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The ReadDown

Virtual Con: Geeky Staff Picks

To celebrate Penguin Random House’s first-ever #VirtualCon, we’re bringing you one of our favorite parts of the convention experience: book recommendations! Discover the stories our staff can’t stop talking about.

  1. 1
    The Beautiful Book Cover Picture
    The Beautiful Book Cover Picture

    The Beautiful

    by Renée Ahdieh

    “Are you a sucker for a good historical romance? Do you dabble in the paranormal? Do you love Anne Rice? If you’re ready for a dazzling book to sweep you away, The Beautiful by Renée Ahdieh is the book for you. With nods to Twilight, Anne Rice, and regency romances, Ahdieh cooks up a detailed and elegant world with a slow burn romance that had me devouring each chapter late into the night. Set in a vividly described 19th-century New Orleans, the story builds delicately then hurtles to a cliff-hanger ending that had me desperate to read the sequel.” — Amanda, Marketing; Penguin Young Readers
    The Beautiful Book Cover Picture
    The Beautiful Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $18.99

    Also available from:

  2. 2
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture

    Black Leopard, Red Wolf

    by Marlon James

    “Bursting at the seams in all the best ways, the first novel in Marlon James’s Dark Star trilogy is epic fantasy at its boldest, bawdiest, and bloodiest. Infused with African mythology and history, Black Leopard, Red Wolf is grounded in tradition, but it will take you someplace you’ve never been before.” — Molly, Marketing; Viking, Penguin, and Riverhead
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture
    Black Leopard, Red Wolf Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  3. 3
    Bonds of Brass Book Cover Picture
    Bonds of Brass Book Cover Picture

    Bonds of Brass

    by Emily Skrutskie

    “Picking up this book is like melting into the best kind of fanfiction: fast-paced, character-driven, and with an emotional core that hits you right in The Feels. It’s impossible not to fall in love with these flyboys, and Skrutskie’s prose is as sharp as a weaponized rainbow umbrella.” — Ashleigh, Marketing; Del Rey
    Bonds of Brass Book Cover Picture
    Bonds of Brass Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  4. 4
    Fireborne Book Cover Picture
    Fireborne Book Cover Picture

    Fireborne

    by Rosaria Munda

    “This book honestly has everything I need in a book: non-toxic female friendships, women’s empowerment & power, discussions of the complicated morality of governments, love for the family you were born into vs. the one you’ve chosen, amazing characters, romance, & then there’s DRAGONS. My favorite part of this book are the characters that jump off the page, grab you, and refuse to let go. I can’t recommend this book enough.” — Tessa, Publicity; Penguin Young Readers
    Fireborne Book Cover Picture
    Fireborne Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $11.99

    Also available from:

  5. 5
    Foundryside Book Cover Picture
    Foundryside Book Cover Picture

    Foundryside

    by Robert Jackson Bennett

    Foundryside has everything: Explosions, a talking key sidekick, lesbians, and magic that works like computer coding. Sancia is a thief who has accidentally joined a war and now has to stop the rich from using their power to write reality itself. The world’s a machine and she’s the wrench.” — Kathleen, Marketing; Random House
    Foundryside Book Cover Picture
    Foundryside Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  6. 6
    How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse Book Cover Picture
    How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse Book Cover Picture

    How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse

    by K. Eason

    “Imagine Princess Leia in the world of The Princess Bride, and you get Rory Thorne. Now is the perfect time to get lost in this wildly fun, space-operatic, fairy-tale-retelling—especially before the sequel is released this fall!” — Brittanie, Publicity; Berkley and DAW
    How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse Book Cover Picture
    How Rory Thorne Destroyed the Multiverse Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  7. 7
    The Glass Hotel Book Cover Picture
    The Glass Hotel Book Cover Picture

    The Glass Hotel

    by Emily St. John Mandel

    “Emily St. John Mandel entranced readers with a traveling Shakespearean troupe roaming the aftermath of an apocalypse in Station Eleven. Her new book, The Glass Hotel, is entirely different but just as elegant, lyrical, thought-provoking, and powerful. A tale of love and loss, greed and betrayal, devastation and survival, ghosts and memories, this is an absolutely not-to-be-missed novel.” — Julianne, Marketing; Knopf & Pantheon
    The Glass Hotel Book Cover Picture
    The Glass Hotel Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  8. 8
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture

    A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder

    by Holly Jackson

    “Is it too much to say this book slayed me, solved my murder, and brought me back to life all at once? A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder (an instant New York Times bestseller!) is about a closed case that just doesn’t add up and the girl who dedicates her senior capstone project to finding the real murderer—no matter what. It’s Serial meets Making a Murderer, what more could you ask for?” — Caitlin, Marketing; Random House Children’s Books
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture
    A Good Girl's Guide to Murder Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.99

    Also available from:

  9. 9
    Interior Chinatown Book Cover Picture
    Interior Chinatown Book Cover Picture

    Interior Chinatown

    by Charles Yu

    “Charles Yu always manages to deliver creative, funny, and unclassifiable stories. Interior Chinatown, with the laughing it elicits and pondering it provokes, is no exception. And the way Charlie writes about family is like getting a big bear hug, even in the darkest of times.” — Josie, Publicity; Knopf & Pantheon
    Interior Chinatown Book Cover Picture
    Interior Chinatown Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  10. 10
    The Last Human Book Cover Picture
    The Last Human Book Cover Picture

    The Last Human

    by Zack Jordan

    “If you enjoy fun, witty space adventures, then this book is for you. It reminded me of Rick and Morty and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, making me laugh while pondering the universe.” — David, Publicity; Random House
    The Last Human Book Cover Picture
    The Last Human Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $18.00

