Colleen

Colleen is Associate Director of Marketing, Social Media & Reader Experience for Penguin’s Berkley and NAL Publishing Groups. She has been a professional nerd since 1984.

 

 

 

Daughter of the Sword, Steve Bein

Daughter of the Sword by Steve Bein:

Daughter of the Sword is a debut novel that doesn’t fit neatly into any category, but it’s exactly that originality that made this one of my favorite novels of last year. A skillful blend of Japanese historical fantasy, urban fantasy, and contemporary police procedural, and Bein’s protagonist Mariko Oshiro – the only female detective in Tokyo’s most elite police unit – is a wonderful addition to the ranks of urban fantasy heroes.

 

 

 

 

Neuromancer, by William Gibson

Neuromancer by William S. Gibson:

Neuromancer is a classic science fiction title now celebrating its 30th anniversary. It won the Hugo, the Nebula, and the Philip K. Dick Award, and was nominated for the British Science Fiction Award the same year. Gibson invented an entire genre with Neuromancer; its influence still reverberates throughout current pop culture. I read this when it first came out (yes, I’m that old!) and have never been able to get Gibson’s vision of the future out of my head.

 

 

 

Among Thieves by Doug Hulick

Among Thieves by Doug Hulick:

I read this just a few weeks ago, while prepping for a panel I’ll be moderating with the author next month, and I absolutely loved it! Imagine a town very much like Shakespeare’s Verona, run by a hierarchy of thieves, spies, rogues, and assassins, throw in some magic with sensible rules, a little ribald good humor, a quest for a forbidden object, and a lot of excellent swordplay, and, well, basically you’ve got Among Thieves. Hulick is a wonderful world-builder and his characters will stay with you long after you finish the book. Enjoy!

 

 

 

The Thousand Names, by Django Wexler

The Thousand Names by Django Wexler:

An utterly compelling military-themed epic fantasy with characters that become more complex and more believable the deeper you delve into the novel. Wexler sets his story in Khandar, an arid land reminiscent of nineteenth-century Sudan, where unrest is brewing against the foreigners who long-ago colonized their country, and the desolate Colonial soldiers left behind to police the citizens. Wexler brilliantly melds the horror of combat with the politics of colonialism, giving the reader reasons to care for characters on both sides of the conflict. An exceptional debut novel!

 

 

Skinwalker, by Faith Hunter

Skinwalker by Faith Hunter:

I love urban fantasy, and Faith Hunter’s Jane Yellowrock series is one of my favorites in this genre. Jane Yellowrock is a skinwalker of Cherokee descent, and the last of her kind. Jane shares her body with the soul of a mountain lion she calls Beast, and the conversations between Jane and Beast – conversations that take place inside Jane’s head! – are some of the best and most human parts of these books. There’s also a cast of vampires, weres, and bad-boy love interests, but the true heart of these books is the relationship between Jane and Beast. Start with Skinwalker and work your way through the whole series. Just trust me on this!

 

 

Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris

Midnight Crossroad by Charlaine Harris:

Charlaine Harris leaves Bon Temps and Sookie Stackhouse behind in Midnight Crossroad, the first in a brand-new series set in the town of Midnight, Texas.  At its heart, Midnight Crossroad is a murder mystery, and Harris draws heavily on her roots as a mystery writer here, mixing small-town eccentricities with darker paranormal elements to create a quirky town where most of the residents have something to hide. I confess to tearing through this book in about a day, missing several subway stops on the way to work (sorry boss!) to read the last chapter. I can’t wait to see what the fine folks of Midnight get up to next!

Watch the exciting book trailer here!

 

Find more books on the Scifi/Fantasy Category page! 


Ben

Ben Platt is an Associate Editor at The Penguin Press, where he began his career in 2010. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago.

 

 

 

Detroit, by Charlie LeDuff

Detroit: An American Autopsy by Charlie LeDuff

The only book you will ever need about the Motor City, the American Dream, and the unforgettable LeDuff–who spends these exhilarating pages generally raising hell and asking The Powers That Be all the tough questions how the country’s richest city became the capital of foreclosures, unemployment, and much else. Muckraking like we need, gonzo journalism at its best.

