barchestertowersName:  Sue Grafton, author of Kinsey and Me

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author:  Any of the novels of Anthony Trollope.
Why do you love this Penguin Classic?   I’m a fan of Anthony Trollope in part because we share a birthday, though his, I feel compelled to report, came well before mine.  I admire his work ethic, his industry, and the easy style with which he writes.  He wrote his novels between 5:00am and 8:00am each day before reporting for his full-time job as a postal worker.  His treatment of women is lovely and I’ve learned a great deal about story-telling from reading his many novels.  I started with Barchester Towers and I believe at last count, I’d read sixteen or so of his books.

What should I read next?  I’d be hard-pressed to decide where a reader should start with his works.  Pick just about any of the novels and you should be able to tell if Trollope suits you as he’s suited me all of these years

secretgarden2Name: Sarah Jio, author of The Last Camellia

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author: The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett

Why do you love this Penguin Classic?  When I think back to the books that have influenced my writing, and also my spirit, Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden is at the top of the list. Like many young readers, I devoured this book as a child, and the story has remained with me ever since. It teaches us about the beauty that lies beneath the thorns, and reminds us that when all seems lost, and when the weeds are high, in our gardens and in life, hope still abounds.

What should I read next? I get nostalgic about Christmas (and yes, I admit to listening to holiday music way before one should turn it on; ahem, in October) and so it delights me to turn to Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol each season. This year, I’ll be reading it aloud to my young sons.

portraitofaladyName: Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and The Signature of All Things

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author: The Portrait of a Lady, Henry James

Why do you love this Penguin Classic?  It is not merely my favorite Penguin Classic; it is my favorite novel of all time, period. I care more about the life of Isabel Archer than I do about most figures in history — living or dead, real or imagined. I read this book every few years and watch Isabel grow and transform in my own imagination, as I get older and see her differently with time. She only ever fascinates.

What should I read next? Middlemarch by George Eliot. I long for Dorothea Brooke and Isabel Archer to meet, to befriend each other, to make each other’s lives better.

tortillaflatName: TC Boyle, author of San Miguel

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author: Tortilla Flat, John Steinbeck

Why do you love this Penguin Classic?  This is both hilarious and charming, a tale about a group of friends who shirk society (and, especially, work) in order to lie up in the sunny weeds and drink wine.  It reaches mythical proportions.  The characters–all of them, from Danny, the hero, to Torelli, the wine merchant, to the Pirate and his dogs—shine on forever inside of me.  This is a book to read and re-read.  And love.

What should I read next? Stick to California.  Stick to Steinbeck.  I’d pick Of Mice and Men.  According to my daughter, when she was a child and I read it aloud to her, she saw me break down and sob for the first and only time in her life.  Oh, that ending!

Excerpt (19)
Excerpt The Interestings Meg Wolitzer (Riverhead)
Excerpt The Cool Impossible Eric Orton (NAL)
Excerpt Archipelago Monique Roffey (Penguin)
Excerpt The Last Camellia Sarah Jio  (Plume)
Excerpt The Names of Our Tears P. L. Gaus (Plume)
Excerpt Up Hilary Tindle (Hudson Street Press)
Excerpt Don’t Worry, It Gets Worse  Alida Nugent (Plume)
Excerpt Choke Point Ridley Pearson (Putnam Adult)
Excerpt Eleven Rings Phil Jackson (Penguin Press)
Excerpt The Broken Places Ace Atkins (Putnam)
Excerpt We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood Books)
Excerpt Heart of Obsidian Nalini Singh (Berkley)
Excerpt The Tao of Martha Jen Lancaster (NAL)
Excerpt No One Could Have Guessed the Weather Anne-Marie Casey (Amy Einhorn Books)
Excerpt Loyalty Ingrid Thoft (Putnam Adult)
Excerpt The 9th Girl Tami Hoag (Dutton)
Excerpt Until She Comes Home Lori Roy (Dutton)
Excerpt Gameboard of the Gods Richelle Mead (Dutton)
Excerpt An Atheist in the FOXhole Joe Muto (Dutton)

Podcast (1)
Podcast The World’s Strongest Librarian Josh Hanagarne (Gotham)

Reading Group Guide (13)
Reading Group Guide Life After Death Damien Echols (Plume)
Reading Group Guide And the Mountains Echoed Khaled Hosseini (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide Cascade Maryanne O’Hara (Penguin)
Reading Group Guide Help, Thanks, Wow Anne Lamott (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide God’s Hotel Victoria Sweet (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide When Captain Flint Was Still a Good Man Nick Dybek (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide The Memory of Love Linda Olsson (Penguin)
Reading Group Guide Appointment in Samarra John O’Hara – Author; Charles McGrath – Introduction by; Neil Gower – Jacket Illustrator (Penguin Classics)
Reading Group Guide A Sense of Direction Gideon Lewis-Kraus (Riverhead)
Reading Group Guide A Map of Tulsa Benjamin Lytal (Penguin)
Reading Group Guide Looking for Me Beth Hoffman (Pamela Dorman Books)
Reading Group Guide We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves Karen Joy Fowler (Marian Wood Books/Putnam)
Reading Group Guide The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls Anton DiSclafani (Riverhead)

Video (3)
Video  The 5th Wave Rick Yancey (Putnam Juvenile)
Video The Third Coast Thomas Dyja (The Penguin Press)
Video Blowback Valerie Plame & Sarah Lovett (Blue Rider Press)


trueThe number one question I get asked in interviews these days is “What is New Adult romance?”

The short answer is that it’s a romance that features a heroine between the ages of 18 and 25.

