boarding school. Though the novel’s setting may be specific, the coming-of-age themes are universal. Spud deals with mischievous roommates, a hilariously eccentric family, his first crush, feelings of alienation, and even death. This novel is filled with moments of intense heartbreak and unbridled joy; it’s cathartic, relatable, and uplifting. If you’re a fan of grounded YA, this one’s for you.

ladybughalloween

Ladybug Girl series, by Jacky Davis and David Soman

So here’s the thing: if you had seen my three-year-old cousin dressed up as Ladybug Girl for Halloween, you’d adore this series too. Lulu/Ladybug Girl is spunky, fearless, and imaginative. She’s basically everything you could ask for in a children’s book character. And the fact that she has a basset hound named Bingo? Well that’s just icing on the cake.

 

 

 

zodiac

Zodiac, by Romina Russell

Ok, this is another one that isn’t available quite yet, but I promise it’s worth the wait. Do you love astrology? Great! Do you know little-to-nothing about astrology? Same here! While Zodiac’s premise may revolve around the astrological signs, it’s really the perfect novel for anyone who loves thrilling adventures, epic worlds, and compelling characters. Romina Russell’s world-building is magnificent, reimagining the Zodiac as 12 different solar systems, each populated with characters who personify the traits of their respective signs. The protagonist, Rho, is a sci-fi Katniss Everdeen: a badass leader with just the right mix of snark and empathy. You’ll fall in love with Rho, a protective and loving Cancer, and you’ll definitely have trouble deciding which of the men in her life you like best: the brooding, sensitive Mathias (a Cancer like Rho), or Hysan, the charming, confident Libra. No matter which sign you are, you’ll adore this jaw-dropping blockbuster of a book.

 

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Rob Holden

Rob Holden is a Marketing and Publicity Assistant for Gotham and Avery. If he could be anyone on earth, it would be the Dos Equis man. Or Anthony Bourdain. Or maybe, in a distant third, Bruce Wayne. Books are as much a part of him as true southern barbecue. And if he remembers correctly, it was Proust who once wrote (in his native French, of course) “what peanut butter can’t make better, cheese can.” No, wait – that was Rob himself.

 

 

 

 

baseball 2Baseball as a Road to God, by John Sexton

You often hear die-hard fans refer to sports as “religion” or “a way of life.” Having played baseball my whole life and being from the land of SEC football, I totally get this. So too does NYU President John Sexton. Invoking great thinkers both within and outside of baseball, he shows us how baseball and religion go hand-in-hand, and how America’s pastime can (and does) lead to a higher plane of being. If Gehrig’s heart-wrenching speech doesn’t stir you, if Gibson’s game one heroics (my personal favorite moment in baseball history) don’t give you chills, then you may well have no soul with which to contemplate the God Sexton speaks of.

 

 

psychThe Psychology of Baseball, by Mike Stadler

Ted Williams knew a thing or two about hitting a baseball, and he famously said it was the hardest thing to do in sports. Science, basic physics, would support that theory. And if you need more proof, take my baseball career as empirical evidence in the affirmative. But what is it that allows some players to hit the ball with such ease, while others flounder at the plate? Mike Stadler dives into the psychology behind what makes some players so good – from anticipation and intuition, to countless tidbits of knowledge and experience acquired. Baseball is a thinking man’s game, and Stadler beautifully proves it. Which is probably why my meteoric rise to the Major Leagues never quite happened.

 

 

9781592408290MA Religion of One’s Own, by Thomas Moore 

Nothing in a person’s life should be more personal, more individually crafted, than his or her religious or spiritual beliefs. Thomas Moore advocates a sort of theoretical approach to religion – bringing together facets of multiple faiths and adopting various principles from across the religious plane. I think he’s on to something – I’ve always felt religion should be about acceptance and personal growth. Now I’ve got Tom to back me up. A profoundly humbling and enlightening read.

 

 

 

 

remedyThe Remedy, by Thomas Goetz

It’s funny to think of our most famed and revered literary characters as having come from anywhere but the grand imaginations of our most famous authors. But, as Thomas Goetz makes obvious, such is not always the case (thank goodness). Were it not for the seemingly sloppy science behind the discovery and treatment of the tuberculosis bacteria, one Sherlock Holmes may never have entered the literary cannon. And then Robert Downey, Jr. (whom I also want to be) would never have gotten to play him in those awesome movies – and we’d all be a little bit less complete because of it.

