Feature

The Penguin team share their World Book Night reads

It's World Book Night on 23 April, and we've been thinking about the books that we want to share with our friends and family. What book would you want to share with your loved ones? You can let us know on Twitter with #WorldBookNight

 

Who are you?
Sarah Thrift, Audience Development, Puffin and Ladybird

Which book have you chosen?
Sylvia Townsend Warner: A Biography by Claire Harman

Who are you giving it to?
My Nan (94)

Why did you choose it for them?
The resounding message of Sylvia Townsend Warner’s life (and her fiction, tbh) is that it is never too early, or too late to decide what you want for yourself and to seek it out.

 

Who are you?
Jonathan Deamer, Head of Audience Acquisition and Analytics

Which book have you chosen?
Hacking Work by Bill Jensen and Josh Klein

Who are you giving it to?
My friend and colleague Imola

Why did you choose it for them?
I'm returning the favour after Imola introduced me to the game-changing Sprint by Jake Knapp. This covers much of the same ground - cutting out bureaucracy and groupthink so you can do your best work - but for individuals rather than projects.

 

Who are you?
Hermione Thompson, Assistant Editor

Which book have you chosen?
In the Light of What We Know by Zia Haider Rahman

Who are you giving it to?
Ashleigh, my long-serving flatmate and friend of old

Why did you choose it for them?
My taste in art doesn’t always overlap with Ashleigh’s – I often love books that are too spiky and cold for her, too much head and not enough heart. And I have a weakness for exquisite surfaces, form for its own sake, whereas Ashleigh needs substance. But Zia Haider Rahman is someone I think we could agree on. He assails the head and the heart simultaneously, quietly triggering numberless depth charges of thought and emotion, telling a story at once intimately human and radically expansive. In the Light of What We Know is a novel about everything – love, class, faith, identity, war, betrayal – disappearances and reckonings and returns. It is one of the richest and most thought-provoking contemporary novels I have come across, and certainly the one I have underlined most copiously. It is a book to please a philosopher king; my old friend Ashleigh is both philosopher and queen.

 

Who are you?
Claire Davis, Marketing, Penguin

Which book have you chosen?
The Secret Diary of Hendrik Groen, 83 1/4 Years Old

Who are you giving it to?
My grandad

Why did you choose it for them?
My grandad is turning 80 this year, and the loveable, young-hearted Hendrik reminds me very much of him (though Hendrik is admittedly much grumpier!). I thought this book would make him chuckle but also warm his heart, because it’s so much more than a comedy – it’s a tender, poignant story about growing old the way you want to.

 

Who are you?
Candice Carty-Williams, Marketing, Vintage Books

Which book have you chosen?
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Who are you giving it to?
My eighteen-year-old sister, Esther, whom I have to force to read

Why did you choose it for them?
Like me, my sister is always striving to find out more about the Black Lives Matter movement, especially in a world where incidents of injustice (or, put realistically: thinly veiled hate) at the hands of police towards people of colour isn't reported on the news. We're forced to access what isn’t shown by looking on social media sites. The Hate U Give might be a work of fiction, but it’s inspired by events that we have known time and time again; events that aren’t deemed important enough to be shown through mainstream or primetime reporting. The Hate U Give is timely, it’s important, it’s moving and it rings too true. 

 

Who are you?
Zainab Juma, Creative Manager, Penguin

Which book have you chosen?
The Power by Naomi Alderman

Who are you giving it to?
My sixteen-year-old sister, Aamina

Why did you choose it for them?
I don't usually have to convince my sister to read. She races through books at a rate that far outstrips my own. She loves to dive into places that bear a resemblance to reality but with something just a little off. I think she'll love The Power, which imagines a world in which women have harnessed the power of electricity to wield over men. It's a brilliant examination of gender, and comes with the Margaret Atwood stamp of approval.

 

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