Penguin Group (USA) Weekly Spotlight
  August 30, 2012

TO: Penguin Group (USA) Colleagues

FROM: Marilyn Ducksworth, Dave Zimmer, Kristen Natividad
Corporate Communications

MAC users, please visit to read Spotlight on the web.

Zadie Smith's New Penguin Press Book, NW, Launching with Major Media and Multiple Author Readings (to top)

Bestselling, award-winning author Zadie Smith's highly anticipated new novel, NW, is being published by The Penguin Press on September 4. Twelve years after White Teeth, which won the prestigious Orange Prize for Fiction, the incomparable Smith returns to Northwest London, delving deep into the life of the neighborhood and its residents. A brilliant tragi-comic tale, NW follows four Londoners—Leah, Natalie, Felix and Nathan—as they try to make adult lives outside of Caldwell, the council estate of their childhood. From private houses to public parks, at work and at play, their London is a complicated place, as beautiful as it is brutal, where the thoroughfares hide the back alleys and taking the high road can sometimes lead you to a dead end.  Smith brilliantly depicts the modern urban zone—familiar to city dwellers everywhere—in a quietly devastating novel of encounters, mercurial and vital, like the city itself. 

NW received extensive pre-publication coverage in monthly magazines, including Vogue, Vanity Fair, O, More, People StyleWatch, Details, Esquire, and others. Publicity kicks off with interviews on NPR's "Morning Edition" and "The Diane Rehm Show," as well as select regional and local NPR stations.  A feature ran in the September issue of Interview magazine, and reviews are scheduled to run in most major newspapers and weekly magazines. Smith will do more than 20 readings in select East Coast and Midwest cities throughout the fall.

Kofi Annan's Highly Anticipated Interventions: A Life in War and Peace Draws National Attention (to top)

The Penguin Press will publish the eagerly awaited Interventions: A Life in War and Peace, a personal memoir of global statecraft, from Nobel Laureate and Former Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan on September 4. Interventions was co-written with Nader Mousavizadeh. Mr. Annan's media appearances will kick off with a sit-down interview on CBS Sunday Morning on September 2. He will also appear on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, PBS's Charlie Rose Show, NPR's Weekend Edition, WAMU's The Diane Rehm Show, CNN's Anderson Cooper 360, and C-SPAN's After Words. Mr. Annan will speak at the Hudson Union Society in New York City on September 4 and at Politics & Prose, at the Sixth & I Synagogue, in Washington, DC on September 5.

Leah Hager Cohen's The Grief of Others Nominated for Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction (to top)

Riverhead's The Grief of Others by Leah Hager Cohen has been named a finalist for the 2012 Dayton Literary Peace Prize for Fiction. Inspired by the 1995 Dayton Peace Accords that ended the war in Bosnia, The Dayton Literary Peace Prize is the only international literary peace prize awarded in the United States. The Prize is awarded annually to one fiction and one nonfiction book which celebrate the power of literature to promote peace and global understanding.

Previous winners of Dayton Literary Peace Prizes have included Studs Terkel, Elie Wiesel, Taylor Branch, and fellow Riverhead authors Junot Díaz and Mark Kurlansky. Winners will be announced on November 11 in Dayton, Ohio. Riverhead is releasing the paperback edition of The Grief of Others next week.

View the reading group guide to The Grief of Others.

Berkley/NAL's InterMix Has First New York Times Bestsellers with Beth Kery's Because You Are Mine Series (to top)

Berkley/NAL's eBook imprint InterMix has its first eBook original bestsellers with the Because You Are Mine series. Part III of the serialized erotic romance by Beth Kery debuts on The New York Times eBook fiction bestseller list at #19 for the week of September 2.  That same week, Because You Are Mine: Part I lands at #31 on the extended eBook fiction bestseller list. Because You Are Mine: Part IVdebuts at #14 on the eBook fiction list for the week of September 9. Because You Are Mine is InterMix's first serialized novel. Part I was released on July 31, with a new installment on sale every subsequent Tuesday for the following seven weeks.

Learn more about the sizzling eight-part serial novel.

The Penguin Press' A Wilderness of Error by Errol Morris Casts New Light on the "Green Beret Murder" Case and Signet Releases First-Ever eBook Edition of Joe McGinnis' Fatal Vision (to top)

As Academy Award-winning filmmaker and former private detective Errol Morris masterfully did in his ground-breaking documentary, A Thin Blue Line, he once again unsettles our assumptions about truth and criminal justice in A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald, which The Penguin Press will be publishing next week.

