30 July 2010

Penguin's Anniversary and Giveaway

Today is Penguin Books' official 75th anniversary! I am so pleased to be able to celebrate this event with you.

Penguin has set up a website to celebrate their anniversary, and you should check it out. I loved looking through the Penguin 75 list (one book for each year), and was pleasantly surprised by how many I have read.

Visit the website to learn the history of Penguin Books and the answer to the question, Why a penguin?

Here is one video that I particularly liked, but the entire series, available on the website, is interesting.

The Giveaway

As part of the celebration Penguin offered me the opportunity to choose a book from the Penguin 75 list to give internationally to one of my readers. Here's the book I picked:

I bought and read Zlata's Diary in the late 1990s. I don't remember much of the details, but I do remember the emotional journey as I read about how Zlata's life changed from one of school, friends, family, television, and music to a world of bombs, hunger, cold, fear, and death. This book is not about the politics of Bosnia but about how a young girl reacted to seeing the destruction of her city.

I will never be able to think of Sarajevo again without seeing at least some of it through Zlata's eyes. Although it won't take you long to read this moving diary of a preteen survivor of a modern European war, you will remember it and think about it for a long time.

Here's the publisher's summary:
When Zlata's Diary was first published at the height of the Bosnian conflict, it became an international bestseller and was compared to The Diary of Anne Frank, both for the freshness of its voice and the grimness of the world it describes. It begins as the day-to-day record of the life of a typical eleven-year-old girl, preoccupied by piano lessons and birthday parties. But as war engulfs Sarajevo, Zlata Filipovic becomes a witness to food shortages and the deaths of friends and learns to wait out bombardments in a neighbor's cellar. Yet throughout she remains courageous and observant. The result is a book that has the power to move and instruct readers a world away.
I am happy to be able to offer one of you a copy of this book. The giveaway is open internationally. To enter, leave a comment telling me
  • The title of one war book you have read or would like to read.
  • Your email address.
This giveaway is open until I turn on my computer on August 9. Good luck and I hope you are as touched by Zlata's Diary as I was.


Anonymous,  7/30/10, 7:40 AM  

I read Here, There Are No Sarahs this year which is a memoir about a Jewish girl in Poland during WW2 and post war. Thanks for the giveaway. Zlata's Diary sounds heartbreaking.

Sandy Nawrot 7/30/10, 7:51 AM  

Only ONE war book? Sometimes it feels like that is all I read! But in the spirit of Penguin, I will mention "The True Story of Hansel and Gretel", which was a wonderful book. rnawrot at cfl dot rr dot com

Gabriela Lessa 7/30/10, 7:57 AM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gabriela Lessa 7/30/10, 7:58 AM  

One amazingly written and very compelling war book is First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, by Loung Ung.
Just like you said about Zlata's Diary, I can't think of Cambodia without seeing it through Loung Ung's eyes.

gabrielalessacarvalho at gmail dot com

Julie P. 7/30/10, 8:09 AM  

Sounds like an amazing book. I have read so many wonderful WWII books recently -- SKELETONS AT THE FEAST, THE POSTMISTRESS, A FIERCE RADIANCE, THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE to name just a few!

Kimberly (@lilpixls) 7/30/10, 9:33 AM  

This sounds like a wonderful book! I have The Postmistress on my shelf and I'm really looking forward to reading it very soon. Thanks!!


kkrennich at gmail dot com

Colleen 7/30/10, 9:43 AM  

Timothy Findley's The Wars is one of my favorite books.
colleenmckie (at) eastlink (dot) ca

Cecelia 7/30/10, 9:46 AM  

I read The Things They Carried in high school and wept. Also, my dad has an unpublished manuscript of his experiences in Vietnam that could wring tears from a rock.

Thanks for hosting this giveaway! I gravitate towards Penguin books - you just know they'll be amazing!


Word Lily 7/30/10, 9:52 AM  

I was talking yesterday about The Boy in the Striped Pajamas — I still haven't read that one. WordLily AT gmail DOT com

Jennifer-Girls Gone Reading 7/30/10, 9:56 AM  

I would like to read Matterhorn, but I need to psyche up to it because of its content. It sounds intense, and I usually wait till winter to get depressed :)

girlsgonereading (at) yahoo (dot) com

Anonymous,  7/30/10, 10:25 AM  

Every Man Dies Alon by Hans Fallada - just read it recently.

armstrong dot pete @ gmail dot com

Jon K 7/30/10, 10:26 AM  

It may be a little on the nose, but Catch-22 is one of my all-time favorite war books. I've been interested in reading Zlata's Diary because my family is originally from near Sarajevo (although they left after WWI), but I don't know much about the area at all.

bermudaonion 7/30/10, 10:33 AM  

The first book that popped into my mind was Skeletons of the Feast, but since Julie already said that, I'm going to say The Things They Carried. milou2ster(at)gmail.com

Kulot 7/30/10, 10:36 AM  

I've always wanted to read The Boy in Striped Pyjamas. I've been meaning to read the movie (of the same title, 2005), but I want to get to read the book first. :D


Melissa 7/30/10, 11:01 AM  

This sounds great! I just finished Postmistress this week but another one I loved was Guernsey.

shhhimreading at hotmail dot com

Michelle Gilstrap 7/30/10, 11:18 AM  

This is very hard, since so many have been mentioned, but the Killing Fields is another one that brings tears to my eyes and helps me relive my youth of the war in Vietnam and Cambodia. The authors help us know what they lived with, not what we witnessed on television.

