Kent_Javits
Kent is the Director of Online Sales and Marketing.  Being a birder (twitcher, for those across the pond), it’s kismet that he works for a company with a bird in its title. He will not be entering the Penguin Cup Fantasy Football League.

 

 

 

 

jasper

Shades of Gray, by Jasper Fforde

Jasper Fforde is the master of creating whole new worlds that fly off the pages.  Anyone who reads must pick up his first novel The Eyre Affair which begins the hilarious Thursday Next series.  In Shades of Gray, Fforde sets off on a different course with this dystopian tale of a society, Chromatacia who’s hierarchy is dictated by the color they can see.   With his typical sense of humor and vivid prose Chromatacia leaps off the pages. And if there ever was a film adaptation it would win every Cinematography/Art Direction award available.

 

 

 

archetype

Archetype, by MD Waters

Archetype is the beginning of a post-apocalyptic two book series that concludes with Prototype. Describing Archetype without spoilers is difficult but at its heart is a very complicated love triangle which will have you turning the pages faster and faster to find out who wins Emma’s heart. And while there is a heart tug of war, Emma must figure out who she is. Archetype is an entertaining read with thought provoking theme similar to those evoked in The Handmaid’s Tale.

 

 

 

office

Office of Mercy, by Ariel Djanikian

If anyone is old enough to remember Logan’s Run then they will be reminded of the setting when reading The Office of Mercy. After the Storm, America-5 citizens live in a high-tech, environmentally controlled Utopia, underground basically.  And The Office of Mercy is in charge of the nomadic post-Storm survivors on the outside.  There many twists and turns, uncovered secrets that will leave you wondering what is right and what is wrong. A great read that will leave you wanting more.

 

 

 

postmortal

The Postmortal, by Drew Magary

Full disclosure, The Postmortal is on this reviewer’s to-read list but it comes highly recommended. The cure has come in the near-future tail, the cure for aging that is.  But of course, immortality comes with its own set of problems. Drew Magary is a 21st century Renaissance man. He writes hysterical columns for Deadspin and recently published a memoir on 21st century parenting.  Thus The Postmortal is bound to be a wild ride.

 

 

 

legend

The Legend Trilogy, by Marie Lui

Legend begins Marie Lui’s wonderful Legend trilogy. If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you will enjoy Legend more. In Legend, the Western United States is now The Republic and perpetually at war. Day, born into slums and on the most wanted list for murder, becomes a reluctant hero to a revolution. On his tail is June, whose brother is the one Day is accused of murdering. These two well-drawn and likeable (if not loveable) characters are the yin and yang that carry this trilogy to a delightful conclusion.  Legend is followed by Prodigy and concludes with Champion, each book stronger than the previous.

 

 

proxy

Proxy, by Alex London

If you think the 1% are a problem now, in Proxy they are on steroids and the void between the haves and have-nots is gaping.  Alex London’s two book series, which begins with Proxy and concludes with Guardian is creative, compelling and wholly satisfying. Proxy begins a thrilling revolution in this dystopian world led by a gay teen named Syd.

 

 

 

 

grasshopperjungle

Grasshopper Jungle, by Andrew Smith

Dystopian need not be in the distant future, nor does it need to be serious. Austin and best friend Robby are our teen heroes who fend off six-foot-tall praying mantises while thinking all the thoughts a normal teen boy would be thinking. Sounds funny, and it is, this book is laugh-out-loud hilarious and a very original young adult novel. Destined to be a classic in the near future.

 

 

 

 

Find more books on the Paranormal page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


photo 3

Stephen Morrow, Executive Editor at Dutton

 

 

 

 

 

denaliDenali’s Howl, by Andy Hall

It was 1967, the summer of love, and while Haight-Ashbury was dancing to White Rabbit and the Beatles were dropping acid, twelve sober young men climbed into the worst storm ever to hit the summit of Alaska’s Mt. McKinley or Denali as the locals call it. Only five made it back.  Andy Hall, the son of the Mt. McKinley National Park superintendent at the time, was five years old. Denali’s Howl is his telling of what befell those on the mountain and those at its foot trying to help.  It is also a study in how we think of our past, how such tragedies can become embedded in the meaning of our lives, our unwritten autobiographies, and yet remain mysterious.

 

 

mindThe Organized Mind, by Daniel J. Levitin

Could good old conscientious organization really be the secret to navigating the modern world’s flood of details?  As Daniel Levitin shows, the latest neuroscience says yes.  From how to deal with your kitchen junk drawer (what are those keys in there for anyway?) to how to organize your thoughts for the most important decisions of all, The Organized Mind is a book that brings together the ordinary everyday experience of making your life work better with Levitin’s expert insight into how attention and memory function. This isn’t just a book about being neater, it is about clearing a space in which you (and your kids) can be resoundingly creative.

