Excerpt (16)
Excerpt The Alchemists Neil Irwin (Penguin Press)
Excerpt Decadence Eric Jerome Dickey (Dutton)
Excerpt Bunker Hill Nathaniel Philbrick (Viking)
Excerpt Give and Taken Adam Grant (Viking)
Excerpt The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones Jack Wolf (Penguin)
Excerpt Pastors’ Wives Lisa Takeuchi Cullen  (Plume)
Excerpt The Iron Lady John Campbell (Penguin)
Excerpt The Mystery of Mercy Close Marian Keyes (Viking)
Excerpt Tuesday’s Gone Nicci French (Pamela Dorman Books)
Excerpt Flip Kevin Cook (Viking)
Excerpt Bristol House Beverly Swerling (Viking)
Excerpt Miss Julia Stirs Up Trouble Ann B. Ross (Viking)
Excerpt Beyond War  David Rohde (Viking)
Excerpt The Plantagenets Dan Jones  (Viking)
Excerpt Aunt Dimity and the Lost Prince Nancy Atherton (Viking)
Excerpt The Way of the Knife Mark Mazzetti (Penguin Press)

Q&A (1)
Q&A The World’s Strongest Librarian Josh Hanagarne (Gotham)

Reading Group Guide (5)
Reading Group Guide The Interestings Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide Above All ThingsTanis Rideout (Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)
Reading Group Guide Movement of Stars Amy Brill (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide River of No Return Bee Ridgway (Dutton Adult)
Reading Group Guide Pastors’ Wives Lisa Takeuchi Cullen (Plume)

Video (1)
Video Ol’ Mama Squirrel David Ezra Stein (Nancy Paulsen Books)

Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator


At Tarcher/Penguin, our motto is: “Great lives begin with great ideas.” Some of the world’s greatest ideas can be found in poetry, distilled into a form where individual readers can interpret different meanings for themselves. In this way, poetry can be a like a Rorschach test for the soul, allowing us to discover a different meaning than our neighbor does while exploring the same poem. We hope you’ll read these three superb works, and discuss them with your literary friends. It’s a guaranteed way to learn more about yourself, and others. (Talk about a great idea!)

smallrumi smallhaiku smallrilke

Rumi: In the Arms of the Beloved, translated by Jonathan Star
A treasury of Rumi’s verse that spans the poet’s life and includes his most celebrated and poignant work. It is an enchanting volume of classic Eastern thought that creates an exhilarating experience for all readers.

Love’s Voice: 72 Kabbalistic Haiku, by Richard Zimler
Acclaimed novelist Richard Zimler uses the form of haiku to distill Kabbalistic philosophy into its most essential form, providing a rare and deeply affecting experience of the wisdom of the ages.

In the Company of Rilke: Why a 20th-Century Visionary Poet Speaks So Eloquently to 21st-Century Readers, by Stephanie Dowrick
Drawing on her deep understanding of the gifts of Rilke’s writings, as well as her own personal spiritual seeking, Stephanie Dowrick offers an intimate and accessible appreciation of this most exceptional poet and his transcendent work.

To find more great reads for the mind, body, and spirit, visit www.tarcherbooks.com.

Also follow the #PenguinPoetry thread on Twitter for daily poetry tweets & giveaways.

– Andrew Yackira, @acyackira


hand_me_downI didn’t dream of being a writer.

Before I could read or write on my own, music was how I accessed and expressed emotions; it was my first love. My mom says the only way she could get me to stop crying as a baby was to put me in the car and play Joni Mitchell. She also sang to me a lot, and some of my safest memories are filled with lullabies in her voice, soothing me after a fall or before bed. Later, I would sing those same lullabies to my little sister.

For most of my youth, I wanted to be a rock star or an actress; thought performing was my destiny. My dad was a drummer in a band and his best friend had a recording studio in his garage, so my sister and I recorded our first original song at the ages of six and four called, “I Got the Baby Blues, Baby.” I sang in choirs, acted in school plays, performed in musicals, and in sixth grade snagged the lead in a church play in which I was onstage for the entire show and had a six minute solo that I performed at a conference in LA for hundreds of people. It was exhilarating, the live performance, feeling the audience react, and I loved every minute of it.

