RoninI adopted Ronin two years ago after my cat of 14 years passed away.  I couldn’t have wished for a more amazing cat!  He makes me smile everyday and I am so grateful that we found him. I am pleased to see Penguin supporting the “adopt don’t shop” ideology with Read Humane.  There are so many wonderful animal companions (of all ages) that need good homes.


- Morgan Green, Assistant Manager Paperback Sales Administration

Learn more about Read Humane

someone_could_get_hurtI hit a car when I was going to visit my baby son in the hospital.  I was pulling into a gas station and there was a pump available just past this other car.  I wanted to get to my son as quickly as possible, so I arrogantly tried to sneak by the other car with my bigass minivan.  And I could see the Latina woman in her car screaming at me WHAT ARE YOU DOING?! as I edged forward, and I heard her shriek out in anger when I brushed against her front panel.

If you’ve ever been in a fender bender, you know how awkward it is, especially when it’s your fault.  I got out of the car and did the customary amateur inspection of the woman’s car, praying I’d find nothing.  But no, her shit was scratched up pretty good.

“Why did you do that?!” the woman screamed.

“Oh, God.  I am so, so sorry,” I said to her.

“How am I gonna pay for this?” she cried.  “I’ve had a really terrible week, and now this.  This is a loaner car because someone hit me last week, and I’m here illeg…” She cut herself off before she could say more.  She began sobbing heavily, with her sister trying to comfort her.  I wanted to crawl into a hole and die.

“I’m so sorry,” I said.  I said it over and over, as if it would do any good.  This woman was being crushed by life, and I was the cherry on her shit sundae.  I was the white asshole in the minivan swooping in to drive her to the brink of madness.

I tried to comfort her.  “I have a son in the hospital, and uh…” I trailed off.  My son, barely a week old, was on the verge of being operated on for a life-threatening condition, which you can read about in this book.  I guess I was trying to even up our suffering somehow, even though that was crude and pointless.

“I’m sorry about your son,” she said.

“No, no.  I hit you.  This is all my fault.”  I tried my best to let her know that I knew how it felt, that I knew about those moments when everything just piles and piles and piles on top of you until you feel ready to break, when you wonder why life is so intent on shitting all over you.  I gave her my insurance card, my full name, and my phone number, and I told her she could contact me at any time if she needed more information.  And then she drove off.  I felt like I had handled the situation responsibly… that I had somewhat atoned for my stupidity.

A mechanic who saw the whole exchange went up to me.

“Why didn’t you just give that woman some cash?”

I hadn’t even considered that.

“Should I have done that?” I asked him.  “I just gave her my insurance information.”

“Just give her a hundred bucks.  She doesn’t have any fucking insurance, man.”

And he was right.  I never heard from the woman again.  I don’t know what happened to her.  I don’t know if she went further into debt, or got deported, or any of that.  I wish I would bump into her again (not with my car!) so that I could hand her all the cash in my wallet, to make up for the time when I hit her right at a moment where I cared about my son’s life and no one else’s.  I wasn’t the only one in rough shape that day.  Your suffering is never unique to the world, and I wish I had remembered that.

Today marks the publication of Dan Brown’s newest thriller, Inferno, which reunites readers with Robert Langdon of The DaVinci Code fame. If you enjoy books that mix together secrets, suspense and adventure, then check out these great titles.

angelopolis city_of_dark_magic strindbergs_star






zero_hour shadow_of_night devils_elixer







babylon_rite cassandra_project of_saints






And the book that inspired Dan Brown’s Inferno, Dante’s Inferno







Posted by: John Mercun, Consumer Engagement Manager

cheesedoodle readhumanebooks marianne and cheesedoodle

There’s no greater love like the love of an adopted pet. I found my forever friend in Cheese Doodle!

Change your life and help save theirs. Adopt a rescued cat or dog today.

I’m so thankful for Penguin’s continued support to fight against animal cruelty and its donation to The Humane Society.

Please join this cause and pick up a Read Humane book at your nearest retailer.

- Marianne Pappas, Assistant Manager, Distributor Sales

Learn more about Read Humane

Are you on the hunt for the perfect last minute present for your mom? What I Love About You, Mom is the ultimate DIY keepsake and makes for a superbly unique and heartfelt gift.

What I Love About You, Mom

What I Love About You, Mom is a journal with writing prompts to guide you in celebrating what’s special about your mom, and recounting, in your own words, some of your fondest memories. This book may be just what you need to find the right words to say what you’ve always wanted to say on Mother’s Day!

