Backlist Bracket: The Scary Sixteen, Week 2

Welcome to Week 2 of The Scary Sixteen!  

The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror
Congratulations to last week’s winner, Ashley from Massillon, Ohio! 
Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen. WEEK 2: The Ruins vs. Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre: The Best of H. P. Lovecraft  A book which will cause you to fear your garden takes on an author whose stories will haunt your dreams…It’s the book Stephen King called “the best horror novel of the new century” versus the author King hailed as “the 20th Century’s greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale.”   Haunted vs. The Fall of the House of Usher and Other Writings In Haunted, eighteen wanna-be writers set off on a retreat but instead are trapped in an abandoned theater by a mysterious benefactor with unknown motives – the result is twenty three of the most disturbing, stomach-churning stories you’ve ever dared to read. Beating hearts, swinging pendulums and speaking ravens all haunt the definitive collection of short stories from the master of the genre–Edgar Allan Poe–in The Fall of House of Usher and Other Writings. Which collection of haunted tales make you want to sleep with the lights on?  

The Winter People vs. The Haunting of Hill House

Where’s the worst place to spend a night? In an old house in a small Vermont town with a history of ghosts, sightings, and altogether creepy occurrences over the last 100 years or the notorious Hill House that arouses your paranormal curiosity and while gathering its powers to make unsuspecting visitors its own?

   The Turn of the Screw vs. The Little Stranger   In these two novels, Henry James and Sarah Waters explore the nature of evil – and the apparently inevitable creepiness of English country estates. Which epically haunting masterpiece makes you jump at every bump in the night – the gothic classic or the 2009 Man Booker nominee? Click the image below to see the full-size bracket, and check back next week to find out who survived the first round! Scary Sixteen If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here! If you’d prefer to buy from an independent bookseller, check out IndieBound to find a bookstore near you. Check back next week to see who’s made the cut!

Banned Books Week: Crossword Puzzle

Banned Books Week is here! Wonderful classic and contemporary books have been banned and challenged over the years, so this week, we are celebrating our right to read. Take a stab at our Banned Books Week Crossword and see how well you know about incendiary literature! Check back at the end of the week for the answer key. In the meantime share your thoughts on social media using #booknerdcrossword. Click for full-size image and to print out.  crossword Learn more about Banned Books Week here.

Q&A with Publisher Tim Duggan

Get to know the newest Penguin Random House imprint! Tim Duggan Books was founded in 2014 and is committed to the highest standard of storytelling across a range of genres. Our list of books is small, select, and curated from both well-established and brand new authors, including Eric Schlosser, Timothy Snyder, Emily Barton, Michael Kinsley, Yasmine El Rashidi, and Colin Jost. The imprint is dedicated to publishing books of quality, accuracy, elegance, and vision, and to authors who take risks and tell singular stories. Read on for an interview with Tim Duggan about this exciting new imprint.  What do you look for in the books and authors that you acquire? The first thing I usually look for in a book is the voice, which hopefully has energy and confidence and personality, and not a whiff of pretension. You can usually tell from the first page whether an author’s writing feels genuine and fresh and powerful, and whether there’s a real sense of urgency there, as if the author almost had no choice but to write this book. So in that sense I’m drawn toward books that somehow feel essential, by authors who are driven by a passion that probably borders on obsession, no matter what the genre is. For an author, that’s something you can’t manufacture, and for an editor, that’s the gold standard, and it’s a big part of what I’m looking for. In what way do you think Tim Duggan books aligns with the Crown publishing group? I’ve been incredibly impressed, long before I came here, with the way Crown has been publishing its books, from marketing, publicity, and sales to art, design, and production. There’s a wide variety of imprints, all of which struck me as very focused and backed by clever campaigns and extraordinary attention to detail. My imprint is small, selective, and idiosyncratic, so I feel I have plenty of room here to pursue what I want to pursue, while tapping into the deep pool of knowledge and resources that Crown is known for. It turned out to be a really easy and natural fit.
Tim Duggan
Tim Duggan
  What has been the hardest part of launching your own imprint? Ask me in a month! Truth be told, the first year has been totally exhilarating and fun, and part of that is probably a result of the fact that I’ve been doing more acquiring and editing at this point than anything else. That will change this fall when the first books hit the market, which I’m looking forward to. So I’m not even sure that starting an imprint is the hard part – but maintaining it and keeping up the momentum surely will be. Has it always been a goal of yours to launch your own imprint, or did it come about more organically? It came about pretty organically, in that I’ve always thought that having a little imprint within a much bigger organization would be the best of both worlds, which is definitely how this feels. I wanted to have a small list with a wide range, which comes out to about ten books a year, half fiction and half nonfiction, including memoir, humor, science, and poetry. My sense is that the whole publishing marketplace, from authors and agents to critics and booksellers, has been really supportive of small imprints like this one, which helped pave the way for me and made it a little less daunting – just knowing that even though I’m on my own, there are others out there who’ve done this and done it really well. Not to mention that once I got here and saw the level of support I had from my colleagues, it actually felt a lot less like I was on my own. Check out the new books from the Tim Duggan imprint:  Learn more about the imprint here.

