All posts by Kathryn Monaco

Staff Picks: Casey Blue

Who better to give book recommendations than the bookish experts? Penguin Random House employees are sharing their favorite reads every month. Browse below!   Casey Blue, Senior Manager, Business Development Casey Blue is a proud nerd who loves doling out book recommendations as much as she loves reading. When she’s not doing one of those things, she’s either running, cooking, on the beach, or in a museum.

Congratulations to Our 2018 Man Booker Prize Longlisters

The Man Booker Prize is one of the most influential annual international literary fiction honors, open to writers of any nationality, writing in English. Congratulations to these six books published by Penguin Random House for making the longlist! The longlist includes 13 total titles published in the UK and Ireland between October 1, 2017 and September 30, 2018.   Learn more about our six books in the running:  

Michael Ondaatje’s THE ENGLISH PATIENT Wins the Golden Man Booker Prize

Penguin Random House author Michael Ondaatje has won the Golden Man Booker Prize for his classic novel THE ENGLISH PATIENT.  This one-time prize was awarded for the best work of fiction from the last five decades of The Man Booker Prize, one of the world’s most prestigious annual fiction awards, as chosen by five judges, and then voted on by the public.  Upon receiving the news, Mr. Ondaatje said, “I am honored as well as very surprised to receive this award for THE ENGLISH PATIENT, as I was to be in the company of the other remarkable nominees. It feels the book was written so long ago! I would like to thank all who have supported me and been involved in my work over the years.”

Ondaatje, published by Alfred A. Knopf, Vintage and Everyman’s Library in the U.S., and McClelland & Stewart in Canada, has written several award-winning novels, as well as a memoir, a nonfiction book on film, and several books of poetry. His latest novel, WARLIGHT, was published earlier this year by Alfred A. Knopf in the U.S. and McClelland & Stewart in Canada.  Born in Sri Lanka, Ondaatje currently lives in Toronto. Read his works here.

Penguin Random House at the Bronx Book Fair

Volunteers from across Penguin Random House participated in the Bronx Book Fair on May 5th. It was a jam-packed day of events at the Bronx Library Center, with speakers such as Noëlle Santos from The Lit. Bar, as well as coaching sessions with local writers and book sales from community bookstore Word Up.  This was the first year Penguin Random House participated in the Bronx Book Fair, and we had a tremendous response to the call for volunteers!  We were so impressed by the enthusiasm and support of our employee volunteers. Here is what some of the volunteers had to say:
 “It was great to see so many PRH employees show up excited to help their fellow book lovers!” “Everywhere I turned at the Bronx Book Fair, there was passion–passion in the speakers, whose wealth of knowledge included everything from copyright law to fostering women’s leadership; passion in the authors, booksellers, and publishers reading from their work and selling books at their booths; and passion in the event staff, whose beaming faces were #BronxProud. It was such an honor to see the rich literary culture of the Bronx in action beyond the classroom where I used to teach ELA in the Bronx, and I especially loved the slam poetry and spoken word presentation by Project X–it’s heartwarming to see the youth shine a light on their fellow artists in their community!” “The Bronx Book Fair was wonderful–the event organizers were lovely, and the day’s events and panels were organized with great care. I welcomed the opportunity to get to know colleagues across other departments who I normally wouldn’t connect with in my day-to-day. A personal highlight was the chance to chat with young readers/writers who came to check out the book fair–their enthusiasm was infectious!”
The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx, and to connecting to readers and book lovers of all ages. Launched in 2013, The Bronx Book Fair, along with Bronx Book Festival and The Lit. Bar bookstore, are contributing to revitalizing book culture in the Bronx, needed especially after the 2016 closure of the Baychester Barnes & Noble.

Read an Excerpt From Markus Zusak’s New Novel

An exclusive excerpt from Markus Zusak’s new novel, Bridge of Clay, is now available in anticipation of the novel’s publication set for October 9, 2018. Read the excerpt at bridgeofclaybook.com/excerpt.html. Bridge of Clay is a breathtaking story following five brothers who bring each other up in a world run by their own rules. As the Dunbar boys love and fight and learn to reckon with the adult world, they discover the moving secret behind their father’s disappearance. Markus Zusak is the masterful storyteller behind the extraordinary bestseller The Book Thief, which remains one of the most enduring stories of our time. Find out more and pre-order your copy at bridgeofclaybook.com.  

In Memoriam: Philip Kerr

Penguin Random House mourns the loss of author, Philip Kerr, who died on Friday, March 23 in London after an eight-month battle with cancer. He is one of most distinguished modern thriller writers, known best for his Bernie Gunther novels. His debut novel, March Violets, was published over 30 years ago and introduced the character as a sardonic, hard-drinking detective tackling the dark depths of Nazi and post-war era Germany.

Several of Kerr’s Gunther novels became instant bestsellers upon publication, including six New York Times bestsellers and five USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestsellers. In addition, Kerr has received several award nominations and honors. He was a three-time nominee for an Edgar Award for Best Novel, a Shamus Award nominee, and a winner of both a Barry Award and the British Crime Writers’ Association’s Ellis Peters Historic Crime Award. In early 2018, his novel Prussian Blue was also nominated for a Barry Award for Best Novel. His books have been published in thirty-seven territories. 

Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in 1956, Kerr studied at the University of Birmingham. Following university, Kerr worked as a copywriter for several advertising agencies. In addition to his Bernie Gunther novels, Kerr wrote two nonfiction books, fifteen adult novels, and ten children’s fiction books. He is admired by many, and a growing list of high-profile personalities, impressive critics and fellow writers including Lee Child, Tom Hanks, and Nick Rennison, continue to share their love for Kerr and his Bernie Gunther novels. His most recent novel, Greeks Bearing Gifts, will be published in April 2018. Browse more of Philip Kerr’s works here.

Read it Forward’s New Chatbot for Book Recommendations

Read it Forward is pleased to introduce Read it Forward Book Recs, a chatbot that quickly and intelligently recommends your next great read via a conversational interface.

The bot can be accessed via RIF’s Facebook page on desktop or mobile. Once launched (via the Send Message button on RIF’s Facebook page Book-Recon desktop or by searching Read it Forward in your Messenger app on mobile), you can select several different pathways to finding your next book: Author I Like; Book I Like; Genre I Like; Surprise Me; Bestsellers; and Award Winners. After a series of additional questions designed to further narrow the selections, you are then presented with up to 18 book recommendations matching your interests. In certain instances, you are able to drill down even further into the themes of specific books or, in the case of the “Surprise Me” button, you can take a quicker path that serendipitously serves up books at random. Once you have received a set of recommendations, you are invited to look at a summary of the book, learn more about it on PRH.com, add the book to a Goodreads shelf, and share the recommendation with a friend. After the first interaction, the bot will ping you to remind you to continue discovering great books and also to encourage you to share the bot with friends. And if you choose to opt into formal notifications, you can also receive alerts when authors you like are releasing a new book, learn about author appearances in your area, and other relevant book-centric information.

Now it’s your turn! Click here to launch the chatbot and please let us know what you think. Questions, comments and any troubleshooting requests can be sent to Chatbot@Readitforward.com.