FullSizeRenderKellie Schirmer is Director of Trade Production for The Berkley Publishing Group. Originally from Western NY, she now resides in Bergen County, NJ. When not making books…or reading books… she enjoys genealogy, baking, and travel.


9780141392462The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Originally published in 1844-1845, The Count of Monte Cristo revolves around a young man named Edmund Dantes, whose future is bright. He’s just been promoted and is soon to be married to a beautiful woman, but on the very day of his wedding, he’s accused of a crime he did not commit and is taken away….for a loooong time. Unbeknownst to him, three of his acquaintances, each jealous of him for different reasons, had banded together and plotted against him.

This book is often described as “the ultimate revenge story” and that may be true…the core of the story revolves around Dantes, his transformation into the “Count of Monte Cristo” and how he goes about punishing those who wronged him…but in my opinion, it’s also a story of adventure, friendship, envy, jealousy, love (and love lost), death, loyalty and deceit. Whew!

There are many versions of this book floating around, but if you are interested in a great read I’m recommending you pick up the Penguin Classics Unabridged edition, translated (and with notes and intro) by Robin Buss. The translation is excellent — the 200+ year old story reads as though it was written in present day – and the notes section is exhaustive, which saved me a lot of Googling!)

 Start Reading an excerpt!

9781101075821 2Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner

“What do you mean, ‘Angle of Repose?’ she asked me when I dreamed we were talking about Grandmother’s life, and I said it was the angle at which a man or woman finally lies down. I suppose it is; and yet … I thought when I began, and still think, that there was another angle in all those years when she was growing old and older and very old, and Grandfather was matching her year for year, a separate line that did not intersect with hers. They were vertical people, they lived by pride, and it is only by the ocular illusion of perspective that they can be said to have met. But he had not been dead two months when she lay down and died too, and that may indicate that at that absolute vanishing point they did intersect. They had intersected for years, for more than he especially would ever admit.”

Published in 1971 and awarded the Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction in 1972, Angle Of Repose may be one the most beautifully written stories I’ve ever read. The story’s narrator is Lyman Ward, a former history professor who was forced to retire due to health issues. He moves into his deceased grandparents’ home and begins organizing their personal effects. As he reads through his grandmother’s correspondence, he reflects on his own life and marriage while imagining his grandparents life living in various mining towns in the west at a time when the land was still wild and untamed.

Start Reading an excerpt!

9780142437254 2On the Road by Jack Kerouac

It took me a long time to pick up On the Road but once I did, I was diggin’ it! There has been so much written about this book, there’s probably nothing more I can add that hasn’t already been said, so I’ll let Kerouac speak for himself. The plot is a simple one….the adventures of two guys criss-crossing the country….but it’s the way the story is told….the frenetic pace….that keeps you turning the page:

“Sal, we gotta go and never stop going ’till we get there.’

‘Where we going, man?’

‘I don’t know but we gotta go.”

“I woke up as the sun was reddening; and that was the one distinct time in my life, the strangest moment of all, when I didn’t know who I was – I was far away from home, haunted and tired with travel, in a cheap hotel room I’d never seen, hearing the hiss of steam outside, and the creak of the old wood of the hotel, and footsteps upstairs, and all the sad sounds, and I looked at the cracked high ceiling and really didn’t know who I was for about fifteen strange seconds. I wasn’t scared; I was just somebody else, some stranger, and my whole life was a haunted life, the life of a ghost.”

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.”

Start Reading an excerpt!

The Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution and The Federalist Papers

9780143121961 2I’ve always been interested in the historical, but the last few years I find myself interested in the Founding Fathers and the early years of our country. I’ve been reading Ron Chernow’s bio of George Washington, and waiting patiently for the new season of AMC’s Turn.

