August 2013 Newsletter

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August's News from Bookbag Towers

Hi, hello and how the devil are you? Enjoying the summer? Looking for books to read while you're on holiday? Looking for books for the children to read while they're on holiday? Look no further. We'll give you our picks of the month and more.

What do you think to Jane Austen being depicted on the £10 note? We like it! We also like the suggestions from Abe Books about other authors and other currencies. Take a look at their ideas and see what you think!

Did you know that 22-28 September is Banned Books Week? We know it's a little bit early to be telling you about it but we think it's a great initiative and it seems to have more traction in the US than here in the UK, where we at Bookbag reside. So we thought we'd give the Brits a chance to catch up.

Banned Books Week aims to challenge censorship in literature and we're with them all the way. You can find the official UK website here and the US website here. Take a look and think about the issues. In an environment where CHERUB author Robert Muchamore is getting speaking engagements cancelled and even Elmer the Elephant author David McKee is seeing his books banned from school libraries, it's something we should all be thinking about.

Golden Hour

We're travelling back either 14 years or more than 1,000 years this month, depending on how you look at things. Our blast from the past for August is Bloodtide by Melvin Burgess, a retelling of the Norse Volsung saga in a dystopian setting. It's vast. It's vital. It's vivid. It's violent. It's vicious. It's voracious. It's every V you can think of. A kind of mash up of Oryx and Crake and myth and legend, it's the book that heralded in a new wave of dystopian fiction for kids. Forget the current wave of dystopian stories. This knocks most of them into a cocked hat!

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Sue thought The Gallery of Vanished Husbands by Natasha Solomons was absolutely wonderful. On her thirtieth birthday Juliet Montague went out to buy a fridge for the princely sum of twenty-one guineas. She'd saved hard for it - and her parents had given her the final few guineas - but then Juliet did something impulsive. Instead of buying a fridge she commissioned a portrait of herself and so began her involvement in the post-war art scene.This is an exquisitely-constructed, evocative story which will hold you right through to the final pages. And Ani loved A Marker to Measure Drift by Alexander Maksik, which tells the story of Jacqueline, a young Liberian woman who has escaped the horrors of the Charles Taylor regime. She is a beautifully written heroine with a past that contaminates her every waking moment. You won’t forget Jacqueline.

In non-fiction, it was no contest. The Boy on the Wooden Box by Leon Leyson is a memoir by one of the youngest people on Oskar Schindler's list of Jews saved from the Nazis. Simply, but evocatively and heartbreakingly told, this is something that should be read by children and adults alike. Sadly, Leyson didn't live to see the book published. But he did live. Well.

For teens and young adults, Jill couldn't choose between a pair of very different stories. There's Love in Revolution by B R Collins. Haunting and painful but beautiful too, this is a story of revolution but also a young girl waking to love. There's rich prose, a real sense of place and a story that will stay with you. And there's Winter Damage by Natasha Carthew, a beautiful odyssey set in a harsh landscape in an even harsher world. A wonderful sense of place, and unforgettable characters. You shouldn't miss either of these!

For younger readers, Linda recommends Lockwood and Co: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud. London is full of ghosts, and only the young can sense them clearly. Lucy, Lockwood and George, the three members of a ramshackle psychic detection agency, find themselves up against vicious ghouls, spooky spectres, and some really nasty humans too. This book, the first in a new series, easily promises to be as well-known and popular as Jonathan Stroud's earlier series about the wisecracking djinni Bartimaeus.


We have some great articles by authors for you this month. In Jillian Larkin Talks To Bookbag About The Flappers, this talented author tells us how she feels about her interesting series of books set in the 1920s and what she has planned for the future. We loved Emily Diamand's Ways To See a Ghost and when we plucked up the courage to peep out from under he covers we were fascinated to hear what Emily had to say about how scary children's fiction should be.


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.

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