This is gonna be a long one. Here we go.
After two weeks at Penguin Press, I acquired over 20 books, either receiving them from my supervisor and other staff members who kindly gave me a book they thought I might enjoy, or by scavenging through the pulp pile. The pulp pile at Penguin is a pile of books from all the different imprints that are no longer needed, or are taking up too much space in the office area, so they’re set out for anyone to take on their way home for the evening. Now that I think about it, I feel like I may have made up that it’s called a pulp pile at Penguin… any publishers out there feel free to correct me! But in general, there will be piles or shelves of books at publishing houses that are fair game at the end of the day. And as a pretty hardcore book hoarder, the whole concept of ‘free books’ got a little bit dangerous…Now, I’m not saying that you should get yourself a work experience placement at Penguin for the books… Wait. That’s exactly what I’m saying! But seriously, for anyone who is interested in working in publishing, I feel like the PRH work experience programme is a cracking start. It’s a place to ask any questions you might have, find out about some amazing unreleased books and see everything that goes on behind the scenes of a busy publishing house. Plus, PRH have recently announced that they will now be paying their work experience participants the National Living Wage! Wahoo!
Anyway, these are the books I collected, I hope you enjoy this monster of a haul!
This group is a mix of pulp pile finds and new books given to me by my supervisor. I’m most excited about reading They Can’t Kill Us All by Wesley Lowery, which tells the incredibly important story of the Black Lives Matter movement. I’m getting into non fiction a lot at the moment and had been looking to read this book for weeks. I couldn’t believe my luck when I was given this one. Having been horrified by the events depicted in the book, it feels like a very important read and I am happy to see that the book has found a lot of success. I definitely think it needs to be pressed into as many hands as possible! I also love the cover design for They Can’t Kill Us All. It’s so simple and striking, with a bit of an old school feel.
I’m also really looking forward to starting The Power by Naomi Alderman, which is set in a world where teenage girls discover that they have the power to cause immense pain, and even death, to others. It is set to be an interesting take on what the world would be like if women were in control and has so far received a great reception. It has even been shortlisted for the Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction, alongside 5 other fantastic books! I can’t wait to find out which one wins!
These Penguin Classics were chosen on a bit of a whim. I first chose Medea, a play written by Euripedes. I really love reading about Greek Mythology and recently bought two books that compile lots of these stories together. Medea centres on the myth of Jason, leader of the Argonauts, who is helped by Medea to win the Golden Fleece. The two get married and have children, however Jason soon deserts Medea for someone else, leading to Medea’s gruesome revenge. I don’t usually choose plays for leisure reading, but I love a good drama and this one seems like it could be right up my street.
Alongside the poetry collection by William Wordsworth, I also chose Notre-Dame de Paris by Victor Hugo (more commonly known as The Hunchback of Notre-Dame). I mainly picked this up because I already own Les Miserables and I wanted to add to my collection with another of Victor Hugo’s most famous works. The only problem is that I’m not sure when I’ll ever get round to reading it!
These books are a selection of kid lit/guilty pleasure books. First, I picked up an advanced reading copy of See You In The Cosmos, Carl Sagan by Jack Cheng. Chosen mostly because of how lovely the cover is but also because I really don’t read enough children’s literature! The story is about a young boy called Alex who wants to launch his iPod into space. I don’t know much more about it, but I expect it will be quite a heartwarming read with lots of adventure.
I also found Magnus Chase by Rick Riordan and After You by Jojo Moyes. These two are my guilty pleasure picks. I read the Percy Jackson series when I was about 22 – so only a couple of years ago – and loved it despite being a fair bit older than its characters. I loved the adventure and, as mentioned, I’m a sucker for Greek Mythology references, which is why I’m looking forward to giving Magnus Chase a try.
After enjoying Me Before You a couple of years ago, I decided I fancied finding out what happens next (but I wasn’t willing to actually buy the book myself…). I’m not really convinced by the idea of After You yet. I’m not sure why it needed to be written when such a key part of the enjoyment of book one was the relationship between Lou and Will. Apparently there’s going to be a third book in the series, which I doubt I’ll check out, but I’m still willing to give After You a chance.
One of the most exciting parts of work experience at PRH was the unfinished copies that came bound like this – they’re obviously not ready to be sent to bookshops! I found ring bound versions of The Novel of the Century by David Bellos and The Way of the Strangers by Graeme Wood from the pulp pile, which had both been released in shops by the time I got them. However, a member of the Penguin Press team gave me a copy of Territory of Light by Yuko Tsushima, which is set to be released later this year or early next. The novel is twelve, stand-alone fragments that follow the first year of the narrator’s separation from her husband and, I believe, this will be the first time ever that this book is translated into English from the original Japanese! It felt really exciting and special to be reading a book that no one else has yet!
My final selection of books comes in the form of my leaving present from my supervisor! She packed these books into a lovely Penguin tote bag and added to the masses of books I had to lug home on the train! One of the other work experience girls had the excellent idea of posting her books home in a massive box, but as I don’t live too far, I decided to just carry them. I must say I was regretting this about an hour into my journey!
Firstly, she packed my present full of Keri Smith books, including The Imaginary World Of…, The Wander Society and Everything is Connected. Whilst at PRH, one of my projects was to do some research for the 10th Anniversary release of Wreck This Journal. As someone who has loved wrecking their own journal in the past, this was the perfect little project for me. The tote bag also included the following gorgeous books:
- Madonna in a Fur Coat – Sabahattin Ali
- We Have Always Lived in the Castle – Shirley Jackson
- Cabin Porn: Inspiration for Your Quiet Place Somewhere – Zach Klein
- If I’m Scared We Can’t Win – Emily Berry, Anne Carson & Sophie Collins
Needless to say, I now have far too many books to read this year, but I definitely wouldn’t have it any other way. I loved every minute I spent at Penguin Press, even the boring bits where I had nothing to do (because honestly, if you do get work experience at PRH, there will be moment where you just have NOTHING to do). I felt so at home there, like I’d finally found my bookish people, and the whole experience has made me even more determined to get a job in the industry!
I’ll be posting some more details about my work experience right here on this blog in a couple of weeks time, but, again, if you’re interested in learning more, you should definitely check out the PRH Careers website.