9780143121978 2I had  been wanting to read The Federalist Papers (which are a series of essays written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay, making the case for the Constitution) but  I found them a bit daunting. So when I came across these two volumes the other day, I was very excited. Both are annotated by Professor Richard Beeman, who provides context and notes making the text easy to digest. If you have even a passing interest, I would recommend  you check these out. You will be pleasantly surprised.

Start Reading an excerpt!


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At BEA I sat down with Liane Moriarty, author of the newly released Big Little Lies. Liane is also the author of the #1 New York Times bestsellers, The Husband’s Secret and What Alice Forgot. She lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and two small, noisy children.



How did you get started as an author?
About ten years ago, I got a phone call that would change my life. It was my sister calling to tell me that her YA novel, Feeling Sorry For Celia, had been accepted for publication. My sister and I had always wanted to be authors. When we were children, our Dad would commission us to write novels for him. At the time of my sister’s phone call, I was working as a freelance advertising copywriter, writing everything from websites to TV commercials. Although I occasionally wrote short stories and first chapters of novels that didn’t go any further, I’d let my childhood dream slide. My sister’s news was the inspiration I needed to get me back to the keyboard.  In a fever of sibling rivalry I wrote a children’s book which was enthusiastically rejected by every publisher in Australia. I calmed down, and two years later, my first novel, Three Wishes was published around the world.

Do you have a sibling rivalry continuing on, now that you’re successful as well?
No, now we’re both published writers (as is my younger sister) we’re all just happy for each other. Although we do become quite competitive about material. For example, when one sister uses an old family story.

All writing materials aside, what material items in life could you not live without?
Well I couldn’t live without one cup of coffee a day, and without books – does that go without saying (laughs). And chocolate and champagne. Is that enough? And if I had all those things together then I wouldn’t need anything else.

How do you get into the writing mood? Do you have a particular place you like to write, do you listen to special music?
I have two small children so I only have a very limited time to write, so I don’t really have the luxury anymore of ‘getting into the writing mood.’ I just have to sit down and write.

Would you say that would be your top writing advice for aspiring writers, just sit down and write?
Yes, you can spend too much time asking questions about writing and wondering about writing and thinking about writing. In the end you just have to write.

If you were going to pick any country in the world or any city to live in which one would it be? (If you couldn’t live in Sydney.)
I’d live in a mountaintop castle near my family and the beach, where I could ski from my castle door and have a swim before breakfast at the beach. It’s a fantasy question so I’m allowed a fantasy answer!

What skills or talents do you admire most in other people?
I admire all those skills and talents I lack – the  ability to sing, to act, to sew, to speak other languages fluently, to cook gourmet meal without making a mess etcetera, etcetera!

Your books focus a lot around personal relationships and family dynamics. Do you find a lot of your personal life transitioning and spilling over into your writing, or do you like to keep the two separate?
Little bits and pieces of my personal life certainly seep into my writing. And that’s why I find that my characters are getting older as I get older, they’re aging along with me. So I’m sure one day I’ll be writing a book set in a retirement village.

If you were to describe why you think reading is important in one sentence, what would you say?
Reading is important because its one of life’s greatest pleasures. However, I also think that if its not a pleasure for you, that’s OK. For some people life’s greatest pleasure is music or art or scuba diving. I just think its important to find time for what makes you happy.

What are your other hobbies or pleasures?
I love snow skiing and bushwalking, and spending time with my children.

What is your favorite place in the U.S. that you’ve visited? Have you done much travel in the US?
I had a skiing holiday in Aspen once, many years ago, and loved it.



Sometimes it’s the little lies that turn out to be the most lethal.

A murder…a tragic accident…or just parents behaving badly

What’s indisputable is that someone is dead.

But who did what?

Big Little Lies follows three women, each at a crossroads. This is a brilliant take on ex-husbands and second wives, mothers and daughters, schoolyard scandal, and the dangerous little lies we tell ourselves just to survive.


John Mercun works as the Consumer Engagement Manager for Penguin Random House’s Consumer Marketing Group and is known as “the funniest guy in the office”, mainly because no one else is editing this bio.  In his spare time, John is a police dispatcher, volunteer EMT, fantasy football fanatic and, when time permits, an avid reader.





