1. Bath Time is Awesome. 

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From the early days of washing them in the sink (or bucket or whatever other vessel is at hand) to experiencing their joyous splashing in the tub, nothing is more fun than bath time, and nothing in the world smells more heavenly than a freshly clean baby.  Even the parts after bath are awesome—wrapping them up in a cuddly towel like a big burrito, smelling their hair as you comb through it, and getting those adorably cute pajamas on for bedtime are all sensory gold.  In fact, the only time bath time is not awesome is when it’s been 2 hours and the kid still doesn’t want to get out of the tub.

 

2.  The only thing routine about bedtime routine is that it’s never routine. 2

Bedtime is an emotional roller coaster.  The first 15-20 minutes, when you’re tucking in, cuddling, reading stories, singing silly songs, are everything that is good about being a parent.  But beware—these calm moments will lull you into a false sense of security, multiplying your pain a thousand fold for the next one to three hours while your demon spawn is suddenly “NOT TIRED!” and demanding treats, water, 75 more stories—basically anything to keep them from getting the sleep you know they so desperately need.

 

3. Privacy is a thing of the past. 3

Curiosity and a complete lack of any sort of sense of boundaries means that you are going to be seeing a LOT more of your toddler (and vice versa) than you probably ever anticipated.

 

4.  The house will get trashed and your favorite things will be destroyed. 4

And this is ok.  Material possessions become less important when compared to the sheer joy of watching your child develop, and a great anecdote is always more valuable than a new coat of paint.

 

5. Tea parties can actually be fun. 5

As can Legos, fire trucks, dollhouses, digging for worms, and eating imaginary food for the millionth time. Once you’ve come to terms with the fact that your opponent is ALWAYS going to cheat at Chutes n Ladders or that the tea party you’re currently attending is going to keep you from checking your email for the next 3 hours, it’s fun to just let go and enjoy these moments that will all too soon be nothing more than fond memories.

confessions

 

Dave Engledow is the author of Confessions of the World’s Best Father, a hilarious pictorial parody of a clueless father and his adorable daughter.

Happy Fathers Day!


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Welcome to Penguin This is my desk.

Welcome to 375 Hudson Street!

With the warm weather approaching, things are getting busier and busier here as we gear up for our summer season. Next week Penguin heads to Book Expo America (BEA), the industry book and author conference in New York City, which we are all very excited for. (Stop by the Penguin Booth and say hi if you are attending this year!) We have a lot of great authors going and it should be a lot of fun—look for our BEA wrap-up post coming soon where Amy, Lindsay, and I will all share our BEA 2014 photos and stories!

There is always something going on in our offices and this week (for me at least) it has been a busy one, but let’s focus on the fun bits from the last few days!

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This Wednesday, the Penguin Twitter Book Club held its second May #ReadPenguin chat with Jolie Kerr, author of My Boyfriend Barfed in My Handbag…And Other Things You Can’t Tell Martha—my favorite question from the chat was “How do you clean a lasagna spill off the street?” If you are not already joining our Book Club chats you should, because we get to talk about fun things like lasagna (and books too, of course!) Next month we are chatting with Yours for Eternity authors Damien Echols and Lorri Davis.

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Beartiz Williams signing her new book THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT

 

On Thursday, New York Times bestselling A Hundred Summers author Beatriz Williams stopped by to say hello and sign copies of her new book The Secret Life of Violet Grant, which comes out next week on Tuesday, May 27th and which I am very excited to read. Amy and I went up to say hello and grab a picture. See you next week at BEA, Beatriz!

Today, Friday, we have a half-day to kick off Memorial Day weekend.

Just your typical week at the office…and now I am off to sunny (fingers crossed) Long Island to sit outside and enjoy the weekend. What are your Memorial Day plans?