 

 

 

 

Command and Control by Eric Schlosser

Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety, by Eric Schlosser

Reading this terrific book, one quickly realizes that America’s nuclear arsenal is less DR. STRANGELOVE and more Marx Brothers. Launch levels are accidently pulled, bombs mistakenly dropped on American soil, missiles secured by little more than high-school combination locks. But by centering on one terrible accident–a fire in a nuclear missile silo, in 1980 Arkansas–Schlosser takes what could be a litany of woe and turns it into a page-turning, unforgettable read.

 

 

 

The Good Food Revolution By Will Allen with Charles Wilson

The Good Food Revolution: Growing Healthy Food, People, and Communities, by Will Allen with Charles Wilson

Urban farming at its most extreme. Using old-school community activism and revolutionary aquaponics–a technology that grows plants and fish simultaneously, the life cycle of one feeding the other–Will Allen and his organization GROWING POWER are changing the way cities will feed themselves in the future. Based around Allen’s extraordinary life story–son of a sharecropper, star  in professional basketball, successful businessman, and finally farming entrepreneur–The Good Food Revolution is good stuff.

 

 

Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

Thinking the Twentieth Century, by Tony Judt with Timothy Snyder

One of the last books of Tony Judt–the author of another personal favorite, Postwar–along with Timothy Snyder–the historian behind the harrowing Blood LandsThinking the Twentieth Century is truly a gift. Arranged as a free-wheeling dialogue between these two unorthodox experts of recent history, the book has all the makings of a masters-course-in-one-volume but reads as easy as can be. A wonderful experience.

 

 

 

Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution edited by Layla Al-Zubaidi & Matthew Cassel

Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution: Voices from Tunis to Damascus, edited by Layla Al-Zubaidi & Matthew Cassel

Finally, the story of the Arab Spring has lived and witnessed by its actual participants. Drawing on short accounts from different actors across the Middle East, Diaries of an Unfinished Revolution breaks many of our easy certainties and offers up many hard truths about this pivotal series of events, and reveals the true cost of making change today. It won’t give anything away to say that the book’s last line is, “And the demonstrations go on, into the unknown.”

 

 

 

Find more books on the History & Current Events category page!


Steinbeck Leather Bound 1Born and raised in Oklahoma, I grew up with the distant ghosts of the dust bowl.  As a twenty-one year-old-graphic artist, I too, left Oklahoma for the romance and opportunities of California.  Luckily, unlike the Joads, California greeted me with open arms—lapping waves, palm trees, exciting new ideas, food, glorious weather and refreshing open-minded attitudes—clearly, a different era.  Forty years later, I am still embracing California and all of her opportunities and natural beauty.  Proud of my Oklahoman roots, I feel honored and grateful to contribute to this historic edition of The Grapes of Wrath

Michael Schwab is a Graphic Artist. His studio designed the end papers that are in both the hardcover and the limited edition, as well as the cover of the limited edition.

Click here for more photos of the 75th Anniversary Edition.


erikarobuckSteinbeck is the voice of a time and place that previously had no voice. From animal-like migrant working conditions, to family stories of drama, evolution, and generational redemption, Steinbeck presents an unflinching look at the sins of society against the underprivileged, but always offers a glimmer of hope. His writing is bold and forces the reader to confront harsh truths, but the antidote is never far, and often comes in unexpected ways.

The ending of The Grapes of Wrath is perhaps the most powerful ever rendered—when a young woman who has lost her baby feeds a starving man from her breast. It is the very image of self-sacrifice, human growth, and the capacity for nurturing we hold; a fitting ending to a novel of raw humanity.

May Steinbeck’s work and his voice always endure.