Taken, by Robert Crais

One of the great pleasures of working in publishing is being able to watch an author get more and more popular every year that they publish.  This is no truer than in the case of Robert Crais, who has made a name for himself as a terrific mystery writer.  Elvis Cole is easily one of my favorite literary characters, mainly because he always has a glib comment in the best or worst of times. Partnered with the strong but silent Joe Pike, together they take on a missing persons case that puts both of them up against more than they bargained for.




Cold Dish

The Cold Dish, by Craig Johnson

If you’ve never seen A&E’s hit show LONGMIRE, you should first pick up The Cold Dish, the first novel in the series. We meet Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire for the first time as he is looking back on twenty-five years as sheriff and hoping to finish his tenure in peace.  When a high school boy is found dead, however, Walt’s hopes for a quiet finish to his career are dashed. Capturing the American West with great feel and authenticity, author Craig Johnson gives readers a mystery that they will keep reading well into the night.




Terminal City

Terminal City, by Linda Fairstein

In the two decades as the chief of the Sex Crimes Unit of the district attorney’s office of Manhattan, Linda Fairstein spent most of her time solving crimes.  Now she spends most of her time writing about people who solve crimes. Terminal City reunites readers with Assistant DA Alexandra Cooper who find themselves hunting for an elusive killer whose only signature is carving a carefully drawn symbol into his victims’ bodies. This thrill ride takes readers into the darkest heart of one of New York’s most iconic structures – Grand Central Terminal.




The Marco Effect, by Jussi Adler-Olsen

I’ve always appreciated the smart and surly police detective who walks to the beat of his own drum while getting the job done.  And no one fits that bill more than Carl Mørck, the deeply flawed head of Copenhagen’s unsolved crime unit known as “Department Q”.  With a few years left until retirement,  Mørck hopes to quietly whittle the time away in the basement of police headquarters. Unfortunately, that plan has yet to work out. This time, he’s chasing down a fifteen year old gypsy boy on the run and a mystery that extends from Denmark to Africa, from embezzlers to child soldiers, from seemingly petty crime rings to the very darkest of cover-ups. Coming this September!



Missing YouMissing You, by Harlan Coben

Harlan Coben is no stranger to the mystery and suspense world.  NYPD Detective Kat Donovan has become an old friend to his readers and, with each book, the friendship grows a little deeper.  Against her will, Kat is placed on an online dating site that at first she thinks is a waste of time.  But when she looks at the accompanying photo to one profile, her world comes crashing down.  Staring back her is her ex-fiancé Jeff, who broke her heart over 18 years ago.  Things are not what they seem, however, and when Kat reaches out to him an unspeakable conspiracy comes to light that Kat is forced to confront and stop.



Find more books on the Mystery & Suspense page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 

As a Marketing Assistant for Young Adult and Middle Grade books at Penguin Young Readers and a former Children’s Library Assistant, Bri is well versed in giving book suggestions for any mood or situation. Here’s her list of recommendations for anyone who is up for more heartbreaking, beautifully written reads after they’re done with John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars.

If I Stay

If I Stay, by Gayle Forman

After Mia’s family is involved in a horrific car accident, she must make the ultimate choice: stay alive or let go. With spare prose and a heart wrenching story, If I Stay will break your heart—and put it back together again.






Thirteen Reasons Why

Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher

Clay receives a box of thirteen tapes from Hannah Baker, his classmate and crush that committed suicide two weeks earlier. On the tapes, Hannah reveals the thirteen reasons why she chose to end her life—and if Clay chooses to listen, he’ll find out why he’s one of them. Asher’s heartbreaking, emotional novel deftly explores the effect people can have on one another, in addition to finding hope in the aftermath of tragedy.