 

 

 

i don't knowI don’t know, by Leah Hager Cohen

We’ve all been there – faced with a question you don’t know the answer to, you feign knowledge and familiarity. Sometimes I feel like I got a degree in that – I got really good at sounding smart by saying pretty much nothing as an undergrad. We’re scared to not know things, scared we might look incompetent or stupid. In this short volume, Leah Cohen explains why we’re afraid of the things we don’t know and in turn shows us why we shouldn’t be. Being able to say “I don’t know” can be incredibly liberating and empowering. After all, doesn’t the unknown lie at the heart of all discovery?

 

 

 

To find Health & Self-Improvement books, click here.

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Ali

Ali Cardia is an Assistant Editor at Riverhead Books. She acquires and edits narrative nonfiction and memoir, like Jen Doll’s hilarious and insightful memoir Save the Date.

 

 

 

 

wanderingThe Wandering Falcon by Jamil Ahmad

Fiction has this incredible ability to transport us to places we’ve never been, and really good fiction can open up the world.  This brilliant novel about the tribes of Pakistan and Afghanistan follows Tor Baz, a young boy descended from both chiefs and outlaws, as he becomes the Wandering Falcon, travelling the Federally Administered Tribal Areas. This book is notable for a number of reasons: it offers a glimpse at a world that remains foreign and mysterious to many American readers; it’s heartbreakingly beautiful; and, amazingly, it was author Jamil Ahmad’s debut—published when he was 80-years-old. Ahmad passed away recently, and I’ve been thinking about how much I love this book, and how much I hope others will pick it up and fall in love with it, too. (Bonus points: it remains one of my favorite book jackets.)

9781594632334How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia by Mohsin Hamid

This book left me speechless. And then, when I found speech again, the first thing I did was tell everyone in my immediate vicinity that they must read it immediately. RIGHT NOW. The book takes the form of a business self-help book—each chapter is a “lesson”—and follows a man from impoverished child to water mogul. But at its heart, this is a love story, and who doesn’t love those? This book hooks you and it does not let go—and at only 220 pages, it’s ok, because you don’t have to put it down! Just find some hours and go, go, go.

 

 

 

we are allWe Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler

If you like novels that are: fun, clever, unexpected, funny, tragic, and full of useful new vocab words (the narrator tells us right at the start that she loved words as a young girl: “When you think of two things to say, pick your favorite and only say that, my mother suggested once, as a tip to polite social behavior, and the rule was later modified to one in three.” Genius.), then We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves is for you! Bring this book on vacation; it is a pure joy.

 

 

 

ForgottenForgotten Country, by Catherine Chung

Catherine Chung is the real deal. Her writing is smart, striking, and hits at a deep, emotional place. This book is about sisters—there is a more-than-good chance you will love this book if you have one of those—and also about family, history, tradition and loyalty.  Cheryl Strayed felt similarly and said this book had her “spellbound from page one,” so maybe I’ll leave it at that.

 

 

 

 

 

chang-rae 2On Such a Full Sea, by Chang-rae Lee

This book is creepy—you should know that going in—but it’s weird and unsettling in the best possible way (it’s written by the phenomenal, award-winning Chang-rae Lee, after all). The novel is set in a dystopian America, and the story follows a kick-ass young woman, Fan, who becomes a legend in her own time when she does the unthinkable: set off on her own to find her boyfriend, who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances. Lee is an amazing story-teller, and there are so many great stories from Fan’s journey, ones that stick with you long after you’ve finished reading the book.

 

 

 

 

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Anna

Anna Baldasty works as a copywriter in academic and library marketing, where she writes and designs promotional materials that get Penguin titles in the hands of professional readers: students, professors, and librarians.

 

 

 

 

frank

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

As horror fiction that works on multiple levels, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein is easily one of my favorite classics. Only Shelley could deftly explore the anxieties of her age, from the limits of science to the advancement of feminism, while spinning a gothic page-turner that takes us from Lake Geneva to the frozen waters of the Arctic. The best part? A monster so vividly and humanly rendered that we sometimes forget to root against him.

 

 

 

ageofinnocence

The Age of Innocence, by Edith Wharton

What I love most about The Age of Innocence is not its discussion of duty versus passion, but its evocation of memory—of the desire to preserve experience, protecting it from the passage of time and the weight of reality. If that seems vague, it’s because I cannot say more without ruining the book’s final scene, which I think is one of the most perfect endings ever written. Read it!

 

 

 

 

home

The Home and the World, by Rabindranath Tagore 

Told from two perspectives in alternating chapters, this story of love and betrayal set against a backdrop of political upheaval in early 19th-century India places national drama in domestic terms, literally moving revolution inside the home. The result is a beautifully written character study, wherein every act, every word, and every emotion carries dire consequences. Yet despite the high-stakes set-up and overarching political framework, Tagore manages to tell the story as a quiet, intimate tragedy—a stunning accomplishment.