Erika Robuck is the critically acclaimed author of Hemingway’s GirlCall Me Zelda and Fallen Beauty.  Born and raised in Annapolis, Maryland, Erika was inspired by the cobblestones, old churches, and the mingling of past and present of the Eastern Shore.  Erika writes about and reviews historical fiction.  For more information please visit www.erikarobuck.com, and Twitter @ErikaRobuck.


ohsheglowsThis week is a busy one for us here at Avery/Gotham Books. We are all planning for our big VegWeek Celebration to take place April 21—27. We flipped through some of our favorite cookbooks, including Budget Bytes and The Oh She Glows Cookbook for some tasty vegetarian ideas. Below are some of the highlights we have planned:

BETH PARKER
Publicity

Everything in The Oh She Glows Cookbook looks amazing, but I might have to go with my old standby: Roasted Veggie Soup!

Chop 1 head cauliflower, 3 small (yellow) potatoes, 1 onion, 4 cloves of garlic, chopped up and roasted with garlic salt, pepper and olive oil at 450 for 45 mins, until everything is starting to brown plus approx. 3.5 -5 cups of veggie broth (homemade or canned) – throw it all in a blender and mix until smooth and the thickness you like. Serve with bread. Delicious.

It’s easy to prep at the last minute, delicious to eat and there are always leftovers – tastes great heated up the next day, too. And it is so filling! And cheap to make! (someone call Budget Bytes!)

P.S. – one time I made this with purple cauliflower. It looked super weird but tasted delicious.

LINDSAY GORDON
Publicity

With “Glowing Strawberry-Mango Guacamole” from Oh She Glows, I get to mix two of my favorite fruits into a guacamole for chips and dip – there couldn’t be a better combo. Can’t wait to munch on this all week!

EMILY WUNDERLICH
Editorial

I’ve made this recipe once before and loved it, so I’ll definitely be calling on it during Veg Week: it’s Angela Liddon’s Butternut Squash Sauce with Pasta and Greens, from her blog. It’s a vegan answer to mac n’ cheese, with a smoky, rich sauce that satisfies my comfort food cravings while being surprisingly virtuous (and also KALE!). Plus, this one freezes well for work lunches!

ANNE KOSMOSKI
Publicity

Call me a dreamer but I am really looking forward to making the Sweet-Potato & Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado-Cilantro Cream Sauce. Pretty much all of my favorite things in one dish.  (Don’t worry, it looks like it takes more time to write the title than make the enchiladas). Addison and Avery (ages 3 and almost 1) are looking forward to Banana Soft Serve – we may even have to make it this weekend!

GIGI CAMPO
Editorial

I can’t wait to make Beth Moncel’s delicious Mango, Jalapeno & Quinoa Salad from Budget Bytes, and follow it up with Angela Liddon’s addictive Cacao Crunch Almond Butter-Banana Bites from Oh She Glows Cookbook! Very excited to go vegan and give my body—and the planet—a break.

FARIN SCHLUSSEL
Marketing

The 15-Minute Creamy Avocado Pasta from The Oh She Glows Cookbook has all of my favorite things: pasta, avocados, and basil pesto! I can’t wait to whip this up for dinner one day during VegWeek, although it looks so delicious that I’m pretty sure I’ll eat it in one go…


JoGrapeshn Steinbeck was born and raised in Salinas, a small city in the central coast of California known as the Salad Bowl of the World.  In the midst of the incredible natural beauty of the Salinas Valley, there were incredible stories of struggle and resilience that were to inspire his best work.  Nearly one hundred years later, it was through Steinbeck’s characters that I first glimpsed into the lives of the field workers that I saw everyday working in the fields from sun up to sun down in my hometown of Salinas.  It was through Ma Joad that I learned to recognize stoicism in the eyes of a mother who stood in line at the grocery store, with children clinging to her skirt while she counted her money, hoping it was enough to buy the small number of items in her basket.  Through Tom I understood the quiet rage of the young men who challenged one another with hand gestures on the downtown streets.  Because of The Grapes of Wrath I developed empathy for the people I lived among but hardly knew.  And so many years later, John Steinbeck’s work inspires me still.  My life’s work is now to advance John Steinbeck’s legacy, and to champion the causes he championed in his time.  Today, the National Steinbeck Center celebrates our common humanity by giving voice to the stories of Steinbeck’s people through the work of contemporary artists, writers and, social change agents.