Even with my focus on singing and theater, it’s not like I didn’t write. I wrote new lyrics to songs tunes I knew and sang them to myself in the shower. I kept a detailed journal. In junior high I started writing poetry, bad rhymes at first that morphed into prose poems that got published in my high school’s literary magazine. In college I took a few workshops in poetry and fiction, and I even wrote for a school paper for about five minutes, but I saw no way to make a career as a writer. An actress who sang seemed to have so much potential as a way to be creative and still make money, so I remained a theater major.

A few years into acting classes at UCSC, performing began to lose its luster. I became less interested in being the subject of the story and more interested in creating the story. More and more I took on the role of producer or writer in theater class projects—I penned one spoof of Waiting for Godot set in ancient Greece with the people waiting for the Gods that I’m particularly proud of—and I couldn’t stop taking creative writing classes or writing poems in the margins of my notebooks. Finally, it was my mom, after reading one of the stories I’d written for class who said, “Forget acting. This is what you should do.” She was right. Soon after, I changed my major to English.

Now, writing is primarily how I access and express my emotions, how I deal with the world, but music remains a close second. And luckily for me, I’ve been able to make a career out of being a writer.

 


When Elda Rotor asked me to work on illustrations for the Poems By Heart app, my initial idea moved towards making silhouettes of the various poets’ profiles. Very quickly, however, I realized that traditional silhouettes would not be very engaging. The circular frame got me thinking about cameos and shoebox dioramas and helped inspire the final look of the portraits and the poem illustrations.

“To My Last Duchess” stands out as a favorite for the visual challenge the poetry presented (ie: How do you convey “really creepy”?). duchess

Shelley and Whitman were two of my favorite portraits to work on because both poets were staunch social dissidents, iconoclasts in spirit and mind.

shelley_portrait

whitman_portrait

While the design principles remained the same, the details in the process made this experience distinct from designing print covers. For Poems By Heart, I was designing collaboratively with the Inkle development team, John L. Morgan, and Elda Rotor as opposed to flying solo on a cover design. The process was less linear; I could see how it looked before the product was finalized, and make modifications along the way.

—Jen Wang, jennifer wang designs.


realskinnyHaving trouble losing weight or keeping it off? If so, it’s likely that you’re sabotaging your diet with what we call “Fat Habits.” Taken from our new book, The Real Skinny: Appetite for Health’s 101 Fat Habits & Slim Solutions, we’ve listed below the 6 worst fat habits from the most common diet wreckers, and offer up our “Slim Solutions.”
1. Overdoing “diet” foods and sugar substitutes
There are no “special” or “manufactured” foods required to lose and maintain a healthy weight. In fact, good-for-you unprocessed foods like fruits, veggies, whole grains and lean proteins are probably the best foods to help you lose weight.

Many dieters get stuck on using pricey unhealthy “health” foods: diet foods, sugar substitutes, diet sodas and other calorie-reduced items that aren’t necessary and they aren’t always associated with diet success. Some studies even suggest sugar substitutes interfere with the body’s natural mechanisms to regulate caloric intake. Use diet foods and beverages sparingly and be mindful that they alone, will not equal diet success. A recent statement from health organizations say that if you use sugar substitutes as a replacement for foods and beverages with added sugars, they can help you cut calories. We suggest using sugar substitutes sparingly and limiting diet beverages.

2. Suffering from “perfect-eating syndrome”
Chronic dieters often adhere to strict all-or-nothing diets that are too restrictive and unrealistic. It’s like trying to walk on a tightrope for life, which explains their lack of success. We all will eventually fall off. Instead of thinking of a strict eating plan that doesn’t fit your lifestyle, focus on strategies that you can, with a little work, realistically live with.
You need to expect slip-ups to happen when you’re losing weight, so how you deal with a bad day, week or month helps predict success. Individuals who can lose and maintain weight loss can be flexible enough with themselves to bounce back to healthy eating. Think: Life Happens or as we like to say, #$%! Happens! And start fresh tomorrow.