Until next time,

Shelby


Fantasy Life, Matthew BerryThis holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

When Pride Still Mattered: A Life of Vince Lombardi, by David Maraniss

“It’s not whether you get knocked down, it’s whether you get up.” I’ve been knocked down a lot in my life, and Vince’s famous quote always reminded me to keep going. He’s become a legend, but this book shows that he was very much a man, full of doubts and flaws but also determination and greatness.

The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, by Bill Simmons

Bill’s a good friend of mine, so I’m biased, but I promise you, this is a great book. Bill has an encyclopedic mind when it comes to basketball, and it’s not just hilarious, but the passion oozes out of every page.

Read an Excerpt »

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, by Michael Lewis

Fantasy sports is all about statistics. And no one’s made statistics as interesting as Michael Lewis. He tells the stories behind the stats. It’s not a numbers book; it’s a book about the people who use those numbers.

Friday Night Lights: A Town, A Team, and a Dream, by H.G. Bissinger

Growing up in Texas, I saw firsthand how crazy high school football can be. Here, Buzz Bissinger follows a high school team in small-town Texas for one season, and it’s amazing. You feel like you’re living in Odessa, Texas. And oh yeah, the movie and the TV show are great, too.

The Myron Bolitar series, by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is my favorite writer, and anything he writes is a stop what I am doing and read it for the next two days straight kind of deal.  Impossible to put down.  I discovered him through his Myron Bolitar series.  Myron’s a sports agent and that’s the window Coben uses to let us into a captivating world where lines are crossed, secrets are kept, and there are no lengths people won’t go for their families.  Always featuring Wyn, Myron psychopathic best friend and the best sidekick in the world of mysteries, a new Myron Bolitar book is serious business.

The Games That Changed the Game: The Evolution of the NFL in Seven Sundays, by Ron Jaworski

I’ve learned so much from Jaws in my time at ESPN, and this book shows you how football has evolved into the sport we all love today. No one knows more about football than Jaws.

Read an Excerpt »

Semi-Tough, by Dan Jenkins

Going a little old school here, but growing up in Texas, I loved Dan Jenkins books and frankly, any one of them would do for this list. If you like your sports, your characters, and your women with attitude, Dan Jenkins is for you.  Perfectly captures the atmosphere around, be it pro football or just Texas.

The Dixie Association, by Donald Hays

A send up of the crazy, sometimes hypocritical South set against the backdrop of minor league baseball, I must have read this book a billion times when it came out.  The redemption of a man is at the center of a hilarious and poignant book that has a lot to say while still being ridiculously entertaining.  Love, hope, friendship, and second chances are at the center of one of the all-time great baseball books. If you like baseball, you’ll love this book.

Rotisserie League Baseball, by Glen Waggoner and Daniel Okrent

The original Rotisserie League Baseball Book isn’t a typical book, so fine, I’m cheating a little, but the importance of this book cannot be overstated.  Introducing a brand new game that was very stat heavy is no easy task, but these guys made it all seem so fun.  The spirit and joy that comes from playing fantasy baseball leaps off the page and you not only quickly understand the concept, you can’t wait to find 9 other people to start a league with.  If this book had been dry at all, it fails.  Instead, it spawned a multi-billion dollar industry.

Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN, by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales

Quite simply, I wish I had read this book before I started working for ESPN.  I’d have had so much more knowledge about where I was coming to work and the inner working of a truly remarkable company.  If you’re at all fascinated how a small town in middle Connecticut became the World Wide Leader in Sports, this book is for you. This oral history tells the funny, the insane, the uplifting, and the controversial moments that went into building the most recognizable brand in sports media today.


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

Liane Moriarty is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the reading group hit, What Alice Forgot, as well as The Hypnotist’s Love Story, Three Wishes, The Last Anniversary, and the Nicola Berry series for children. Liane lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children.

Life After Life, by Kate Atkinson

I had such a sense of movement when I was reading this book, it was as though the author was spinning me round and round, leaving me laughing, dizzy, breathless and exhilarated. I didn’t quite get the ending, but that’s just because I was so dizzy (and also I read it too fast and greedily). It would be a wonderful book club choice because everyone could argue over the ending, and perhaps someone could e-mail me and explain it.