 

 

superstormSuperstorm, by Kathryn Miles

We had just had our Halloween party back in 2012 at 375 Hudson Street when New Yorkers started to realize the big bad hurricane was coming to get us.  As she was working on Superstorm Kathryn Miles said the storm was like the shark in Jaws–only this monster ate its way up from Jamaica to the Great Lakes, with New York City as its main course.  Her story of forecasters and their science unable to make sense of this unprecedented system as it played out day by day, of the seamen whose traditional knowledge didn’t help, and of the people whose lives it destroyed is all about the unforgiving, fearsome power of nature—just when we thought we had it beat.

 

 

doessantaexistDoes Santa Exist?, by Eric Kaplan

Ok, so Does Santa Exist? is the most profound and funny book I’ve ever worked on and probably ever will.  I am pretty much unhinged about it.  Eric Kaplan has a job as a brilliant comic writer on America’s  most popular sit com and is finishing his Ph.D. at Berkeley, but I’m just hoping he starts a cult so I can join it.  How could such a simple, childish question lead to such a dazzling, exuberant flight across the deepest questions of human existence?  You will learn a bunch of philosophy, and the point of it all too.  As Matt Groening said, “It is the funniest book of philosophy since… well, ever.”  Just the thing for the gift giving season!

 

 

 

Find more books on the Current Events & History page!

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MaxandRubyThis fall, Viking will publish Max and Ruby at the Warthog’s Wedding, the latest of Rosemary Wells’s books about the bunny siblings who star in their own popular show on Nick Jr.

Despite the fact that Rosemary has written more than fifty books about Max and Ruby, she always finds a way to keep the latest book fresh.  In Max and Ruby at the Warthog’s Wedding, the bunnies race through the Ritz Hotel, in search of a missing wedding ring, guided by the maps on Grandma’s iBunny phone.  In a typically witty Wells touch, the iBunny phone features a glittery green lift-the-flap cover decorated with a carrot with a bite taken out of it!

Rosemary always tries to teach as well as entertain, whether by teaching ABCs, counting, or nursery rhymes, and in this newest title she is subtly imparting early map skills via up-to-the-minute technology.

It’s hard to believe that Max and Ruby are 35; they certainly are not showing their age!

See the entire Max and Ruby series!


TheLostWifeWhen writing novels, one never knows where inspiration will strike.   A few years ago, I was well into my research for a book on the ways that Jewish artists managed to create art during the Holocaust, when I overheard a story at the local hair salon about a couple who were separated at the beginning of the war with each of them being told that the other had perished. Sixty years later, they miraculously were reunited at the wedding of their respective grandchildren.  When I overheard that story, I felt like I had been struck by lightning.  My mind was filled with so many questions: why had this couple each believed the other had died? What was their initial love story? What were their second love stories that produced the children who were now the parents of the grandchildren getting married?  And most importantly, how did they each survive World War II?

This story would end up being the bookends for my novel The Lost Wife, into which I invented the lovers’ histories both before and after their separation.

I wanted to draw in my readers by evoking the same questions that I had after initially hearing that story.  I wanted those questions to propel them into the same journey I too would undertake while crafting the body of the novel.

TheGardenofLettersThe inspiration for my new novel The Garden of Letters, also began after hearing a story that ignited my curiosity.  While at a dinner party, a friend shared with me the details about how her father had escaped from Hungry through Italy during WWII with forged papers that their family had spent their entire life savings on.  When my friend’s father arrived in Portofino, German guards were scrutinizing everyone’s papers so carefully that he was sure he was going to be arrested.

Suddenly, out from the crowd, a big barrel-chested Italian man cried: “Cousin, cousin, I’ve been waiting for you all week.  Thank heaven’s you’ve come!”

He was able to whisk my friend’s father away and take him back to his home on the cliffs of Portofino.

When my friend’s father asked this man why he had saved him, for clearly he wasn’t his cousin, the man replied:  “I try to come to the port every month.  I try to save the person who looks the most afraid.”

When I heard that story I immediately thought it would make an amazing beginning to a novel.  I imagined the two people whose lives intersect at this occupied Italian port.    One fleeing and in need of shelter.  The other a person who sees that fear and sets upon helping him.   “The Garden of Letters” opens with my young heroine being saved from the Germans at the Portofino port by a doctor.

As in all my novels, I wanted my main character to possess a creative gift.  With The Lost Wife, I explored how art could be used as a form of Resistance against the Nazis.  In The Garden of Letters, I explore how music could be used.

My main character Elodie, is a young cellist who sends coded messages for the Italian Resistance through her performances And the book explores the many creative ways essential information was transmitted during the war.

