August 2009 Newsletter

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August'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.

We know this is a newsletter about books, and we know that we keep opening with some remark or other about sport. It's completely off-topic, we know, and we're sorry, but we just can't help it, we're going to do it again. Did you see Usain Bolt? Did you? Isn't he just something else? And it's just as well he appeared on our summer scene because August is a quiet month for books. All the holiday reads are already published (and in your suitcases, packed for lazy days by the pool) and thoughts haven't quite turned to the run up to Christmas. But there's still plenty out there and we've done our best to bring the the worthwhile to your attention. You're going to need them, aren't you, what with the barbecue summer that never was....

We're still loving our features section, and we hope you are too. This month, we've talked to Ben Kane about his spiffing novels The Forgotten Legion and The Silver Eagle, and also to Jane Mitchell, about her novel Chalkline, child soldiers, school curriculums, travel and more. We've also picked out our Top Ten Picture Books For Overcoming Bedtime Woes for all of us, big and small, who are still scared of the dark.

In July, our most read review was Disgrace by J M Coetzee, thanks to Vintage's reissue of a series of Booker Prize winners. Sue says it's the best book she's ever read and no one here at Bookbag Towers is arguing with that. Possession by A S Byatt, Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha by Roddy Doyle, The Gathering by Anne Enright, How Late It Was, How Late by James Kelman, Amsterdam by Ian McEwan, The Sea, The Sea by Iris Murdoch, The Famished Road by Ben Okri and Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie make up the rest of the Vintage choices, and you could certainly do a lot worse than spend a few weeks working your way through them.

What we've been reading...

For adults, fantasy fans really shouldn't miss Before the Gods by K S Turner, an audacious debut which blends adventure with ancient myth and a touch of philosophy in beguiling fashion. Those who like their thrills a little more contemporary should look at Ravens by George Dawes Green, which has Shaw and Romeo moving across country for a new life, when they stumble upon Nowheresville, GA, and find that one family has just had the only winning lottery ticket for a $318million jackpot. Much more than a basic family-in-peril thriller, it's a short book about killing, a short book about love, and a deep and rich volume with a lot to say about the society it's set in. We think you should also get down and dirty with Let Them Come Through by Neil Forsyth. A gritty, funny, sometimes tragic story about corruption and fading celebrity. You'll never enjoy existing among such a grotty cast more.

In children's books, the little ones are going to love Crazy Hair by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. A man explains everything that can be found in his crazy hair through rhyme and breathtaking illustration. Bookbag loves this combination of writer and author. If they're ready for something a little more complicated, look no further than The Rabbit Problem by Emily Gravett. A children's book based on the Fibonacci sequence? Original, interesting and funny, it's packed with extras like funny newspapers and cook books. Older children mustn't miss Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver, the final instalment of Michelle Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Full of love, loyalty, courage and heroism, this is a special and timeless book, set six thousand years ago when man and wolf were just about to become man and dog. Jill cried like a baby at the end!


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

All at Bookbag Towers

See what we were reading last year.

(PS – if you don't want to receive further copies of our newsletter please email us and we'll see that you're deleted from the mailing list.)