Happy Birthday Penguin Books! - With Giveaway

The publishing house Penguin Books turns 75 years old this year (that’s a lot of candles) and I want to wish them a good one.

If you are lucky enough to be with your "special someone" for seventy five years, tradition states that diamonds are the proper anniversary gift. To celebrate their seventy fifth anniversary, Penguin Books is giving away their diamonds — well, metaphorical diamonds. They're throwing book parties, supporting charities and hosting a giveaway for RT readers. You can find all of that information below, but first let me tell a bit about the publishing house we can thank for hours of reading pleasure.

A few little know facts about Penguin:

• Penguin Books was launched in 1935 in the middle of the Great Depression. Allen Lane, the founder, wanted to offer cheap, quality books to the masses.  

• The first home of the publisher was in the Holy Trinity Church crypt. 

• The first books Penguin published were all reprints, including works by Agatha Christie, Ernest Hemingway and Dorothy L. Sayers. 

• In 1945, Penguin published its first "classic" - a translation of Homer’s Odyssey.

• Penguin was charged with obscenity for publishing Lady Chatterly’s Lover in the 1950s. 

• Current bestsellers that Penguin publishes today include John Grisham, Scott Turow and Linda Fairstein

To celebrate their birthday, Penguin is hosting bookstore parties all over the US in order to increase awareness of The Nature Conservancy, aimed at protecting the earth’s trees. Also, Penguin is helping fight illiteracy by donating books to local libraries and literacy groups.

In honor of their birthday, RT is giving away four of my favorite Penguin titles:

Ceremony by Leslie Marmon Silko

Growing up on an Indian reservation, I have always been drawn to Native American lore. Some of my first memories of school include sitting in middle grade assemblies listening to local storytellers relate tales of their ancestors set to the beating of drums. And that’s what Silko’s text does. She is a storyteller using Pueblo myth in a moving tale about a World War II veteran who has to face the loss he suffered during the war.



The Tao of Pooh by Benjamin Hoff

My mother gave me this book when I was a teenager, hoping that the silly premise of Winnie-the-Pooh as a philosopher would help me to slow down and embrace the "do nothing"attitude of the famous fictional children’s character. While I was able to appreciate the ideas of Taoism, I never really got the hang of being like the contented bear — I guess I’m much more of a Tigger. 



White Noise by Don DeLillo  

Who needs post-apocalyptic stories when the terror of modern living has become so great? DeLillo’s White Noise follows a college professor and family as they deal (or more accurately, cannot deal) with their community’s accidental exposure to poisonous chemicals. In this work, DeLillo takes the fear that is inherent in society that embraces nuclear weapons, industrial toxins and systematic destruction of the environment. 



Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

I have a secret. I am not a huge fan of novels that are considered "classic." I would much rather sit down with a new release than delve into a novel written prior to the 1900s. However, for Wuthering Heights I make an exception. I’m a sucker for tragic Heathcliff as he cannot let his beloved Catherine go, even in death. 



GIVEAWAY ALERT: One lucky winner will receive all four of my Penguin favorites. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post about why you Penguin Books or e-mail here with your comment and the subject line "Happy Birthday, Penguin Books Giveaway.” One entry per person. The contest winner will be revealed on August 9th.