Tag Archives: reading

Read It Forward and Litographs have teamed up for a special giveaway!

Read It Forward has teamed up with literary clothing company, Litographs, for a special giveaway! litograph-hero-rif Enter to win 1 of 5 prize packs that each include a gorgeous new edition of a classic. Thanks to our friends at Litographs, the winners will each take home a clothing item (tote bag or t-shirt) made entirely from the words of the book it depicts. Deadline for entry is 11:59 P.M. (Eastern Time) on June 29, 2015, so enter now

The Cake Therapist & Lomelino’s Cakes

For some, baking and cooking is a comforting and calming way to work through issues. Judith Fertig has taken this one step further with her new book, The Cake Therapist.
What can a little cake therapy do for you? When I was writing my debut novel The Cake Therapist (at the same time as my new cookbook Bake Happy), I had an “aha” moment. What if my heroine could help people solve their thorny life issues—with cake? Cake that comforts, cajoles, gives us cajones. Cake takes us back to a sunny summer day and unlocks the door to the past. That cake.
For some more cake Therapy, and for the recipe for the beautiful Rainbow Cake, check out Judith’s blog. Another dessert expert, Linda Lomelino, has a beautiful book of cakes: Lomelino’s Cakes. All the cakes within are stunning, impressive, visually beautiful and amazingly delicious desserts. See below for the full recipe for this gorgeous Pavlova. Happy baking! EXT Lomelinos Cakes_ pavlova   Lomelino’s Cakes, p. 37 From Lomelino’s Cakes PAVLOVA This meringue cake with chocolate, cream, raspberries, and pistachios is magnificently sticky and crispy. When the cake is finished, refrigerate it for a few minutes to make it easier to cut the layers. This cake should be made the same day it will be served. 8–10 slices CHOCOLATE MERINGUE LAYERS 1 ¾ ounces dark chocolate (70% cocoa) Whites from 6 large eggs 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar 3 tablespoons cocoa powder 1 tablespoon cornstarch 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar WHIPPED CREAM FROSTING AND DECORATIONS 1 ¾ cups whipping cream 1 ¾ ounces shelled pistachio nuts (about 1/2 cup) 8 ¾ ounces raspberries MAKING THE CHOCOLATE MERINGUE LAYERS 1. Break the chocolate into small pieces, and melt them slowly over a double boiler (see page 10) or in the microwave. Let cool. 2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 3. Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of your baking sheet. Then, cut out or find a circle template about 6 inches in diameter. Place the circles as far apart as possible on the parchment paper without touching the edges; trace. Turn the parchment paper over, and lay it on the baking sheet. These circles will indicate the placement of your meringue. 4. In a clean, dry bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks form. Add the sugar gradually, and continue beating to a thick meringue. You should be able to tip the bowl without the meringue sliding out. 5. Sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch into the meringue. Add the vinegar, and blend until the batter is smooth. Add the melted chocolate, and stir gently. 6. Divide the meringue among the paper circles. The meringues might shift during baking. Put the baking sheet into the oven, and lower the heat to 250°F. 7. Bake the meringue for 60–75 minutes. The baked layers should be hard and crisp around the edges but still sticky in the center. Turn off the oven, leaving the layers in the oven with the door propped open until the oven has cooled. MAKING THE FROSTING AND DECORATIONS 1. In a dry, clean bowl, whip the cream until it thickens. 2. Chop the pistachios. Rinse and dry the raspberries. ASSEMBLING THE CAKE 1. Place the first cake layer on a cake plate. Spread one- third of the Whipped Cream Frosting on the top, and sprinkle on a few raspberries. Repeat with the next layer. Place the third layer on top. 2. Top the cake with the remaining Whipped Cream Frosting, and then add the remaining raspberries and all the chopped pistachios.  

