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Essential Reading: The New York Times Notable Books of 2015

It’s been a great year for books! In 2015 we’ve published some truly illuminating and perspective-shifting nonfiction. Take a look at the ones the New York Times Book Review deem among the best of the year. Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates Forget, for a moment, the ubiquitous comparisons to James Baldwin: Though fitting in many ways, they can distract us from how original Coates’s book truly is. Structured as a letter to his teenage son, this slender, urgent volume — a searching exploration of what it is to grow up black in a country built on slave labor and “the destruction of black bodies” — rejects fanciful abstractions in favor of the irreducible and particular. Coates writes to his son with a clear-eyed realism about the beautiful and terrible struggle that inheres in flesh and bone. Empire of Cotton: A Global History, by Sven Beckert If sugar was the defining commodity of the 18th century and oil of the 20th, then surely cotton was king in the 19th century. In this sweeping, ambitious and disturbing survey, Beckert takes us through every phase of a global industry that has relied on millions of miserably treated slaves, sharecroppers and millworkers to turn out its product. The industrialization of cotton rested on violence, Beckert tells us, and its story is that of the development of the modern world itself. Even today, he reports, an industry that is always looking for cheaper labor is engaged in a “giant race to the bottom.” The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World by Andrea Wulf Alexander von Humboldt may have been the pre-eminent scientist of his era, second in fame only to Napoleon, but outside his native Germany his reputation has faded. Wulf does much to revive our appreciation of this ecological visionary through her lively, impressively researched account of his travels and exploits, reminding us of the lasting influence of his primary insight: that the Earth is a single, interconnected organism, one that can be catastrophically damaged by our own destructive actions. Once more, congratulations to all the Adult and Children’s authors and their publishers, who are recognized by the Book Review on their year-end lists. Click here for the complete list. If you’re looking for a gift for the holidays, check out our guide here.

In Memoriam: E. L. Doctorow

Penguin Random House deeply mourns the passing of Random House author E. L. Doctorow, who died on Tuesday at the age of 84.  Doctorow was an American master whose works of fiction, from Ragtime and The Book of Daniel to Billy Bathgate and The March, span centuries, taking readers into many eras of the American experience, and from the Great Plains to the Adirondacks, from the Deep South to New York City. In his novels and essays, Doctorow also illuminated social and political issues. In the words of Don DeLillo, “Doctorow’s great topic is the reach of American possibility, in which plain lives take on the cadences of history.” Edgar Lawrence Doctorow, born in the Bronx, New York, on January 6, 1931, was named after Edgar Allan Poe, another Bronx writer. After receiving a B.A. from Kenyon College and doing postgraduate study at Columbia, he spent two years in the U.S. Army, serving in Germany. Back home, he took a job as a staff reader for Columbia Pictures and moved on in 1959 to become associate editor, then senior editor, at New American Library. He began his career at Random House as an editor at The Dial Press. In 1964 he was named editor in chief, and he published the works of Norman Mailer, James Baldwin, and others. As an author his body of work, written over the course of five decades and including novels, volumes of stories and essays, and a play, has been published in more than thirty languages. DOC The honors Doctorow received include the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, the Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidentially conferred National Humanities Medal. In 2009 he was shortlisted for the Man Booker International Prize honoring a writer’s lifetime achievement in fiction. In 2012 he won the PEN Saul Bellow Award given to an author whose “scale of achievement over a sustained career places him  in the highest rank of American Literature.” In 2013 the American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Fiction. In 2014 he received the Library of Congress Prize for American Fiction. He was also the Lewis and Loretta Glucksman Professor of English and American Letters at New York University. Kate Medina, Doctorow’s editor, said, “Edgar’s work has always been ascendant, always steeped in the new, with original language, surprising storytelling, rigorous thought and standards of truth. Through books of great beauty and power, and characters I’ll never forget, he showed us America’s great flaws and its astonishing promise, and our own. Edgar was fun, even as he was holding all of us to the high standards he set for himself. To be with him was to be at one’s best; to read him was to discover, again and again, the joy of reading a master.” Gina Centrello, President and Publisher of Random House, said, “Edgar Doctorow was one of the great creative minds of our time. We were honored to publish him, and his legacy will continue at Random House.  He was sharp and funny, vocal and opinionated, and he inspired readers with every book, every story, and every essay. We will all miss our author and friend dearly.” Browse through Doctorow’s books here.

Welcome to the new Penguin Random House website

Welcome to PenguinRandomHouse.com. where you’ll find countless books, author pages, genre-specific recommendations, and more. We’re happy to welcome you to our beautiful new home and can’t wait to find you your new favorite book.

Clear, beautiful, fun, specific       With thousands of new books to choose from every year, it can be overwhelming trying to find a new read. We’ve made it easier than ever to surface books you’ll love through clean design, sophisticated genre pages, and suggestions based on bestsellers, your category preferences and more. home Organized, Detailed, Simple Book detail pages are chock-full of information: plot summaries, excerpts, praise, reading guides, author Q&As, podcasts, videos, and so much more. With our expansive content network, you’ll find everything you need quickly and easily. book detail Know exactly what you’re looking for? For the reader who knows just the sort of book they prefer, we have pages for each genre, sub-genre and sub-sub-genre! Whether you like hard or soft Science Fiction, Paranormal Romance, or Space Opera novels, PenguinRandomHouse.com has you covered. nonfictionnonfiction3 Get the latest news and announcements   Want more from your favorite author or category? It’s easy to sign up for specific news about bestsellers, your favorite book genre or a particular author. Get the scoop on big blog posts, interviews, author event dates, and book announcements.        stay in touch Share with friends Social media just got more bookish! It’s easy to share a book with a friend, alert your followers to a great author signing in your area, or pin a beautiful piece of cover art.book detail (social)  Never miss an author event again We know how important writers are to you. Keep tabs on your favorites – we’ve made it easy to get information about author events, signings and readings, so you’ll never miss a tour date in your town.meet our authors Insider Access Get in the know with the Penguin Random House blog, The Perch. There are always behind-the-scenes posts, from editors writing about a new favorite book, to an author doling out writing tips.the perch Show off your reading chops by playing Book Bingo or participating in a challenge. Keep tabs on other competitors on social media and start exploring titles you might not have picked up otherwise.book bingo Head to the PenguinRandomHouse.com homepage to find your next read!discover your next book

Actress Patricia Arquette to Write Memoir for Random House

Patricia Arquette, Academy Award, Golden Globe and Emmy award-winning actress, is writing a memoir about her unconventional family, being a single mother at the age of 20, and her experience as a woman in Hollywood.  Susan Kamil, Publisher of Random House, who will edit the book, announced the world rights deal on Wednesday. “Patricia Arquette is a remarkable woman,” noted Susan Kamil, “and the instant empathy audiences feel when they see her work on screen is completely evident on the page. The material I read is revelatory and deeply moving. Not a surprise from an actress of such nuance and intelligence.” A fourth generation actor, whose eclectic and celebrated career has spanned the last three decades, Arquette is the great-granddaughter of vaudeville performers and granddaughter of the late comedian Cliff Arquette, who was best known for his character Charley Weaver, a character he created for “The Jack Paar Show“.   Her late father, the journeyman actor Lewis Arquette, was credited by Patricia in her Screen Actors Guild Award acceptance speech for Boyhood as the person who “taught me to approach work with compassion and gratitude.” Ms. Arquette said,  “Over the years, the public has come to know aspects of me through my roles in film and television. Writing a memoir will be a new and intimate artistic journey for me, and I hope to bring to it the same honesty I have always sought to bring to my work as an actor.”