Colleen Bailey
Executive Director
The National Steinbeck Center


ohsheglowsWe were in the middle of our weekly publicity and marketing meeting and were discussing our New York Times bestselling Avery title, The Oh She Glows Cookbook and what we could do to celebrate this gorgeous and inspiring book by powerhouse vegan blogger Angela Liddon, when one of my colleagues made a suggestion.

“Maybe we should go vegan for a week.”

I’ll admit, my first thought was “How will I live without cheese?” But as we started to talk the idea through, the trepidation yielded to excitement. The recipes in The Oh She Glows Cookbook would provide everyone with more than enough delectable dishes to make it through the week (Chakra Caesar Salad! Easy Chana Masala! Chocolate Espresso Torte!), and the social media possibilities were endless, from sharing photos on Instagram and Twitter to getting Angela to tell her followers about our challenge.  When we started talking about taking it company-wide, I was all in.

And then we learned about US VegWeek, a weeklong celebration from April 21-27 that explores the many benefits of vegetarian eating—for our health, the planet, and animals. Restaurants and businesses across the country are set to promote the week, events (cooking demonstrations, movie screenings) are being held in major markets, and elected officials (Henry Waxman, Tammy Duckworth) are taking the 7Day VegPledge. It was a chance for us to be a part of something bigger and to give even more people a chance to get their glow on. We all promptly signed up and took the pledge.

Now, it’s your turn! Join us in the VegPledge, for one meal, or even the whole week and post photos of the vegetarian or vegan dishes you make on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr with the hashtag #USVegWeek. It’s going to be delicious!


GrapesI was brought up on the King James Bible and when I came upon Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath in eighth-grade English, it was the Biblical sweep of the book that captivated me. It was the great Dust Bowl pilgrimage from the misery of Oklahoma and Texas across the desert to the Canaan of California, and it was Steinbeck’s Jamesean cadences. The passage about the turtles crossing the hot highway, I remember, and the agonized preacher trying to find what remained of his faith. The pregnant Rose of Sharon. It was the Book of Exodus brought to life on the dusty plains of America, except that the Joads found their pharaohs at the end of the journey in the form of the wicked growers who conspired against the workers. I grew up in a large family without much money. We had a big garden in which we kids worked, hoeing and weeding and picking tomatoes, corn, melons, and squash, and once in a while we all eight of us piled into a station wagon and drove from Minnesota to Spokane to visit relatives, with my mother making us baloney sandwiches on the way. It was easy for me to imagine myself riding in the back of that old pickup truck with the mattresses and the furniture tied down and camping at night by the side of the road. I think The Grapes of Wrath was the first novel I ever believed in entirely, whole-heartedly.

keillerComing May 1,2014: The Keillor Reader, the latest book from author Garrison Keillor. When, at thirteen, he caught on as a sportswriter for the Anoka Herald, Garrison Keillor set out to become a professional writer, and so he has done—a storyteller, sometime comedian, essayist, newspaper columnist, screenwriter, poet. Now a single volume brings together the full range of his work including never before published works.

About Garrison Keillor

More Books by Garrison Keillor


From the office of the Riverhead Books publisher, Geoff Kloske:

Peter Matthiessen, award-winning author of more than thirty books, world-renowned naturalist, explorer, Buddhist teacher, and political activist, died at 5:15 PM on Saturday April 5, 2014 after an illness of some months. He was eighty-six years old.