Challenge Your Shelf: Young Adult Reading Challenge

Who said reading can’t be competitive? Every few months, we’ll be challenging you to read a list of selected books. Print out the challenge and cross the titles off as you go. Show off how much you’ve read by taking a picture and tweeting @penguinrandom or Instagramming (@penguinrandomhouse) with the hashtag #challengeyourshelf. There are always books on your to-be-read shelf, so why not challenge yourself? We picked 24 beloved Young Adult books everyone should read. Show us how many you finish! (click image to see full size and print out)readingchallenge-must-read-ya-best-sellers

Challenge Your Shelf: Books A-Z

Who said reading can’t be competitive? Every few months, we’ll be challenging you to read a list of selected books. Print out the challenge and cross the titles off as you go. Show off how much you’ve read by taking a picture and tweeting @penguinrandom or Instagramming (@penguinrandomhouse) with the hashtag #challengeyourshelf. There are always books on your to-be-read shelf, so why not challenge yourself? We picked 26 of our bestsellers, from A-Z to read. Show us how many you finish! (click image to see full size and print out) readingchallenge-2015-penguinrandomhouse-AtoZ (1)

Prune & Blood, Bones & Butter

Wine and food pairings are all well and good, but there’s no better pairing than two complementary books. Reading + Eating posts feature two titles that will inspire you to cook, read, eat, and enjoy. The gorgeous cookbook images, and handpicked recipes and quotes make for some delicious reading.  Gabrielle Hamilton, famed chef and owner of the beloved Prune restaurant on the Lower East Side, tells her life of food and cooking in Blood, Bones & Butter. When it swept into bookstores in 2011, Anthony Bourdain called it, “Magnificent. Simply the best memoir by a chef ever. Ever.” Listen to Hamilton read from her acclaimed memoir: collage Paired with the memoir is Prune, Hamilton’s cookbook. It shares a name with her universally beloved restaurant and is refreshingly personal, scrappy and accessible.
 “I came to see hunger as being as important a part of a stage as knife skills. Because so much starving on that trip led to such an enormous amount of time fantasizing about food, each craving became fanatically particular. Hunger was not general, ever, for just something, anything, to eat. My hunger grew so specific I could name every corner and fold of it.”
Gabrielle Hamilton, Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef
Try out Hamilton’s Beef Shortribs recipe from Prune! (Click image to see full size)Pages from Hamilton - Prune - beef shortribs[1] Dive in, get inspired, and get cooking! If you’re planning a trip to New York City, we have you covered: Fodor’s New York City 2015. Happy eating!

Three Questions for Putnam Editor Sara Minnich on David Joy’s debut novel Where All Light Tends to Go

Editors get very passionate about books they work on – the Editor’s Desk series is his or her place to write in-depth about what makes a certain title special. Get the real inside-scoop on how books are shaped by the people who know them best. Putnam Editor Sara Minnich answers “Three Questions for an Editor” about her work on David Joy’s Where All Light Tends to Go.  This highly praised debut novel is a savage and beautiful story of a young man seeking redemption. In the meth-dealing family at the center of the book, killing a man is considered a rite of passage, but when eighteen-year-old Jacob McNeely botches a murder, he is torn between appeasing his kingpin father and leaving the mountains with the girl he loves. The world that Jacob inhabits is bleak and unrelenting in its violence and disregard for human life, and having known nothing more, he wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above it. For a debut novelist, David Joy has a writing style that feels so natural and remarkably assured as he creates an off-the-grid world populated by authentic characters that are bound to cause readers to feel a wide range of emotions.  What were your thoughts and impressions as you read the initial manuscript for the first time? I was hooked within the first few pages of Where All Light Tends to Go. Both the writing style and the voice of the young protagonist were raw and gritty, utterly real.  After promising opening pages, I was crossing my fingers in hope that the rest of the book would hold up – and it absolutely did.  Shortly into the story things take a shocking and violent turn, and the pace only escalates from there.  Mostly I remember being unable to put it down.  The manuscript needed some work, but I knew from the first read that I loved it and that David was the real deal. How would you describe the scope of the editor/author process as Where All Light Tends to Go evolved into a finished book? The first draft that I read was in fairly solid shape in terms of the plot, pacing, and writing.  The element David and I spent the most time revising over the course of three drafts was the relationship between the hero, Jacob McNeely, and his love interest Maggie.  Maggie’s character needed to be fleshed out, and David did a lot of work to find her voice and to help the reader understand the magnetism between her and Jacob.  Their relationship was fundamentally transformed from the first draft to the final book, in a way that brought a lot of heart and hope to a story that is ultimately quite dark. This novel is not your traditional “book club” book, given the gritty nature of a lot of the stories that unfold in its pages, but it feels like a book that will spark a lot of discussions.  What kinds of readers do you think will be most attracted to Where All Light Tends to Go and why? The novel falls firmly in the category of country noir, so would be perfect for readers of Daniel Woodrell and Larry Brown.  Fans of shows like “Breaking Bad” or “Justified” would also find much to enjoy – a strong sense of place, characters that leap off the page, a grim and intense story, and a relentless pace. where-all-light-tends-to-go-by-david-joy Read more about Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy here.
everything you ever wanted by jillian lauren

