This week, we discuss the Penguin Random House merger, reading books out loud to our kids, and new books from Maggie O’Farrell and Philipp Meyer.
It’s Penguin Random House, not Random Penguin
It’s official: the merger between two of the world’s largest book publisher, Penguin Books and Random House, was completed on July 1st. If you follow book publishing news at all, you will likely see many posts and news articles about the merger. The merger was first announced in October of last year, and we have had several questions about what that means, both for us and for the industry. Since Michael and I are both employees of this new company, we thought it important to let you know about it, but from the book reader’s perspective, you probably won’t see any differences. There will be no changes to Books on the Nightstand: this blog and podcast has always been an independent project and that will not change. If we find ourselves reading more Penguin books, it will only because it will (hopefully!) be easier to get our hands on them. As for any changes in the rest of publishing because of the merger, it’s far too early to know, and any change takes time. For now, it’s business as usual.
Reading Aloud to Children
Asa from Sweden, a children’s librarian, emailed us to ask for a segment on books suitable for reading aloud with children. Michael decided to take this on, as he struggles with reading longer books to his son and hasn’t yet found the right book. I confess that I was a read-aloud failure with my kids: they preferred the silliness of my husband, but really they wanted to read their own books, not listen to one with the whole family.
In addition to this great list of read aloud chapter books from Goodreads, we mention the following titles as possiblities:
- Tashi books
- The Phantom Tollbooth
- The Hobbit
- Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
- The BFG by Roald Dahl
- Charlotte’s Web
There’s a brand new edition of The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, a great resource for finding books and methods for reading aloud to children.
We’d love to hear about your experiences reading aloud to your kids — and if you have suggestions for specific books, we’d love to hear those, as well.
Two books we can’t wait for you to read:
I’ve been a fan of Maggie O’Farrell since I read The Vanishing Act of Esme Lenox and The Hand that First Held Mine. Her newest book, Instructions for a Heatwave, tells of a family that comes together when the father disappears. The children are grown and well into their own lives, but they come back to London to support their mother and try to find their father. I loved the portrayal of the grown children who revert back to their childhood issues and personalities as soon as they step foot into the family home.
Michael’s pick for this week is the audiobook of The Son by Philipp Meyer, read by Will Patton, Kate Mulgrew, Scott Shepherd and Clifton Collins. The book is dark and brutal, and the writing is amazing. It’s the story of Eli McCullough, who is kidnapped and raised by Comanches. The story of this family in the American west is also told from Eli’s son Peter and Eli’s great-granddaughter. Michael mentions that the hardcover of the book has a family tree in the front, so if you like to refer to things like that, you may prefer to the book to the audio.