Photo credit: Linda Girvin

Photo credit: Linda Girvin

Matthiessen is the only writer to win the National Book Award more than once – in fact three times, twice in two nonfiction categories for The Snow Leopard, published in 1978, and in fiction three decades later for Shadow Country. His final book, In Paradise,is scheduled to be published by Riverhead Books on April 8, 2014. A novel inspired by a profound experience Matthiessen underwent as a participant in a Zen meditation retreat at Auschwitz in the 1990s, In Paradise is a powerful and uncompromising exploration of the legacy of evil and our unquenchable, imperfect desire to wrest good from it. “We are deeply honored to be custodians of Peter’s final, characteristically bold work of art,” says Riverhead Books publisher Geoff Kloske, noting that the publication reunited Matthiessen with editorial director Rebecca Saletan, who had worked with him on several books since the early 1980s, initially under the auspices of Random House editorial director Jason Epstein. In a recent essay in The New York Review of Books, Tim Parks writes, “Matthiessen’s work has always carried a powerful moral message.… In Paradise is a logical conclusion to a long writing career.”

Matthiessen’s exceptional body of work, much of it about the planet’s remaining wild places and the people who inhabit them, was inspired by boundless curiosity and lifelong travels, most recently to Mongolia in the summer of 2012, when he was 85. It was also fueled by a disciplined work ethic. “Peter was a force of nature, relentlessly curious, persistent, demanding—of himself and others,” says his literary agent, Neil Olson. “But he was also funny, deeply wise and compassionate.” The resultant writing was largely nonfiction, published both as books and as journalism, including in The New Yorker under William Shawn. But Matthiessen’s first love was fiction. He sold a short story to the Atlantic while an undergraduate at Yale and became the first fiction editor of The Paris Review, which he cofounded with Doc Hume in 1953. He went on to publish four novels before he was forty, including At Play in the Fields of the Lord, which was nominated for a National Book Award and later made into a feature film. His travels fueled not only his nonfiction but his fiction, and he was as fearless in pushing the horizons on the page as in the physical world. His experience among Caribbean turtle fishermen resulted in Far Tortuga, written entirely not only in dialogue but in their Grand Cayman dialect.

A 1973 expedition to the Himalayas after the early death of his second wife resulted in The Snow Leopard, whose enduring success eclipsed his fiction for some years. But he always regarded himself primarily as a novelist, and he devoted more than twenty-five years to his masterwork, a historical epic about the Everglades sugar planter and outlaw Edgar Watson. When the project grew overlong in both time and volume, he allowed it to be published initially as a trilogy, Killing Mr. Watson, Lost Man’s River, and Bone by Bone. But he never stopped thinking of it as a single work, and after the final volume appeared in 1999, he devoted another eight years to cutting, restructuring, and revising it into a single novel, which was published as the National Book Award-winning Shadow Country in 2008. “In everything he wrote, Peter was always relentless in his quest to get it right, to drive the impression on the page ever closer to the vision in his imagination, through draft after draft,” says Saletan. ”Every galley page was a palimpsest, even on this final book.”

Matthiessen’s outspoken activism for environmental and social causes was also reflected in his books, including the 1983 In the Spirit of Crazy Horse, about the American Indian Movement, which resulted in libel suits again Matthiessen and his publisher, Viking Penguin, by a former governor of South Dakota and an FBI agent he wrote about; the suits were finally dismissed in 1990.

Elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters in 1974 and designated State Author of New York in 1995-97, Matthiessen was the recipient of the William Dean Howells Award, given by the Academy once every five years for fiction, for Shadow Country, and the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities, among many other honors. A longtime student of Zen Buddhism, Matthiessen eventually became a priest of the White Plum Asanga. Until the time of his death he lived for decades on the South Fork of Long Island, where he had worked as a commercial fisherman in his twenties. He is survived by his wife, the former Maria Eckhart; six children – a son, Lukas, and a daughter, Sara Carey, with his first wife, Patsy Southgate; a daughter, Rue, and a son, Alexander, with his second wife, Deborah Love; and two stepdaughters, Antonia and Sarah, from his third marriage—and six grandchildren.


The-Big-TinyDee Williams is the author of The Big Tiny: A Built-It-Myself Memoir and the proud owner of an 84 square-foot house. She is a teacher and sustainability advocate, and the co-owner of Portland Alternative Dwellings where she leads workshops focused on tiny houses, green building, and community design. This blog post is part of a series drawing from Dee’s experiences and themes from The Big Tiny, on sale April 22.