Writing Tips from Jillian Lauren: My 3 Favorite Writing Tips You’re Going to Hate

We know readers tend to be writers too, so twice a month, we’ll feature writing tips from our authors. Who better to offer advice, insight, and inspiration than the authors you admire? They’ll answer several questions about their work, share their go-to techniques and more. Now, get writing!  Write a s***ty first draft. If I could give you only one piece of advice, it would be this. I didn’t make up—I heard it from Anne Lamott— thanks, Anne! Anne Lamott didn’t make it up either. Every writer since the beginning of time has written some god-awful, hideous nonsense at one time or another. I write straight through to the end of a book without once looking back. Not everyone does it this way— some people edit as they go. But for me, this is a great way to get out from under your own self-judgment. Sometimes I barely even punctuate my first drafts. I like to soft focus my eyes and write as if in a trance, going on tangents, allowing the most treacly sentimentality and absurd hyperbole. I breathe and write and try to open my mind to the click, the spark, the flow. I soldier on this way until The End. By that time I usually have some idea of what my book is about. It’s never what I thought when I started. Move around. Take a walk. Stretch. Breathe. Don’t live in your head so much that you forget your body. The body is one of our greatest recording devices– a goldmine of wisdom, memory and emotion. It digests and assimilates our thoughts and experiences, taking on a perspective that is often wiser than our intellect, and more accurate. There is no secret. I know you don’t want to hear “write badly” and “take a walk.” Usually what people ask for is my schedule (here it is: mornings, at least four hours a day, five days a week), a template for the perfect outline, a recommendation to the magic graduate school, a shortcut, an agent introduction, a way to make it not hurt so much. I often talk to people who are “stuck” with their memoirs, and watch their face fall when I ask them, “Have you thought about writing it straight through to the end and not looking back?” They usually have a million reasons why they can’t or shouldn’t do that. And maybe they shouldn’t. I don’t know what they need. But I do know three over-edited chapters won’t magically transform into a book one night while you’re sleeping. Writers are readers. We have grown up treasuring the books we devoured late at night, by the light of a stolen flashlight. We dreamed one day we’d be the name on the cover of just such a precious object. That may or may not happen, but either way it’s a worthy quest. It’s so easy to forget, while caught up in the morass of self-doubt and self-pity that can swamp our fragile writer souls, that this life of struggle is a dream come true. I love it fiercely. I hope I get to keep doing it until the day I die. Read more about Jillian Lauren’s book, Everything You Ever Wanted here.

Under the Tuscan Sun & Extra Virgin

Wine and food pairings are all well and good, but there’s no better pairing than two complementary books. Reading + Eating posts feature two titles that will inspire you to cook, read, eat, and enjoy. The gorgeous cookbook images, and handpicked recipes and quotes make for some delicious reading.  Under the Tuscan Sun has become a well-known and beloved memoir since it was published in 1997. A celebration of Italy, of resilience, and of food, it still evokes the particularity and beauty of Tuscany.
“An intense celebration of what [Mayes] calls ‘the voluptuousness of Italian life’ . . . appealing and very vivid . . . [The] book seems like the kind of thing you’d tuck into a picnic basket on an August day . . . or better yet, keep handy on the bedside table in the depths of January.”
New York Times Book Review extrav  
“Sometimes the valley below is like a bowl filled up with fog. I can see hard green figs on two trees and pears on a tree just below me. A fine crop coming in. May summer last a hundred years.”
― Frances Mayes, Under the Tuscan Sun  From Gabriele Corcos and Debi Mazar, comes Extra Virgin, a lush cookbook filled with rustic, mouth-watering Tuscan recipes. Traditional yet accessible, the cookbook covers appetizers, pastas, meat, vegetables, risotto, drinks, desserts, and everything in between. Try the recipe for Grilled Tuscan Chicken! chicken   Try the recipe for Spaghetti Alla Carbonara! carbonara “Gabriele and I believe that pasta brings a family together at mealtime like no other food. […] Sometimes it feels like that bowl of shells and pesto, or penne and red sauce, is as Italian a way of saying “I love you” as blurting out “Ti amo!”Debi Mazar, Extra Virgin  Planning your own escape to Italy? Fodor’s has you covered: Fodor’s Essential Italy