April 2009 Newsletter
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April's News from Bookbag Towers
Before we begin, if there's anything you'd like to tell us, or anything you think we've left out, please drop us a line and let us know.
Well, we've been at it again. Adding stuff. The chocolate rush over Easter got us all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and we decided to go mobile. So, you can now receive the choicest Bookbag morsels direct to your mobile phone. If you're away from the computer, or if you're in a bookshop and spoiled for choice, you can use our updates to choose a good book to read. All you need to do is text BOOKS2U for adults or KIDBOOKS2U for children to 63336 to subscribe. It costs 25p per text. We'll be trying out different formats for texts and would love some feedback on which you prefer, so if you sign up, do email us to let us know what you think.
We have some great features for you this month, including an interview with national treasure Shirley Hughes. Her first graphic novel for adults Bye Bye Birdie is out this month. Magda, she of the missing articles, has chosen her favourite books about Britishness. We are a peculiar people at times, you know, even if our articles are better than hers.
In March, our most read reviews were The Magic Thief by Sarah Prineas and, thanks to a sterling performance by Tim Roth on TV, Skellig by David Almond. Who knows what it will be this month? Here's our round-up of the most likely candidates...
What we've been reading...
In fiction, John was transported by The Missing by Tim Gautreaux, in which a young, American WWI veteran suffers guilty pangs and takes it upon himself to search for a missing child in the world of prohibition, steamboats and Louisiana Jazz. The most absorbing plot and setting are married perfectly. Trish recommends an Orange Prize shortlister - The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber. The story of a family's endurance in the Badlands of South Dakota in the early twentieth century, it's an engrossing read. On a lighter note, Zoe, our resident reader of women's fiction, loved The Kinsella Sisters by Kate Thompson, a scrumptious look at family lives and love lives and the confusion that occurs when the two meet, all set on the dazzling Irish coast.
In non-fiction, Sue thinks you should read The Thrifty Cookbook by Kate Colquhoun. 476 ways to eat well with leftovers - and you'll be eating tasty food without compromising on quality. How could you miss it? Music fans shouldn't miss Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits by Barney Hoskyns. It's a brick of a book, but it's a detailed and penetrating account of one of American's most idiosyncratic artists.
In children's books, Keith makes his usual recommendation for the little ones. Hattie the Bad by Jane Devlin and Joe Berger sees naughty Hattie try to sell her baby brother for 20p. It's anarchic, it's silly, it's hilarious, and it's highly recommended. Middle readers will love Coraline by Neil Gaiman. It's scary, and it's charming, and it's fun, and it's deep. Anyone can read it. Is there anything Neil Gaiman gets wrong? Answers on a postcard, please. For teens, Jason found Rowan the Strange by Julie Hearn unputdownable. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, a young teenager is sent to a psychiatric hospital at the very start of WW II.
We're always on the look out for people to join our panel of reviewers at Bookbag. We need people who understand that the reader wants to know what the reviewer thinks about the book and not just what's written on the back cover. If you think that you're one of these special people that we're looking for, we want to hear from you. You can find details of how to apply here on the site. Don't be shy!
We have competitions for some great books going this month, and every month, so get entering!
And that's about it for this month. If you're passing Bookbag Towers do pop in and see us – we're at www.thebookbag.co.uk.
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