Backlist Bracket: The Scary Sixteen!

What’s the best creepy read to curl up with on a chilly fall evening?  The Penguin Random House team has come up with sixteen spine-tingling, spook-tastic contenders in four classic book categories that’ll make you sleep with the light on. Vote every week in a new round to determine the ultimate terrifying read!

Each week, there will be a drawing to see who wins a set of the Penguin Horror Classics set, edited by lifelong horror literature lover, Guillermo Del Toro.

Penguin Horror Let’s get started! Meet this week’s kickoff contenders: vote for one of each of these match-ups, and enter HERE for a chance to win the prize. Follow on social media and share your thoughts with the hashtag #scarysixteen. WEEK 1:  The Road vs. World War Z The apocalypse in World War Z is a busy and bloody chaos — the terrifying spread of two hundred million zombies devoted to consuming all life on earth is realistically recounted for us in every gory detail. The apocalypse in The Road is barren and cold – the Pulitzer Prize winning book follows father and son as they travel through the abyss, dodging unknown perils at every turn en route to their only hope: the coast. Which post-apocalyptic tale has you running for your panic room? The Stand vs. The Handmaid’s Tale The forces of Good and Evil clash in a world ravaged by disease in Stephen King’s massive, magnificent The Stand. In her masterpiece, The Handmaiden’s Tale, Margaret Atwood exposes a woman’s terrifying existence under a brutal totalitarian regime. Which book best imagines a horrifying future of humanity on the brink? Frankenstein vs. Infected What’s scarier? Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation of an anguished monster or an alien disease that turns ordinary Americans into raving, paranoid murderers who inflict brutal horrors on strangers, their own families, and even themselves? Dracula vs. Salem’s Lot The King of Horror takes on the king of all vampire novels – which is scarier? Vampires in small-town Maine or THE vampire in 19th Century London?   Click the image below to see the fullsize bracket, and check back next week to find out who survived the first round! Scary Sixteen - All Titles If you haven’t read the books mentioned above, check them out here!    

