Slow Family LivingSometimes when people hear the title of my book, Slow Family Living, they get a little nervous, as if I’ve suggested something so far from their current existence that they couldn’t possibly get there. “Oh! We’re not even close to slow!” They apologize to me as if I am the queen of slow, lazing about with my  family, feeding each other grapes and singing campfire songs (which we do sometimes—the campfire songs, not the grapes).  But really, what I hope families will take away from the book is not more pressure to meet a goal someone else has set for them, but the understanding that slow living is about pausing just long enough to figure out what they truly want. Now, while their children are home and little. And down the road, when their children are grown and having children of their own.

Carrie Contey and I started Slow Family Living, the website and online community, not to add more stress to an already pressure-filled world, but to help families find ways to create more connection in their day-to-day lives. And more joy! Because we realized that what families really needed was the space to tune into their own needs and wants. In order to really see each other and fully connect.

Whether we are stay-at-home parents or single parents or parents of one or ten, in order to create deeper connection, we all can pause, take a breath, and find simple ways to connect as human beings and as a family.

Slow Family Living is not formulaic. What works for us when our kids are little might need to shift when our kids get a little older. And what works one week might need to shift the next week. And in each house, it can look completely different, too. All that matters is that it works for your family. It’s like a muscle, that needs to be developed, so that it can keep you connected for a whole lifetime as a family.

In our house the question we ask on a very regular basis is, “Is what we’re doing right now really working for us?” Do we need to stay in? Or go out? Do less? Or do more? Invite friends? Or go alone? Try something new? Or return to a favorite family tradition?

Once you get the hang of it, slow living is actually much easier than trying to keep up with the impossible pace of modern life. After all, enjoying time together is what family is all about. Now while everyone’s under one roof, and down the road when our children are grown and gone.

Hacking Your EducationMillions of college student are at stake. And it’s not just their debt that’s on the line; now, more than ever, it’s their livelihood. It’s these hidden costs, I believe, that are so great, that the public domain is willfully choosing to ignore them, because to admit, would be to admit “we were wrong.”

When Fatima al-Fihri founded the first degree-granting college back in 859 in Fes, Morocco, she effectively created, years later, a paradigm: that a college degree was the only stamp of approval you needed to stand out against the rest.

If only things were that simple.

Getting a typical degree doesn’t make you unique – if anything, it makes you just like everyone else. When thousands of MBA’s are applying to the same dream jobs, why does your degree make you different? The truth is that it doesn’t, yet, many students believe that a degree, a high GPA and a pinch of luck are all it takes to live their dreams. Yet, with unemployment rates rising for graduates, realizing that a college degree wasn’t enough will be hard medicine to swallow.

On top of this, there’s a crippling misrepresentation of learning.

Learning in school is not the same as learning in life. Times have changed. Yes, schools have certain elements intact, like repetition. But in the real world, where information is a touch screen away, why memorize? It’s been proven that creativity is essential to the 21st century worker – so why is it being replaced by institutions with dry bubble-in score sheets? And when the brain is neurologically proven to learn when engaged in active project-based learning, than why are we hitting students with passive lectures that go on for hours?

A college degree has not only spread an illusion, but it’s also misconfigured learning. The worst part, though, is that these factors aren’t talked about. Debt is the national discussion, but an American education, consisting of a linear path from kindergarten to college, has been nearly synonymous with ‘learning’ for so long, that it gives the wrong idea to students as to what the future can hold. When students face difficulty with employers, it might be too late before they realize that it was precisely their education that was stopping them.

With medicine, law, and engineering, your GPA matters, and the collegiate hoops you go through do as well. But, in nearly every other profession, it’s what you accomplish outside of college, which counts for experience. Running a startup, a non-profit, undergoing apprenticeships, and creating art for a real, unpredictable audience is what will catch the attention of employers looking to hire. Not starting the key club on campus, or being President for Student Government (keep in mind, you are one of thousands of Student Government Presidents across the country).

As an AA session might tell you, admitting that you have a problem, is the first step to solving it. There are costs, to personal expectations and learning, which many students don’t have a conceptual grasp over. Yet, when students show up with no job, lower standards, and tons of debt, it worries me that they’d never even think to blame college for the ordeal that they’ve gotten themselves into.

For them, the costs are hidden. And, for many, it might remain that way, for the rest of their lives. Colleges haven’t admitted that there is a problem. Will you?

Dale Stephens was homeschooled and then unschooled. Now he leads His first book is Hacking Your Education.