Elisabeth,  7/30/10, 12:07 PM  

I look forward to reading Zlata's Diary, have not gotten to that one yet. My war book, which I thought was a great story is The Book Thief.

Unknown 7/30/10, 12:31 PM  

First they Killed my Father is a great war book that I recently read.
amandarwest at gmaildotcom

Michelle Henninger 7/30/10, 1:08 PM  

The most recent one I read was Skeletons at the Feast which was so amazing.

I'd love to win this one...

Unknown 7/30/10, 1:33 PM  

Happy birthday Penguin! I'm enjoying the video's, thanks for sharing the link.

Hm...I just read Paco's Story and loved it, very raw, very thought provoking.


Margot 7/30/10, 1:47 PM  

I read through the List of 75 and was amazed at how many books I'd read. I felt an overwhelming sense of gratitude for all the many hours of pleasure Penguin has given me.

Your description of Ziata's Diary reminded me of The Cellist of Sarajevo and the young woman in that book who was forced to become a killer.

margot (dot) peck (at) gmail (dot) com

Amy 7/30/10, 2:58 PM  

I just finished They Would Never Hurt a Fly by Slavenka Drakulic which is kind of fitting as it talks about the war criminals from the Balkans war. Very good book. amy.mckie[at]gmail.com

Karm 7/30/10, 5:48 PM  

"The Book Thief" pre-during-post

Jennifer 7/30/10, 6:15 PM  

First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung

knittingmomof3 (AT) gmail (DOT) com

Michele 7/30/10, 6:48 PM  

The Things They Carried is a powerful book about Vietnam and one of my favorite war stories.

readersrespite (at) yahoo (dot) com

Jen at Introverted Reader 7/31/10, 3:05 AM  

I hadn't heard of this before, but it's definitely going on my list now. Thanks for bringing it to my attention!

My very favorite book is a war book--The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. So, so good.

Thanks for the giveaway!

theintrovertedreader at gmail dot com

Simply Stacie 7/31/10, 10:04 AM  

I liked The Diary of Anne Frank.

simplystacieblog at gmail dot com

Eva 7/31/10, 7:39 PM  

Penguin makes the best videos! Have you watched their "Essential Classics" series? It's hilarious.

Jasmine1485 7/31/10, 11:25 PM  

My all-time favourite war novel is 'The Wooden Horse' by Eric Williams. I've had it for so long I can't remember where I got it. The cover's falling off and the spine is cracked but I've been nursing it through because I can't find another copy anywhere. Eric William's books are based on his own experiences in POW camps, well worth reading.

Kate1485 at hotmail.com

Unknown 8/1/10, 1:14 PM  

I absolutely loved The Book Thief!

kaitlynkline (at) gmail (dot) com

Lori L 8/1/10, 3:02 PM  

The last war book I read, not including any novel set during a war, was The Things They carried.

Zee 8/3/10, 6:08 AM  

I've heard really good things about Zlata's Diary so it will be interesting to read.

When I was in junior high I read everything I could lay my hands on about ww2 and the one that I still remember and love from then is Number the Stars by Lois Lowry. So good.

Zommbie1 [AT] gmail [DOT] com

Carin 8/5/10, 2:36 PM  

I have read The Pacific by Hugh Ambrose (after I watched the mini-series on HBO). I would like to read With the Old Breed by Eugene Sledge which is what the mini-series was based on.

My e-mail is: littlebookish(at)gmail[dot]com

Meredith 8/6/10, 10:46 AM  

I read the Diary of Anne Frank when I was younger, and thought that was a very profound view of war from the victim's side rather than the side of the actual military's battle.

meredithfl at gmail dot com

Anonymous,  8/8/10, 9:59 AM  

I just read Michael Knight's novel "The Typist", brief but delightful.

Thanks for your great blog & these contests!

Emily at pageandpalette dot com

Jenn 8/8/10, 10:00 AM  

I've read many WWII books over the years, but my favorite will always be All But My Life by Gerda Weissmann Klein


Melissa 8/8/10, 10:03 AM  

I read and reviewed The Boy In the Striped Pajamas. It is a really great read, and you'll find yourself pulled into Bruno's story and life.

melissa {at} yabookshelf {dot} com

Anonymous,  8/8/10, 10:21 AM  

I've read The Diary of Anne Frank and I'm looking to read The Book Thief.

Iris on Books 8/8/10, 11:06 AM  

I know this is embarrassing, but it is true. I have never yet read The Diary of Anne Frank, even though I am Dutch. I was never allowed to read it as a little girl, because my parents thought I would get scared and wouldn't sleep for weeks. So that is I think the book I still want to read about WWII.

irisonbooks [at] gmail [dot] com

Jen Bigheart 8/8/10, 11:42 AM  

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry has to be my favorite historical war novel. I think anything she touches turns to gold actually.

HBD Penguin!

jenbigheart at yahoo dot com

The Prickly Pinecone 8/8/10, 4:34 PM  

A favorite war novel of mine has to be Andersonville. Based in a prison camp the book tells of the ill treatment between the prisoners themselves, not the guards. A rather unique take.


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