2014 Penguin News Archive

| 2014

December 1, 2014

Hello Friends of the Penguin,

We just wrapped up an amazing Shop Indies First/Small Business Saturday and are hoping this means a very successful holiday season here at the Penguin, the first in our new location. Thanks to author Leah Pileggi (Prisoner 88) for coming in to serve as our Honorary Bookseller for the day, and Su and her son Max Tiber, authors of the self-published children's book Awesome Animals Rock the Holidays, for hosting our 11:00am Saturday Storytime. We have had some very special guests for this Saturday Storytime, including longtime customer and new author Jill George, who came with her son Grant to celebrate the publication of their book, The Construction Kid. Way to go moms and sons! On both the 6th and the 13th of this month, the Center for Young Musicians will be coming in during the 11:00am Saturday Storytime to host Sing-a-longs and showcase some of their young musicians. Kids of all ages welcome!

We are very excited to be partnering with the Sewickley YMCA and their daycare program by hosting a special story time just for the Y kids. This Wednesday at 9:30 we will be welcoming the 3-year-olds, and at 10:00am, the 4 & 5 year-olds will be coming. We are hoping to turn this into a monthly-scheduled activity. As a long-time member of the Y, it gives me great pleasure to have the Penguin and the Y find a meaningful way to work together. Thank you to Trish Hooper for making this happen so quickly!

Some special things to remember for December:

--Friday, December 6th is LITE-UP NIGHT and we will be hosting a strings trio from the Center for Young Musicians (stay tuned for specific performance time)

--Monday, December 8th, 6PM, local author and PPG columnist REG HENRY will be here to celebrate the publication of his new book, The Wry World of Reg Henry. (The excitement is building and we have not been able to keep his book in the store!)

--Penguin Evening Readers will be meeting on Thursday, Dec. 18th at 7PM to discuss The Rosie Project

Also, please remember that we are open until 7:00PM on Thursdays and Fridays and Sundays from 11:00am-4:00pm for the holiday season.

We wish you all health and peace for this holiday season.

Thanks for keepin' it local,

Susan & the Penguin Team


November 1, 2014

Hello Friends of the Penguin,

We just celebrated our 85th birthday and we feel young as ever!  Thank you to all the customers who filled out the “Why do you shop at the Penguin Bookshop” cards, which now decorate our window.  (My two personal favorites: “Because I love reading and they have a lot of books."  "Close to Grandma's house.")  Thank you, also, to all the customers who stopped by on Wednesday to share a cupcake or a glass of champagne with the Penguin team.

Now we begin our holiday season.  We kick it off with our exciting event with the author of MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING, Ann Mah.  We will be hearing all about Ann’s culinary adventures  in and around Paris, while drinking wine and eating cheese…what could be better, n’est ce pas?  We still have some tickets available and would love to see you there.

We have some fun Saturday Children’s Storytime events coming up, the store looks beautiful and is filled with wonderful books (and some other goodies), and we are looking forward to a joyous season here at the Penguin.

Thanks for keepin' it local,

Susan & the Penguin Team


October 1, 2014 

Hello Friends of the Penguin,

I recently returned from the NAIBA (New Atlantic Independent Booksellers Association) conference in DC, where bookstore owners and booksellers meet with publishers and authors to discover what's new for the upcoming seasons.  Again, there were many interesting discussions about the current state of book publishing and independent bookselling. Though times are tough, there is a definite sense (and some data to prove it) that independent bookstores are continuing to experience a bit of a renaissance, despite what seem like efforts to destroy us. The word "monopoly" was used more than once to describe our main competition. On-line retail certainly has many conveniences and low prices, but it does not add to our community's quality of life. Our mission at the Penguin is to contribute positively to that quality of life. 

Bringing authors into town is one of the many things that we can do to contribute to the cultural and intellectual life of our town. This month we are pleased to welcome  Jeffrey CondranCaroline Carlson and Michael Sims. At the beginning of November, we are thrilled to welcome author Ann Mah, who will celebrate the paperback publication of her food memoir, MASTERING THE ART OF FRENCH EATING here at the Penguin. This will be our first ticketed event and it's a bargain! We will be drinking wine (French, of course) and tasting French delicacies. Please make your reservations now!