The long answer is that it fulfills not only the age gap between YA and adult romance, but it delves into the pivotal life choices that females make at this age without the presence of parents, and with friends and romantic relationships as the strongest influence.  It’s a time of great freedom and exposure to new people, but it always means new responsibilities and messy mistakes.  Wince-worthy mistakes.  Hey, they don’t call them beer goggles for no reason.

Personally, I find the intensity and the passion of that age awesome and fascinating.  I remember staying up all night at Denny’s talking about how we were going to change the world and attending protests against human trafficking and rallies for Green Peace.  I also remember choosing to go out for Backbeat Night at the club instead of studying for an exam and totally sleeping right through it the next morning.  Which would fall under the category of Poor Choice.  But the friends I made in college are still some of my best friends and I think I matured more in two years than in the previous six before that.

So I enjoyed revisiting those years in writing True, my first New Adult novel.  Rory is the silent observer at college, a pre-med student, the sidekick to her more vivacious roommates.  When they introduce her to Tyler, a charming bad boy with tattoos and a dysfunctional family, she finds his interest puzzling, but is willing to ignore the red flags in order to experience her first sexual experiences.  What she doesn’t expect to do is fall in love with him.  Tyler doesn’t either, and he realizes that he has made a huge mistake in involving Rory in his life, which includes a drug addicted mother and a father in prison.  Will logic win out over love?

I hope readers will have fun (and maybe cry) reading True and if you bump into my mother, let’s not mention to her that I skipped class because I was hungover, ‘kay?  Thanks. :)



mobydickName: Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Bunker Hill

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author: Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Why do you love this Penguin Classic?  I like it because it contains the meaning of life, it’s our American Bible.

What should I read next? Next read is Richard Henry Dana’s Two Years Before the Mast edited by the inimitable Thomas Philbrick.

BEA_Cover_2013-2The Penguin Book Truck was inspired by several things. Back in 2010 when we celebrated the 75th Anniversary of Penguin Books, we acquired and designed the Penguin Car, a Mini-Cooper, painted Penguin Orange, with our famous brand all over it. The car was a great hit, visiting some of our most prominent authors in their hometowns across the U.S., and hosting anniversary celebrations at their local bookstores. As I said, everyone loved the car, loved the use of our famous brand, but being that it was a small car, there wasn’t much room to hold books!

After that, we noticed a big increase in the presence of Food Trucks around the office, and throughout New York City. Some are quite big, all are brightly branded and of course they are mobile, eye-catching and visible. We thought, a truck, in the spirit of the prominent Food Trucks, or the idea of the retro Bookmobiles, would be a great way to promote our iconic brand and wonderful books by, as we like to say, “Bringing the writer to the reader”,

The final thing that inspired us was our colleagues in the UK. They had created a wonderfully designed and branded pushcart, to use for promotion and sales in London. We were inspired to do the same thing, but wondered “How would we deliver our U.S. version of the Penguin Pushcart to events?” This brought up the idea of going forward with the Penguin Book Truck, which had been on the back-burner for a while, as literally a vehicle (no pun intended) to store and deliver The Penguin Pushcart, and be a marketing and sales vehicle in itself.

Follow the Penguin Truck around the country, at

John Fagan is the Vice President & Director of Marketing at Penguin Books/Plume/Hudson Street Press and the Executive Director of Academic Marketing & Sales.


bleakhouseName: Donna Leon, author of Beastly Things

Favorite Penguin Classic Title/Author: My favorite at the moment is Dickens’ Bleak House, which I read as the grandfather of crime fiction.

Why do you love this Penguin Classic?  There’s a mysterious death (well, there’s more than one), a contested will, many people ruined by greed and deceit, people who pretend to be what they are not, a mad old woman, and a secret, illegitimate child.   The origin of all this pain is a series of events from decades in the past.

What should I read next?
Pride and Prejudice, which is apparently a frothy romance in which a feisty young woman finds true love with a very proper, and enormously wealthy, gentleman.  It is simultaneously a wickedly cool-eyed examination of parental irresponsibility at its worst as well as a presentation of human weakness and self-deceit.  Delicious book.

lola1Lola is my cat. As you can see from the pictures, she’s very into books. (OK there may have been catnip involved…) I didn’t grow up with pets, but a few years ago, I became a cat person when I adopted a beautiful 9 year old cat from the ASPCA. She was lovely and taught me almost everything I needed to know about cats. But she was diagnosed with cancer less than two years later and has since passed on.

I am fortunate that I have family members who live nearby. Admittedly, my grandmother is not very fond of animals, but being my grandmother, she listened to my blubbering and was sad about my cat’s death because I was sad about it. I didn’t think she could really help but then she did something unexpected: drawing on an inherently grandmotherish trait, she played cat matchmaker.

lola2Around the time I was grieving for my cat, a friend of my grandmother’s inherited a cat from a relative who had died of cancer. Now this woman was fond of cats, but didn’t really have time for a pet, and Lola had only lived with her relative for a year, so it wasn’t like she was a cherished family pet. But they still wanted to make sure Lola (who was simply called ‘Cat’ at the time) went to a good home. Lola was from a municipal shelter on Long Island and they knew if she went back there she might eventually be euthanized, if no one adopted her. So our two tragedies ended up creating an opportunity for me and ‘Cat’.

The Humane Society is a great organization because it advocates for animals on a national level. While the society doesn’t run shelters, those are run locally, it seeks make the public aware of the many animals that end up in shelters with nowhere else to go.

Lola_sleepingWe hope with Read Humane, you’ll read some great books, but also that when you think about getting a pet, you think first about going to a shelter rather than a breeder. We’ve loved sharing our pets with you on the blog this month. Click here to see a list of all our pets featured.

-Julie Schaeffer, Sr. Online Content Coordinator

Learn more about Read Humane