Light Between Oceans, by M. L. Stedman

I shouldn’t really suggest this one because it’s already been such a huge book club hit, you’ve probably already read it and loved it. But if you haven’t, you should. Beautifully written and such a moral conundrum to get everyone all worked up.

We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, by Karen Joy Fowler

This is a wonderful, original story about an unforgettable family. I laughed and cried the whole way through. Lots of interesting ethical issues for your book club to discuss.

Read an Excerpt »
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A Corner of White: Book 1 of The Colors of Madeleine, by Jaclyn Moriarty

Every now and then someone in your book club selects a book that is unlike anything you’ve read before, and you’re so grateful to them for choosing it. If you’d like to be that person, choose A Corner of White. It’s the first in an extraordinary three-book fantasy series that takes you on an incredible journey between Cambridge, England, and the Kingdom of Cello. (It was written by the award-winning YA writer Jaclyn Moriarty, who happens to be my sister.)

The Dog Stars, by Peter Heller

This is an amazing postapocalyptic adventure novel. It was so good, I even forgave the author for not putting his dialogue in quotation marks. The writing style is very different, and you can all argue over whether this worked for you or not. The correct answer is that it did work and if someone didn’t like it, you should be really mad at them and forget to refill their wineglass.

Read an Excerpt »
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Big Brother, by Lionel Shriver

I adored this book, but if you look at the Amazon reviews you’ll see that it’s one of those books that people love or hate, and that’s perfect for book clubs, because you’ll have such a heated, interrupting-each-other debate. I can already anticipate what some of your members will say, and I understand but I disagree, and I would love to tell you why but then I would give away an important element of the book. Serve a big chocolate cake.


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

Guillermo del Toro is a Mexican director, producer, screenwriter, novelist, and designer. He both cofounded the Guadalajara International Film Festival and formed his own production company—the Tequila Gang. However, he is most recognized for his Academy Award-winning film, Pan’s Labyrinth, and the Hellboy film franchise. He has received Nebula and Hugo awards, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award, and is an avid collector and student of arcane memorabilia and weird fiction.

The Case Against Satan, by Ray Russell (to come in 2014/2015)

The Vampire Tapestry, by Suzy McKee Charnas

The Terror, by Dan Simmons

Blue World, by Robert McCammon

The Damnation Game, by Clive Barker

Dark Feasts, by Ramsey Campbell

Ancient Sorceries and Other Weird Stories, by Algernon Blackwood

View the table of contents »

The Monk, by Matthew G. Lewis

Read an excerpt »

Ghost Stories of an Antiquary, by M. R. James

Uncle Silas, by Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu

The White People by Arthur Machen

Read an excerpt »

View the table of contents »

The House on the Borderland, by William Hope Hodgson

Pet Sematary, by Stephen King

I Am Legend, by Richard Matheson

The King in the Golden Mask, by Marcel Schwob


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author for both her Sookie Stackhouse fantasy/mystery series and her Harper Connelly Prime Crime mystery series. She has lived in the South her entire life.

I am particularly smitten with a novel when I think the writer has raised the bar on world-building. Luckily, I read several books this year that were really amazing in that respect; books that transported me to another place where the rules are different.

Written in Red by Anne Bishop was fascinating from start to finish. In her world, humans and “others” do interact — but very, very, carefully. Her heroine, caught in the middle and running from trouble, is totally engaging. Benedict Jacka’s Chosen, a continuation of the adventures of mage Alex Verus, exposes the lead character (warts and all) in a milieu where magic is hidden in plain view and survival is never a given.

I’m still thinking about E.E. Knight’s Appalachian Overthrow, the latest entry in the really superior Vampire Earth series. Overthrow has a different protagonist, a Golden One, but his part of the revolution trying to reclaim America is just as compelling as Knight’s usual human protagonist, David Valentine. I’m not an enthusiast over military science fiction, but these books are enthralling.

