April 2015 Newsletter
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April's News from Bookbag Towers
Hi there! Spring is in the air! Isn't it a relief? Politics is also in the air. There's a general election campaign on, in case you hadn't noticed. Somewhat less of a relief for many, we fear. If you're looking to escape Cameron, Miliband, Farage et al, and are looking for anything to read that isn't a party manifesto, stick with us. We have some great book recommendations for you this month.
In other news, author David Nicholls says that browsing bookshops then buying online is a genteel form of shoplifting. Do you agree? We think bookshops are precious so we are inclined to concur. Having said that, there's nothing wrong with a choice of format. Not everybody feels the same way about books as objects. Perhaps, rather than the gladiatorial combat Nicholls describes, it would be better if people browsed in bookshops and then chose the physical book or a download at the checkout?
Having said a sad goodbye to the wonderful Sir Terry Pratchett last month, what else could we choose for April's blast from the past but a Discworld novel? Mort by Terry Pratchett is considered by many to be the finest of Pratchett's Discworld novels and Bookbag is no exception. It's funny, it's meaningful and it's interesting. In this book, in the Discworld, and in our world, it all comes back to DEATH. DEATH gets all the best lines. From the moment he meets Mort and says the immortal line, "I DON'T KNOW ABOUT YOU, he said, BUT I COULD MURDER A CURRY," you are hooked. If you haven't already, you really must read it. And if you have, read it again.
Books of the Month
And on to to the new... . In fiction, Rebecca loved Adeline: A Novel of Virginia Woolf by Norah Vincent, set between 1925 and 1941 and focussing on Virginia Woolf's marriage and later career, it is a remarkable picture of mental illness from the inside. A true Modernist, Woolf was ahead of her time as much as she was defined by it. For the depth of its literary reference and psychological insight, Adeline is Rebecca's favourite novel of 2015 so far.
In non-fiction, we have some travel for you this month. Lesley loved Pathlands by Peter Owen Jones, a gentle and reflective meander through the byeways of Britain from Cornwall to the Scottish Borders. Jones has a lovely turn of phrase and a knack for evoking memories. This book is written to be read, not to be taken out into the field.
For teens, Loralei recommends I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson. Twins Noah and Jude used to be inseparable until tragedy tore them apart. Now Noah's changed utterly from the boy he used to be, and Jude is reduced to spying on him. It may take a little while to get to grips with the unique voices of the characters, but it's well worth persevering with this gem. It's an emotional roller coaster of a novel that explores love, relationships, desolation and hope as two twins try to find their way back to each other after a tragedy.
For the little ones, Sue thinks you should look at Where's the Elephant? by Barroux. You might think this is an animal version of Where's Wally and it is, but it's so much more - a simple but powerful story of the deforestation of vital rainforests. Everyone, not just children, should read the book.
We've been very busy with our reporter's pads this month and have some great interviews for you. Ani is an enthusiast about 15th and 16th century history and enjoyed the different approach to the Wars of the Roses which she found in The White Queen of Middleham: Sprigs of Broom 1 by Lesley J Nickell. She'd have loved to chat to Lesley, but unfortunately she died in 2013. Fortunately, Lesley's sister, Tricia Callow had the answers to many of Ani's questions.
Rebecca enjoyed Michael Pronko's whimsical, poetic essays on Tokyo life and she had quite a few questions for the author when he popped into Bookbag Towers.We're looking forward to his book comparing Zen and jazz.
Sue thought that John Kemp’s book Caring for Shirley was a remarkably upbeat, life-affirming read considering that it was about looking after his wife who was suffering from dementia and no longer recognised him as her husband. It’s probably one of the most feared fates as you get older, and Sue had plenty to discuss with John Kemp when he called round for a chat. It's an illuminating discussion.
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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