Excerpt (14)
Excerpt Earn the Right to Win Tom Coughlin (Portfolio)
Excerpt Extreme Couponing Joni Meyer-Crothers (NAL)
Excerpt What I Love About You, Mom David and Kate Marshall (Plume)
Excerpt The Office of Mercy Ariel Djanikian (Viking)
Excerpt The Sign Thomas de Wesselow (Plume)
Excerpt What on Earth? Quentin Wheeler and Sara Pennak (Plume)
Excerpt Written in Red Anne Bishop (Roc)
Excerpt Slashback Rob Thurman (Roc)
Excerpt Golden Age of Death Amber Benson (Ace)
Excerpt The Dark Winter David Mark (Plume)
Excerpt You Are One of Them Elliott Holt (Penguin Press)
Excerpt The Children of Kings Marion Zimmer Bradley and Deborah J. Ross (DAW)
Excerpt The Jackal’s Share Christopher Morgan Jones (Penguin Press)
Excerpt First Casualty Mike Moscoe  (Ace)

Reading Group Guide (3)
Reading Group Guide Book of Jonas Stephen Dau (Plume)
Reading Group Guide Death of Hero Richard Aldington (Penguin Classics)
Reading Group Guide A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Viking Adult)

Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator

A great way to celebrate Women’s History Month is by reading about the lives of some of our heroines and everyday women. Luckily for you, Penguin has several such books publishing this March!

Rita MorenoOut today is the memoir of Rita Moreno (Rita Moreno: A Memoir). Moreno, made famous by her Oscar-winning performance in West Side Story, grew up in the barrios of the Bronx after traveling to America from Puerto Rico at age 5. Her memoir reflects her journey through Hollywood and the relationships and hardships she faced as an American-Puerto Rican woman in show business.

Listen to a clip of the audiobook read by Rita Moreno herself!

Read an excerpt.

The Still Point of the Turning World

Publishing later this week, The Still Point of a Turning World: A Mother’s Story by Emily Rapp, recounts the story of an ordinary mother put in a rare situation. Rapp had high expectations for her son’s life prior to his birth, but when he was born with Tay-Sachs disease she and her husband were forced to look at their lives in a new light. Her inspiring story shows wisdom and hopefulness in an otherwise tragic situation.



The Maid and the Queen

Are you a history buff? Do you think you know everything there is to know about Joan of Arc? The Maid and the Queen: The Secret History of Joan of Arc by Nancy Goldstone might just offer you a bit of previously unknown information about the woman warrior’s relationship with Yolande of Argon.



Interested in reading more about the lives of spectacular women? Check out all of Penguin’s Biographies, Autobiographies, and Memoirs!

Posted By: Michelle Giuseffi, Online Marketing Intern

Seeing is BelievingAround the age of nine (give or take a few years) a lot of kids stop believing in the tooth fairy, the Easter bunny, Santa Claus, and the conviction that their parents are invincible and have all the answers.  In the Disney movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, they labeled it as the Age of Not Believing, and Angela Lansbury sings a tune to that affect.  It’s that transitional age from childhood to the teen years and it can be a tough and frankly, scary, time.  For the heroine in my March release, Seeing Is Believing, Piper Tucker never believed in fairy tales, given that she was raised by an abusive stepfather and abandoned at the age of eight.  But she did believe in ghosts, since they have always manifested to her.

Brady Stritmeyer believed Piper was telling the truth, just like he believed that his dreams for a better future lie outside of their small town and in the big city.  Now, fifteen years later, he has returned home to Cuttersville, dream shattered, to find that Piper has grown up and no longer talks to ghost, but still has a crush on him.

I’m a child of the eighties, and to me everything is an eighties song lyric, so I think Journey sums it up nicely by reminding us never to stop believing.  Sure, by the age of ten a bit of the wonderment of life has been knocked out of us by reality, but part of the journey (yes, that is a pun) is to recapture our awe as we pass beyond our teens and enter adulthood.  We learn to redefine what is means to believe in the mysteries and the magic of the world around us, and most of all, in ourselves.  We don’t need to see something to believe in it.  So while we can puzzle over the fact that the modern interpretation of Cupid is a rather bizarre chubby arrow-wielding kid in a diaper, we believe in the sentiment behind it: love.

If we don’t, we’ll have to answer to Steve Perry.