3. Letting yourself slip & slide
We don’t know how many people tell us that they just can’t lose weight, and they’re eating perfectly. When we ask them, “What did you eat yesterday?” most can’t tell us what they ate 10 minutes ago! When we really delve in to their diet, they see all the little nibbles and extra calories that they’re mindlessly eating. To keep honest and win at losing, try to weigh yourself at least once a week and track everything you eat and drink at least 5 days a week. There are several great free online sources for tracking your diet, including MyFitnessPal and SparkPeople.

4. Eating while distracted
If you eat and do anything else at the same time, you’ve got a seriously bad habit to address. There’s significant research showing that adults and children who have the most screen time, (computer, smart phones, videos, TV) are more likely to be overweight or obese. But scientists say it’s not because they get less exercise.
Studies show that distracted eaters gobble up to 100% more after a meal compared to non-distracted eaters, and those who watch TV while eating consume 20-100% more calories compared to individuals who eat without distractions. And, at the same time, distracted eaters reported being less satisfied. To increase satisfaction of meals and snacks, you need to only eat. When the brain is distracted, it takes significantly more calories to get the same level of satiety.

5. Drinking too many liquid calories.
New research shows that we’re drinking a greater proportion of our calories than ever before. In fact, one-quarter of the population consumes nearly 300 calories a day from sugary drinks like soda, fruit drinks, energy drinks, flavored water and gourmet coffee drinks. The problem with drinking our calories is that they’re less satisfying than when we eat foods, so we’re unlikely to eat less even when we drink more calories. In addition, most beverages with calories get their calories from nothing other than sugar. This sugar is rapidly absorbed by the body and may increase risk for metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes and may increase hunger and cravings. It’s important to think before you drink.

6. Skimping on your zzzs.
This may be the easiest of all fat habits to break. All you need to do is get more sleep. Several studies have recently found that sleeping 6-8 hours a night was found to double dieters chances at losing at least 10 pounds over the 26-week study. If you really want to be a diet success story, make the changes needed in your life so you can get enough sleep.

 


hand_me_downOne of the most common questions I’ve received this year from readers is: “How much of Hand Me Down is true?” As a short answer, I say about 80%. But the truer answer is much more complicated.

The basic storyline of a mother choosing her convict husband over her daughters is actually true and did indeed happen to me and my sister. Most of the characters are based on real people, the places Liz and Jaime live are where my sister and I lived, so as I began writing, I started with my memories. I conjured up scenes and conversations from my past, from a time in my life I will never forget, and made tons of notes. I did research by reading old journals from when I was fourteen, reliving all the pain of those years, finding partial scenes written out in my messy cursive, snippets of dialogue that I’d actually formatted in quotes so I would know exactly what was said. At the time, I wanted a witness to the things the adults around me were saying, a record of the lines they used. Some of those lines made it into the published book.

At first, scenes very closely resembled my recollections. But as I revised, the story shifted in small ways. I added lines of dialogue and removed others; I exaggerated mannerisms, inserted character traits to supplement the ones the real people had; I changed timelines of events, when certain conversations took place, or who was involved. I studied with Pam Houston, who has made a career out of using personal experience as the basis for her fiction, so I learned to walk the line between fiction and non from a master. I’ve discovered that I love having a foot in both worlds, so I allowed myself to make the necessary adjustments for the good of the story. The details, the inconsequential daily minutia, were altered, but the emotional journey Liz makes is 100% true.

Over the years my continued work on the book organically created something that, while based on real events, is also indeed a work of fiction. Fiction that rings true, that reveals truths—what it means to be family, the power of forgiveness, the incredible bonds of sisterhood—is my favorite kind of writing. I hope that’s what I’ve accomplished with Hand Me Down.


Excerpt (11)
Excerpt Red Planet Blues Robert J. Sawyer ((Ace))
Excerpt Bitter Blood Rachel Caine  ((NAL))
Excerpt The Key is Love Marie Osmond (NAL)
Excerpt Matter of Blood Sarah Pinborough (Ace)
Excerpt The Love Wars L. Alison Heller (NAL)
Excerpt Protector C. J. Cherryh (DAW)
ExcerptWhiskey Beach Nora Roberts (Putnam Adult)
Excerpt Chasing the Sun Juanes (Celebra)
Excerpt Present Shock Douglas Rushkoff  (Current)
Excerpt The Third Coast Thomas Dyja (Penguin Press)
Excerpt Carried in Our Hearts Dr. Jane Aronson (Tarcher)