Impossible Knife of Memory

The Impossible Knife of Memory, by Laurie Halse Anderson

This compelling novel from a superstar YA author explores Hayley Kincaid’s struggle to balance the tumult of her father’s PTSD at home with her seemingly normal life at school. Anderson isn’t afraid to face difficult issues head on in this consideration of how one person’s illness can affect a family.





LIke No Other

Like No Other, by Una LaMarche

Devorah is a devoted daughter who has never challenged her Hasidic upbringing. Jaxon is a book smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls. Their chance meeting blossoms into a romance that neither expected. Devorah’s and Jaxon’s unconventional love story will convince anyone that love can sneak up on you, even when you’re least expecting it.





Hold Still

Hold Still, by Nina LaCour

After her best friend Ingrid commits suicide, Caitlin is left behind with questions—along with Ingrid’s journal, left behind as a goodbye. Caitlin comes to realize that the journal doesn’t just provide solace, but a means of connecting with others who had been in Ingrid’s life. LaCour’s debut novel examines transformation in the wake of life-altering events with strong writing and an arresting story.





The Probability of Miracles

The Probability of Miracles, by Wendy Wunder

Cam, a girl who has spent most of her life in hospitals, has one last goal before the end of her relatively short life: move to Promise, Maine, a place famous for its miraculous events. Wendy Wunder’s first novel explores living life to the fullest in a way that’s both humorous and heartbreaking.






Find more books to read here.


Every 4 years, the world is treated to the ultimate sporting event. No, we’re not talking about the Olympics; we’re talking about The World Cup! The beautiful game has been long celebrated in literature, from Nick Hornby’s ode to his beloved Arsenal in Fever Pitch, to Bill Buford’s examination of hooligan culture in Among the Thugs. The history, pageantry, competition (and occasionally incredible soccer hair) all lend themselves to fine writing, so it’s no wonder we took this opportunity to ask a few of our authors these pressing questions in Penguin’s Seven on Soccer.

Author of Golazo!, Andreas Campomar, weighs in.

Have a favorite book about soccer? Let us know about it in the comments below.


1. Who are you supporting in the World Cup? Uruguay

    Part B. Predict the winner. Argentina

2. Tell us your club team: Peñarol

3. Why soccer? Why not? It is, after all, the most sublime of games.

4. Who is your favorite all time player? No Pele’s allowed. You can do better. Enzo Francescoli

5. What is your favorite book or piece of writing on the beautiful game? Dios es redondo (God is Round) by the Mexican novelist, Juan Villoro

6. Put 4 books into a group of death and tell us who finishes on top. One Hundred Years of Solitude (Gabriel García Márquez), The Labyrinth of Solitude (Octavio Paz), Ficciones (Jorge Luis Borges), Pedro Páramo (Juan Rulfo). Top = Ficciones (Fictions) by Jorge Luis Borges.

To see Part 1 by Rosie Schaap, author of DRINKING WITH MEN, click here.

To see Par 2 by Chris Anderson, author of THE NUMBERS GAME, click here.


Elda Rotor is the Associate Publisher and Editorial Director for Penguin Classics.  When she’s not overseeing the US Classics editorial program, she’s helping you memorize Yeats on your smartphone.




Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit

Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit

If you were granted a wish that lasted through sunset, what would you wish for?  A timeless and tempting proposition here, played out in Nesbit’s charming story of five siblings and the adventure and chaos that ensues. The Penguin Classics Drop Cap edition with Jessica Hische’s whimsical sand-fairy N casts a spell on any reader.





The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

The Haunting of Hill House, by Shirley Jackson

For a proper spooky tale, you can’t go wrong with Jackson. This is best-read in bed with a flashlight in a big old house. The creakier, the better.







Persuasion, by Jane Austen

Persuasion, by Jane Austen

It’s true what they say about reading classics at different ages and the changes in one’s reading experience.  Persuasion is one of my favorite Austens, with its deep reflection on love, longing and loss. All I can say is: we should all get back to letter-writing.