    Also available from:

  11. 11
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture

    Mexican Gothic

    by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

    “Inject this book right into my veins, please! This book has: a haunted coward just doing his best, female characters finding their rage, gross men getting utterly destroyed, a creepy sentient house, and bonus: a misty cemetery!” — Logan, Sales Marketing; Random House
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture
    Mexican Gothic Book Cover Picture

    Hardcover
    $27.00

    Also available from:

  12. 12
    My Brother's Husband, Volumes 1 & 2 Book Cover Picture
    My Brother's Husband, Volumes 1 & 2 Book Cover Picture

    My Brother’s Husband, Volumes 1 & 2

    by Gengoroh Tagame

    “This inspiring tear-jerker is all about stepping outside of your comfort zone. For me, it was the format — my very first manga! For some of the characters, it is about confronting unconscious prejudices and rethinking societal norms. A warm & fuzzy power punch to the heart.” — Emily, Marketing; Knopf & Pantheon
    My Brother's Husband, Volumes 1 & 2 Book Cover Picture
    My Brother's Husband, Volumes 1 & 2 Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $29.95

    Also available from:

  13. 13
    A Phoenix First Must Burn Book Cover Picture
    A Phoenix First Must Burn Book Cover Picture

    A Phoenix First Must Burn

    by

    “Love Octavia Butler? Looking for more speculative fiction for your shelves? Do yourself a favor and pick up A Phoenix First Must Burn. #BlackGirlMagic comes to life in these sixteen stories by Black female and gender-nonconforming writers. Whether you’re into stories of hope and resistance, ones with fairy tale retellings or vampires, or ones that will leave you on the edge of your seat, this book will do it for you.” — Leah, Marketing; Penguin Young Readers
    A Phoenix First Must Burn Book Cover Picture
    A Phoenix First Must Burn Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $10.99

    Also available from:

  14. 14
    Providence Book Cover Picture
    Providence Book Cover Picture

    Providence

    by Max Barry

    “Max Barry is back and you’re going to want to devour this in one sitting. Aliens, space combat, artificial intelligence, the dangers of social media — this one has it all.” — Heather, Publicity; Penguin Publishing Group
    Providence Book Cover Picture
    Providence Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  15. 15
    The Return Book Cover Picture
    The Return Book Cover Picture

    The Return

    by Rachel Harrison

    Girls meets The Shining… need I say more? Rachel Harrison’s debut is the smart, campy, feminist, creepy-as-hell millennial horror novel I didn’t know I desperately wanted.” — Liza, Publicity; Putnam, Dutton, and Berkley
    The Return Book Cover Picture
    The Return Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  16. 16
    The Starless Sea Book Cover Picture
    The Starless Sea Book Cover Picture

    The Starless Sea

    by Erin Morgenstern

    “Erin Morgenstern’s The Starless Sea will transport you to a place where stories aren’t just written on the pages in books, they are folded into stars, painted on walls, and hidden behind magical doors. It’s a place where adventure begins with a trip to the library. I loved taking a trip to the Starless Sea and can’t wait to go back again and again!” — Lauren, Marketing; Doubleday
    The Starless Sea Book Cover Picture
    The Starless Sea Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.95

    Also available from:

  17. 17
    Stealing Thunder Book Cover Picture
    Stealing Thunder Book Cover Picture

    Stealing Thunder

    by Alina Boyden

    “Alina Boyden’s powerful debut is the fantasy novel we need. Stealing Thunder follows trans heroine Razia Khan in a delightful coming-of-age story about the strength we find in one another and ourselves. It’s full of rich worldbuilding, gripping suspense, moving romance — and dragons!” — Jordan, Marketing; Penguin Publishing Group
    Stealing Thunder Book Cover Picture
    Stealing Thunder Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $16.00

    Also available from:

  18. 18
    The Story of More Book Cover Picture
    The Story of More Book Cover Picture

    The Story of More

    by Hope Jahren

    “I can’t get enough of Hope Jahren. In The Story of More, she tackles the issue of climate change with the same clarity and warmth that she brought to her memoir, Lab Girl. In a time when the world feels unfamiliar and chaotic, I have found her scientific approach to be soothing. as well as enlightening.” — Jess, Marketing; Vintage Books & Anchor Books
    The Story of More Book Cover Picture
    The Story of More Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $15.00

    Also available from:

  19. 19
    The Vanished Birds Book Cover Picture
    The Vanished Birds Book Cover Picture

    The Vanished Birds

    by Simon Jimenez

    “This book is so well-written, emotionally resonant, and just Beautiful Science Fiction, that my extremely introverted husband posted on his Facebook about it.” — Julie, Marketing; Del Rey
    The Vanished Birds Book Cover Picture
    The Vanished Birds Book Cover Picture

    Paperback
    $17.00

    Also available from:

  20. 20
    William Shakespeare's Star Wars Book Cover Picture
    William Shakespeare's Star Wars Book Cover Picture

    William Shakespeare’s Star Wars

    by Ian Doescher

    “Are you a Star Wars fan looking for a fresh spin on your favorite galaxy far, far away? Revisit the story of A New Hope, written and performed in the style of William Shakespeare. If you like this one, don’t forget to try The Empire Striketh Back and The Jedi Doth Return.” — Rob, Marketing; Penguin Random House Audio
    William Shakespeare's Star Wars Book Cover Picture
    William Shakespeare's Star Wars Book Cover Picture

    Available from:

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