August 2012 Newsletter

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August's News from Bookbag Towers

Hi, hello, how are you? Coming down from Olympomania (sic)? It's been marvellous, hasn't it? Even the most dedicated non-sporty geeks amongst us - ahem, Jill - have been beside ourselves with excitement.

Sport over though, we have some fantastic news for you this month! HarperCollins has acquired a fantasy debut by an 18-year-old classical musician, Stefan Bachmann. His book, The Peculiar, will be released in October. You might think that name is familiar - and you'd be right. Stefan is on Bookbag's panel of reviewers and we are so pleased to see he is enjoying such success. He is very talented, but he's also friendly, generous, enthusiastic and generally wonderful to know. You can keep up with Stefan by reading his blog. And watch this space for more about The Peculiar. We're keeping everything crossed for its success!

Golden Hour

This month, we're returning to The Baby And Fly Pie by Melvin Burgess. First published in 1993, it is the latest in Andersen's series of reissues of Melvin Burgess's novels for younger readers. It was shortlisted for the Carnegie prize and it's easy to see why. Energetic and thrilling story for middle to early teen readers, set in an alternate London and telling the story of street children given a slim chance to change their destiny. This blast from the past is a troubling but beautiful read.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction and for the adults, Robin recommends The Liars' Gospel by Naomi Alderman. It's a genuinely new and insightful take on a story that we think we know and one which resonates today. Four people tell their stories around the time of the death of Jesus in Judea, each as compelling as the other. Often thought provoking, even provocative, but it's always entertaining. While the subject matter may be contentious to some, it would be wrong to suggest this is some heavy message-laden narrative. It is first and foremost an exciting, entertaining and enthralling read. All religion has a strong element of story-telling associated with it - and this is story telling of the very highest order.

Sue thinks you should read Toby's Room by Pat Barker. Barker returns to the First World War in this superbly written but very readable book about an intense sibling relationship. Literary fiction is frequently unreadable unless you're a part of the literati for whom it is written but Barker's novel is one of the most readable books which have come Sue's way in a while. It's a book she'll return to often.

In non-fiction, Zoe enjoyed Homework for Grown Ups by E Foley and B Coates, which provides lessons in 10 core subjects to re-teach you everything you learnt in school all those years ago. It's an easy to read book that made her smile but also taught and re-taught her a few things in a nice, painless way. If only school has been quite so fun!

For the younger ones, Linda suggests The Grave Robber's Apprentice by Allan Stratton. Hans is running away from his master, the grave robber. Countess Angela is trying to rescue her parents from the arch-duke, who is cruel and quite, quite mad. And they are both trying to avoid the mysterious Necromancer. Only together do they have any hope of success. It's fun, and fast-moving, and fantastic (in the true sense of the term) and will quickly become a favourite.

Jill loved Gods and Warriors (1) by Michelle Paver, an action-packed story set in the Bronze Age and featuring children with animal helpers. Paver's characters - human and animal - are truly alive; vital and colourful and, as in all good children's books, called upon to show extraordinary courage. There's a little bit of magic but not enough to get in the way of the story or the characters, and it's all in keeping with prehistoric, superstitious societies. Fans of Paver's Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series will love this one, too. We certainly did.


We felt that we were in the heart of Japan when we read Tokyo Hearts - A Japanese Love Story and it was a real pleasure to chat to Renae Lucas-Hall when she called in to see us.


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.)