Morris examines the nature of evidence and proof in the infamous "Green Beret Murder" case, which still transfixes the nation 40 years after its supposed resolution. A Wilderness of Error brings together photographic evidence, letters, witness testimony and interviews in a shocking reinvestigation of the crime that shows us almost everything we have been told about the case is deeply unreliable.  It is a masterful reworking of the true-crime thriller that pierces the haze of myth surrounding these murders with the sort of brilliant light that can only be produced by years of dogged and careful investigation and hard, lucid thinking.

Publicity for A Wilderness of Error kicked off with a feature by David Carr in The New York Times and will continue with appearances on CBS Sunday Morning, The Colbert Report, and interviews on major regional and local NPR stations, as well as national talk radio programs. Other print coverage will include a feature in USA Today and a "5 Best Books" column by the author in the Wall Street Journal, along with reviews in the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, the New York Observer, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and the Raleigh News & Observer. Coverage is also planned in major online outlets like, Slate, Salon, the Huffington Post, The Millions, The Daily Beast,, Bloomberg News,, and

This week Signet released the first-ever e-book edition of the true crime classic Fatal Vision, another in-depth look at the MacDonald case. Written by Joe McGinniss and first published in 1983, Fatal Vision was turned into a hit television movie (30 million viewers) and has sold more than 2.5 million copies to date. Next week, a repackaged edition of the Signet paperback will hit bookstores. Interesting back-story: Fatal Vision was published in hardcover by Putnam, with Signet/NAL picking up the paperback rights—many years before the two imprints were part of the same company.

Viking's Every Love Story is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace Draws Major Media Praise (to top)

With publication less than a week away, buzz is definitely building for Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace, which goes on sale from Viking on September 3. Written by D.T. Max, the book received its first major review last week from the New York Times reviewer Michiko Kakutani, who wrote, "D.T. Max gives us a sympathetic appraisal of Wallace's life and work, tracing the connections between the two, while mapping the wellsprings of his philosophical vision." And: "What Mr. Max's book does do—and does powerfully—is provide an emotionally detailed portrait of the artist as a young man…." This weekend, Max's interview on NPR's Weekend All Things Considered will air and reviews are slated to appear in The San Francisco Chronicle, Boston Globe, Portland Oregonian, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, among others. Other national hits include NPR's The Takeaway and Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. The national book tour will kick off Tuesday, September 4 with an event at the Upper East Side Barnes & Noble and will continue with events in Washington, DC, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago, and Cambridge.

Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story examines what draws so many people to this gifted, passionate, and conflicted writer, and to his work. D.T. Max captures Wallace's compelling and turbulent voyage through life — his genius, his struggle to find comfort and meaning in a difficult world, his anxiety and loneliness — as well as why he mattered as a writer and what he tried to teach us. Drawing on interviews with more than a hundred individuals, including Wallace's wife and other members of his family, literary friends, and old lovers, and with access to Wallace's unpublished letters and manuscripts, many in private hands, Max charts how Wallace came to be the person and the writer that he was.


Anna Dewdney's #1 New York Times-Bestselling Series Continues with Llama Llama Time To Share (to top)

Penguin Young Readers Group's #1 New York Times bestselling Llama Llama series by Anna Dewdney continues with a sixth installment, Llama Llama Time To Share, on sale from Viking Children's Books beginning on September 4. When Llama's new neighbors Nelly and Baby Gnu come over for a visit, Llama must learn how to share his blocks and books. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly raves, "Dewdney conveys a highly relatable source of llama drama with warmth and authentically childlike characters."

To celebrate the publication, Dewdney will embark on a two-week national tour this September, which will include appearances at the National Book Festival and the Boston Book Festival. Dewdney will be interviewed by Vermont Public Radio and Llama Llama Time To Share will be featured in Parents Magazine's iPad edition.

Riverhead Launches Emma Straub's Widely Heralded Debut Novel Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures (to top)

On September 4 Riverhead Books will publish Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, the debut novel from Emma Straub, who has been called the "heir to Ann Beattie and Lorrie Moore" (Booklist) and "a fresh voice who deserves discovery" (Kirkus). It's been called one of the "most anticipated books" (The Millions) of the season and one of the "most buzzed about debuts of 2012" (BookPage). Having already won over literary luminaries like Jennifer Egan, Lorrie Moore, Tom Perrotta, J. Courtney Sullivan and Lauren Grof—and been awarded a Barnes & Noble "Fall Discover Great New Writers" pick to an IndieNext List "Great Read" selection—Publishers Weekly calls Straub a "much buzzed about author" who "seems to be doing everything right" and "seems to be loved by all."