Dust & Grooves playlist: music to accompany the book

We’re celebrating the release of Dust & Grooves with a playlist of songs mentioned in the book. An exploration of records and the people who collect them, Dust & Grooves includes beautiful photos and insightful interviews.
  1. High Plains Drifter by Beastie Boys, Paul’s Boutique: The special double vinyl version of this album featured a 360-degree photo of a street corner in NYC by photographer Adam Yauch, half displayed on the inside and half displayed on the outside. It requires two copies to put the photo together. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 257)
  2. Bad Bold Beautiful Girl by The Persuaders, The Persuaders:  The Persuaders’ self-titled album came out in 1973, and the song Bad Bold and Beautiful Girl topped the R&B charts at #24 (Page in Dust & Grooves: 182)
  3. Free to Be…You and Me, by The New Seekers, Free to Be…You and Me: Free to Be…You and Me was an album that was originally released in 1972 and the result of a project by the Ms. Foundation for Women. The album promoted gender neutrality, and promoted individuality and being comfortable with self-identity. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 176)
  4. Little Green by Joni Mitchell, Blue: Little Green, a beautifully melodic song, explore’s Joni Mitchell’s experience with giving up a baby girl for adoption. The Album, Blue, is a favorite song of London-based record-collector Colleen Murphy. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 144)
  5. The Man Who Sold the World by David Bowie, The Man Who Sold the World: The Man Who Sold the World is Bowie’s third album, and the title track was released in the US in November of 1970. Jeff Gold, of Venice California, notes that “The original cover, featuring Bowie in a dress, was evidently too much for his US and German record companies, to take. Both released the album with their own unique covers.” (Page in Dust & Grooves: 242)
  6. Time Dom Dom by Jorge Ben Jor, Samba Esquema Novo: Originating from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Jorge Ben Jor fuses samba, funk, rock, and bossa nova. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 142)
  7. Trick of the Light by The Raah Project, Gilles Peterson Presents Brownswood Bubblers Five: Dust ad Grooves features an interview with Gilles Peterson, a DJ, record collector, and record label owner based in the UK. Gilles’ Brownswood Recordings was designed to give unknown artists a platform to help them have their music heard. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 295)
  8. Amazing Grace by Aretha Franklin, Amazing Grace: Dust and Grooves’ author, Eilon Paz, interviews DJ Rich Medina, based out of the City of Brotherly Love: Philadelphia. Rich says of Aretha’s rendition of Amazing Grace in Dust and Grooves, “The honesty in young Aretha’s voice on this LP showed us what it meant to truly sing from your heart at all times.” (Page in Dust & Grooves: 314)
  9. Be My Baby by The Ronettes, Presenting the Fabulous Ronettes: Be My Baby peaked on the Billboard Top 100 at number 2. The Ronettes were one of the most popular groups of the 1960s, and hail from Spanish Harlem. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 342)
  10. Gat Kirwani by Ravi Shankar, The Best of Ravi Shankar: William Bensussen, also known as the Gaslamp Killer, says that Indian music is “what gets [him] in a really good mood,” during his discussion with Josiah Titus in Dust and Grooves. (Page in Dust & Grooves: 407)
Read about Dust & Grooves here.

4 National Book Award Fiction Semi-Finalists Join 9 Other Penguin Random House Longlisters

The 2015 National Book Award Fiction Longlist was unveiled this morning, with four Penguin Random House titles recognized as semi-finalists: Earlier this week, these Penguin Random House books were selected for their respective National Book Award Longlists. Nonfiction Poetry Head to to browse all the finalists.

Author Sarah Robinson dishes about her new book, Breaking a Legend

Fighter romance books are very popular in the book world today, however, I’d never even read one before writing Breaking a Legend. I don’t know why, maybe I just never came across one that grabbed my attention. When I finished writing this book, I decided to start reading some to see what else was out there. I absolutely fell in love with works by JB Salsbury and Katy Evans. There are some amazing fighter books out there and I’m honored to join them with Rory and Clare’s story. Since I didn’t really start reading that type of romance until I was finished with Breaking a Legend, most of the research that went into writing it in the first place was just plain old studying. I read every article on mixed martial arts that I could find on Google, I read manuals and guides, and I read all kinds of terminology lists on what to say/not say. There’s a lot to know, but there’s also a lot of personal preference. Most of my research centered around different types of techniques, holds, grabs, takedowns, etc, as well as terminology and history. While they might not be an integral part of Rory’s story, they do serve as a backdrop for the entire series. It was important for me to describe how the family gym, Legends, is set up and make everything accurate. Mixed Martial Arts itself is a full-contact sport that combines martial arts, wrestling, and other combat sports into one epic battle. It’s called mixed for a reason, it’s just everything combined. There’s boxing, wresting, karate, taekwondo, kickboxing, jiu-jitsu, judo, and more all in one sport. It’s fairly new, despite it’s rich and long reaching origins, as the term mixed martial arts only dates back to the 1990’s. The sport itself is now regulated and has spread internationally. While there are many organizations that support and sanction the sport, there is none bigger than the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) which features the world’s top-ranked fighters and is a billion dollar organization. The whole intoxication of mixed martial arts, and why it’s such a perfect fit in the romance genre, is because of the taboo passion one must have to compete in that sport. Despite the fact that a lot of MMA has gone main stream, it’s still deeply rooted in it’s past of underground battles with illegal betting. The sport itself is passion, strength, and pain- and really, isn’t that what love is? To be honest, however, this book isn’t one heavy fight scene after another. It really is all about the relationship between Rory and Clare, which is something universal. You don’t need to Google what love is, you just need to feel it. I hope everyone who reads Breaking a Legend feels that, and has it in their own lives as well. Learn more about the book here.