 

 

 

hedda

Hedda Gabler, by Henrik Ibsen

If your summer reading list is missing the fin de siècle Norwegian soap opera you were longing for, look no further than Hedda Gabler. This play has it all: an unraveling marriage, an unwanted pregnancy, a dissolute ex-lover, blackmail, alcoholism, and lots of snarky comments. Ibsen’s sympathetic portrayal of a woman trapped to the point of desperation by traditional female roles is remarkable, especially considering the play debuted in 1891.

 

 

 

odyssey

The Odyssey, by Homer

The Odyssey means more to me now, in my twenties, than it did when I first read it in English class as a high school freshman. Although I doubt The Odyssey has ever been marketed as coming-of-age fiction, in many ways Odysseus’s trials perfectly capture the highs and lows of growing older: he searches for adventure, tackles obstacles, and navigates an often disorienting environment. If a story written c. 700 BCE still feels relevant in 2014, it definitely earns a spot on this list.

 

 

 

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matt

Matt is the Marketing Director at Penguin Press. He has never won the Penguin Cup fantasy football league.

 

 

 

 

 

Book publishers aren’t necessarily known for their athletic prowess, but believe it or not, we’ve got a lot of athletes here at Penguin. You’ll find us on Central Park’s Great Lawn on summer evenings, playing softball against Oxford University Press. You’ll find us on the Chelsea Piers basketball courts running up the score on Simon and Schuster. And because fake sports are just as intense as real ones, you’ll find us every August in a booth at the back of Mr. Dennehy’s Irish Pub drafting our fantasy football teams The Penguin Cup league. (My team name: The Secret Life of Brees.)

We’re just as competitive about publishing sports books. And now, in the sports doldrums of August, there’s plenty of time to catch up on your reading.

eleven

Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success, by Phil Jackson

How many NBA legends can quote from both ancient Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu and contemporary urban fantasy author Jim Butcher? Jackson is one of the most successful, innovative, and unique sports figures.

 

 

 

 

 

bird

Bird Dream: Adventures at the Extremes of Human Flight, by Matt Higgins

I don’t like flying. On planes. So I can’t imagine jumping off a mountain with a wingsuit. But I loved reading about the people who do – from the safety of my couch, on solid ground.

 

 

 

 

 

boys in the boat

Boys in the Boat: Nine Americans and Their Epic Quest for Gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, by Daniel James Brown

A book about rowing? A book about rowing. Trust me.

 

 

 

 

 

 

lebron

LeBron’s Dream Team: How Five Friends Made History, by Lebron James

It’s got to be a fun time to be a Cleveland sports fan right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

rules

Rules for Becoming a Legend, by Timothy S. Lane

A novel for fans of The Art of Fielding and Hoosiers about a rising high school basketball player. Lane is 6’8” if he’s an inch, so when he talks about basketball, you listen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

fantasy

Fantasy Life: The Outrageous, Uplifting, and Heartbreaking World of Fantasy Sports from the Guy Who’s Lived It… by Matthew Berry

If you’re wondering why your friends, co-workers, spouses are distracted every fall, read this book. You won’t believe how far people take their fantasy sports obsessions.

 

 

 

 

 
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Michael

Michael Barson has worked in the Putnam Publicity department since April 1994, and has worked in book publicity since 1984. He has a PhD in American Culture from BGSU, and now lives in Glen Ridge NJ with his wife, their big dog, and three bedrooms formerly occupied by sons. His hobbies include beer, pickup basketball, old crime movies, and more beer.

 

 

 

 

shots fired

Shots Fired, by C.J. Box

Stories from Joe Pickett Country, by C.J. Box – This new collection of ten crime stories set in the west—mostly in C.J. Box’s native Wyoming—is a real treat for fans of the Joe Pickett series, which Putnam has published from the start (OPEN SEASON came out in 2001). Three of the stories feature Wyoming game warden Joe Pickett, one stars Joe’s renegade friend, the very lethal Nate Romanowski, and the othersix feature stand-alone characters and situations. Several of the non-Joe stories are truly excellent, my favorite being “Pronghorns of the Third Reich.” C.J. Box has had seven consecutive national bestsellers, and it would be great if SHOTS FIRED made it eight in a row.