Hacking Your EducationOur culture puts so much emphasis on a college education that it can be hard to see the alternatives. Even though I was unschooled as a child, I still headed off to college at the appointed time like everyone else. What I quickly discovered was that college was not right for me. I wanted to be out in the real world meeting people, exploring other cultures, and experiencing life as the vibrant and unpredictable cacophony it is. Sitting in an office chair listening to lectures about the world I wanted to be living in just wasn’t cutting it. Why read a textbook about Taiwan when I could go and explore it firsthand for far less money than a semester of college?

Soon after this realization I moved to San Francisco and started UnCollege to spread the word. I figured there were many other college students in my situation who didn’t realize there were other options. I began spreading the word about an alternate educational model in which students take their future into their own hands, say no to student debt, and set out into the real world to find mentors, learn applicable skills, and experience the world firsthand through travel, volunteer work, internships, and entrepreneurship.

Critics argue that skipping college is too risky but I think that graduating college with $26,000 plus in debt and a questionable skillset is at least as risky in the current job market.

Some say looking at college as a financial decision is narrow minded because college is not just an financial investment but a place to learn who you are and gain independence and life skills. While growing up is important, college may not be the most healthy environment for a young adult. According to a 2007 study by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that Forty-nine percent (3.8 million) of full time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs and 1.8 million college students (22.9%) meet the medical criteria for full blown substance abuse and dependence. As if that isn’t bad enough the Department of Justice found that over 40% of undergraduate girls engage in “heavy drinking” with that number rising to over 60% for those in a sorority. Alcohol on campus is responsible for “1,400 deaths from alcohol-related causes; 500,000 unintentional injuries; 600,000 assaults; and 70,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape” per year. Not necessarily the idealized coming of age environment envision by most parents.

Of course the most obvious argument is simply that kids need to attend college in order to learn the skills they will need in order to be valuable members of society.Unfortunately there are also problems in this area. According to recent study titled Academically Adrift, as many as 45% of students show “no improvement in critical thinking, complex reasoning or written communication during their first two years in college.”

Fast forwarding past graduation day paints a similarly dismal picture for college grads in the job market. According to a 2011 study by Andrew Sum of Northeastern University over 44% of college grads under 25 were unemployed or working in a job that did not require their degree.

Put all of these facts together and then realize that college is still the only socially acceptable choice for high school grads and I knew that I had to spread the word about an alternate path. In my book Hacking Your Education I explain a practical process for hands on learning outside the classroom. I explain how to find mentors, build a community of like minded self educators, and leverage all the new resources of the 21st century to learn skills, grow as a person, and eventually get a job doing something you love; all without setting foot in a classroom.  With a bias towards action and experience over dry lectures, self directed education may be a better fit for many students than a traditional college experience.

If you are interested in learning more about uncollege and self directed learning head over to our blog at

Audio Excerpt (6)
Audio Excerpt Night Moves Randy Wayne White (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt The Striker Clive Cussler (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt  Rita Moreno Rita Moreno (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt The Russia House John le Carré (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt The Looking Glass War John le Carré (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt A Small Town in Germany John le Carré (Penguin Audio)

Author Interview (1)
Author Interview Hidden Cities Moses Gates (Tarcher)

Excerpt (23)
Excerpt The Vatican Diaries John Thavis (Viking Adult)
Excerpt Pope Benedict XVI Stephen Mansfield (Tarcher)
Excerpt Saved by Cake Marian Keyes (Plume)
Excerpt Crave the Darkness Amanda Bonilla (Signet)
Excerpt Lost to the Gray Amanda Bonilla (Signet)
ExcerptBreaking Point C.J. Box (Putnam)
Excerpt The Last Grave Debbie Viguie (Signet)
Excerpt Calculated in Death J.D. Robb (Putnam)
Excerpt Frost Burned Patricia Briggs (Ace)
Excerpt Mary Coin Marisa Silver (Blue Rider Press)
Excerpt The Idea Factory Jon Gertner (Penguin)
Excerpt Booze for Free Andy Hamilton (Plume)
Excerpt Hidden Cities  Moses Gates (Tarcher)
Excerpt Who Was Dracula? Jim Steinmeyer (Tarcher)
Excerpt Why Can’t I Be You Allie Larkin (Plume)
Excerpt Rita Moreno Rita Moreno (Celebra)
Excerpt Six Years Harlan Coben (Dutton)
Excerpt Trading Bases Joe Peta (Dutton)
Excerpt The Memory of Love Linda Olsson (Penguin)
Excerpt In the Kitchen with the Pike Place Fish Guys The Crew of Pike Place Fish (Studio)
Excerpt The Vegucation of Robin Robin Quivers (Avery)
Excerpt A Tale for the Time Being Ruth Ozeki (Viking Adult)
Excerpt American Story Bob Dotson (Viking Adult)