“A few days ago, I spent almost an hour trying to recondition an oscillating fan that I found in a junk pile. I’m not certain, but I think the reason it was tossed out was because it had a frightening wad of human hair wrapped around the spindle where the fan blades connect to the motor. It was disgusting and curious, and exactly the sort of thing you find on junk day in Olympia.

I love junk day. Everyone puts out their rubbish—their busted-up washing machines and hot water heaters, dysfunctional blenders and vacuum cleaners—all so they can be hauled off to the dump. But before they go, passersby like me can walk around scanning for useful goods, occasionally lunging into the debris piles like a pearl diver. Last year I found a perfectly good electric lawn mower that I was able to rewire and repair with a couple rolls of duct tape; today I found this hairy fan.

I took everything apart in the garage, cut the toupee out of the machinery, and repaired a break in the electric cord. I sprayed the fan with vinegar and swabbed the plastic, dabbing here and there, and flipping the unit like it was a newborn and I was a neonatal surgeon.”

Excerpt from The Big Tiny

Ten years ago, as I was getting ready to build my house, I couldn’t fathom spending my time meandering through my neighborhood picking through junk piles.  I was completely absorbed, and marginally overwhelmed, by the design process; drawing sketches, making lists and re-thinking exactly how much space I needed to make a peanut butter sandwich, put on a pair of pants, or sit-up in bed.  I started carrying a tape measure and pocket notebook everywhere I went, so I could not-so-subtly investigate the height of my desk at work, the size of my chair, or the rise and run of the steps leading up to my doctor’s office.  I read a thousand books and dreamed about sheds and cabins.

A month later when I finally picked up my trailer – the foundation for my little house – my plans had firmed up enough to start cracking things open with a Skill-Saw.  I’ll never forget standing in my driveway, staring at the bric-a-brac of tools and wood stacked around my trailer, clicking things off in my head  - extension cord, power drill, coffee, gumption… check, check, check and mostly-check. I realized that this was IT.  I was now going to do a swan dive into the grizzled manly world of carpentry.  I took one step back and immediately fell into a tool bucket, knee-caps over earlobes.

In the next three months, I discovered that carpentry wasn’t something I could learn from a book. Not even a really awesome book with pictures, annotated references, and color-coded “Helpful Hints,” though they are a good place to start.  I couldn’t learn by watching YouTube videos either, since it hadn’t been invented yet; instead, I had to learn by doing — by gripping a stick of wood and trying to manage it onto a wobbly-wheeled cart at the lumberyard.

In the first weeks of building, I had as many set-backs as successes.  I nearly twisted my arm off with a power drill. I glued my hair to the house and spent countless hours salvaging wood only to find out I couldn’t use it.  I kept at it, though, and one day without really thinking about it, I discovered my arms knew exactly how to run a piece of wood through a table saw and my back remembered how to gracefully lift plywood off my car’s roof rack. I knew how to read the grain on a piece of wood, and could problem-solve why the rafters weren’t lining up perfectly.  My muscle memory took over, and it saved the day, day after day for three months.

If I had it to do over, I’d have celebrated a little more the first time I was able to lift a 60-pound piece of plywood without feeling I’d rip my arm out of socket, and I’d have seen what a miracle it was that I – a small woman, a cardiac care patient, a ding-dong when it came to carpentry – was building my house.

My advice to other would-be builders is to DO IT!  Get some good books and then volunteer with Habitat for Humanity or other building organization.  Take a carpentry class, or help your carpenter-neighbor build a deck. You can’t beat the education you’ll get by unloading a truck that is full of lumber, or by holding sticks of wood together so they can be fastened in place.  You won’t just get smart, handy, and sore, you’ll also probably have a ton of self-satisfied fun.

Fun is what motivates me out on junk day, and it is the thing that’s currently nudging me to stop writing so I can get back to banging the rusty nails out of the stack of beautiful scrap wood I just dragged home from the neighbor’s junk pile. Cheers to having fun while living the dream!