Reading Group Guide (3)
Reading Group Guide Hand Me Down Melanie Thorne (Plume)
Reading Group Guide The Giving Quilt Jennifer Chiaverini  (Plume)
Reading Group Guide The House at the End of Hope Street Menna van Praag (Pamela Dorman Books)

Video (1)
Video Overseas Beatriz Williams (Berkley)

Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator


People who know me know that I am a giant nerd. My friends know this. My colleagues here at Penguin know this. In fact, I think it would be safe to say, given my career path, that I’m a professional nerd. And nothing makes a professional nerd happier than a weekend when not one but two of her favorite fandoms collide. Thus it was with great joy that I greeted the return of both Doctor Who and Game of Thrones on television this past weekend. Yes, I know my joy will be short-lived; both of these shows have notoriously short seasons, and – in the case of Doctor Who – often go on a ridiculously long hiatus mid-season. (Seriously, BBC, what is up with that?) If you’re at all like me, you grok that even waiting a week between episodes can be torture. How, then, does a nerd kill time until the next episode of Doctor Who or Game of Thrones? If you’re lucky enough to work for one of the largest publishing companies on the planet – like I do! – you just might have a lot of nerdy editor pals offering book recommendations.

For all of you Doctor Who fans, we have a couple of books filled with wibbly wobbly timey wimey goodness:

shadaDoctor Who: Shada by Gareth Roberts is based on the screenplay of an un-aired episode of Doctor Who written by the late, great Douglas Adams. Shada was originally intended to wrap up Season 17 (that would be the Fourth Doctor, Tom Baker’s incarnation, for those keeping score) but a strike at BBC kept the episode from being completed. The storyline is considered Doctor Who canon, however. And props to Roberts, who does a superb job of keeping the tone of Douglas Adams’ original screenplay. For the avid Doctor Who fan, Doctor Who: Shada is a must-read.

 

wheel_of_iceOur second recommendation, Doctor Who: Wheel of Ice, is an all-original story by award-winning science fiction writer Stephen Baxter, and features the Second Doctor (Patrick Troughton’s incarnation) and fan-favorite companions Jamie and Zoe (what, you thought only the Eleventh Doctor traveled with couples?). Wheel of Ice takes place on a giant ring of ice and metal orbiting Saturn, where children mine resources for a greedy Earth. Like every good Doctor Who story, there’s more here than meets the eyes, and the Doctor uncovers a mystery that harkens back to the creation of the solar system itself. (Come on, you KNOW you want to read this!)

 

Game of Thrones more your style? Lots of swords and beheadings and grubby soldiers? The occasional woman disguised as a man, battling at the front? Exiled princes struggling to regain a throne? Lots of mead drinking and fisticuffs in taverns? The rise and fall of entire kingdoms? Yeah, we got the good stuff right here:

king_of_thornsMark Lawrence’s Broken Empire series – Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns and the forthcoming Emperor of Thorns – tells the tale of young Prince Honorious Jorg Ancrath. As a nine-year-old, Jorg is forced to watch a rival slaughter his family; by the time he is thirteen, he is the ruthless and amoral leader of a band of feared mercenaries. But his ultimate goal (like any good exiled royal!) is to retake his throne and wreak bloody vengeance on the men who destroyed his family. Lawrence offers up strong world building, memorable characters and an intense read; perfect for George R.R. Martin fans.

 

falling_kingdoms

Want more epic with your fantasy? In Morgan Rhodes’ Falling Kingdoms, the murder of a young winemaker inadvertently leads to a series of events that threaten to topple three kingdoms and destroy a peace that has lasted for centuries. Written for younger readers, Falling Kingdoms is nevertheless an enjoyable read for adult fantasy fans, particularly fans of GRRM and Brandon Sanderson.

 

river_of_stars

Want less magic and more history? Canadian bestselling author Guy Gavriel Kay’s latest book River of Stars offers readers a breathtaking epic set in a richly reimagined Song Dynasty China. (Check out this amazing review in the Washington Post!)