 

robert

Robert B. Parker’s Blind Spot, by Reed Farrel Coleman

A Jesse Stone Novel, by Reed Farrel Coleman – when Robert B. Parker died in January of 2010, it was a huge loss for the world of crime fiction, and for Putnam books as well, which Parker had called his home since the late ‘80s. Beginning in 2012, Ace Atkins took over the primary Parker series, starring Boston P.I. Spenser, with positive results. But now Reed Coleman has done an equally fine job of making the Jesse Stone character his own in his first turn on that series, BLIND SPOT, which pubs on September 9. In fact, the story is much more detailed and layered than many of Parker’s own Jesse Stone  tales, and I expect the critics to take note of this when the reviews start arriving in September. An impressive debut by Coleman, who has won many mystery awards over the course of his 20-year career.

field of prey

Field of Prey, by John Sandford

Over the course of more than twenty of the hard-boiled PREY thrillers by John Sandford, Minneapolis detective/investigator Lucas Davenport has faced off against every sort of criminal, from an armed robbery team to a female hit-woman. But my favorite villains in the PREY series are the serial killers, and Lucas has matched wits with some doozies. FIELD OF PREY is one of those. Of the earlier books, I remember MIND PREY being especially creepy. Sandford is just a great writer, in addition to being a #1 bestseller for Putnam, where the PREY series began in 1989. But you do have to be able to handle the violence quotient in these—Sandford isn’t kidding around.

 

a man without breath

A Man Without Breath, by Philip Kerr

The Bernie Gunther series, which Putnam publishes in hardcover, has been described as plunking down private eye Philip Marlowe in Nazi Germany instead of 1940s Los Angeles. That does give you the flavor of these extremely well-crafted historical thrillers. Penguin Books has nine of these Philip Kerr titles in their backlist, and they range from really good to unbelievably great. Philip Kerr is simply one of today’s very best crime writers—in the top five, for my money. (Even if I do get these for free.)

 

 

 

Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

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At BEA I sat down with Liane Moriarty, author of the newly released Big Little Lies. Liane is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children.

 

 

How did you get started as an author?
About ten years ago, I got a phone call that would change my life. It was my sister calling to tell me that her YA novel, Feeling Sorry For Celia, had been accepted for publication. My sister and I had always wanted to be authors. When we were children, our Dad would commission us to write novels for him. At the time of my sister’s phone call, I was working as a freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites to TV commercials. Although I occasionally wrote short stories and first chapters of novels that didn’t go any further, I’d let my childhood dream slide. My sister’s news was the inspiration I needed to get me back to the keyboard.  In a fever of sibling rivalry I wrote a children’s book which was enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia. I calmed down, and two years later, my first novel, Three Wishes was published around the world.

Do you have a sibling rivalry continuing on, now that you’re successful as well?
No, now we’re both published writers (as is my younger sister) we’re all just happy for each other. Although we do become quite competitive about material. For example, when one sister uses an old family story.

All writing materials aside, what material items in life could you not live without?
Well I couldn’t live without one cup of coffee a day, and without books – does that go without saying (laughs). And chocolate and champagne. Is that enough? And if I had all those things together then I wouldn’t need anything else.

How do you get into the writing mood? Do you have a particular place you like to write, do you listen to special music?
I have two small children so I only have a very limited time to write, so I don’t really have the luxury anymore of ‘getting into the writing mood.’ I just have to sit down and write.

Would you say that would be your top writing advice for aspiring writers, just sit down and write?
Yes, you can spend too much time asking questions about writing and wondering about writing and thinking about writing. In the end you just have to write.

If you were going to pick any country in the world or any city to live in which one would it be? (If you couldn’t live in Sydney.)
I’d live in a mountaintop castle near my family and the beach, where I could ski from my castle door and have a swim before breakfast at the beach. It’s a fantasy question so I’m allowed a fantasy answer!

What skills or talents do you admire most in other people?
I admire all those skills and talents I lack – the  ability to sing, to act, to sew, to speak other languages fluently, to cook gourmet meal without making a mess etcetera, etcetera!

Your books focus a lot around personal relationships and family dynamics. Do you find a lot of your personal life transitioning and spilling over into your writing, or do you like to keep the two separate?
Little bits and pieces of my personal life certainly seep into my writing. And that’s why I find that my characters are getting older as I get older, they’re aging along with me. So I’m sure one day I’ll be writing a book set in a retirement village.

If you were to describe why you think reading is important in one sentence, what would you say?
Reading is important because its one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, I also think that if its not a pleasure for you, that’s OK. For some people life’s greatest pleasure is music or art or scuba diving. I just think its important to find time for what makes you happy.

What are your other hobbies or pleasures?
I love snow skiing and bushwalking, and spending time with my children.

What is your favorite place in the U.S. that you’ve visited? Have you done much travel in the US?
I had a skiing holiday in Aspen once, many years ago, and loved it.

BigLittleLies_LianeMoriarty

 

Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads. This is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.



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