February 2011 Newsletter
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February's News from Bookbag Towers
Hello! Happy February!
What do we think to library closures then? Are we not too worried? After all, people are able to buy books for a penny at Amazon and tuppence or threepence at The Book People these days. And anyway, we'll all be reading via download soon, won't we? Why do we still need libraries? That's the argument, isn't it?
Unsurprisingly, we at Bookbag don't agree. Libraries are part of the fabric of our culture. They're not just about books, either. They provide internet access and shared memberships of periodicals and other subscription-only sources of information. They promote local writers and artists. And for some, even today, they are a source of warmth and shelter.
News out this week also shows how vital libraries are to children's reading. Of the 10 most borrowed authors last year, 7 were children's authors, for the second year running. If we can't invest in the literacy of the future generation through libraries, you do have to wonder what on earth we can do to make lives better.
Libraries must stay! Spread the word!
We're quite excited about the features section this month - we're introducing a guest post section, in which authors ruminate about a topic of their choice. In the first article Annabel Pitcher, writer of the wonderful My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece, gives us a wonderful line-up for a literary dinner party. Thanks, Annabel! Do keep an eye on this section because this is the first of many guest posts we'll be hosting. Feel free to hit the comments button, too!
We've also been interviewing busily, as usual. Malcolm Fawbert has just published his first children's book whilst under the name of Asa Jones he's brought out his first novel for adults. We couldn't resist the opportunity to get both his alter egos into one room and ask them a few questions!
Victoria L Thompson's Midnight Mischief is a fun romp through space, to rescue Pluto from those pesky aliens. It's got strong rhymes throughout and engaging illustrations. We couldn't wait to interview Victoria!
We loved Take Me Home: Tales of Battersea Dogs by Melissa Wareham, her stories of what life in Battersea Dogs is really like, especially adapted for children. Dogs are close to Sue's heart as all you regular Bookbaggers will know, and unsurprisingly, it's Sue who put the questions to Melissa.
This month, Sue's oldie-but-goodie is The Sexes by Dorothy Parker, an excellent illustration of the wit and genius of that redoubtable American wit and satirist. They were written in the early 20th century but are still fresh and new today. When there are only a small number of words, they've all got to punch above their weight. Dorothy Parker is one of the few people who was able to achieve that. Thanks to Penguin Mini Modern Classics for the reissue and reminder.
Books of the Month
And on to to the new...
In fiction, Robin recommends Half of the Human Race by Anthony Quinn, a will-they-won't-they love story between two people with differing social views - one an ardent believer in the rights of women and the other who has never had to fight for any belief, until the Great War breaks out. Combining the suffragette movement with county cricket. Howzat? Brilliant as it turns out.
In non-fiction, John thought very highly of Gallipoli by Peter Hart, a detailed study, with many eye-witness accounts, of the unsuccessful Allies' campaign in 1915 to eliminate Turkey from the First World War. As a study of a major campaign in the First World War, as well as the futility of it all, this book grimly succeeds – if you will pardon the phrase – on all fronts.
For the younger ones, Linda really enjoyed Neversuch House by Elliot Skell. Omnia Halibut, aged twelve and a quarter, has lived her whole life on a vast estate which has been separated from the outside for generations by a huge wall with only one gate. She believes she knows every corner of her world, until a chance event sets her on a dangerous, enthralling adventure which uncovers a web of corruption and menace at the heart of Neversuch House.
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 www.thebookbag.co.uk.
All at Bookbag Towers
See what we were reading last year.
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