Following Elsa Emerson from her childhood in small town Wisconsin to the glamour and excess of Hollywood where she is remade into movie star Laura Lamont, Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures is a timeless story of a woman trying to balance career, family, and personal happiness, all while remaining true to herself. New York Magazine and the Huffington Post both named it a "Must Read" for the Fall; O Magazine declares it a "bewitching novel" and Vanity Fair calls it a "sparkly and much-heralded debut." The book can be found in the current issues of everything from Vogue, Marie Claire and Nylon to Good Housekeeping, Ladies' Home Journal and Poets & Writers, with more coverage slated to appear in the USA Today, People, Entertainment Weekly, the New York Times Book Review, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and San Francisco Chronicle, among many others. Emma will launch the book at Brooklyn's BookCourt before touring on Seattle, Portland, LA, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Chicago, Washington, DC, Chapel Hill and Austin.

View the reading group guide to Laura Lamont's Life in Pictures, and read an interview with author Emma Straub.

A&E Television Movie Based on Robin Cook's Coma Premieres September 3 (to top)

A two-part movie based on Robin Cook's Coma (Signet) will air on A&E beginning September 3.  The television movie boasts an all-star cast, including actors Ellen Burstyn, Richard Dreyfuss, Geena Davis, and Lauren Ambrose. Originally published in 1977, Coma is a gripping, scary read that is often credited with creating the medical thriller genre. Coma was previously made into a movie directed by Michael Crichton.  The new A&E version has been updated to reflect the current time.  For more information on the mini-series, and to read an interview with Robin Cook, please click here.

DK's Star Wars Pride Shines at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando (to top)

DK Publishing displayed all its Star Wars pride this past weekend at Star Wars Celebration VI in Orlando, Florida. Authors Jason Fry, Ryder Windham, Ashley Eckstein and illustrators Chris Reiff and Chris Trevas signed their newest DK titles. The big booth buzz focused on the Star Wars: The Old Republic Encyclopedia, which is due out this October. The team passed out exclusive prints from The Old Republic, Yoda-inspired wristbands, DK Star Wars Readers, and stamped thousands of book publisher-sponsored Galactic Passports, which were given out as fan souvenirs. DK attended the popular 501st Legion Imperial Banquet and sponsored the creation of a life-size Darth Vader cake for the event. The cake was unveiled in front of the 600+ banquet attendees, and the story of the cake has since made its way across the internet to places like ABC News and the Daily Mail. DK also enthusiastically talked to fans about Star Wars Reads Day, a first-ever joint venture with Star Wars publishers that includes over 1,200 book events nationwide celebrating Star Wars and fostering a love of reading. Check out the website to attend an event near you this October 6.

Strong Media Campaign Continues for Gotham's How to Look Expensive (to top)

How to Look Expensive, Gotham's insider guide from Glamour columnist Andrea Pomerantz Lustig on looking fabulous without breaking the bank, continues to earn fantastic media attention. Following a first serial excerpt in the September issue of Glamour, Andrea was featured in a three-page makeover spread in the New York Post that coincided with the book's on-sale date of August 7. The book was also profiled in USA Weekend (August 26) and Star Magazine's beauty section (August 13), while Andrea's tips have appeared in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram,, and Andrea also stopped by the Penguin offices for a satellite radio tour that was broadcasted all across the country.

Upcoming coverage includes an appearance on The Today Show (September 7, during the 8 a.m. hour) and features in Time Out New York's Closet Case column, The New York Times,, and Brides Magazine, with lots more to come!

Read an excerpt from How to Look Expensive here.

Viking/Penguin Author Tana French Profiled on Page One of The New York Times Arts Section (to top)

Viking/Penguin author Tana French was the subject of a New York Times profile, which appeared on the front page of the "Arts" section on Monday, August 27. Sarah Lyall's piece mentions French's current New York Times bestselling Viking hardcover Broken Harbor as well as her Penguin backlist titles.

Read an excerpt from Broken Harbor, and view the reading group guide.

Amor Towles' Rules Of Civility Outsells Fifty Shades Trilogy in Los Angeles (to top)

Viking/Penguin author Amor Towles has completed the Herculean task of outselling two of the titles in the Fifty Shades trilogy in the greater Los Angeles area. Towles's debut novel, Rules of Civility, has long been a favorite in the Los Angeles market and this week the Penguin paperback edition was #2 on the Los Angeles bestseller list, coming in right behind Fifty Shades of Grey and selling more copies than Fifty Shades Darker and Fifty Shades Freed. This is the second time Rules of Civility has broken into the seemingly undefeatable trilogy of novels—the first was on July 15 when Rules came in third, beating out sales for Fifty Shades Freed—and Penguin is proud to say that Rules is the only novel to have outsold the Fifty Shades books in that market all summer. We are certain we can out sell them again, and expect strong sales nationwide throughout the rest of the year.