 

 

 

In case those weren’t enough, here are some forthcoming titles to watch out for, too!

the_city thousand_names grim_company

The City by Stella Gemmell:  Stella Gemmell proves that she’s a worthy successor to her late husband David Gemmell in this extraordinary debut novel. (I was totally blown away by this book. This is some seriously dark epic fantasy.) Pubs on June 4, 2013.

The Thousand Names: Book One of the Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler: Another fantastic debut novel, and one that has become an in-house favorite. (Don’t tell Rosanne that I stole a copy of this galley out of her office, okay?) Pubs on July 2, 2013.

The Grim Company by Luke Scull: Picture the Magnificent Seven set in an epic fantasy world. (Dude, just trust me on this.) Pubs on September 3, 2013.

Good reading, everyone!

- Colleen Lindsay

 

 

 

 


hand_me_downI’ll admit I was nervous when my semi-autobiographical novel Hand Me Down was released last year. Until I started writing this book in graduate school, I had told very few people the real reason I was forced to move out of my mother’s house when I was fourteen. The embarrassing details of your dysfunctional family are not what you want to lead with when trying to make friends in a new school. The fact that my mother, when legally forced to choose, had picked her convict second husband over her daughters was not only painful, but another implicit family secret in a long line of secrets I’d grown up keeping. I knew speaking up was against the rules.

But eventually it became too hard to keep quiet; the truth kept bubbling up in my mind. My teenage self screamed at me to let her have a voice, my childhood self asked me to stand up for her, finally, so I did. About a decade after my step-father was released from prison and my sister and I left home, I started writing the story that I’d been too scared to share with anyone other than close friends. I hoped that any potential backlash would be worth the potential gains.

Fast forward six years and now I can’t believe that I ever considered not sharing my story. Writing it helped me move through some of the hurt and anger from that defining period of my life and allowed me to find forgiveness and forge deeper relationships with my family.

But the greater gift Hand Me Down has provided is in the responses from readers who have sent me their own stories of abuse, of triumph over it, of family dysfunction and betrayal, of love and sacrifice and perseverance and healing. I had hoped opening up about my personal experience might encourage others to do the same, but I did not expect to be able to witness that relief and growth. Many of the messages have made me cry because we humans are so strong, so resilient, so determined to survive, that sometimes we forget how vulnerable we still are, how much we all just want to be loved and safe.

All the old tapes in my head cautioned me against revealing so much of myself in the pages of Hand Me Down, but readers have shown me I am not alone. I’d been worried that I would have to explain that the kind of trauma Liz and her family experience really does happen behind closed doors every day even if we can’t always see it, or don’t want to. But instead, I found an outpouring of community and understanding, along with appreciation for my courage to disclose the unpleasant reality, and gratitude for my ability to remain hopeful, for illustrating that hardship doesn’t have to mean destruction.

Healing takes time—and maybe writing—but it is possible if we stop keeping the harmful secrets, if we open up about the hard truths. So many readers have connected to this, to Liz’s and my story, and for that, I couldn’t be more thankful.


fantasy_lifeThat’s how long I have to wait until my Penguin fantasy baseball league, Sack Punch 2 – On the Move (great name, huh? Rivals Of Mice and Men…), will be drafting tonight. My team is named MetaData WorldPiece, which I would argue is better than anything Steinbeck ever came up with.

I already have drafted two other fantasy baseball teams in two public leagues, but there is nothing quite as special as preparing for the Penguin league draft, as this is the only case in which daily taunts can be hurled at one another, face to face, on a daily basis for the next six months. April, May, June, July, August, September… yeah, by then we will all loathe each other, I can assure you. And perhaps hate ourselves as well. Fantasy baseball is not a game, it’s a condition. One of those for which you can’t get antibiotics.

I will not participate in the draft tonight as a live participant, but rather as an AutoPick droid. Or drone. That means I have already ranked the players in the order of what I have determined is their respective worth, and will let the computer pick them each time my turn comes around. That will allow me to spend the hours between 9 and 11 pm tonight napping on the floor while pretending to watch my Netflix disc of Lincoln.