The Portable Thoreau, by Henry David Thoreau

Portable Thoreau                

While we await the new Portable Emerson edited by Jeff Cramer later this year, we can dip into its perfect Portable companion for the writings of Thoreau, who is probably the #1 most mentioned author that inspires Classics intern interviewees.  Walden & Co. continue to speak to the post-grad set and the rest of us.





The Penguin Anthology of Twentieth-Century American Poetry

The Penguin Anthology of 20th Century American Poetry

Aside from the Penguin Classics Annotated Listing, this is the book I refer to most frequently and from which I gain so much. Edited by Rita Dove, these are the contemporary voices of America, with poems as diverse, dynamic, explosive, energized, meditative, haunting, and beautiful as our lives can be.





An Organizer's Tale, by Cesar Chavez

An Organizer’s Tale:  Speeches, by Cesar Chavez

After returning from Salinas, CA where we celebrated the 75th anniversary of The Grapes of Wrath at the Steinbeck Festival, I’m drawn to rereading Cesar Chavez’s historic speeches chronicling his civil rights leadership in support of fair wages, benefits, and humane working conditions for thousands of farm workers.  Powerful, relevant, and timely still.





Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

Siddhartha, by Hermann Hesse

These days, it’s all about mindfulness, and Siddhartha’s journey is a personal favorite of several Penguin colleagues. To be in this world gladly, each finds her own path, and this is a wonderful guide.






Find more books on the Penguin Classics page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 


Laura Perciasepe is an Editor at Riverhead Books. She acquires and edits a wide range of literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and works in translation. Originally from Baltimore, she now lives in Brooklyn.




How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

How to Get Filthy Rich in Rising Asia, by Mohsin Hamid

I cried at the end of this book so you know it’s good. This is Gatsby-ish in its scope; the tale of a young impoverished boy in an unnamed Asian city, on the rise, of course. There’s a love story, a story of success and failure, a family story, all bound up in this remarkable journey, both intimate and universal. I can’t recommend it enough. It’s short yet packs an unbelievable punch.





The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

The Sound of Things Falling, by Juan Gabriel Vasquez

I know this word is over-used in describing good books, but this book is truly stunning. A work in translation that has won accolades across the globe, this novel begins with a hippo escaped from a Colombian drug lord’s derelict zoo and doesn’t let up from there. It’s a page turner, a monumental story of politics and family, love and violence.





Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

Juliet, Naked, by Nick Hornby

I love all of Nick Hornby’s books but this recent one has a special place in my heart. It’s classic Hornby, full of complicated relationships, humor, sweetness and sadness, and music.







The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub

This is the book I’ll be recommending all summer and I only regret that I read it myself before beach season! Emma Straub takes us on a trip to Mallorjca with a New York family that feels very familiar in its dysfunctions and in its bonds. It’s a keenly observed story with heart (that also looks great on your Instagram with its vibrant cover).





Margot, by Jillian Cantor

Margot, by Jillian Cantor

This is a what-if story about Anne Frank’s sister Margot, if she had escaped the war and come to America, living here in the 1950s as her sister became a cultural icon of hope. A psychologically sophisticated novel about sisters, memory, and the stories we tell ourselves in order to survive – this book became a house favorite at Penguin and it’s un-put-downable (that’s a real book publishing term, promise!).





The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

The Solitude of Prime Numbers, by Paolo Giordano

This is another book in translation that I couldn’t recommend more – a completely unique voice and love story that transfixed me when I read it and has stayed with me long after. It’s about two Italian teenage misfits, the mathematics of humanity, recovery from trauma, and love.






Find more books on the Literary Fiction page!

See Staff Picks for all our categories! 

The Vacationers, by Emma Straub


Emma Straub, is the author of Laura Lamont’s Life in Pictures. Her latest, newly released book The Vacationers, is novel about the secrets, joys, and jealousies that rise to the surface over the course of an American family’s two-week stay in Mallorca. Emma shares some of her favorite vacation book recommendations to kick off your summer. What is on your summer reading list?