On September 30th, Mary opened the store early for all our young readers who wanted to be the first to get their copy of MINECRAFT: CONSTRUCTION HANDBOOK. She will open the store early (7:30am) again on Tuesday, October 7th for those customers who cannot wait to get their hands on Rick Riordan's THE HEROES OF OLYMPUS BOOK 5: THE BLOOD OF OLYMPUS

October 29th is the Penguin's 85th Birthday!! We will be celebrating that entire week with a special event each day....please see this newsletter and our website for details.

The month of October is "Bring a Friend to the Penguin" month. Bring a friend to our new location who has not yet shopped at our new store. When they buy a book, you will receive a $10.00 gift card!! (limit one gift card per customer -- but no limit to the number of friends!).  

We will also be asking customers to fill out a "Why I buy my books at the Penguin...." card at the front desk beginning this week. We are going to post these in our display window as part of our birthday celebration.

We are looking forward to a busy holiday season.

Thank you for supporting us!  

Susan & the Penguin Team


September 1, 2014 

Dear Penguin Customers,

Happy fall!

Many exciting things happening here this month and beyond: 

*The Penguin NYC Book Truck is coming, sponsored by the Penguin Bookshop, for the annual Sewickley Harvest Festival, Saturday September 6th, 10-5pm.  The truck will be parked on Broad Street in front of the Howard Hanna building.  A wonderful collection of Penguin books will be available plus lots of free give-aways!!

Thank you to my dear friend and former colleague, John Fagan, Vice President & Director of Marketing at Penguin USA for bringing the truck to Sewickley. 

*On that same Saturday, our new 11:00am Saturday Storytimes  begin.  All ages are welcome as we host a "Support the Crayons Day!" and read Oliver Jeffers' and Drew Daywalt's wonderful book, THE DAY THE CRAYONS QUIT.  Remember, crayons have feelings, too!!

Please mark your calendars and join us for these wonderful author events:


--Then, three totally terrific Tuesdays in a row...

*Tues. Sept. 9th, 6pm, Tom McMillan, FLIGHT 93: THE STORY, THE AFTERMATH, AND THE LEGACY OF AMERICAN COURAGE ON 9/11 (proceeds benefit the Friends of the Flight 93 Memorial)

*Tues, Sept. 16th, 6pm, Beth Peyton, CLEAR SKIES, DEEP WATER: A CHAUTUAQUA MEMOIR

*Tues, Sept. 23rd, 6pm, cookbook author, Jessica Merchant, SERIOUSLY DELISH: 150 RECIPES FOR PEOPLE WHO TOTALLY LOVE FOOD

In addition to the author events, please note we will be featuring art work by Sewickley Academy teachers and students for the Gallery Walk on September 12 & 13; and our Penguin Evening Readers will be meeting to discuss James McBride's THE GOOD LORD BIRD at 7pm on Thursday, September 25th.  New members are always welcome.

Look forward to seeing you at the Penguin,

Susan & the Penguin Team


August 1, 2014

Dear Loyal Customers of the Penguin,

July was great! After a bit of a slow start leading up to the Fourth of July, things really picked up with over 150 children signing up for Where’s Waldo, as well as 65 customers participating in our Summer Reading Challenge. I guess we really are one of the most literate cities in the country. Way to go Sewickley readers!

One of the rewards of the reading challenge has been handing out ARCs – these are “advance reading copies” of books that have not yet been proofed or published. Publishers send them out to reviewers and booksellers, hoping to create buzz and excitement around a book before its pub date. Our young readers, especially, have taken advantage of these and have been reading and giving us detailed reviews, letting us know whether or not we should buy the book for the store. This kind of customer feedback is wonderful and very helpful to us as we decide which titles, out of the thousands of books we see, we should bring in for our customers. Thank you to all who have been participating. We will have our Summer Reading Challenge Celebration on Friday, August 15th, at noon.

On Monday, August 18th, we welcome author Benny Lewis, who writes “the most popular language blog in the world” and is the author of the book,Fluent in 3 Months——“an unconventional guide that allows readers to push past common barriers and start speaking from day one.” Unete a nosotros!! Rejoignez-nous! Check out his TED talk on YouTube.