Notes on Text (1)
Notes on Text The Vatican Diaries John Thavis (Viking Adult)

Pictures (1)
Pictures Argo  Antonio Mendez (Penguin)

Podcast (1)
Podcast Creating Room to Read John Wood (Viking Adult)

Reading Group Guide (5)
Reading Group Guide The Good Daughter  Jane Porter (Berkley)
Reading Group Guide Garbology Edward Humes (Avery Trade)
Reading Group Guide The Painted Girls Cathy Marie Buchanan (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide The Lost Art of Mixing Erica Bauermeister  (Putnam)
Reading Group Guide Virgin Soul Judy Juanita (Viking Adult)

Video (4)
Video 7 Steps to Save Your Financial Life Now Daniel Solin (Perigee)
Video  High Risk Vivian Arend (Berkley)
Video  The Company You Keep Neil Gordon (Penguin)
Video Call Me Zelda Erika Robuck (NAL)

Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator

Book people love the Oscars because so many movies are also books. At Penguin, we are pretty thrilled to have Argo, the book, and to share with you these awesome pictures of fake memorabilia and IDs From the original Argo CIA mission.

And of course, who could forget Les Misérables, Victor Hugo’s epic tale turned musical? Or Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina? Here are our nominees for The Best Movie That’s Also a Book You Should Read:

argo les_miserables anna_karenina

And the winner is… all of them!

For more information on the 2012 Academy Awards Nominees, visit the official Oscars website.

And now some Oscar-worthy titles whose film counterparts won in years past:


Meryl Streep, Best Actress 2011, The Iron Lady

Daniel Day-Lewis, Best Actor 2007, There Will Be Blood

Octavia Spencer, Best Supporting Actress 2011, The Help

Best Picture winners:

Best Picture 1975, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Best Picture 1972, The Godfather

Best Picture 1968, Oliver!

Best Picture 1948, Hamlet

Bonus titles:


Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker by Jennifer Chiaverini for all you Lincoln lovers.

The Girls of Murder City:Fame, Lust, and the Beautiful Killers Who Inspired Chicago by Douglas Perry, for everyone who loved the Best Picture winner of 2002, Chicago.

Check out other Penguin Blockbusters (of screens large and small) and have fun watching the Oscars this weekend!

Posted by: Julie Schaeffer, Senior Online Content Coordinator

Excerpt (6)
Excerpt A Tangle of Knots Lisa Graff (Philomel)
Excerpt The Madness Underneath Maureen Johnson (Putnam Juvenile)
Excerpt Out of the Easy Ruta Sepetys (Philomel)
Excerpt Stranded Jeff Probst (Puffin)
Excerpt The Burn Zone James K. Decker (Roc)
Excerpt Lover Awakened J.R. Ward (NAL)

Reading Group Guide (1)
Reading Group Guide How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia Mohsin Hamid (Riverhead)

Video (1)
Video What Darkness Brings C.S. Harris (NAL)

Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator

rules_of_inheritanceAfter my mother died when I was eighteen, I was ravenous to find others who had been through a similar experience. Because I had never met anyone my age who had lost a parent, I turned to books. I’d always been an avid reader, but up until then I’d only read fiction and poetry.

When I stumbled into the genre of memoir, a whole new door opened. I couldn’t believe how many stories there were out there to pore through. It seemed there was a memoir for every kind of experience: grief, cancer, parenting, divorce, travel, sexual identity, substance abuse. The possibilities for reading were endless. Initially I tore through as many grief memoirs as I could, each one giving me a tiny sense of lightness, of not feeling so alone. Finally, when I’d run through everything on grief I read everything else. Even books about things I’d never experienced gave me a sense of solidarity in the face of hardship.

Each time I closed the cover of another memoir – some of them great, some of them not-so-great – I felt like I had a better understanding of myself and of people around me. I also had a better understanding of what it means to bare one’s soul, to really be honest about one’s feeling and thoughts. All the memoirs I read that were great were the most honest.

The thing was though, even after all the dozens and dozens of memoirs I read, I never quite found what I was looking for. Eventually I had to settle for the fact that no one had written it yet, but what I was really looking for was my story.

So I wrote it.

People ask if it was hard to be so honest in my own memoir and my answer is always no. After reading all the ones that I did, I knew that it would be pointless to write one myself if I wasn’t going to be as seriously truthful as the other great books I read. I can only hope that my book will help others as much as the ones I read helped me.