In anticipation of the big day, we asked Penguin staffers to use some of the prompts to write their own loving notes in appreciation of mom. Here are a few.



Happy Mother’s Day!

Posted by: Christina Marie Castro, Senior Coordinator – Consumer Engagement and Social Media

shells and me shells belly

I have a soft spot for rescuing adult cats: while everyone coos over adoptable kittens, I’m the one leaning down to pet the cranky, elderly cat alone in its cage. You know, the one rolling its eyes and decisively NOT batting at any proffered string or mouse. This is how I found Ms. Shells: on a ferociously hot summer day in Brooklyn, walking down Smith Street, I saw an enormous adult tabby looking sad and alone in a Rescue Animal cage display. When I learned this gorgeous girl was scheduled to be killed the following day because no one wanted to adopt an adult cat—despite her being in perfect health—my stomach lurched and I knew I would be taking her home.

Like any new adult relationship, Ms. Shells came with a lot of baggage from her past: intimacy issues, a severe biting problem, and a penchant for urinating in purses. But who amongst us hasn’t been there? It was nothing that time, love, and a $300 cat psychotherapist couldn’t solve. Years later, my plump and beautiful tabby is a well-adjusted cat who loves feather toys, tuna, chatty conversations, and showing off her enormous white belly while she naps.

My love of animals and vegetarianism is one of many reasons I am proud to work at Penguin Books, which for the second year now is donating a large sum to The Humane Society through their Read Humane program, in support of the thousands of animals that depend on humans for kindness, food and shelter. Thanks for reading about me and Shells and I hope you will support this terrific Read Humane program!

- Jynne Dilling Martin, Director of Publicity, Riverhead Books

Learn more about Read Humane

standingbyFour years ago, in the spring of 2009, the Iraq War was at its height.  American soldiers and sailors overseas made headlines every day, but military spouses –holding down the home front during an era of deployments that set records for length and frequency — were rarely heard from.  But all of that was about to change.

Soon after President Obama was elected for the first time, he issued a proclamation marking the Friday before Mother’s Day “Military Spouse Appreciation Day.”  (President Ronald Reagan started the tradition, but it faded into obscurity with following administrations.)  Around the same time, there were rumors that the new First Lady would focus her efforts on improving the situation of military families.  Few could have predicted then that Mrs. Obama’s devotion to this cause would help transform military spouses’ lives, leading not just to an increased public awareness of these families’ sacrifices, but to much-needed changes in military spouses’ career licensing requirements, school testing standards for service members’ kids, and veterans’ hiring initiatives.

As a Navy wife raising two small children alone while my husband flew jets in the war, I was encouraged, back in 2009, that Americans seemed to be interested in the fate of the families left behind.  As a writer, I was intrigued by the possibilities of Mrs. Obama’s advocacy because I had been studying First Lady Martha Washington’s successful efforts to engage the non-military public in the troops’ welfare during the Revolutionary War.  In my book, Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War, I included stories of Martha Washington’s actions as a military spouse because before she was the first First Lady, she was equally well known as the General’s wife.

In this role, Martha enjoyed a privileged position, but according to letters and accounts of the period, she never put on airs. She spent her time with the other officers’ wives as they knitted socks, patched garments, sewed shirts for destitute soldiers, provided medical aid, comforted the dying men, and took widows under their wing. Leveraging her high-level contacts in the civilian community, Martha collected cash donated by upper-class women who supported the Revolutionary cause (“the offering of the Ladies”), and used it to purchase linen to make more than two thousand shirts for soldiers. Without knowing that the implications of her actions would resonate for hundreds of years, Martha created the prototype of the military wife.  She referred to herself as “steady as a clock, busy as a bee, and cheerful as a cricket.”

My own story couldn’t have been more different. I was a most unlikely military spouse: some of my first memories are of being pushed in my stroller in antiwar rallies throughout Madison, Wisconsin, in 1970, when my parents were students there.  Because I had grown up with no first-hand knowledge of the military or anyone in it, I imbibed all of the stereotypes about servicemembers.  They were robots who only followed orders; high-school graduates with few opportunities; good ‘ol boys whose daddies and granddaddies set the tradition of service in stone.  Their wives were white-gloved ladies who lunched, gossiped, and raised cookie-cutter children.