Beginning in September, we will have Saturday morning storytime at 11:00am, with special themed storytimes the first Saturday of every month. We hope this Saturday time slot will allow more families to join us, as well as not interfering with the extensive storytimes provided by the Sewickley Public Library.

We are thrilled to welcome a new stellar bookseller to our team, Lisa Johnson. Lisa moved with her husband and family to Sewickley from New Jersey in 2006.  Originally from California, she grew up overseas and has traveled extensively.  Continuing to learn about other places and cultures is one of the reasons she loves reading, and, being a recent empty-nester, she is very excited to be spending her free time surrounded by all of the great books and people at the Penguin. Lisa says that if she had to choose a favorite book genre, it would probably be fiction, but biographies and history rank highly, too.

On the morning of Saturday, August 30th, please join us for “a cup of joe in honor of Jojo” -- courtesy of Viking Penguin. This is the publishers way of thanking special independent bookstores (we would be one of those!) for helping to make Jojo Moyes a bestseller. Way to go Jojo and Penguin customers!

On September 6th, the day of Harvest Festival, we will celebrate “Penguin NYC comes to Penguin Sewickley!!” We are honored to be one of the chosen stores to have the Penguin Book Truck come to visit…it will most likely be parked across the street from the store…stay tuned for details!!

In the meantime, enjoy the rest of your summer and remember to READ, READ, READ!!

Susan and the Penguin Team


July 1, 2014

Dear Fans of the Penguin,

What a great summer it’s been so far! We’ve had over 40 customers sign up for our Summer Reading Challenge; we hosted a very successful author event with Charlie Lovett (The Bookman’s Tale); Kate and I represented the Penguin at City of Asylum’s Cave Canem event on the North Side; and the store has been abuzz every day with customers of all ages excited about finding the perfect summer read.

Speaking of summer reads...July 1st Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) has a new book coming out, One Plus One, which Kristin and I have already read and LOVE...Of course, we have plenty of copies of Robert Galbraith’s The Silkworm (getting great reviews from media and customers alike!); we have new books from Emily Giffin, Jennifer Weiner...and many more! 

July 1st  begins our “Where's Waldo” event; July 17th we welcome Jim Goldsborough, author of Misfortunes of Wealthand now his new novel, The Paris Herald. We are beginning to line up all of our fall events, not the least of which will be our 85th Anniversary Celebration & Customer Appreciation Week, the last week of October.

Happy summer and thanks for supporting the Penguin!

Susan & the Penguin Team


June 1, 2014 

Dear Fans of the Penguin,

I just returned from an invigorating three days in New York at Book Expo America 2014. BEA is a crowded, sometimes crazy, book industry extravaganza filled with booksellers, bookshop owners, authors, and publishers. It was particularly interesting to be there this year given that Hachette and Amazon are in the middle of a dispute; and particularly poignant since Maya Angelou died the night before the expo began, and I was privileged to hear several authors pay beautiful tribute to her. I was also privileged to be invited to an advance screening of THE FAULT IN OUR STARS, where John Green, along with the director, screenwriters, and president of Fox 2000 presented a very interesting panel afterwards where they discussed the process of turning this phenomenally popular book into a movie. This is my second time attending the expo, and each time I have left feeling that there is indeed a place at the table and a future for bricks-and-mortar bookstores.

May was a great month for the store. Mary and I had the pleasure of selling the books for Michael Pollan’s event at the Hillman Center; we had our biggest in-store event yet – Jonathan Auxier celebrating his new bookTHE NIGHT GARDENERKristin Bair O’Keefe, author of THE ART OF FLOATING was here, and local authors Caroline Carlson and Leah Pileggi came to celebrate the inaugural Indies First Storytime Day.

We have many exciting things happening in June, as well: Charlie Lovett will be here on June 11th at 6pm, to celebrate the paperback publication of his book THE BOOKMAN’S TALE and to read and sign books; June 7th from 1-3pm we will be hosting a Book Club Open House; beginning June 16th, kids and adults can register for our SUMMER READING CHALLENGE. We will be tracking what you read, giving discounts for books, and providing literary “swag” for prizes. We will also be posting your reviews and recommendations for your fellow readers to see. On June 19th, Kate  and I will be selling books at the Cave Canem African American poetry event.