Read an excerpt from Rules of Civility, and our interview with author Amor Towles.

Simon Sinek's Start With Why Video Attracts 6.5 Million Views on TED Talks and the Book is on Top Military Brass' Recommended Reading Lists (to top)

TED just released its annual list of the most viewed TED Talks. In 2011, the video for Portfolio Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek was #19. This year it has climbed to be the #7 most-watched talk in TED history, with 6.5 million views (not including another million on YouTube!). If you have never seen the video, click here.

In addition, Start With Why continues to get great word of mouth with military audiences. It is now on the recommended reading lists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, and the Special Operations Command. The author was told that no previous book had ever been on both the Chief's and Chairman's lists in the same year.

Tom Young's Putnam Novel The Renegades Draws High Praise on NPR's All Things Considered (to top)

NPR's Alan Cheuse filed a rave review of Tom Young's latest Putnam novel The Renegades on NPR's All Things Considered earlier this week. A portion of Cheuse's praise: "This military procedural, told with clarity and straightforward narrative skill, brings a reader as close as he or she can get to the field of the Afghan war without coming into harm's way. It's a book as thrilling as any of Tom Clancy's or his imitators, and makes us much more mindful than they ever do of the human toll of the war."

To access the full review of The Renegades, click here.

New on the Penguin Website (to top)

Visit The Author's Desk on Penguin Community!

This week…

Elissa Montanti explains the power of telling your story.

View our Author Archive for past guest author bloggers and posts and see the newest videos, excerpts, and author Q&As in our Digital Digest.

The Employee Advantage (to top)

Every week we present a not-to-be-missed employee store deal of the week.

Tebow Time: Insights on Winning from Football's Rising Star presents quotations from Tebow on varied topics, and an in-depth introductory essay examining Tebow as an individual, a football player, and a cultural phenomenon. This book will delight fans of this rare and humble football icon.

Read an excerpt.

Get your copy of Tebow Time: Insights on Winning from Football's Rising Star at the employee price of $4.78 (orig. $11.95) here.

Also, check out what top sellers your colleagues are buying this week.

New York Times Bestseller Highlights for the Week of September 9 (to top)

Penguin Group (USA) has one debut on The New York Times bestseller lists for the week of September 9. Because You Are Mine: Part IV by Beth Kerry (InterMix) debuts at #14 on the eBook fiction list.

Here are more of this week's New York Times bestseller highlights:

On the hardcover fiction list, Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (Viking) is #13 in its seventh week.

On the trade paperback fiction list, Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley) is #4 in its eleventh week and Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (Penguin) is #16 in its ninth week. p>

On the mass market fiction list, Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb (Berkley) is #6 in its third week, Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts (Jove) is #15 in its fourth week and Stygian's Honor by Lora Leigh (Berkley) is #17 in its third week.

On the children's chapter books list, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (Dutton) is #6 in its 33rd week.

On the children's paperback list, Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (Razorbill) is #9 in its 49th week and Looking for Alaska by John Green (Speak) is #10 in its fifth week.

On the print hardcover & paperback (combined) fiction list, Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley) is #5 and Celebrity in Death by J. D. Robb (Berkley) is #23. p>

On the print hardcover & paperback (combined) nonfiction list, I Hate Everyone… Starting With Me by Joan Rivers (Berkley) is #35.

On the eBook fiction list, Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley) is #5 in its 16th week.

On the eBook nonfiction list, Let's Pretend this Never Happened by Jenny Lawson (Amy Einhorn/Putnam is #20 in its 19th week.

On the combined print and eBook fiction list, Bared to You by Sylvia Day (Berkley) is #6 in its 11th week.

New This Week (to top)

Kept in the Dark by Penny Hancock (Plume, 8/28)

What lies beneath the veil of respectability at the house next door?  Novelist Penny Hancock's debut thriller Kept in the Dark won widespread praise across the U.K., topping bestseller lists and being selected as a Richard and Judy 2012 Summer Read. Exploring the complexities of obsession, the trappings of memory, and the potential darkness in us all, Kept in the Dark introduces forty-three year-old Sonia, who is completely smitten when a handsome teenager arrives at her doorstep, and makes the unfathomable decision to keep him.  Reminiscent of thrillers by Sophie Hannah and Tana French, Kept in the Dark is hailed by New York Times bestselling author S.J. Watson as "deliciously dark and richly evocative." The buzz for the U.S. release has been terrific with a Publishers Weekly starred review and upcoming coverage in People, Shelf Awareness, the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Mystery Scene Magazine, RT Book Reviews and more. 

Read an excerpt from Kept in the Dark.

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