Such has been my “system” for the past twelve years. At times this approach has earned me some unforeseen results, such as having four catchers on my roster but no relief pitchers. But on the other hand, I have won a few championships in this manner as well. And I am almost always in the playoffs, where admittedly I usually self-destruct in one way or another. But, so what?? IT’S A GAME, ISN’T IT????? So I must be having fun. I must be…

But to prepare for the draft, one is well advised to consult the experts on the major Fantasy sites. Which brings us to Matthew Berry, the reigning expert on the ESPN.com site, and the author of the soon-to-be-published bible of Fantasy Sports, Fantasy Life. Which Riverhead will publish in July and grow wealthy from.

Over the past seven or eight years I have consulted Matthew Berry for months on end about baseball. And in the Fall, I have also consulted him for football advice. And he has never let me down. Or almost never. Well, if we’re being perfectly honest here—Berry has let me down about fifty percent of the time. Possibly fifty-five. Which means I could do just as well (or just as poorly) with a random choice system as by following his sage advice, right?

WRONG!! Because even incorrect advice from Berry is presented so logically, so passionately, so charmingly, that you almost decide you don’t have to slit your wrists afterward, once it’s clear your team is doomed because you believed him when he said (in 2011) that Michael Vick ought to be the first pick in the draft. Or that Adrian Gonzales was going to be a Can’t Miss when he moved to the Boston Red Sox. [Shameless plug for my pathetic real-life team.] Or that Mike Trout was a fluke. (Actually, he may not have said that one, but he COULD have.)

Because there is one thing Matthew Berry can do that many of his fantasy brethren (some of whom are quite capable, even brilliant) can’t do nearly as well, and that is—entertain while instructing you. As Fantasy Life makes clear, Berry is a master of dispensing his hard-earned wisdom in the most humble manner imaginable, while also being hilarious at the same time. Other than Oscar Wilde, who didn’t even play fantasy baseball (and who wouldn’t have been very good at it anyway, even if he had), I can’t think of another writer whose quips are so deftly leavened with profundities. And vice versa.

Consider some of the examples that Berry provides from the book. One particularly choice anecdote I hadn’t been aware of before was that Matt Hasselback, a veteran NFL quarterback for the past 14 years or so, also played fantasy football, and (a few seasons back) sensibly enough drafted himself. But he was also wise enough to draft the resurgent Brett Favre, so he could play the optimal matchups. What happened one week is that Hasselback decided to bench himself and play Favre instead, who had a more favorable matchup and was as hot as a pistol anyway. WELL—guess how that turned out? Favre earned a measly 11 points, throwing but a single touchdown, while Hasselback went out on the field and threw *four* TD passes, earning 28 points in the process, the highest total of any player that week. EXCEPT—Matt had left himself sitting on the fantasy bench. Oh, the humanity!

Along with providing such colorful player anecdotes, Berry is also superb at sharing details of how hideous the real-life players of fantasy sports can be. Engaging in the most petty behavior, lying to each other, cheating without qualms, ruthlessly preying on each other’s weaknesses, even creating fake websites for the sole purpose of dispensing mis-information to the other players in the league—and that is just describing the editor of Fantasy Life, who shall remain nameless because of those silly libel laws.

Let’s be clear—this book is not for the faint of heart. But it most decidedly *is* for everyone who appreciates clever writing, incisive analysis, and sublimely funny self-deprecation.

There is only one problem with Fantasy Life that I can anticipate, and that is—by the time it reaches bookstore shelves on July 16, I will already be in seventh place in my Penguin fantasy baseball league, trying like hell to figure out exactly how to create a fake website so I can unethically make the playoffs through someone else’s misfortune. Do you think Matthew Berry could be convinced to become my friend? Even just for six months? And then I would never ask again.

- Michael Barson, Fantasy Manager of the Century

Take me out to the ball game, you say? Check out these other baseball books:

Adult

wherever_i_wind_up baseball_as_a_road_to_godgil_hodges

Wherever I Wind Up, R.A. Dickey with Wayne Coffey
Baseball as a Road to God, John Sexton with Thomas Oliphant & Peter J. Schwartz
Gil Hodges, Tom Clavin & Danny Peary

Young Readers

throwing_strikesfantasy_baseballwho_was_babe_ruth

Throwing Strikes, R.A. Dickey with Sue Corbett & Wayne Coffey
Fantasy Baseball, Alan M. Gratz
Who Was Babe Ruth?, Joan Holub – Author, Nancy Harrison – Illustrator