Last but not least, we have added a new member to our staff: Becca Schneider, long-time Penguin customer, parent, and accountant (!) will be the Penguin’s new bookkeeper. Welcome, Becca!

Remember to READ, READ, READ this summer (and to buy your books from the Penguin, of course)!!

Thanks for supporting the Penguin,



May 1, 2014 

Happy May!  

Spring means summer reading is just around the corner.  We have many wonderful events and activities planned to celebrate this new season of reading, including a Book Club Open House (June 7th) and Summer Reading Challenge Kick-off (June 16th), so please check out our events calendar for details.  

We also have some exciting new paperback releases in the store, including GONE GIRLGULP, and THE CUCKOO'S CALLING, all perfect for starting off your summer reading extravaganza!

If you're thinking about getting ready for Mother's Day, we have some terrific gift ideas (and remember, we provide complimentary gift-wrapping, with a smile :-).  This is a particularly exciting month for women writers. Currently on our shelves we have inspiring books by Elizabeth Warren, Diane Keaton, Arianna Huffington, and Robyn Roberts.  And, of course, some great new fiction by women, as well, including Elizabeth McCracken's new story collection, THUNDERSTRUCK.  I'm currently reading one of my all-time favorite authors, Mona Simpson (CASEBOOK) and recently finished Alice Hoffman's THE MUSEUM OF EXTRAORDINARY THINGS and Lorrie Moore's short story collection BARK.  

We also have some great books for the graduate in your life (and our beautiful Papyrus cards).  

Some of my most treasured gifts are books that were given to me by special people in my life, with beautiful inscriptions written inside.  We'd be happy to help you find that special book.

A few exciting author events coming up include Michael Pollan at the Hillman Center on May 10th; Jonathan Auxier (THE NIGHT GARDENER) here at the store on May 19th (7pm); and Charlie Lovett (THE BOOKMAN'S TALE) here on June 11th (6pm).

And last but not least, it is with mixed emotions that we say congratulations to Tess on her brand new teaching job at the Montessori middle school here in Sewickley!!  We are sad to see Tess go (at the end of May), but so happy that she will be "taking her talents" to the Montessori school.  Tess's students will be lucky to have such a gifted and passionate teacher. Please stop by on Tuesday, May 27th, when we will have some special treats to celebrate Tess's new adventure.

Best of luck, Tess! 

Here's to spring and new adventures -- both literal and literary!

Thanks for supporting the Penguin,



April 8, 2014 

Dear Penguin Customers,

Thank you, thank you!! To all of you who came and celebrated with us at our GRAND RE-OPENING party on April 5th.

We started off with Mayor Jeffe and the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, complete with an ENORMOUS pair of scissors and a giant red ribbon (thank you, Village Green!).  After I cut the ribbon (very exciting, btw) Mayor Jeffe read a beautiful proclamation, declaring that the new Penguin had officially opened in its new space. 

We then opened the store, which was decorated with black and white balloons and our newly lit children's tree.  We had a special penguin storytime with Tess, a penguin craft with Kristin, free give-aways from our ever-supportive NY publishing houses, delicious penguin cookies from The Ultimate Pastry Shop, and, last but not least, a special guest (Jake Musial) dressed in our adorable penguin costume, walking around town, handing out our flyer.  All in all, a very happy day!

Thank you for believing that it is important to have a community bookstore, and for showing your support by coming in and buying books from us.  Don't forget, for the entire month of April, we are giving away, with each purchase, a Penguin car magnet.  Now you can show your support of the Penguin where-ever you go.

Here's to great communities, and great books,



April 1, 2014 

Introducing...PENGUIN HOT PICKS!

At the Penguin, we are committed to bringing you the best new reads. This week, we have instituted a new program we are calling "Penguin Hot Picks."

Each Monday, we will select 4 titles to feature on our website and in our store. If you buy one of these titles in store that week - between Monday and Saturday - you can pick a coupon from our Hot Picks Coupon Bowl! Your coupon could be good for 10% off your next purchase, a discount at another local business, or a free advanced reader copy of an upcoming book!

We're excited to present another way to bring you the most popular and well-regarded titles we have in the store.

Happy Reading!

--Susan, Mary, Tess , Kristin, and Kate