August 2017 Newsletter

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August's News from Bookbag Towers

Happy August, Bookbaggers! Here's hoping you get the opportunity to make the most of summer's good weather by taking some time to read in the sun.

Not that we spend much time sympathising with politicians here at Bookbag Towers but oh, poor old Andrea Leadsom! Her slip of the tongue - at least we hope it was a slip of the tongue - in referring to Jane Austen as one of our greatest living authors has resulted in much merriment. Anyone know who Jane Austen's agent is? We'd love to book her for an event, said Waterstone's. Teehee.

And we keep forgetting to point you in the direction of Word of Mouth, poet Michael Rosen's Radio 4 series exploring the world of words and the ways in which we use them. It's honestly a joy to listen to and if you haven't already, you should go to iPlayer for some language delight. Is emoji really the world's fastest growing language? Lord, we hope not. Where would we be without words? Oh, and the episode on the history of punctuation marks is our all-time favourite. Long live the interrobang.

George RR Martin tells us that Game of Thrones: Winds of Winter could be published next year. He's months away from finishing, apparently. Given that we've been waiting since 2011, you'll forgive us George, if we don't bet our houses on a 2018 publication date. Besides, you should take as long as you need to take. No pressure. Honest. Um... but it will be 2018, right? Right?!

Golden Hour

Gamers! Our blast from the past this month is for you! Fighting Fantasy: The Warlock of Firetop Mountain by Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone is of one of the classics of the "Choose Your Own Adventure" styled books that started to come out in the mid-1970s, and that, with the aid of a gaming rule system inbuilt, became the herald of so many fantasy gaming careers from the early 1980s on. It is then is no mere book, nor is it a book portraying the gamer's experience. It is, first and foremost, a game, and one that was much better than John remembers first time around. It's nice to see it given a re-release by Scholastic.

Books of the Month

And on to to the new... . In fiction, Phil recommends The Gurugu Pledge by Juan-Tomas Avila Laurel, an angry and urgent portrait of migrant life on Gurugu Mountain refugee camp – the last stage before the Spanish barbed wire fences at Melilla. Juan-Tomas Avila Laurel is one of Equatorial Guinea's best-known dissident writers, and his is a book that needs to be read. It's uncomfortable and upsetting but also fierce and brilliant.

Em thinks you should read How to be a Kosovan Bride by Naomi Hamill, which recounts tales of two women, who are of a similar age and live in Kosovo, one of the world's youngest and most unstable countries. The first, the Kosovan Wife, follows the archaic, traditional path that is the norm for women from her country. The second girl follows a starkly different path - returned to her parents after a disastrous wedding night, and labelled the Returned Girl, she scorns tradition, and studies endlessly until she is accepted into university. Written in the second person, this is a challenging book with clever moments of light relief.

In non-fiction, Sue brings you Threads: The Delicate Life of John Craske by Julia Blackburn. John Craske was a fisherman, from a family of fishermen, who became too ill to go to sea. He was born in Sheringham on the north Norfolk coast in 1881 and would eventually die in the Norwich hospital in 1943 after a life which could have been defined by ill health. If you're looking for a straight biography this probably isn't the book for you but if you're happy to meander through the process of researching a book and to allow your thoughts to be provoked you're in for a treat.

For young adult readers, Jill loved A Change Is Gonna Come, an anthology of stories and poems interpreting the theme of change by twelve BAME writers. It's Stripes Publishing's response to the under-representation of BAME authors in the UK. And it's a great response, featuring established writers and showcasing new voices. It's as vital for young people to read stories from voices outside their own perspective as it is for them to see themselves reflected. And there isn't a weak link in the entire anthology. What more could you want?!

For the little ones, John suggests Dinosaur Detective's Search-and-Find Rescue Mission by Sophie Guerrive. Monsters leer over all the mountain tops, there's a giant octopus in one building and a green giant's arms coming through the windows of another, and everywhere you look someone has lost something. Luckily the Dinosaur Detective is on hand to help. This Where's Wally seek-and-find book has plenty of subtleties and hidden depths - and isn't easy to solve!


Jill was really taken by author Tessa Buckley's mystery and family drama series, Eye Spy Investigations and enjoyed Eye Spy II. There were quite a few questions for Tessa when she popped into Bookbag Towers to chat to us. The good news is that she has two more books planned for the series and the bad news? Pfft. There isn't any bad news!


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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