After I married my husband and lived in a series of military communities, I saw nothing that resembled those crude sketches.  The military spouses I came to know and write about in Standing By taught me about courage, motivation, and endurance.  They showed me what loyalty and honesty mean, and they demonstrated how friends can become closer than family.  So on this Military Spouse Appreciation Day, I remember Martha, and those of us who try, deployment after deployment, to learn from her example – even if we’ll never be steady as a clock, or cheerful as a cricket.




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I grew up with parents who couldn’t help but bring home any lost or abandoned pet until a proper home could be found. The ideas behind Read Humane have always been a part of my life.  Nearly five years ago, I went to a local shelter in Manhattan to donate some old towels and fell in love—with a two year old Pomeranian.  Lucky has been with me ever since and it’s an experience that has truly changed my life for the better.  He’s a character and I love how strangers on the street can’t help but smile when they meet him.  I could go on and on about the benefits of adopting a pet, but in short I wouldn’t trade my shelter-pup for anything and I am glad that Penguin supports the Humane Society’s work.

- Jodi Rosoff, Associate Director, Marketing & Publicity

Learn more about Read Humane

Audio Excerpt (5)
Audio Excerpt Cooked Michael Pollan (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt The Other Typist Suzanne Rindell (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt Silken Prey John Sandford (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt The Black Country Alex Grecian (Penguin Audio)
Audio Excerpt Eleven Rings  Phil Jackson (Penguin Audio)

Excerpt (11)
Excerpt Down London Road Samantha Young (NAL)
Excerpt Bronze Gods A. A. Aguirre (Ace)
Excerpt Alien in the House Gini Koch (DAW)
Excerpt A Dog Walks into a Nursing Home  Sue Halpern (Riverhead)
Excerpt Lizz Free or Die Lizz Winstead (Riverhead)
Excerpt Dead Ever After Charlaine Harris (Ace)
Excerpt A Delicate Truth John le Carré (Viking Adult)
Excerpt The Black Country Alex Grecian (Putnam Adult)
Excerpt Generation V M.L. Brennan (Roc)
Excerp Whisper’s Edge LuAnn McLane (Signet)
Excerpt Someone Could Get Hurt Drew Magary (Gotham)

Q&A (1)
Q&A Someone Could Get Hurt Drew Magary (Gotham)

Reading Group Guide (1)
Reading Group Guide  Looking for Me Beth Hoffman (Pamela Dorman Books)

Video (5)
Video Cooked Michael Pollan (The Penguin Press)
Video A Delicate Truth John le Carré (Viking Adult)
Video The Cool Impossible Eric Orton(NAL)
VideoThe Pocket Scavenger Keri Smith (Perigee)
Video The Book of Woe Gary Greenberg (Blue Rider Press)


Posted by: Lindsay Jacobsen, Online Content Coordinator

glutenI think life is filled with pivotal moments. The good moments, the bad moments, the painful and the surprising ones build the story that is my life and yours. As an author, I use these moments- good and bad, real and made up to create stories that entertain the reader. My own experiences include living in Kansas, having a huge family and living with a gluten allergy helped me create Oiltop and the people who inhabit it. Toni Holmes is a reflection of me. Her Celiac disease is worse than mine. My goal in creating this series is to help people understand that gluten-free living is not a fad for strange health nuts. Celiac was first diagnosed in the 2nd century Greek texts and reintroduced in the 1800’s when a text diagnosing the illness was translated. It’s estimated that 1 in every 100 people in the US has some form of this disease.

The question was how do you make a disease interesting and even entertaining? My answer is by viewing it as part of the human condition. Toni Holmes does not see herself as a victim or anyone out of the ordinary. In fact, it is the strange and often hilarious “regular” folks in the book that allow Toni to be the “straight man” in the comedy sketch.

When I was introduced at Left Coast Crime Conference this Spring I mentioned that I offer gluten-free recipes. A person in line stopped, looked at me, and said, “Thank you.”

The best part is that in the Baker’s Treat Mystery Series, you don’t have to be gluten-free to enjoy the antics of Toni’s Grandma Ruth and the craziness of a Midwestern small town. In fact, all the recipes can be retranslated with wheat flour and used by all.

The joy of writing this series, which starts with Gluten For Punishment, is—in my view—the joy of writing about the painful, humorous, optimistic human condition. Gluten-free or not, everyone has a family member who makes them cringe, a community which they are a part of and yet in which they feel out of place sometimes, and life goals that often take us places-good and bad- that we never imagined.

I hope you enjoy reading these books as much as I enjoy writing them.

Cheers, Nancy