April 2013 Newsletter
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April's News from Bookbag Towers
It still doesn't feel like spring, does it? A bright and breezy greeting is rather beyond us this month. We have gone into a slough of despond about the weather - and the loss of most of the soft fruit that should have been coming from our gardens this summer. Meh.
On the upside, Granta have produced their list of the best of young British novelists for the twenty-teens. You can see who they are here. Do you agree with the choices? If not, who would have been your choices? Everyone on the list is getting a turn on Radio 4's Book at Bedtime at the moment. We don't listen at bedtime any more, but we always catch up on iPlayer. Gotsta love the good old interweb, aintcha?
PS: We Are Not Talking About Margaret Thatcher This Month. We have Iron Lady fatigue. That is all.
This month, we've chosen the wonderful The Great Gatsby by F Scott Fitzgerald, one of the most beautifully written books of all time, the story of the American Dream gone wrong. It's recently been included as a Times Educational Supplement Teachers' Top 100 Book - as it should be - and it ties in beautifully with our fiction pick of the month, too. Bookbag's Robin says if he could recommend just one classic book to readers young and old, in the hope they would fall in love with it, it would be this one every time.
Books of the Month
And on to to the new... . In fiction, Robin recommends Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler. Narrated by Fowler's imagined voice of Zelda Fitzgerald, this is both a balanced view of events and a touching and ultimately tragic love story of Zelda and her husband, F Scott Fitzgerald. Like much of their life, reality played like an F Scott Fitzgerald novel - full of glamour, alcohol and bad behaviour. This is one of those books where your heart breaks when you re-read the Prologue on finishing the book.
In non-fiction, Gloria loved Circulation: William Harvey's Revolutionary Idea by Thomas Wright, an excellent biography of English physician William Harvey, and exploration of the development of his theory of circulation. Wright trenchantly shows Harvey to have been a product of his times, despite being famed for having thought ahead of these.
For tweens, Linda has chosen Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding. When the Fey stole Rick, centuries before, they told him he had been abandoned by his parents. All his life he has been trained to believe that humans are the enemy. Now there's a rumour that the Knights of the Round Table are re-forming to defeat Avalon, and he is sent to stop them. Once there he faces two challenges: firstly he discovers that the Fey have been lying to him — and secondly, he has to cope with being a modern teenager. For all fans of Arthur and his Knights, this will prove to be essential reading – don't miss it.
As ever, we've been out and about talking to all sorts of people this month.
One of our favourite authors, Luisa Plaja has been involved in something rather exciting. She popped in to bookbag Towers to tell us all about it. Robert thought that Requiem by Lauren Oliver was an absolutely stunning read and the best in the Delirium trilogy. As you can imagine they had a lot to chat about when Lauren popped into Bookbag Towers.
Robert also enjoyed YA novel Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Carriger, famed for her adult Parasol Protectorate series and he was keen to ask her about all sorts of things. And Robert loved By Any Other Name by Laura Jarratt, thinking it just as good as her debut Skin Deep, so he was delighted when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us.
Ani was very impressed when she read Burden of the Desert by Justin Huggler and there was a great deal to discuss when he called in to see us. Ani also thought very highly of Mark Lingane's genre-busting novel Beyond Belief and she had quite a few questions for him.
Jill enjoyed Maria & The Devil by Graham Thomas. It's a dark revenge fantasy with a western flavour in which themes of revenge, strong storytelling and evocative descriptions of landscape and setting combine to create a thoroughly enjoyable read. There was planty to chat about when Graham called by. Jill also thought that Queen & Commander by Janine Southard was an enjoyable space opera and a fun read with plenty of potential to take the disparate central characters further. She had a few questions for Janine when she popped into Bookbag Towers. And she found The Vanguard by SJ Griffin to be an enjoyable post-catastrophe mystery thriller with enough twists and turns to shake a stick at with a super, unexpected ending and absorbing characters. She and SJ had plenty to chat about.
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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