Vintage Books

Monday, November 27, 2006

Random House

Random House is a publishing division of the German media conglomerate Bertelsmann based in New York City. It was founded in 1927 by Bennett Cerf and Donald Klopfer, two years after they had acquired the Modern Library imprint. Cerf is quoted as saying, "We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random," which suggested the name Random House. Bertelsmann acquired it amid controversy in 1998.

Its U.S. imprints currently include the Bantam Dell Publishing Group, the Crown Publishing Group, the Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, the Knopf Publishing Group, the Random House Audio Publishing Group, the Random House Diversified Publishing Group, the Random House Information Group, the Random House Ballantine Publishing Group, and Random House Ventures. Del Rey Manga publishes English manga in North America. In the UK, The Random House Group Limited comprises four divisions with different publishing remits: Random House, Transworld, Ebury and Random House Children's Books. Its imprints include Jonathan Cape, Harvill Secker, Chatto and Windus, Vintage, Pimlico, Yellow Jersey, Century, Willian Heinemann, Hutchinson, Arrow, Random House Audio Books, Random House Business Books, Ebury Press, Vermilion, Rider, Bantam Press, Doubleday, Corgi, Black Swan, Fodor, Time Out, WaterBrook Press and Mainstream. Tanoshimi publishes English manga in United Kingdom and Ireland.

Random House entered reference publishing in 1947 with the American College Dictionary, which was followed in 1966 by its first unabridged dictionary. It publishes today the Random House Webster's Unabridged and Random House Webster's College dictionaries, probably the main competitors for Merriam-Webster reference titles.

The distinguished American publishers Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. and Pantheon Books were acquired by Random House in 1960 and 1961, respectively; works continue to be published under these imprints with editorial independence. Random House has been the distributor for Shambhala Publications since 1974. Within the last year, they have begun distributing Rizzoli Books, National Geographic Books, Steerforth Press, Wizards of the Coast, Vertical Books, Welcome Books, Taunton Press, New York Review of Books and Rugged Land.

The publisher's main U.S. office is located at 1745 Broadway in Manhattan, in a 684-foot tower completed in 2003 and spanning the entire west side of the block between West 55th Street and west 56th. Its lobby showcases floor-to-ceiling glassed-in bookcases filled with books published by the company's many imprints.

One of its major competitors in Germany is the Holtzbrinck Group.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Murder Where You Least Expect It

A little boy is kidnapped as he stands with his satchel at the gate of his home, waiting for his lift to school. An ex-con finds it impossible to stay straight. A severely handicapped young woman dies in the night - has someone who loves her helped her out of this world? Once again, Susan Hill brilliantly creates a community, with detail so sharp and convincing that readers feel that these people are their neighbours. And that terror and evil are always in their midst ... The Pure in Heart is the second of Susan Hill's novels set in the English Cathedral town of Lafferton and featuring the enigmatic policeman, Detective Chief Inspector Simon Serrailler

Susan Hill

Susan Hill is an award-winning novelist. She wrote Mrs de Winter, the bestselling sequel to Rebecca, and the ghost story The Woman in Black, which was adapted for the stage and has been running in the West End for 18 years. Her most recent books are a collection of exquisite short stories, The Boy Who Taught the Beekeeper to Read, and the highly successful crime novels, The Various Haunts of Men and The Pure in Heart. She lives in Gloucestershire where she runs her own small publishing company, Longbarn Books..

The Mysterious Flame

A deeply enchanting novel about memory, history, love and old age, scattered throughout with dazzling illustrations.

The latest great work from the author of The Name of the Rose
'A beautiful evocation of a difficult period of Italian history, full of the flair and erudition for which we love Eco' Metro

Yambo, a sixty-ish rare book dealer who lives in Milan has suffered a loss of memory; not the kind of memory neurologists call 'semantic' (Yambo remembers all about Julius Caesar and can recite every poem he has ever read), but rather his 'autobiographical' memory: he no longer knows his own name, doesn't recognize his wife or his daughters, doesn't remember anything about his parents or his childhood. His wife, who is at his side as he slowly begins to recover, convinces him to return to his family home in the hills somewhere between Milan and Turin. Yambo promptly retreats to the sprawling attic, cluttered with boxes of newspapers, comics, records, photo albums and adolescent diaries. There, he relives the story of his generation: Mussolini, Catholic education and guilt, Josephine Baker, Flash Gordon, Cyrano de Bergerac. As he recovers his memory, two voids remain shrouded in fog: a terrible event he experienced during the resistance, and the vague image of a girl whom he loved at sixteen, then lost. But a relapse occurs. Now in a coma, his memories run wild, and life racing before his eyes takes the form of a graphic novel. Yambo struggles through the frames to find at last the face of the girl he loves: she descends the stairs of their high school and morphs into a Dante-esque promise (or threat) of the afterlife, as he struggles harder to capture her simple, innocent, real-life image - the schoolgirl he never forgot.

Copiously illustrated throughout with images from comics, book jackets, record sleeves and other printed ephemera, The Mysterious Flame is a fascinating and hugely entertaining new novel from the incomparable Umberto Eco.