Penguin Random House – Fall Preview 2019
On Tuesday, September 24th, my favorite local bookstore here in Phoenix, Changing Hands, hosted a preview of Penguin Random House’s fall 2019 releases. Highlights of my evening were: yummy ice chai latte from the coffee bar, hilarious book introduction, and commentary from the Penguin Random House reps, and lastly, the books! There were tons of books previewed (about 37), but I’ll keep this short and sweet and just cover the 5 that I am most excited for.
I’ll do this countdown style – here goes!
My 5 Most Anticipated Penguin Random House Fall Releases
#5 Royal Holiday by Jasmine Guillory
This sounded like a perfect holiday read for when I am cozied-up by the fire with a cup of tea. I love to read romance during the holidays and I have heard great things about Jasmine Guillory’s writing. Description below.
Vivian Forest has been out of the country a grand total of one time, so when she gets the chance to tag along on her daughter Maddie’s work trip to England to style a royal family member, she can’t refuse. She’s excited to spend the holidays taking in the magnificent British sights, but what she doesn’t expect is to become instantly attracted to a certain private secretary, his charming accent, and unyielding formality.
Malcolm Hudson has worked for the Queen for years and has never given a personal, private tour—until now. He is intrigued by Vivian the moment he meets her and finds himself making excuses just to spend time with her. When flirtatious banter turns into a kiss under the mistletoe, things snowball into a full-on fling.
Despite a ticking timer on their holiday romance, they are completely fine with ending their short, steamy affair come New Year’s Day. . .or are they?
Details: Out October 1st – ISBN: 9781984802217 Published by Berkley
#4 Know My Name by Chanel Miller
After watching Chanel Miller’s interview on 60 Minutes, I was really impressed with her. I can’t wait to read her story the way that she wants to tell it. I think this will be an important book for everyone to read. Description below.
She was known to the world as Emily Doe when she stunned millions with a letter. Brock Turner had been sentenced to just six months in county jail after he was found sexually assaulting her on Stanford’s campus. Her victim impact statement was posted on BuzzFeed, where it instantly went viral–viewed by eleven million people within four days, it was translated globally and read on the floor of Congress; it inspired changes in California law and the recall of the judge in the case. Thousands wrote to say that she had given them the courage to share their own experiences of assault for the first time.
Now she reclaims her identity to tell her story of trauma, transcendence, and the power of words. It was the perfect case, in many ways–there were eyewitnesses, Turner ran away, physical evidence was immediately secured. But her struggles with isolation and shame during the aftermath and the trial reveal the oppression victims face in even the best-case scenarios. Her story illuminates a culture biased to protect perpetrators, indicts a criminal justice system designed to fail the most vulnerable, and, ultimately, shines with the courage required to move through suffering and live a full and beautiful life.
Know My Name will forever transform the way we think about sexual assault, challenging our beliefs about what is acceptable and speaking truth to the tumultuous reality of healing. It also introduces readers to an extraordinary writer, one whose words have already changed our world. Entwining pain, resilience, and humor, this memoir will stand as a modern classic.
Details: Out September 24th – ISBN: 9780735223714 Published by Viking
#3 Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
Jacqueline Woodson is an author that I have been wanting to head for a while now. This sounds like a really moving story that explores topics I am really interested in. I am also planning to attend Jacqueline Woodson’s talk here in Phoenix in a few weeks. Description below.
Moving forward and backward in time, Jacqueline Woodson’s taut and powerful new novel uncovers the role that history and community have played in the experiences, decisions, and relationships of these families, and in the life of the new child.
As the book opens in 2001, it is the evening of sixteen-year-old Melody’s coming of age ceremony in her grandparents’ Brooklyn brownstone. Watched lovingly by her relatives and friends, making her entrance to the music of Prince, she wears a special custom-made dress. But the event is not without poignancy. Sixteen years earlier, that very dress was measured and sewn for a different wearer: Melody’s mother, for her own ceremony– a celebration that ultimately never took place.
Unfurling the history of Melody’s parents and grandparents to show how they all arrived at this moment, Woodson considers not just their ambitions and successes but also the costs, the tolls they’ve paid for striving to overcome expectations and escape the pull of history. As it explores sexual desire and identity, ambition, gentrification, education, class and status, and the life-altering facts of parenthood, Red at the Bone most strikingly looks at the ways in which young people must so often make long-lasting decisions about their lives–even before they have begun to figure out who they are and what they want to be.
Details: Out September 17th – ISBN: 9780525535270 Published by Riverhead Books
#2 The Secrets We Kept by Lara Prescott
I watched the Doctor Zhivago movie several times when I was about 12, and this story captivated me even at such a young age. The minute I read the synopsis for this book, I was all in. Also, apparently there was a bidding war for this book that involved 29 different publishers. Penguin Random House only won it because they had published the original Doctor Zhivago book. So …this is promising! Description below.
At the height of the Cold War, two secretaries are pulled out of the typing pool at the CIA and given the assignment of a lifetime. Their mission: to smuggle Doctor Zhivago out of the USSR, where no one dare publish it, and help Pasternak’s magnum opus make its way into print around the world. Glamorous and sophisticated Sally Forrester is a seasoned spy who has honed her gift for deceit all over the world–using her magnetism and charm to pry secrets out of powerful men. Irina is a complete novice, and under Sally’s tutelage quickly learns how to blend in, make drops, and invisibly ferry classified documents.
The Secrets We Kept combines a legendary literary love story—the decades-long affair between Pasternak and his mistress and muse, Olga Ivinskaya, who was sent to the Gulag and inspired Zhivago’s heroine, Lara—with a narrative about two women empowered to lead lives of extraordinary intrigue and risk. From Pasternak’s country estate outside Moscow to the brutalities of the Gulag, from Washington, D.C. to Paris and Milan, The Secrets We Kept captures a watershed moment in the history of literature—told with soaring emotional intensity and captivating historical detail. And at the center of this unforgettable debut is the powerful belief that a piece of art can change the world.
Details: Out September 3rd – ISBN: 9780525656159 Published by Knopf Publishing Group
#1 The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern
The Nightcircus by Erin Morgenstern is one of my favorite books. The level of imagination is absolutely breathtaking. I have already read rave reviews for The Starless Sea and I can’t wait to be transported once again by this amazing author. Description below.
Zachary Ezra Rawlins is a graduate student in Vermont when he discovers a mysterious book hidden in the stacks. As he turns the pages, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, key collectors, and nameless acolytes, he reads something strange: a story from his own childhood. Bewildered by this inexplicable book and desperate to make sense of how his own life came to be recorded, Zachary uncovers a series of clues–a bee, a key, and a sword–that lead him to a masquerade party in New York, to a secret club, and through a doorway to an ancient library, hidden far below the surface of the earth.
What Zachary finds in this curious place is more than just a buried home for books and their guardians–it is a place of lost cities and seas, lovers who pass notes under doors and across time, and of stories whispered by the dead. Zachary learns of those who have sacrificed much to protect this realm, relinquishing their sight and their tongues to preserve this archive, and also those who are intent on its destruction.
Together with Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired protector of the place, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances, Zachary travels the twisting tunnels, darkened stairwells, crowded ballrooms, and sweetly-soaked shores of this magical world, discovering his purpose–in both the mysterious book and in his own life.
Details: Out November 5th – ISBN: 9780385541213 Published by Doubleday Books
So there you have it! 5 books that we can look forward to from Penguin Random House this fall. If you have read any of these titles yet, or are just as excited as I am, let me know!