Ben Aaronovitch’s Broken Homes is part of his modern London series about a policeman who finds he has magic powers. Every book in this series is a winner, and Broken Homes is no exception. The only “magic” in Leigh Perry’s A Skeleton in the Family is that Perry’s protagonist, an adjunct professor named Georgia Thackeray, has a best friend named Sid . . . who is a skeleton who can walk and talk. It’s delightful, and I found Sid as credible a character as the humans around him.

Read an excerpt from Written in Red, by Anne Bishop »

Read an excerpt from Appalachian Overthrow, by E.E. Knight »


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

My first three recommendations for the holiday gift-giving season are, oddly enough, all sequels to earlier novels.  John Grisham, in Sycamore Row, Stephen King, in Doctor Sleep, and Scott Turow in Innocent have elected to pick up narratives from A Time to Kill, The Shining, and Presumed Innocent, respectively.  Since the span of years between these novels is substantial, it’s been fascinating to watch how each handles the passing of time.  For avid fans, it would be interesting to pair the new novel with the original.

The Husband’s Secret, by Liane Moriarty 

This novel would more rightly be classified as psychological suspense, beautifully rendered, with a structure that sustains and builds interest from beginning to end.

Read an excerpt »

Storm Front, by John Sandford 

I’ve become a recent convert to the Virgil Flowers series by this always entertaining author.  Flowers is the kind of low-key hero I look forward to following with each new installment.

Read an excerpt »

The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton 

While this novel was published in 2011, the tone and subject matter are still fresh and original today.

The Innocent, by David Baldacci

Will Robie, though a professional hit man, is someone whose perilous adventures I look forward to following from novel to novel.


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert Elizabeth Gilbert began her writing journey with two acclaimed works of fiction—the short story collection Pilgrims and the novel Stern Men. Both were New York Times Notable Books. Her nonfiction work, The Last American Man, was a finalist for the National Book Award. Her two memoirs (Eat, Pray, Love and Committed) were both number one New York Times bestsellers. In 2008, Time magazine named her one of the one hundred most influential people in the world. Her journalism has been published in Harper’s Bazaar, Spin, and The New York Times Magazine, and her stories have appeared in Esquire, Story, and the Paris Review.

Want Not, by Jonathan Miles

Every generation or so an American novel appears that holds up a mirror to our lives and shows us exactly who we are right at this moment. Want Not is that book right now — a searing but compassionate look at modern Americans and their STUFF. A book about garbage and consumption and accumulation and disposal…but most of all about humanity. Simply put, the best book of the year.

Wolf Hall, by Hilary Mantel

They didn’t give her the Booker Prize for nothing, guys. The best contemporary novel about the 16th century you’ll ever read, with the most powerful and muscular antihero (Thomas Cromwell) of recent memory.

Night Film, by Marisha Pessl

I’ve been an admirer of Pessl’s since her splendid debut, Special Topics in Calamity Physics and her latest novel rocked my world — a bold, dark, complex, universe of fear and art and obsession.

The Art of Fielding, by Chad Harbach

This is a novel I’ve purchased for several members of my family, and those copies have been lovingly passed around. A novel about baseball (but not really about baseball), it has been enjoyed by everyone from my serious seventeen year old nephew to my nostalgic seventy-two year old dad.

Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë

To my shame, I realized this year that I’d never read this classic. I THOUGHT I had read it, but I think I’d just semi-absorbed it thorough osmosis over the decades. But now I have read it, and it dazzles. It is also, with all apologies to contemporary erotica, the frankly sexiest (even kinkiest) bit of writing around.

