April 2012 Newsletter

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April's News from Bookbag Towers

Hello! Is the weather doing weird things around your way? At Bookbag Towers, the weather just can't make up its mind. It's bitterly cold one day and sunshine warm the next. It's playing havoc with our wardrobe choices. Sigh.

One piece of bookish news that caught our eye this month was about a $20m fund launched by audiobook Audible. Authors signing up to its program will benefit financially if they use social media to promote their work. You can read about it here in The Guardian. Writers will get $1 dollar for every audiobook sold through either Audible or iTunes. A dig at Kindle, we wonder? It's not as though authors aren't already using social media. All the ones we know are, anyway.

Golden Hour

This month, we've chosen In the Springtime of the Year by Susan Hill as our look back in pleasure. Originally published in 1973, it's an exquisite and timeless exploration of love and grief which is surprisingly upliffting given the subject matter. Vintage are giving it a timely reissue to coincide with the movie success of Woman in Black.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Sue is recommending Arcadia by Lauren Groff. Back in the seventies a group of idealists (well, hippies) founded a commune in the grounds of Arcadia House, a decaying mansion in western New York State. In the early days the renovation of the house and the funding of the commune was hopeful, energising - the American dream encapsulated in bricks, crops and hard work - but as with many, if not most, such enterprises it was not to last. It's an exquisite book to treasure. The writing, the characters, the location are excellent and Sue will without doubt read it again.

Ani thinks crime fans will love The Eyes of Lira Kazan by Eva Joly and Judith Perrignon, a tense, exciting page-turner linking the head of Nigeria's fraud squad, a Russian journalist who will follow a good story through anything and a French prosecutor who has way too much curiosity for his own good. What sort of world are we actually living in? Perhaps we don't want to know... or perhaps we should.

In non-fiction, Zoe loved Are You Smart Enough To Work At Google? by William Poundstone. Zoe isn't not sure this book would be much help in preparing for a 'normal' interview in a 'normal' company, and she really wouldn't advocate reading this in lieu of more usual research on the role and organisation, but when you want something to read for the sake of it, want to be entertained, challenged, amused and baffled, and want to have great brain teasers to stump your friends with, this book is the one you need.

For the younger ones, Linda loved Chomp by Carl Hiaasen. Mickey Cray, an animal wrangler, has been employed to work on a TV show with Derek Badger, the survivalist. But Mickey has a head injury after a frozen iguana landed on him (don't ask) so it's up to his son Wahoo to make sure things go smoothly. And to say that he's got his hands full in this romp through the Florida Everglades is a serious understatement.


Loads of authors have called into Bookbag Towers for a chat this month.

Robert recently read A Year Without Autumn. He was thrilled when Liz Kessler popped into Bookbag Towers for a chat. If you love her Emily Windsnap and Philippa Fisher books, take a look at what she told us!

We found Margie Gelbwasser's Pieces of Us to be one of the most disturbing YA books I've ever read, but it was incredibly well-written. We couldn't pass up the opportunity to find out a bit more about this talented author. And we've been impressed by both Entangled and Torn by Cat Clarke, so we enticed her into the office to ask her a few questions.

We really enjoyed the collection of flash fiction by Marc Nash and it was a real pleasure to chat to him when he popped into Bookbag Towers. We really enjoyed Weekend in Weighton by Terry Murphy and we were very taken by his hero, Eddie Greene. When Terry popped into the office we had a few questions for him.

After years (a lifetime!) of being told to be less selfish and to put other people first it was a relief to encounter someone who had other ideas - so when Olga Levancuka came to the office with some copies of her book we couldn't wait to ask her a few questions. We came late to the charm of Hattori Hachi but when author Jane Prowse dropped in to see us we had quite a few questions to ask her!

Ever since we read Are You Smart Enough To Work At Google? we've been trying out the questions on each other. William Poundstone popped into Bookbag Towers and chatted to us about some of the questions which are asked at job interviews.


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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