The Interestings, by Meg Wolitzer

Because summer camp is the greatest, and Wolitzer is one of our national treasures.



Enchanted April, by Elizabeth Von Arnim

Because it’s fun to hang out with grumpy British ladies on vacation in Italy!





Seating Arrangements, by Maggie Shipstead

Because rich people have problems too! Will make you want a lobster roll.



Sag Harbor, by Colson Whitehead

Because it’s hard to be a nerdy teenage boy. Will make you want a ice cream cone.




The Great Man, by Kate Christensen

Because not all vacation books need to be about vacations. Sometimes they can be hilarious and wise books about old people.



Any Other Name, by Craig JohnsonA Serpent's Tooth, by Craig Johnson Spirit of Steamboat, by Craig Johnson

Being in the business I’m in, I sometimes get some strange requests, and I figured I’d share one with you. The other day I got a memo from Orion Entertainment announcing the casting of a new docu-reality television series…

The memo says they’re looking for “authentic and colorful cowboys and their families that live the throwback cowboy lifestyle. They should spend more time on their horse than in their truck!
My first response was who in the heck are these village morons, but like a Ron Popiel commercial—wait, there’s more!
The memo goes on to point out the exact lifestyle elements they should embody. All members of the family need to live a classic cowboy lifestyle and have rugged good looks. Family should have outgoing parents with at least 3 kids, ages ranging from 17 – 35, that are all great looking cowboys and cowgirls. Active grandparents are a plus.
All right, this is almost so funny I’m not sure where to start, but evidently the most important thing in reality TV is rugged good looks or being a fantastic looking cowboy or cowgirl. Now I’ve got to tell you that in all the ranches I ever worked at, the first thing I did was hand over an 8X10 just to make sure I suited the aesthetic of the outfit. I’ve been around some pretty capable hands and they do have a point here, some of the most capable and talented individuals I’ve ever met were certainly not the best looking… It’s kind of hard to look ruggedly handsome while pulling dogies out of the mud. The last point is a real hoot, in that I agree that active grandparents are a plus.
Family needs to be working stunning ranches with diverse terrain and challenges – chasing grizzlies and wolves away from cattle, the struggles of raising crops and making a profit, battling weather elements to keep livestock safe and alive.
It’s gotten so that I have a hard time fighting off the wolves and grizzlies whenever I take the dogs out anymore.
Family and staff of the ranch must be involved in the country lifestyle: hunting, fishing, trapping, building cabins and structures, herding cattle, sheering sheep, farming, etc.
Of course, while doing these things you’ll be fighting off the wolves and grizzlies…
Members of the family and staff should have fun hobbies and skills like singing, play the guitar or harmonica, write and recite poetry, cook the best BBQ in the county, make their own clothes, raise bees or have wild animals as pets, raise bulls, or be an aspiring bull rider or rodeo participant.
You know, in all that free time you have while ranching.
All members of the family need to have big, strong personalities with great and unique looks.
I’m always wondering what Hollywood’s ideas are of “great and unique looks”. Judy says my dilapidated Carhartt jacket, Stormy Kromer hat, and Shipton’s Big-R jeans probably aren’t going to fit the bill.
See you on the trail,
PS: The tour for Any Other Name is just about finalized and will be attached to the next Post-it. In the meantime, it is available for pre-order SIGNED at Barnes and Noble and a few of your favorite independents. Here are the links:

The Book Rack

Mystery Mikes

Prairie Pages Bookseller

Leather Stalking Books

Old Firehouse Books

Sheridan Stationery Co

PPS: Don’t forget to shop the store (Steamboat Totems are in stock as are hats and shirts and mugs, oh my) and keep an eye out for a new item coming in time for the DVD release of LONGMIRE Season 2 and Mother’s Day.



Catch Craig Johnson on his book tour.