When I traveled to Italy to meet with partisans and female messengers who were involved in the Resistance, I was introduced to a person who shared with me another unusual way information was sent during the war.  Giovanni Pellizzato, whose grandfather was both a bookseller and an active member of the Italian Resistance, described how codes were cleverly hidden throughout the pages of a book, and how within the back shelves of his father’s bookstore many of the books had their paper carved out to create a space where pistols were stored inside.  This information was so intriguing to me, it inspired the character of the bookseller, Luca, in The Garden of Letters.

As storytellers, we’re responsible for crafting narratives that bring our readers into a world that transport and hopefully inform.  As writers, however, we must also be open to all the stories that surround us, for everyone has a unique history to share.


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?



JDG SUN photoI’ll Give You the Sun made me realize just how many new YA readers, teens and adults both, had never heard of The Sky is Everywhere.

It’s been over four years since Sky, Jandy Nelson’s debut, made everything crystalline for me.  I used to have the hardest time explaining to agents and authors what I wanted beyond “really, really good manuscripts,” which is like having an online dating profile saying you like to do “really, really fun stuff.”  It was The Sky is Everywhere that broke it open for me.  I made everyone read it—my best friend, my teenage cousins, my husband, my mother, my grandpa (I have a kickass 96-year-old grandpa).  I began to tell people, “This.  This is what I want.  Novels like The Sky is Everywhere.”  Little did I know then that I’d get to work with Jandy Nelson herself one day, and that her second book, I’ll Give You the Sun, wouldn’t just break it open for me, it would break my effing heart.

I’ll Give You the Sun is a soaring, pinwheeling, forget-where-you-are, steal-your-breath, feel-it-in-your-bones, transcendent, transporting whirlwind.  It’s the kind of novel that makes you cry through the happy parts as much as the sad parts for the sheer depth of feeling, sheer aliveness of its characters, sheer boldness of its telling.  Reading it, I had the same falling-headlong feeling, the same zap of recognition I’d had at eighteen when I read Francesca Lia Block’s Weetzie Bat for the first time.  This is the kind of novel that stays with you, that you read over and over again.  It’s the kind of novel that lasts.

The voices here are the voices of two teen fraternal twins, one a boy, one a girl, telling their stories from two different, crucial points in time—one from before the event that changed their lives and one from after.  Both are magical, visceral, pop-off-the-page voices—so hard to find.  To do justice to these siblings, Jandy essentially wrote one novel, then another novel, and then wove those two novels together to create a third, I’ll Give You the Sun.  No wonder it took her four years.

It was The Sky is Everywhere that brought me to Jandy Nelson, and I’ll Give You the Sun that will make me stay with her.  What this novel accomplishes is raw and rare, and it will change some readers’ lives.  Is it too much to say that I’ll Give You the Sun redefines the boundaries of what makes a YA novel YA?  Nah, I’d say that’s just about right on target.

Read More Posts From the Editor’s Desk.


Nancy PaulsenphotoWe are publishing Jacqueline Woodson’s gorgeously written memoir on August 28, which is the anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech. That is a perfect date for Brown Girl Dreaming to come into the world, because so many of the stories Jacqueline tells are stories of hope, dreams, and having a vision.

Woodson came of age in the 1960s and 1970s in both the North and the South. In stories that are poignant, funny, and memorable, she shows us how family, religion, and the civil rights movement shaped her. In South Carolina, she was surrounded by the love of her grandparents and got her early education eavesdropping on the front porch. But she also felt the realities of Jim Crow. In poems like “Ghosts,” she writes:

In downtown Greenville,
they painted over the WHITE ONLY signs,
except on the bathroom doors,
they didn’t use a lot of paint
so you can still see the words, right there
like a ghost standing in front
still keeping you out.

Moving to Brooklyn and starting school opened Jacqueline up to a whole new world, and she shows us how a notebook and a pen held infinite promise to her. We feel her delight when she finally discovers a book in the library with a character that looks like her and realizes she, too, has a story to tell. On her journey she finds her voice and her purpose.

Everyone who has read this finds it brings them back to their childhood and awakens their memories. These evocative poems—about friendship, siblings, beloved grandparents and teachers, favorite foods, funky music, and wanting to join the revolution—give us a vivid glimpse of American history, and our history. They also show us why Woodson is such a brilliant, lyrical writer, as in verse after verse we see her winning curiosity and integrity shine brightly through, and her respect for the art of listening:

Even the silence
has a story to tell you.
Just listen. Listen.

We are incredibly proud to be publishing this and hope it will speak to readers of all ages and touch them with its stories that celebrate courage, creativity, dignity, hope, and mindfulness.

BrownGirlDreaming

Start Reading an Excerpt from Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson.

“Ms. Woodson writes with a sure understanding of the thoughts of young people, offering a poetic, eloquent narrative that is not simply a story . . . but a mature exploration of grown-up issues and self-discovery.”—The New York Times Book Review


penguin

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