August 2014 Newsletter

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August's News from Bookbag Towers

Ok. Hi. We hope all is well with all of you. World news this month has been so horribly unhappy and depressing, hasn't it? Sometimes, it makes you feel utterly hopeless. We don't have any answers here at Bookbag but we do wish peace for all people in every country and we hope that one day humanity will achieve it. One possible way is, in the words of the proverb, to walk a mile in another man's shoes. Books can help us do this. Books allow us to see the world through someone else's eyes, to put ourselves in someone else's place. They can be distractions but they can also be tools of comings-together. And it's in that spirit of comings-together that we bring you this month's newsletter.

Anyone who frequents Twitter will know that it's a mixed blessing. It's a mine of wonderful information and supportive camaraderie. It's also - unfortunately - home to a lot of people who take great pleasure in causing pain to others. But in amongst all this are a few gems and one of them is @Queen_UK, a delightful satire on members of the royal family, celebrities, the political classes and the state of Her Majesty's nation. Or, one's nation as Ma'am would say. Still Reigning is her second book and it's the sort of parody which leaves you wondering if the writer might not be someone very close to the original. You really must read it.

Her Majesty does not do interviews, but all at Bookbag dropped their Union Jack flags and waved a curtsy when The Queen of Twitter made a royal visit to Bookbag Towers. Go and read all about it!

Golden Hour

We're going back to 2003 this month, and featuring Doing It by Melvin Burgess. It's a funny and truthful peek into the minds of sex-obsessed teenage boys. And girls aren't left out, either. Parents might find it shocking but the kids will find it as real as they did a decade ago. Melvin Burgess popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us about it, too. As ever, he has plenty to say!

Books of the Month

And on to to the new...

In fiction, we have a slice of smart sci-fi for you this month. Sam loved Afterparty by Daryl Gregory. People have been taking pills and seeing God for years, but in Afterparty Daryl Gregory is taking the idea of smart drugs one step further. What happens if after a particularly bad trip you have an omnipresent God with you? Is this a sense of wellbeing, or are you now just schizophrenic? In the near future people take drugs not only for their cures, but also their side effects and seeing deities may be the worst side effect of all. This is a darkly comic creation that questions why we are here and should we really care?

In non-fiction, Louise thinks you should look at Psy-Q by Ben Ambridge, a fun and interactive slice of 'Pop-Science' which delves into various psychology topics, with the aim of entertaining and enlightening the reader and debunking a few myths along the way. Most of the chapters are only a couple of pages long and include quizzes, personality profiles, experiments, optical illusions and the odd cheesy joke thrown in for good measure. The result is a readable, accessible and un-putdownable book that she managed to devour in an entire afternoon.

For tweens, Jill is recommending one of her favourite books of the year so far. Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan is the gorgeous story of a girl reuniting with her mother after 11 years. Things don't go as she'd hoped - you knew they wouldn't, didn't you? It's beautifully written and heartwrenching in all the right ways. This is one you really should not miss. So don't!

And for the little ones, John loved A is Amazing!: Poems about Feelings by Wendy Cooling and Piet Grobler. How do you get young children interested in poetry? I guess you hope that you don't have to – you want them to be aware of clapping and skipping songs by nature, and of lyrics to music heard in school and at home. Surely it's a case of making sure a child never learns to hold verse in disfavour, and carries a natural eagerness for poetry through to adulthood. But just in case, there are books such as this wonderfully thought-through compilation. It's really quite lovely.


In addition to our conversation with Her Imaginary Majesty, we have a couple of super features for you this month. Firstly, we couldn't believe it when we realised that it was five years since Jim first reviewed for Bookbag. Time goes so quickly when you're enjoying yourself! It was a tough job but Jim rose to the challenge of selecting his top fifteen books. Here's to another fifteen in 2019, Jim!

And Sue was so convinced by Kim Staflund's book How to Publish a Bestselling Book ... and Sell It Worldwide Based on Value, Not Price! that she was tempted to give it a go - and she hasn't even written a book. When Kim popped in to see us she had a good few questions to ask.


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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