Last Monday I was invited to a very exciting event at one of my favourite publishing houses. It was the first time I'd been invited to such a thing and I had absolutely no idea what to expect. Especially when it turns out I'd been surrounded by proper journalists and official-people-working-in-the-book-industry! And me, just a lowly book blogger!
Luckily, everyone at Penguin are super nice and made me feel at home and I ran into some very friendly faces... Michelle from Clover Hill Book Reviews, who seemed just as nervous as I was, Carly Bennett from Writing from the Tub and Liz from My Favourite Books. I love meeting and re-meeting some of my favourite bloggers!
After some tea and (lovely) biscuits, we were ushered into another room where the presentations were being held. We were taken through an entire year of fabulous books that Penguin will be publishing, watched book and movie trailers and heard some really interesting and sometimes hilarious talks by some very exciting authors, both debut and established!
I was so excited to take loads of photos beforehand, but when it came time, I only ended up with one photo as I was just so interested in hearing what the authors and people at Penguin had to say. Here's my one photo of Meg Rosoff (SQUEEEE) talking about her new book, There Is No Dog, which is out in August.
The book sounds absolutely brilliant and I cannot wait to read it. She talked a bit about the cover and the meaning of the title, which has left some confused. The thing I found most interesting about what Meg Rosoff had to say was that it was really difficult for her to write this book, feeling very nervous. Seems a case of insecurity hit, which surprised me, but I guess it shouldn't have. After the presentation, we all had lunch together and everytime Meg Rosoff walked past me I started fan-girling 'MEG ROSOFF JUST WALKED PAST!' etc - and then we were introduced and she is so lovely to chat to. Was wonderful to meet her and talk to her a bit about her books.
Next up, we watched the fab movie trailer for I Am Number Four (I'd love there to be a blogger meet-up so we can all watch these movie adaptations together!) and watched a video of Rick Riordan discussing his books. (I wrote a note to myself here which said 'must read book by R. Riordan this year!')
Then there was bits about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books (I've only just watched the film this afternoon, HILARIOUS) followed by the film trailer for the new movie. Holy crap, how much do I want to see that now?! The latest book, Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days is out in February, with other books out later in the year.
Then news of the third book from Charlie Higson to follow on from The Enemy and The Dead out in September, called The Fear. (I have The Dead waiting for me on my TBR shelves, I figure immediately after Love month will be the perfect time to read some zombie fiction, what do you think?) And new covers from Cathy Cassidy to appeal to a new generation of girls. (Here's where I wish I'd been taking photos to show you the new covers!)
Then we went on to hear about the brothers Alex and Simon Scarrow! February sees the arrival of a new series of Roman gladiator books from Simon and the third Time Raiders book from Alex. History never looked like so much fun before :) I'm going to really speed through the next bits here, or we'll be here all day.
Jeremy Strong spoke to us! He really championed this new Campaign For Fun that he's doing, trying to bring fun back into learning. I think it's a brilliant idea and I wish him all the very best with it. This was followed by a talk by a new author, Steven Butler, who was very funny and talked about his new series of books for younger children, The Wrong Pong.
The highlight for me? When he compared the troll on the front cover to his MOTHER. I'm sure she is absolutely THRILLED with that comparison!!! :)
Then James Holland, author of a new book out in June, Duty Calls: Dunkirk talked a bit about why he wrote this book and how he hoped it would help. I must admit, the story of an ordinary boy fighting in WWI definitely sound appealing to me. There was mention of a graphic novel of Richelle Mead's first Vampire Academy book (intriguing!) A new book by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl out in November (will give me enough time to read first two books!) and the new series of books in the Vlad Tod series by Heather Brewer!
This was followed (are you still with me?!) by Matched by Ally Condie. The paperback is out in July and Crossed is out in November! (DYING to read Crossed!!) followed by Across the Universe by Beth Revis! This is my most anticipated read so far! Looks absolutely fabulous and is published (as you well know!) in March.
Tantalisingly, a book was mentioned as a cross between 'Flowers in the Attic and Natural Born Killers' but not much else was said about it. The book is called Brother/Sister by Sean Olin and I am absolutely curious about it now! AND THEN! Penguin staff showed a video of Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys, and I nearly CRIED hearing about the interviews and research that Ruta did in order to write this book. Between Shades of Gray is going to be an absolute tear jerker, I can see it already. Not out until April but I have my copy all set to go once Love month is finished. I'm going to sit with a big box of tissues. *sniff*
Already I'm thinking 'wow' at all the information that's been thrown at me, and then they introduce David Almond! Who read from his new post-apocalyptic book entitled The True Tale of the Monster Billy Dean, out in September, and I swear to you all, the whole room absolutely hung upon every single word out of David Almond's mouth. I could sit and listen to David Almond talk forever. Wonderful experience.
And because that must have been difficult to follow up with ANYTHING, there was a bit of talk about some birthdays and anniversaries of some classic Penguin books. Ballet Shoes, James and the Giant Peach (which I'll be reading to my two boys at bedtime starting this week!), Peepo, Artemis Fowl (how old do I feel?! The first book is already 10 years old!)
And then we heard from debut author, Phil Earle, author of Being Billy, a book I read and loved recently. He talked a bit about working in a care home when he was younger, some of the difficulties and successes of some of the children he was involved in caring for. I nearly cried again. I've been chatting a bit with Phil Earle on twitter, so it was lovely to hear him speak and chat to him after the event!
We went through some of the beautiful picture books coming out this year, and some of the pre-school titles and baby books. While *I* found this interesting, as I have a pre-schooler myself, I'll skip through some of it. The last thing I DO want to mention however, is that there was mention of Ladybird Live, which sounds a bit like a story-telling tour that will be happening this summer with fun activities and the possibility of celebrity story-tellers. It's something I'm very much interested in and something I think both my boys would love to go to. When I get more information, I shall let you know!
So that is how my day went! Sorry if this was a bit long-winded! I'm just very excited by the authors I heard speak and who I was able to chat with. I was excited about hearing the new bookish news from Penguin and for being invited to such a fun event. The spring rolls at lunch were particularly delicious and thanks to Carly and Liz for keeping me company! I was able to put faces to some of the lovely Penguin women who I've been emailing with and of course, I came home with a very generous goody bag and a whole stack of books to keep me busy reading for awhile.
I love you Penguin. Thank you for inviting me and hosting such an incredible event!