 

 


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.
Stitches: A Handbook on Meaning, Hope and Repair, Anne Lamott

Anne Lamott is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Help, Thanks, Wow; Some Assembly Required; Grace (Eventually); Plan B; and Traveling Mercies, as well as several novels, including Imperfect Birds and Rosie. A past recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and an inductee to the California Hall of Fame, she lives in Northern California.

Tattoos on the Heart, by Father Greg Boyle

Gorgeous memoir of a priest who works with ex-gang members in LA.

Stations of the Heart, by Richard Lischer

Brilliant, sad, illuminating story of a deeply spiritual father losing his grown son while the son and wife are expecting.

Read an excerpt »

Half Baked, by Alexa Stevenson

The funniest, most wonderful memoir of a woman and her preemie in the Pediatric ICU.

What I Thought I Knew, by Alice Eve Cohen

View the Reading Group Guide »

Another lovely, laugh-out-loud story of a woman with an incredibly challenging birth.

After Mandela, by Douglas Foster

The best book on South Africa after the revolution in years. The subtitle is “The Search for Freedom in Post-Apartheid South Africa.”

Me Before You, by Jojo Moyes

A very funny and harrowing novel about a young woman who becomes a caregiver for a handsome quadriplegic man.

Read an Excerpt »
View the Reading Group Guide »
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Is This Tomorrow, by Caroline Leavitt

I enjoy everything she writes. This is right up there with her Pictures of You.

The Wrong Dog Dream, by Jane Vandenburgh

A love story by the great novelist and memorist about her cherished husband and dog.

What’s the Matter with White People, by Joan Walsh

Brilliant commentary on how and why the US has ended up in such political misery.

Gypsy Boy, by Mikey Walsh

An exciting voice from England, Walsh writes a boy about growing up in a violent gypsy family and discovering he is gay.


This holiday season, our Penguin authors can help you find the best book for everyone on your list.

View more holiday recommendations on the Random House Tumblr.

Daniel James Brown is the author of two previous nonfiction books, The Indifferent Stars Above and Under a Flaming Sky. He lives outside of Seattle.

The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century, by David Laskin

For me, the best kind of history is personal—history that speaks from the heart and to the heart. That’s what Laskin offers up here as he traces three strands of one family’s epic sojourn through some of the most momentous events of the twentieth century.

Read an excerpt »

Lost in Shangri-La: A True Story of Survival, Adventure, and the Most Incredible Rescue Mission of World War II, by Mitchell Zuckoff

I like to be transported by history—taken to a different time and a different place, preferably someplace thoroughly exotic and utterly unfamiliar to me. What could fit the bill better than being dropped into the jungles of central New Guinea in the middle of World War Two?

Season of the Witch: Enchantment, Terror, and Deliverance in the City of Love, by David Talbot

It seems strange to have so many events that I lived through myself growing up in the Bay Area called history, but this is an accurate and compelling social history of San Francisco during those giddy and sometimes nightmarish years between 1967 and 1987 when flower children and mayhem came to visit Baghdad by the Bay.

Lords of the Sea: The Epic Story of the Athenian Navy and the Birth of Democracy, by John R. Hale

Hale masterfully immerses his readers in a subject that could easily be as dusty and dry as an ancient tomb. Instead he brings vividly to life the entirely understandable trials and tribulations of citizens much like ourselves, who just happened to live and die in ancient Athens and invent democracy while they were at it.

Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption, by Laura Hillenbrand

Read an excerpt  »

No one is better at unfolding a great, sweeping historical narrative than Laura Hillenbrand. I was mesmerized by this tale of extraordinary courage under the most trying circumstance imaginable followed by ultimate salvation.

The Bounty: The True Story of the Mutiny on the Bounty, by Caroline Alexander

This book is nearly ten years old now, but I still have huge admiration for it. It is one of the rare works of history that is both thoroughly scholarly and at the same time a true page-turner. And if you think you know the full story of Captain Bligh, Fletcher Christian and the mutiny from the silver screen, it will hold some surprises for you.

Read an Excerpt »
View the Table of Contents »